Tuesday 17 May 2016
Today we are flying over a volcano and I am a little bit excited.
The second morning waking up on a cruise ship and sailing next to the pretty scenes coming into Hilo on the east side of the Big Island.
The port at Hilo from our usual spot on deck 11
We weren’t in a hurry this morning as we didn’t need to be at the airport until 9.45 for our helicopter flight so we didn’t leave the ship until the main crowd had left. Outside the terminal building there were taxis and buses and tour buses. We had a little time so we took the shuttle bus to Walmart where we looked around for a bit before catching a taxi to the airport.
Somehow, I wasn’t expecting to see a Macca’s inside a Walmart.
When researching what to do in Hilo I had originally planned to do the Volcanoes National Park. I emailed a popular tour operator with an enquiry and they emailed me back, I was happy with their reply so sent them an email to book the Volcanoes National Park tour in Hilo. I never heard back from them so I was going to make plans with another company. As it happens we decided to spend some time in Kona after the cruise which meant that the Volcanoes National Park could wait until then, leaving Hilo free for a helicopter flight over the Pu’u O’o steam vent and lava field.
I booked the helicopter flight with Hawaii Volcanoes Helicopter Tours as we could fly with the doors off and it would be just us, no sharing with people we don’t know, which means we both get a window seat and a great view.
Here’s our ride, a Robinson 44
Leaving Hilo Airport behind
The fields of macadamia trees were bordered by pine trees for protection from the winds.
And then we were at Pu’u O’o looking at lava fields and steam and craters and burning trees and even little glimpses of lava. IT WAS AMAZING. With the doors off we could feel the heat from the lava.
I was just pointing my camera and clicking, sometimes zooming in, and just hoping my photos would turn out. I got a few blurry shots but lots of good ones too. It was so hard deciding which ones would make the cut and I love them all.
All too soon it was over and we were heading back to the airport.
Our pilot Luka was such a great, friendly guy.
I highly recommend doing this flight you just have to do it with the doors off. This was my first ever helicopter flight and at times it was a little scary but really only when doing tight turns so both sides could get a view. I couldn’t get over being able to feel the heat of the lava from around 2,500 feet high. When we landed I had the biggest grin on my face and I couldn’t stop saying the word “amazing”. I’m fairly certain this was my favourite activity for the whole trip.
The flight finished about 10.40am so there was still plenty of the day left in Hilo.
Hilo will be continued….