Today was the last day in Hawaii. Last evening the ship left Lahaina on Maui at 10:49P.M. and sailed the 94 Nautical miles to Kona anchoring here at 6:30A.M. It did this at the speed of 13.4 knots. There was obviously no great hurry when only 94 nautical miles needed to be covered in seven hours and forty-one minutes.
Todays really big deal, on this second visit to the big island, was the "Big Island Helicopter Spectacular". This was an almost two hour long helicopter tour of the island. This did not leave the "Pier Ashore" as they called it until 11:00A.M. This made the morning fairly leisurely. I had breakfast, made several cell phone calls from my cabin and then headed out to the tender for the trip to shore. It did this a little early as I need some money and to have a quick look in some of the stores here. The first pictures below were taken during this period.
The helicopter base (heliport) was located about half an hours trip north of Kona by minibus. There were about twenty of us from the ship who paid the $369 (US) to take this trip. Before getting on the minibus everyone was weighed and this info was called ahead so that the helicopters could be properly load balanced. Then the trip out, the safety video, and on to the flight.
Note: I seemed to get a bit picture happy on this flight and came back with approximately 175 images from this flight alone. There are over 200 for the entire day. I guess this is one of the dangers of digital photography. Fear not for I have reduced this down to 92 that may be used on this page and I probably will not use all of these. The point I am trying to make here is that this page will have a lot of images on it and my take some time to load with a slow internet connection. Please be patient. Those of you that I give a CD to should not have this problem.
Here we go!!!!
|Statendam at anchor from Kona. Note the direction the ship is headed in here.||
A helicopter similar to the one I flew in.
|The leeward or dry side of the island. We are flying between Mauna Kea (left) and Mauna Loa (Right).||Here you can see generally where we are at the moment on the GPS. The group of circles that are closest to the little aircraft (us) is Mauna Kea. The bigger darker one is Mauna Loa.|
|Here, along with a few window reflections, is Mauna Loa along with the Saddle Road in the foreground. Direction of flight is to the left.||
A bit further to the left.
|More of the saddle. It is called the Saddle because it is a higher point of land between the two mountains. Mauna Kea 13,762 feet and Mauna Loa at just over 13,600 feet.||I believe this is the turn off we took on Monday on the way to the Mauna Kea Observatories. That trip came from the bottom of the picture and turned right.|
|The part of the Saddle Road that I traveled on during the observatory trip on Monday. There is a picture of some of this lava.||The last GPS picture. I guess I was too busy taking other pictures to take any more. It also was not on all the time.|
After the original creation of this page I felt that a map was necessary to show the route (the purple line) the flight took. Here it is showing the approximate route the flight took. I have positioned things on it as best as I could. These locations may be out a bit but show the general area and route the flight took. At this point the tour is just about the the turn beside the red words Kileaua Volcano.
After completing this portion of the flight we headed on to one of the highlights of any trip to the big island. This of course is the Kileaua Volcano. The next group of approximately twenty-four images shows this part of the flight.
|Active crater/vent of Kilauea Volcano. It has a name but I cannot spell or pronounce it. It is not the summit. That is about 10 kilometres west of this.||
Another view of the active crater. This crater has been continuously erupting since 1983, the longest single eruption in Kilauea's long history.
|Looking in the top of the crater. It is considered to be erupting because lava is present at the surface and that is the only requirement for an eruption.||
A closer view as we approach.
Here you can see the main crater with lava bubbling in a couple of places in the bottom.
Click here for a larger version of this image.
This picture is somewhat past the vent with the lava.
Several smaller vents.
More smaller vents.
|The lava travels underground in lava tubes. This opening is a spot where the roof of the tube has collapsed.||Another roof collapse. The lava is usually eight to ten feet below the surface in these spots.|
|These next two shots are of a cooling surface lava flow. The hot lava is cooling into a cooler form of lava and then into solid rock.||Another, perhaps bit better view, of the surface lava flow.|
|The ocean vent. There is no mention of how far this is from the main crater but I believe it is eight to ten miles.||The next six pictures show the ocean vent as the helicopter does a complete circle around it.|
|Another one of the ocean entry pictures. The one to the right is an enlargement of this one.||If you look closely at the middle of this close up of the steam/gas cloud you see some orange coloured lava near the waters edge.|
|The water temperature near the lava entry point is approximately 90 F. Apparently people have been seen skinny dipping near here!?!?! The water depth drops of to 18,000 feet very quickly off shore.||Here the helicopter is directly above the toxic gas/steam cloud created by the lava rapidly cooling as it comes in contact with the water.You would not want to breathe this for long, if at all.|
|As the lava cools it creates a cantilever effect over the water. Every so often it collapses into the ocean. One collapse that the pilot caught on video in 1993 lasted forty seconds and dropped just over twenty acres of hardened cooled lava into the ocean.||Over 700 structurally sound acres have been added here since the eruption started 23 years ago.|
|Final view of the active crater from roughly where the ocean vent is.|
After completing the flyby of Kilauea we headed on to Hilo,
the Statendam's first port of call in Hawaii. The flight had to stop there
to allow refuelling of the helicopters and a break for the pilots. On the
map above the next portion of the trip covers the section from the Ocean Entry
to east and north up to Hilo, midway up the east coast.
Here are some pictures as we approach and land at Hilo.
|Here is some of the scenery as we cross on the windward or wet side of the island heading for Hilo.||
More of the scenery just south of Hilo.
|The southern outskirts of Hilo as we approach the airport.||
Arriving at the airport.
|Twenty feet off the ground heading for the helipad which is just to the left of the picture.||
Just touching down on the pad.
The stop at Hilo Airport lasted approximately twenty minutes. We then reboarded the helicopter and headed north and north west along the east and north coasts and then turned inland in a southerly direction across the rugged terrain inland and headed towards Weimea-Kohala on the map below.
Here are some pictures from this portion of the trip starting on the ground in Hilo.
|There were about six helicopters in the group on this trip. These tours are always done with a group of helicopters for safety reasons.||Off the ground heading north over the town. Most of the town was on the other side of the helicopter from me.|
|Hilo Harbour. The light coloured dock near the middle is where the Statendam was docked five days ago.||The Hilo coast line. May look a bit familiar. This was the first coast we saw from the ship after sailing four and a half days from San Diego.|
|There were many rivers and waterfalls because there had been much rain prior to our arrival. The pilot said that this day was the best weather by far they had had in over two weeks.||This is almost uninhabitable tropical forest. There are dense ferns in the undergrowth that make it almost completely inaccessible.|
|I am not sure what this is, but it is an interesting looking feature so I included it here.||The helicopter is at about 5,000 feet here so the view is very impressive.|
|I believe these are eucalyptus trees. They are grown as crops here and ultimately used as cellulose.||
The view out the front as we headed north.
|This is the Waipio Valley. A Tsunami with a fifty-five foot wave wiped most of the population out this valley is the early 1900s.||Somewhere out there is Alaska and somewhere to the far right is San Francisco, some 2,200 miles away.|
|If you could see it here Maui would be off to right-front about twenty-five miles.||After passing the Waimaiu Valley to see these cliffs and some waterfalls we turned back towards it. The sun was on this side so there were many window reflections even with a polarizing filter on the camera.|
One of the waterfalls.
|Now we will enter and fly up the Waimaiu Valley, shown here.|
|These waterfalls all have names but I cannot spell them or pronounce them.||The pilot said that he sometimes sees skinny dipping tours in the pool at the bottom of this one. He would not recommend it though because the water is very, very, cold.|
|This is from the rear of the Waimaiu Valley looking towards the Ocean.||This valley branches out into a number of other valleys and low mountains that make up the largest section of land in the state that the native Hawaiians consider sacred.|
More of the sacred lands of the Hawaiians.
|I think this is Hanging Falls. There were a number that looked similar so it was hard to be sure.|
|More impressive mountain scenery on the north end of the big island.||This two picture composite is of a location called either a key hole or just Key Hole. It is 2400 feet top to bottom.|
Somewhere around here we went over a ridge and ended up back on the west side of the island. On the map below, the next section starts from just above where the line passes Waimea/Kohala and then back to the heliport.
Here are the final group of pictures from the "Big Island Helicopter Spectacular".
|Here we are coming down the from that ridge we passed over and into the dry or leeward side of the island.||This is Waimea Town also known as Waimea - Kohala. The headquarters and observation site for the Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea (25 - 30 miles to the left) are located just outside this town.|
|More of Waimea Town. The helicopter is a bit past the town here and I am looking back towards it.||Kiholi (I think is the spelling) is the only deepwater port on west side of island. This is where the disastrous (at the box office) movie Waterworld with Kevin Costner was filmed.|
|Almost back to the heliport. Just a few more miles/kilometres to go.||One of the other helicopters "on the pad" as they say.|
|This is the helicopter I was in. It is getting loaded up for the next flight after my return.||The very first picture, way up at the top of this page looks something like this. Note the direction the ship is pointing in in this one.|
With the return to the pier the only part of the visit to Hawaii that was left was to get the tender back to the ship.This completed, there was time for some final pictures. What follows below is a five picture composite of the Kona coastline as seen from the ship at anchor. It is long and narrow but it seems to work very well.
After the composite pictures were taken it was time for the sun to set again. This sunset was quite different than the others you have seen so far.
The sunset off Kona, November 11th, 2006.
The quickly setting sun. Taken at 5:40.
It is disappearing quickly now. Taken at 5:41.
Taken at 5:42
Taken at 5:43.
The ship departed Kona at 4:54P.M. heading for a night view of the Kilauea Volcano. The ship arrived in the Kilauea area at approximately 10:21P.M. If you are wondering way it took so long to get here have a look at the helicopter tour map below and I will explain. The ship was anchored off Kona. It had to sail all the way down the west coast of the big island, then turn east around the southern tip of the island and then sail north easterly to the spot labelled Ocean Entry. It took approximately five and a half hours to do this.
Here are the pictures that resulted from this. These pictures did not turn out well for various reasons. Some of the reasons probably are that it was pouring rain, it was very low light, and the ship was moving all the time. It might have been better to have used digital video. I have picked the best ones (none are really that good) for the group below.
|Here is the ocean entry point at night. You may think that the orange spots in the background are reflections. They are not. These were various small openings (skylights, the helicopter pilot called them earlier) on the shore above the cliff where the lava flowing below was glowing through. Lava may or may not have been actually flowing out of some of these spots.|
|The ocean entry point by itself with the steam obscuring the lava somewhat.||Here is a wider angle showing the ocean entry point and more vents (maybe) in the background to the right.|
|The main ocean entry point with the other "vents" in the background.||
One last picture of the main point of entry.
The ship left the Kilauea area at approximately 11:35 heading on a north easterly course for Enseada/San Diego. This course pretty much parallels the coast of the island straight on towards the west coast of the continental United States.
There is one last group of two pictures for today. After all we must not forget our friends in the Towel Menagerie. So, for the last pictures of today, here is todays towel animal.
I am not sure what this is. It looks a bit like a turtle. Those of you reading this can speculate on this one.
For the record, of the 92 images I had selected for possible use on this page, I have used 85 of them and created the map for a total of 86.
Well, this finishes the Hawaii portion of the cruise. From now until 8:00P.M. PST Wednesday, when it arrives in Esenada, Mexico, the ship is cruising across the Pacific Ocean on a north easterly course. The next page will cover all five of these days in the same fashion as the San Diego to Hawaii page did.
On to Crusin, Crusin, Crusin......
Created: March 5th and 6th, 2006
Last Updated: March 15, 2006