Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hawaii: Lava

Another Hawaii highlight: Seeing lava flow into the ocean.

First we bypassed the tourists by tagging along with Nairei, a free-spirited woman who knew someone who lived in one of these houses. These lots are extremely cheap. Ten years go, lava flowed here.

We parked our cars and started walking across the lava. We had to cross a portion of forest, so we brought glowsticks and tied them to the trees as markers so we could find our way back.

After trudging along for 10 minutes, heat started to seep up beneath our feet. In the distance you can see steam rising from the cracks.
There's our team approaching the lava flow. From left to right, there's Jeni, Kimber, Chris, and Nairei. Chris is a local 17 year old. Nairei has lived here for 8 years, the first 7 spent living in a tent. A photographer, she makes cards that she sell at the weekly farmers markets.

Stepping across crackling lava was like hiking on another planet, a long-forgotten moon of Saturn. It is beautiful in an eerie way.

Then we reached the lava, and some brave (but stupid) people like me and Jeni went down to the beach to get a closer look. The water was warm.

This is what it looks like from the beach. You can see Chris walking towards it.

Notice all the smoke coming up from it!

Boatloads of tourists came by to view the unification of the four elements. If you think about it, that's what's happening here: fire, earth, water, air all coming together as the lava hits the water. My friend was telling me that the lava comes from the center of the earth. To be in its presence made me forget that I was a human; instead I was just part of the earth.

Chris was a little too close, if you ask me.

It got darker and the colors changed.

We watched for a long time.

Another flow opened up as we were leaving. We stumbled through the darkness with 2 flashlights for 5 people. We found our way back through the forest with the help of our glowstick trail markers.

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