Seeing Hawaii's volcano & lava from a helicopter
Now that Kilauea volcano has settled into a reasonably stable pattern and residents in the volcano's lower east rift zone (LERZ) are figuring out their "new normal," it's time for visitors to take advantage of this (likely) once-in-a-lifetime chance to see such a spectacular and dynamic eruption. The best way to experience it is by helicopter. Yes, it is is expensive--starting at around $300/person. But there is no other way to fully see and grasp every aspect of this eruption other than from the air. You cannot hike to it, you can only see part of it from the water or from distant land locations. We decided to check it out it for ourselves, and we were both completely awestruck by the experience. The video below was shot on Denni's iPhone 10, from 3,000 feet elevation in the doors-off helicopter of Paradise Helicopters.
This photo shows a length of the lava river, with the main erupting vent (Fissure 8) at top right. We didn't see it this "close up," but it was every bit as dramatic, and we could feel the heat! Photo courtesy US Geological Survey
A length of the lava river is seen (the moving lava appears light gray in this photo), taken with our iPhone 10. The lava is moving toward the Ocean Entry at the former Kapoho Bay on June 30, 2018.
This image shows the lava steam as lava enters the ocean. AMAZING SIGHT! The "ocean entry" at the former Kapoho Bay is over a mile wide.
On our way back to the Hilo Airport, the pilot flew us above a series of really beautiful waterfalls--yet another feature we could really only appreciate from the air.
We decided that photography wasn't our primary goal--we both wanted to see the eruption with our own eyes, so our photos are just from a smart phone, and I've augmented with some shots from the web to help you get a better understanding of why this is so cool, and why you should get yourself onto a plane and come see it NOW! It won't go on forever. Get yourself to Hawaii--there are numerous daily nonstop flights to Kona from the US mainland and even Japan. C'mon over!