Hawaii, The Big Island
Tour on the Big Island of Hawaii, with excursions to Volcanoes National Park and to the astronomic observatory on top of Mauna Kea volcano.
Volcano National Park, about one hour drive from Hilo Intl. airport. From top-left, clockwise: the highway buried under the lava and some craters. Currently this is the world's most active volcano and it makes the island each year bigger (by a couple of square chilometers) because of the costant lava flow.
A lava field with a strange crack in the middle.
The remains of a tropical jungle after a destructive eruption. Only after several year the new life can start again.
A natural tunnel inside the lava field. It is about 3 meters tall and it is possible to walk inside.
I'm now driving to a site where the lava flows directly in the ocean. The road has been rebuilt after an eruption.
The road finishes and it is necessary to continue on foot.
I get very close to the lava flow, ending in the Ocean and creating a lot of steam. I've had to walk for about 6 Km over the lava field because the road is interrupted and buried under the older eruption.
With a car, I drive around the island to Kona, where I will meet a group and a guide in order to climb by jeep on the top of Mauna Kea (about 14000 feet of elevation).
The astronomic observatory on the top of Mauna Kea volcano. I'm at an elevation of about 14000 ft / 4200 meters over the sea level and even if I'm at the tropic, the temperature here looks like that of the arctic Alaska in a colder than normal summertime day. The temperature is just 5° C with a wind chill factor of 1° C.
This is one of the world's most important observatory, because of the excellent location and the crystal-clear air.
The sun is about to set. The bottom-left picture is very interesting because it represents the volcano itself, projected as a dark shadow on the cloud layer below (the sun is behind me).
The sunset up here offers a breathtaking combination of colors and lights.
Soon will be night and the sky will be full of millions of stars.
I return to a more confortable altitude and drive to several nice waterfalls. There are countless waterfalls on the island and most of them are very nice, surrounded by a dense vegetation.
The typical vegetation in the jungle.