It’s not every day you get to see a volcano erupt.
Check that: Actually, you can see a volcano erupt every day if you happen to be in the southeast corner of Hawaii island where lava from Kilauea has been pouring out of the ground since May 3. At last report, the now-famous fissure 8 in Leilani Estates was continuing to churn out molten rock at a prodigious rate, and U.S. Geological Survey scientists say there is no end to the eruption in sight.
But that could change any day. So what are you waiting for?
I spent almost three weeks in Puna covering the eruption and am still processing some of the extraordinary sights, people and places encountered. You won’t need anywhere near as long to experience this primal sensation — in fact, it can be done in a day trip with proper planning.
Unfounded volcano fears are keeping many tourists away from the Big Island, so any dollars you drop along the way will be helping locally owned businesses hit hard by the disaster.
Here are four things to do on your lava junket.
IF YOU GO
>> Be sure to check Hawaii County Civil Defense for updates on road closures, air quality and other hazards. The air seemed fine in the areas I visited, and I suffered no ill consequences during my stay. However, those sensitive to respiratory ailments may want to avoid exposure.
>> It’s hard not to be exhilarated by the awesomeness of this natural wonder, but be cognizant of the fact thousands of Puna residents are struggling to deal with eruption-related stress, loss and uncertainty. Behave accordingly and consider donating to the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Food Basket-Hawaii Island, World Central Kitchen or other charities helping those impacted.
— Christie Wilson, Star-Advertiser