On Sunday, Josh and I woke up at 3:15 a.m. to head to our sunrise lava boat tour. Our tour was leaving at 5:00 a.m. from Isaac Hale Beach Park and we had to be there a half hour early to check in. We booked our tour through Lava Ocean Aventures and it was well worth it! Our boat was open on all sides so we were prepared to get wet and be cold! The coast we traveled on has some of the roughest waters in Hawaii. Part of the reason we chose the sunrise tour is that it would be the calmest time of day.
The amusing thing about this tour was that we all boarded the boat in the middle of a parking lot. They towed the boat to us and we all climbed up via a ladder. Once we were all on board, they towed us to the boat ramp and launched us…then we were off!
It took about 35 minutes to get to the lava ocean entry. It was pitch black and you couldn’t see anything…kind of scary! You could see the glow of the lava 10 minutes before we got there…amazing! Once we got there, you could instantly feel it getting warmer. The water around where the lava was entering the ocean was 180 degrees. Even 25 feet out, the water was still about 75 degrees. They stuck a bucket in the ocean to get some water so we could all feel how warm it was. The Captain got us within a couple yards of the flowing lava…it was SO close that we could hear the lava hissing when it hit the ocean. Pictures and videos below!
After hanging out at the lava for a little over an hour we headed back. I was SO seasick at this point, so I was thankful to start moving again. We got back to the park and headed back to Hilo, showered and slept for two hours until we had to check out. I was dying from being so seasick, so I was quite happy to sleep for a few hours. We checked out of our hotel and had lunch at Café Pesto before going to the airport to catch our flight out. I was quite happy to have some good food and a diet coke. After our amazing weekend, I think Josh and I can mark off the volcano area of the big island. It was so worth the two trips and a once in a lifetime experience!