2023 Jun 11 | Kilauea volcano eruption in Hawaii

The last time a volcano erupted in Hawaii, we didn't go, and I was a bit sad we missed it, considering we're so close; just a flight away from San Jose or San Francisco. So this time when the Kilauea volcano started erupting, we decided to go check it out. We're pretty busy with work, but we can fl out Saturday night, see it Saturday night and Sunday morning, and then fly back Sunday afternoon.

We don't even need to pack much; just a change of clothes and camera equipment.

All of the flights from the mainland...

... wrap around the island on the right. So to see the island, a seat on the left side is best, but the sunset would be better seen from the right.

Although our current seats are both in the middle, yuck.

We had to pay a bit to upgrade to window seats, but hopefully the view will be worth it. It's also easier to nap.

Just want to make sure we're not above the wing to get in the way of our views.

Driving up to SFO. This farm always used to have a few alpacas out in this front field, but they haven't been there recently.

Although north of Gilroy there are lots of farms with goats and sheep and such.

Not too long of a line at the airport.

The line to fill water is longer than the security line.

We're both wearing similar colored shirts.

The USGS has a livestream of the volcano on YouTube. Now there's a little cone forming; that's cool.

We're on windows on opposite sides. Ogii can keep the neck rest; I don't need it.

Movies, wifi, and power.

And the wifi is even free with T-Mobile.

Except the wifi doesn't work to and from Hawaii.

Some snacks.

And dinners.

John Wick 4 is already on their movies.

If you watch John Wick 4, there's going to be lots of violence.

Their magazine...

... has a big Zenni ad on the back.

I like his lei.

I bought us sandwiches and snack boxes.

Ogii looks like a pro; she has a phone holder while everyone else has to hold theirs in their hands.

I've filled this out enough times to know where the confusing parts are.


I like how you can see the shadows of the clouds.

Some weird shadow on the other side; I wonder what it's from.

Observatories on the mountains reflect the sun.

Just about down.

There it goes.

Clouds over the island with mountains in the back.

I had two windows.

Pretty water.

I wonder how many airports are in the middle of lava fields.

People getting off another flight.

First stop, as always: leis.

She has to unlock the fridge.

They also sell plumeria plants.

The bathrooms have carpet cut into the shape of waves on the walls.

The lava is flowing out of the cone now; get excited!

There are some bubbly areas, too.

Ogii getting lei'd.

They smell so good.

Either way is about the same.

We wanted to stop for some drinks, but we were ten minutes too late at this gas station.

Good thing they had some vending machines outside.

Lots of events and shows and classes and such, but no time on this trip.

Snacking on the snack box from the airplane.

We rented a Dodge Charger. The instrument panel light for bright lights is in a horrible spot; it ends up being right behind the tachometer guage.

Wild animal crossing; have to keep a look out.

There's not a ton of traffic, but there's definitely some.

Ogii sleeping while I drive.

And we're at Volcanoes National Park.

We stopped at Uekahuna first, to the northwest. The parking lot was a bit over halfway full, even though it was after 10pm.

Yes, I'd rather not fall into the lava.

Although we couldn't see down into the crater from here.

Next we drove a few minutes to the west to the Kilauea overlook.

This time there was a line of cars waiting to park.

It didn't take too long to get in, though. Ogii hopped out and walked around to see if there were any open spaces on the far side of the lot.

There are many more people here.

Which makes sense because you can actually see down to the lava.

Even though Hawaii is normally warm, even late at night, it was pretty cold here, so Ogii sucked up all the heat from the car vents.

We reserved an AirBnB nearby. It was down some small rural roads.

Daminu pizza. It says they're open, but it's nearly midnight, and they're in the middle of nowhere, so I don't think so.

The turnoff for our cabin.

A gate to get in.

Although they told us the code.

A small cabin.

Very small; only one room.

The toilet and shower are outside on the porch.

And they don't have much electricity as they're off the grid.

We only slept a bit over three hours so we could get back to the volcano and see it again in the morning.

We went to the Kilauea overlook again.

Us with some lava.

There were some other people there already, too.

The cone was erupting a bit more now.

Lava flying out of the cone. Good thing we brought the 150-600 lens. I zoomed all the way in with it and used a 2x extender to get these shots.

And we got better pictures of everything because it wasn't as windy.

Lava bubbling.

Close up on the bubbles.

A video I got.

Uh oh; the key fob battery is low. I don't want to have to mess with being locked out of the car or the car not starting right now; we're on a tight schedule.

The next stop was the Keanakakoi overlook on the south side, which had a bit of a hike from parking.

Plenty of parking in the lot before 5am.

There were lots of portapotties around; that's nice.

We brought headlamps so we didn't have to use the flashlights on our phones.

A group of people here as well.

It's not quite as good of a view of the lava, and you can't see the cone as it's around the corner.

But you could still the the bubbling areas.

You could also see where the fresh lava is flowing over the old lava.

And you could see more of the smoke and steam coming out to the right.


Some guy's home-made phone holder for a tripod; pretty ingenious.

Speaking of tripods...

... Ogii is using my head for one.

And this guy had a very expensive one, a Peak Design carbon fiber.

You can see the sunrise...

... slowly work its way down the mountain in the back.

The lava with some flowers in front.

Me getting pictures.

Flowers in the middle of the path.

Some offerings people left.

Ogii said we should leave our leis, too.

A little prayer.

Me leaving mine.

I hope Pele likes them.

Time to hike back. We move faster if I carry both backpacks than if we each carry one.

A few more people on the path now.

Don't pick the berries; leave them for the geese to eat.

A crack in the road; I wonder if an earlier eruption did that, or if it was something more mundane?

We drove to Hilo for breakfast. On the way, we saw this guy carrying a cross to church.

Some mother and baby pigs.

So cute.

Pretty flowers.

Whale and baby statue.

We had breakfast at Black Rock Cafe. I wanted hashbrowns, and they had them.

Ogii had prepared after being cold last night; she wore three shirts.

A helicopter tour. We thought about doing this to view the volcano, but they fly during the day, and it's not nearly as cool then. Plus, they're really expensive.

Lava fields.

I wonder if having the volcano erupting makes it more of a fire risk?

Long, road.

Very wavy road.

Ogii napping.

Although she got up when there was a mama and baby goat.

More over here. There seem to be a lot around the west side of the island.

A turkey and her babies.

She's showing them how to hide.

Brightly-painted church.

Such a pretty view coming down towards the ocean.

A house high up.

Lots of chickens.

More goats.

Ogii sure loves to pack every available space in a car with stuff.

Different languages at the airport.

Nice mosaic.


A painting representing the four gods and goddesses of Hawaii.

We couldn't really hear some of the announcements.

Although we could see the screen.

A flight to Los Angeles was canceled. If ours got canceled, most of the other flights arrive tomorrow morning.

Even if we flew into San Jose and drove to San Francisco to get our car at the airport, same thing after 2pm.

Two sets of stairs, one for each side of the plane.

Drinks ready to go for first class.

Some of the seats face backwards.

Shiny purse.

I saw a woman eating M&M's and said I wish I had some. Just by luck, Ogii had happened to buy some for me earlier.

The seat beside me was empty; love when that happens.

Because it makes it easier for Ogii to spread out to sleep.

A last view of the island, until next time.