Friday, November 7, 2014

We visited Kilauea Volcano in the 1990's

     Madame Pele lured us to the Big Island of Hawaii. We saw photos of the plumes of water created when the hot lava met the Pacific Ocean and we made airplane reservations for the next day.  We had been staying in Honolulu.  It's not as if we had to pack up from Philadelphia to get there.  Anyway, the memories of that trip have stayed with us since then.

     We rented a car, received a warning not to exceed the posted mph signs because there is very little crime and the police keep on the lookout for speeding cars.  We followed the map and the directions and arrived at Volcano National Park with no problem.  We were able to drive over the hardened lava and stopped many times, just to look.  At our first stop, two nene birds (protected geese of Hawaii) came over to us and would not move until Edgar took their picture.  It was almost as if they were posing for him.  They might have been looking for food but the posted signs warned not to feed them.

     We remarked that the surface looked like something one could find on the moon or in a science fiction movie. We later learned that the astronauts did indeed train there for moon walking.  We saw hot springs and  red fire through the cracks of the hardened lava,   And we smelled the ghastly sulphur odor that the volcano emits.  We walked as close as we could to the edge of the volcano to see the giant plumes of vapor, water, and steam that occurred when the hot lava hit the Pacific Ocean.(Edgar estimates that that height of those thick flumes, caused when the molten rock hit the ocean, was 60 to 70 feet)/

     The National Park Rangers had set up barricades that warned observers not to go any closer to the edge.  Almost everybody respected the signs.  But, there was one man who refused to pay attention and he crept closer and closer to the edge until the edge gave way and he wound up in the middle of the hot lava.  We also heard of a Park Ranger who got scalded while she fell asleep while enjoying a sauna in one of those hot pools of water.

     This momentous experience served as the catalyst to the research I did on Madame Pele and Hawaiian mythology and served as the impetus for my first crime novel set in Hawaii, Hula Kapu.