We had a very rough passage to Hilo, Hawaii from Maui. We went directly through the Tropical Depression and encountered some rough seas. I was expecting a ruined day in Hilo, but when we awoke it was partly cloudy and very windy. We had a 9:45AM pick up to go on the Volcano & waterfall Helicopter tour. I was a little concerned that the winds would keep us from going up. At 9:45, we got picked up and we headed for the airport. After a brief safety session, we safely boarded the Helicopter. We got the front 2 seats which I recommend paying a little extra to ensure that you sit in the front.
The wind from the storm was blowing toward Hilo which is rare. Thanks to the direction of the wind we got a rare view deep into the active crater. A recent earthquake changed directions of the Lava and in the past 6 weeks 22 homes have been taken out by the volcano. We passed over the newly hit region in the helicopter. It is really sad how much property and island have been taken out by the volcano. We passed over the Lava empting into the ocean. After the volcanoes, we headed toward the rainforests to see waterfalls. We viewed 30+ waterfalls in a 10 minute span. 1000 years earlier the rainforest that we passed over looked just like the lava area we passed over minutes earlier.
Just as all of the tour operators we have used on this trip, the Helicopter Pilot was very passionate about the Island and the impact of the Volcano on the Island. He almost purchased one of the homes recently taken out by the volcanoes.
Hurricane Felicia ruined our chances of seeing the sunrise at the Haleakala Volcano, but thanks to the winds form the tropical storm we got a better view of the active crater on the Hilo Helicopter tour! Happy Sailing – Rich Tucker