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Big Island Air, known as the Cadillac of the Skies, offers fully narrated airplane tours around the Island of Hawaii. Relax in our first class seating with plenty of leg and head room. Take beautiful pictures or video from our large windows. See coffee plantations, black sand beaches, rainforest, hundreds of waterfalls and of course the only active volcano in the state.

Big Island Air is conveniently located at the Kona Intl Airport with free parking. We fly 5 times a day, 7 days a week.
See your activity agent or concierge for the best prices on all your Hawaii activities.

Produced by Donald B. MacGowan; videography by Frank Burgess and Donald MacGowan; Narrated by Frank Burgess, Original music written and performed by Donnie MacGowan.

For more information about traveling the Big Island in general and Island Activities in particular, visit www.tourguidehawaii.com and www.tourguidehawaii.blogspot.com.

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Deeper into mysterious Puna!

As you continue along the coast road, you will next encounter McKenzie State Park. Here the Ironwood trees create an unusual ambience of a pine tree forest. The sheer cliffs and majesty of the ocean beg for photographing. Swimming would be near impossible here, but the hiking is spectacular. Tour Guide will give more information about this other- worldly park. A permit is required for camping and the facilities are a bit run down.

Not far away is Kahena Beach. This beautiful black sand beach involves a bit of a scamper to get down the cliff, but is well worth the effort. Tour Guide will give you the easiest path to take. You may notice that this beach is “clothing optional”, thus it’s popularity. Swimming here is good, but currents can be strong if you get too far from shore.

Drive just a few miles further and you come to what used to be the town of Kalapana. Kalapana and Royal Gardens were destroyed in the lava flows during the late1980’s.

What remain are a few homes and businesses where the road now ends. From here one can see the plume of smoke coming from the vent upslope. Sometimes the lava reaches the ocean about 2 miles from this spot.

A short five minute hike will bring you to Kaimu Beach, the newest black sand beach on the island. Tour Guide will give you the rich history of the ancient fishing villages that were here and the touching stories about the palms at Kaimu Beach.

Heading back from Kalapana, you will want to take Highway 130 toward Pahoa. This is your best chance of watching Kilauea erupt. Just a few hundred yards north of Kalapana, is the old turn off to Royal Gardens. This is now the official County of Hawaii Lava Viewing Site. Drive as far as the attendants will allow you, park and walk into where you can safely view the lava flowing into the ocean. Daily updates on the volcano and conditions at site are available at the Hawaii County Lava Viewing Desk, phone number 808.961.8093; more information is here and here.

Farther along the highway to Pahoa, you will see a “scenic turnout” where you can view the Puna Geothermal Vents. Here a company has tapped the natural steam to create electricity from these fumaroles. Tour Guide will show you how, with a short hike off the road, and you can sit in one of these natural sauna vents for some real relaxation.

Now you’re ready to head back to Kona. Take Highway 130 to Highway 11 and go south. If time permits, you may want to stop in Volcano Village, just off the highway, for some food, gasoline, shopping or maybe even some wine tasting. This may be the last gasoline available until you get back to Kona. Find your hotel in your Tour Guide and get turn-by-turn directions right to the door.


Mauna Ulu, or growing mountain is a tall, sloping, shield-shaped hill formed by numerous eruptions along the rift between 1969 and 1974; Mauna Ulu is best seen by walking a few yards past the road beyond the parking lot to where the end of road is covered in fresh lava flows. At Mauna Ulu, visitors can get an intimate look at both pahoehoe and aa lava flow types. Pahoehoe, the less viscous and generally hotter liquid flow, moves fluidly like a river or glacier, the surface folding and molding, like poured taffy, into a ropy structure. Pahoehoe forms generally flat, fairly smooth, hard surfaces. Aa, on the other hand, is much cooler and has exolved much of its dissolved gas, so it is much more viscous, causing the upper surface to fracture into clinker-like boulders and fragments. Flowing aa sounds and looks like a moving pile of hot glass shards; when it cools, it leaves behind rubbly piles of sharp fragments. Fields of pahoehoe and aa make a landscape that look as if Madame Pele has bulldozed her land to flat surfaces, but left these acres of boulder piles here and there.

Pu’u Huluhulu (shaggy hill) is a 150 foot tall cinder cone formed in pre-contact times between Mauna Ulu and Pauahi Crater. There is a fascinating 3 mile round trip hike from the Mauna Ulu parking lot to the top of Pu’u Huluhulu that is marked by cairns (or ahu). From the vantage point of Pu’u Huluhulu’s summit, one can see Pu’u O’o (hill of the bird) about 5 miles away. From Pu’u Huluhulu are fine views of Mauna Loa, Kilauea, Mauna Kea, the coastline and Pu’u O’o. Pu’u O’o is a spatter cone built by the fire-fountains erupting along Kilauea’s rift zone between 1983 and 1986. Since 1986, the center of eruption has moved about 2 miles further down the rift to a vent called Kupaianaha, or mysterious in Hawaiian. The round trip hike from Mauna Ulu Parking lot to Pu’u Huluhulu and return takes about an hour and a half to two hours.

The hike to the summit of Mauna Ulu is a long, dry, serious hike with some dangers and should only be undertaken by those in good physical condition and experienced at hiking cross-country across broken and hazardous ground.

Written and produced by Donnie MacGowan; videography by Frank Burgess and Donald MacGowan; narrated by Frank Burgess; original musical score written and performed by Donnie MacGowan.

For more information on touring Hawaii in general and visiting the Big Island in particular, please go to tourguidehawaii.com and tourguidehawaii.blogspot.com.

Kīlauea Eruption Status

Reprinted from here.

Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Kīlauea Volcano continues to be active. A vent in Halema`uma`u Crater is erupting elevated amounts of sulfur dioxide gas and very small amounts of ash. Resulting high concentrations of sulfur dioxide in downwind air have closed the south part of Kīlauea caldera and produced occasional air quality alerts in more distant areas, such as Pahala and communities adjacent to Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, during kona wind periods. On September 5, scientists observed a 50-m- (160 ft) diameter lava lake about 100 m (330 ft) below the vent rim on the floor of Halema`uma`u; the lava cannot be seen from the rim of Halema`uma`u Crater or Jaggar Museum Overlook. There have been several small ash-emission events from the vent, lasting only minutes, in the last week.

Pu`u `Ō`ō continues to produce sulfur dioxide at even higher rates than the vent in Halema`uma`u Crater. Trade winds tend to pool these emissions along the West Hawai`i coast, while Kona winds blow these emissions into communities to the north, such as Mountain View, Volcano, and Hilo.

Lava continues to erupt from fissure D of the July 21, 2007, eruption and flows toward the ocean through a well-established lava tube. The ocean entry at Waikupanaha was interrupted twice in the past week in response to back-to-back deflation/inflation (DI) events at Kilauea summit. There were small, short-lived breakouts on the coastal plain early in the week as the eruption recovered from the two pauses in lava supply. The ocean entry had recovered by the second half of the week and hosted frequent small littoral explosions.

Be aware that active lava deltas can collapse at any time, potentially generating large explosions. This may be especially true during times of rapidly changing lava supply conditions. Do not venture onto the lava deltas. Even the intervening beaches are susceptible to large waves generated during delta collapse; avoid these beaches. In addition, steam plumes rising from ocean entries are highly acidic and laced with glass particles. Check Civil Defense Web site (http://www.lavainfo.us) or call 961-8093 for viewing hours.

Mauna Loa is not erupting. Four earthquakes were located beneath the summit this past week. Continuing extension between locations spanning the summit indicates slow inflation of the volcano.

Four earthquakes beneath Hawai`i Island were reported felt within the past week. A magnitude-2.0 earthquake occurred at 8:21 p.m., H.s.t., on Thursday, September 18, 2008, and was located 3 km (2 miles) southeast of Kilauea summit, at a depth of 3 km (2 miles). A magnitude-4.3 earthquake occurred at 5:59 p.m. on Friday, September 19, 2008, and was located 6 km (4 miles) northeast of Ka`ena Point on Kilauea’s south flank at a depth of 10 km (6 miles). A magnitude-3.0 earthquake occurred at 7:49 a.m. on Tuesday, September 23, 2008, and was located 32 km (20 mile) northeast of Honoka`a at a depth of 32 km (20 miles). A magnitude-2.2 earthquake occurred at 7:25 a.m. on Wednesday, September 24, 2008, and was located 4 km (3 miles) northeast of Kukuihaele at a depth of 30 km (19 miles).

Visit our Web site (http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov) for daily Kīlauea eruption updates, a summary of volcanic events over the past year, and nearly real-time Hawai`i earthquake information. Kīlauea daily update summaries are also available by phone at (808) 967-8862. Questions can be emailed to askHVO@usgs.gov.

Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Photo by Donnie MacGowan

For more information on touring Hawaii in general and the Big Island in particular, go here and here.

My name is Donnie and I live in Hawaii…I wanted to tell you a little bit about our beautiful colored sand beaches here on the Big Island. Going to the beach is a big thing in Hawaii, because we are blessed with not only weather consistently gorgeous year round, but also with numerous beautiful beaches on which to enjoy our golden days. Because our Big Island is geologically quite young and the landscape is immature, our beaches tend to be smaller than those on the older islands, and are therefore all the more precious. What the Big Island has that some of the other islands lack, though, are beaches with spectacularly colored sand…white sand, black sand, green sand and even grey sand.

But of course, the most beautiful beach in Hawaii, is the beach you are on…so get out there and enjoy the beach!

For more information, go to www.tourguidehawaii.com or http://tourguidehawaii.blogspot.com