Pele Is Not Happy

Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii.

We interrupt our regularly scheduled Travel Tuesday to bring you a very special Travel Tuesday… A Pacific island instead of a Caribbean island. We take you now to Halema‘uma‘u Crater on the Big Island, Hawaii. It’s big news that is occurring on the island, homes and neighborhoods damaged or destroyed. Lava flows  consuming large areas with molten rock. As this is being written, it remains to be seen what the final outcome will be. Click on the image above to visit the Volcanoes National Park’s website for updates and videos of the park. Videos show recent activity from the active volcano.

We take you now to an earlier, less turbulent time. In 2007, Lynn and I travelled to the islands on our first visit. We were on a Norwegian Cruise Lines ship, the Norwegian Wind. One of our excursions found us at Halema‘uma‘u Crater, the home of the goddess of fire and volcanoes. When we visited her home, we talked nicely to Pele and she let us leave with our lives. The following year, Pele got upset and she spent the summer of 2008 fuming and sputtering. Lately, she’s been spitting fire and molten rock and the activity has closed much of the park including the overlook points where Lynn and I stood capturing photographs.

The photo above shows the view of Pele’s home captured at that observation point in 2007. The images in this week’s gallery were captured with my first digital camera, a Fuji Finepix 3800. The camera was an aggressively priced point-and-shoot consumer grade with all of a 3 MB image sensor and a $400 price point. A 6X zoom lens brought things a bit closer, but you’ll note in the images that the sensor wasn’t the best for noise suppression even considering these shots were typically around ISO-100. In other words, that was the best this camera could do. I used post processing software to minimize the noise as much as possible.

Apparently Pele doesn’t like objects thrown at her home, especially virgins. You can read more about the goddess and her history here. Noting the sign, many objects thrown find their way only as far as the rim of the crater. A few examples of material thrown are in a couple of the images in the gallery below. Next week we return to our scheduled posts and our last post on the family cruise in January featuring our visit to Grand Turk. In most browsers, you can click on one of the images in the gallery to enlarge it and to scroll through the remaining photos.


John Steiner



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