Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hawaii Photos #6: Volcanoes National Park

In my head, when Chris told me we were going to Hawaii and that Courtney wanted us to hike a volcano with her and Brad, I pictured that cartoon volcano you always see with the steep slope and crumbling rim at the very top.

So I started running on my treadmill with a steep incline every day to prepare myself for the trek. Well, turns out, the active volcano in Volcanoes National Park, on the Big Island, was a little bit different. We spent a whole day exploring only a fraction of what the park had to offer. But to get to the actual volcano, we drove up most of the incline, and then hiked on mostly flat land to see the top of it. And weirdly, we were above it.

It was still pretty amazing to see, but definitely not what I pictured. When you look to the left, you see another rim (level with where we were standing) and all the steam rising out of the ground.

You can't get much closer to it than this because of the vog. There's lots of harmful gases coming out that can make it difficult to breathe if you get too close. So we enjoyed the view from here.

Here's another steam vent in the park.

Back before the late 80s, there used to be a road that went through the Volcanoes Park and lead into Kalapana village. Well, then the volcano did its thing (or as the Hawaiian's would tell you, Pele did her thing) and poof! No more road.

This is where the road ends. Bam.

Here's the part of the photo tour where we just look at pictures of Chris standing on lava rock.

I swear I didn't tell him to stand like that. It was all him.
This is a highly photographed spot for all the beautiful irony. Well, actually, it's the opposite of irony. Poetic justice? Truth? Hilarious obviousness?

A little further back up the road, there was a spot to park and hike out to see the petroglyphs, carved in the lava by ancient Polynesians. Think of it as the Hawaiian equivalent of cave paintings.

The trek out to see them was pretty rough though. No shade whatsoever. Just the sun beating down on your shoulders that under no circumstance will ever have enough sunscreen to protect them. Burn baby burn.

We also got to check out a neat little lava tube inside the park. Below, you can see Chris standing in front of the entrance. Lava tubes are formed when the lava is flowing under the surface and the rock around it hardens. Sometimes, the lava will stop flowing and empty, leaving behind these little cave-like openings that you can walk right through.

The other side of the lava tube.
Another awesome feature in the park was this sea arch. How amazing is that?

Looking up the coast.
There were craters all over the park that I believe are extinct volcanoes.

And yet another crazy feature of the Volcanoes National Park: sulphur banks. This whole area smelled like, you guessed it, sulphur! You can see the yellow patches on the ground that are a buildup of the mineral. The smoke is more steam coming up.

Here's a better shot of the sulphur. Looks a little putrid, right?

And the final spectacle this wonderous park offered us: this pretty cloud with the light shining out from behind it. Best word I can put with it: glorious.

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Hawaii Photos #5: Underwater Adventures

More Hawaii pictures! Yay!

Ok, so these are pictures from a rented waterproof camera that we took to Molokini Crater just off the coast of Maui. First we went snorkeling at the crater.


Sea urchin

Next, our guides took us to another location for SCUBA diving off the coast of Maui. I chickened out, but Chris was so brave and made the plunge!

Here's Chris getting his SCUBA gear on. Does he look nervous?

Stepping off the boat into the water.

This is an eel hiding in the reef.

The SCUBA guide could blow bubble rings with his gear. You can see one in the picture below. You can also see Chris's perspective of being way under the water. Creepy.


Chris got to hold a skeleton of a sea urchin. Craziness.
You can just sort of see the sea turtle in the center of this picture.
In the picture below, the guide is shining his flashlight on a lobster. It's hard to make out in this picture, but he's in there.

So that's Chris's SCUBA adventure and one of our snorkeling adventures. We also snorkeled at Captain Cook monument on the Big Island, but most of my pictures are of the kayak trip to get out there. So I'll post those pictures separately.

Finally, our last snorkel stop was on our very last night. And it was with manta rays!

I didn't rent a waterproof camera for this, but basically, this is what we saw. The video is from the tour company we went with.

And in case you can't watch the video, here's a few pictures I found online that pretty much sum up the experience of seeing these giant manta rays (some had a 10-foot wingspan) swimming toward you at night.

We all snorkeled on top of the water and the manta rays would do somersaults right below you. Literally 6 inches away. And they were so big!!!

See? Crazy!

This was so much fun and definitely something you can't quite explain or show with pictures. It was so unbelievable to be in the water with these giant creatures. I strongly recommend doing this at some point in your life.

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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Color Me Rad 5k

We interrupt your regularly scheduled Hawaii Photofest programming to bring you this special - and colorful - report. Color Me Rad came to Syracuse this morning and turned the city yellow. And purple, blue, green, pink, well ... you get the idea.
So how did this happen? When we woke up this morning, Chris and I looked like this.

A little geeky thanks to the socks Marena gave us as a Christmas present, but otherwise mostly normal. Ready for a nice 5k run. But that's not how the color run works.

So we met up with Kristen and her family to do the race with them. Here's Kristen in her signature pose just before we took off.

But before the race could even start, I dropped a bomb. A color bomb. Surprise, Kristen!

But somehow my plan backfired ...

Don't worry, I got her back after the race.

And so did Chris.

And I may have gotten Chris back for too. He did color bomb my face more than once. Still have purple up my nose...

So basically, the 5k had several color stations where volunteers had these huge packs of color (dyed cornstarch) that they threw at the runners. Some of the stations had a liquid color and they had these jet pack-looking things that they squirted us with.

The race was very casual and there weren't timers or anything. So we took it easy so we could all stay together. And it was a blast.

Here's an after-race picture of our little team. Pretty special.

Right at the end of the race, I color bombed Chris's forehead right in front of the camera that was set up to record people crossing the finish line. So there may be some really awesome footage out there. I'll be sure to post if I can track it down.

It was hilarious how you basically got a sun tan of color, so everything that was covered stayed clean.

And at the very very end, we all gathered together and threw color bombs up in the air. It was a little hard to breathe after that. haha

When we got back to the car, I had to get a couple last pictures of this craziness. He's more color than man at this point.

And thanks to Chris's spot-on accuracy with the color bombs, I had a lovely tie-dye effect going on across my face. Woot.

So that's the color run. Kinda makes you want to sign up right? If you're interested, you can find the website to see where the races are held here.

Up next, more Hawaii pictures. Surprise! lol Anyone surprised?