After we had already made a hike over lava fields and could see flowing lava up close and taking a bike tour to the Kalapana Lava Viewing Area, it was now time to see the Ocean Entry of the current lava flow vis-a-vis with a “Lava Boat Tour”.
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Our Lava Boat Tour with Kalapana Cultural Tours
Choosing a suitable tour operator for such a Lava Boat Tour was not so easy. After all, most companies offer the same at a similar price. We took a bit of a look at TripAdvisor ratings and then got stuck with Kalapana Cultural Tours. Ultimately, however, the decisive point was that the company had a brand new faster boat that would keep you with the Ocean Entry for longer – at the same price as with a normal boat. So we quickly decided to do it and booked two tickets.
The cost of a Lava Boat Tour is really beyond good and evil. We’ve paid a whopping 225 US dollars for it, but if you really want to see glowing hot lava flowing into the ocean, that’s the only way. You’re ready to put that amount on that.
Our tour started at 4.15 p.m. and all visitors should arrive at the meeting point about 45 minutes in advance. To do this, we had to drive to Isaac Hale Beach Park, which is located at the eastern tip of Big Island. By the time we arrived, most of them had already gathered in front of the ship “Ohana”. The ship was standing on a trailer in the middle of the meadow – it looked kind of funny. But it was going to be even funnier, because after a short briefing and various information we could all get on the boat and it started. So we were all in the boat, the boat was on the trailer and we weren’t in the water yet. A pick-up truck drove us to the shore a little later and drained into the water.
There were an estimated 40 people on our boat. That’s quite a lot and we were terrified when we saw the mass of people. Disillusionment first spread, because we thought that we probably wouldn’t see much of the lava.
Dolphins during our boat tour
A few minutes later the ride started and the captain put a tooth and floated over the water. A short time later, he suddenly drove very slowly and we heard the crew screaming “Dolphins! Dolphins!” All eyes were on the water. And behold, right next to our boat several dolphins gathered and swam with us. How great. We didn’t expect that at all during the tour. The captain certainly stayed at the place for ten minutes and turned the boat again and again so that the people on each side could see the dolphins.
The journey along the coast
But since our goal was actually a different one, we quickly moved on again. It passed high, steep cliffs, beach parks and beautiful houses until we got close to the Ocean Entry. Shortly before, we saw old, empty lava tubes on the cliffs. The lava flows flow underground to the sea. It’s hard to imagine what that might look like when a swell of liquid, hot lava comes out here.
Small tip: You should definitely take a jacket with you on the tour, because the rough wind on the ocean can be violent and cool, especially if you are speeding over the water at full speed.
The Kamokuna Ocean Entry of the 61g Lava Flow
From some distance we saw a very small boat at the site of the Ocean Entry, on which only five guests sat. This is of course great to be able to get very close to the Ocean Entry. But you also have to be seaworthy, because on such a small boat it wobbles much more violently. When the small boat made way for us, we got to the train and were able to get close to the Ocean Entry, which is called the Kamokuna Ocean Entry of the 61g Lava Flow. And it didn’t take a second for the pure disappointment to spread on our faces. Far and wide nothing to see, no lava, no steam, nothing at all. And that’s what we spent so much money on per person?
With the small boat we took turns again and again – once they were allowed close to it, once we. It went about an hour until we could finally see a bit of glowing lava. But it was still felt so far away from the ocean that we could never have imagined that we would still see until it flows into the ocean.
The hot lava flows into the sea
A quarter of an hour later we could also see lava in some other places. So there were several small breakouts. But it dawned so slowly. In the meantime, the small boat had already left for the harbour, another boat from the same tour operator as well. Only our boat waited before the Ocean Entry, hoping that some lava would flow into the ocean.
So it was really a good decision that we had decided on the new boat, because it stays here for longer. And the crew closed all eyes and waited until at some point the lava touched the sea and slowly flowed in. All the people on the boat were screaming and were completely out of the house. A great experience! Sometimes it’s just worth waiting. 🙂
Around 7.30 p.m. we were back at the harbour in the dark. With a smile on his lips, we went back to the hotel in Hilo. We were really happy that we could still see the lava kissing the ocean. What a day! 🙂
It is definitely a great experience to get so close to the lava from the water! However, the price is also quite high at just under 200 €. If you want to see lava even closer, then we definitely recommend a guided lava hike. Here you can really get up to a few centimetres of the lava! Our detailed report with many pictures can be found here.
All travelogues from HawaiiWe had already visited the islands of Hawaii during our trip around the world on the way from North America to Australia. Here we were on O'ahu, Kaua'i, Maui and Big Island. Because we were so enthusiastic about the different islands and the diversified nature, we were able to make up for all the things we had not been able to do last time or which were partly not even possible. In 2015, for example, you couldn't see flowing lava on Big Island, because it didn't flow towards the sea as usual, but towards an inhabited village. And this was closed for access for the safety of all. But since 2016 the lava of Kilauea is flowing towards the ocean again and so we could finally realize one of our biggest wishes: To stand very close to flowing lava. We also wanted to snorkel on O'ahu in Hanauma Bay, climb Koko Head Crater, see a hula show, marvel at the fireworks of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort, enjoy the sunrise on the 3,055 meter high Haleakala and watch the turtles on the beach along the Road to Hana. So many things we didn't know about last time or didn't manage to do last time.
Hawaii: Things to know, Photo spots & Travel Guide for a holiday
O‘ahu: Waikiki – The neighborhood of Honolulu with Waikiki Beach
O‘ahu: Honolulu – Things to do & the most beautiful photo spots
O‘ahu: Honolulu – Hike to Manoa Falls & Tantalus Lookout
O‘ahu: An Island Tour & & the most beautiful photo spots
O‘ahu: Koko Crater – A hike on the old railway tracks in Oahu
O‘ahu: Hanauma Bay – One of the most beautiful snorkelspots on Oahu
O‘ahu: Diamond Head Crater – Stunning view over Honolulu
Big Island: Arrival in Hilo & Akaka Falls State Park
Big Island: Lava Hike on Big Island – Get close to flowing lava & feel the heat
Big Island: Hawaii Volcanoes NP – The Lava Viewing Area at Ocean Entry
Big Island: Lava Boat Tour – A boat trip to Ocean Entry on Big Island
Big Island: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – Things to do & Photo spots
Big Island: Hike to Papakolea Green Sand Beach
Maui: Lahaina, Nakalele Blowhole & the west coast of the island
Maui: Sunrise from the top of Haleakala Volcano
Maui: The panoramic Road to Hana & the Piilani Highway