Jen and Wil's trip to the Big Island!

First things first.  The Kona coast was beautiful!  This is the view from Barb & Steve's fantastic condo! (Thanks Barb & Steve!!)

This is also the beach where Wil popped the question.  While Jen is distracted by the view, Wil wanders off and then calls out, "Hey Jen, come check out this rock!"  And he didn't mean a lava rock.  Jen must have liked the ring enough, because she said, "Yes!" (and then cried).  But she was smiling later once she got used to the idea!

A glowing, now engaged, Jen.

Onward and upward... er... downward.  The sea turtles were plentiful at Kahalu'u beach, and they didn't seem to mind posing for pictures, even when Wil was making fun of them.


This one was only a couple feet from shore (along with a couple buddies).


This one made it all the way up on shore for a good, relaxing, bake on the black sand beach at Punalu'u. Even the turtles know how to relax in Hawaii.  (No, he's NOT dead.)


The black sand made a lovely contrast to Jen's new ring.


Back at the ranch (Barb and Steve's super condo at the Bali Kai), we shoot a few portraits. (By the way, Wil is NOT sunburned, but just a bit warm after running back and forth to the camera!)


We decided to visit the lava on the windward side.  Here's what it looks like hiking out to where the flowing lava meets the sea.  It's not often that you walk on ground younger than you!  There are two types of lava.  This type lava is known as pahoehoe ("hoe" rhymes with "toy"), and is the hotter, smoother flowing, less viscous kind. Notice where it flowed and where it did not flow on the hill behind Jen.

Here, the lava meets the sea, about 30 minutes before sunset.  We're glad to be upwind of the acidic (pH 1.5) and noxious fumes. See the USGS Fact Sheet about viewing lava flows.


Here's the flow at sunset.  It is very dramatic - an epic battle between fire and water as the waves relentlessly crash against the liquid rock.  For now, the fire is winning.

20 miles offshore, Hawaii's newest island, Lo'ihi, is forming some 3km under the surface.


This is the cauldera at Kiluaea.  Note the steam in front of Jen.  Rain that has seeped into the ground is heated by Kiluaea and issues forth as steam. See Living on Active Volcanoes and Explosive Eruptions and Kilauea Volcano for some interesting information.


Alas, all good things must come to an end.  At least we got to fly home first class!