One of my most vivid memories from my first Hawaiian cruise is the nighttime sail by the Big Island's Kilauea. That famous volcano, which has been erupting continuously since 1983, is one of the most active in the world and puts on a "show" for cruisers, captains pulling their ships as close as possible to view red-hot lava pouring into the ocean.
But anyone who's cruised Hawaii during the past week has been treated to an even more amazing spectacle than usual as a new, more dramatic eruption began on May 16. Kilauea continues to spew lava from the Pu'u 'O'o vent -- and the latest ocean entry, called Poupou, continues to build a delta. In fact, this is one the few places in the world where new landmass is still being created.
The eruption is stable, according to the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, and the new lava flow hasn't posed any threat to residents or tourists. A spokeswoman for NCL America -- a major player in Hawaii -- tells us that the line has not had to change or cancel any volcano-related shore excursions or visits to Volcanoes National Park, where Kilauea is located, as a result of the new eruption. There are always new vents opening, she says, but these are monitored and tour operators are always on top of changes and developments.
Editor's note: A flurry of earthquakes that began on May 12 south and east of the summit continues -- the latest a 4.7-magnitude shake beneath the volcano (the largest in 50 years) and 4.1-magnitude aftershock, which jolted the Big Island yesterday. Luckily, these too have posed no damage or imminent threat to residents or tourists. Earthquakes sometimes signal the beginning of an eruption (or a change in an ongoing one), but the recent earthquake flurry has not been accompanied by any unusual volcanic activity, the Honolulu Advertiser reports. The HVO continues to monitor the situation.
Not headed to Hawaii anytime soon? View the lava flow courtesy of ABC News, or Tampa Bay's 10 (thank you Cruise Critic member Texas_firefighter for sharing this link on our Hawaii forum!).
--by Melissa Baldwin, Senior Editor
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Kilauea Volcano Puts on New Show in Hawaii
May 25, 2007