Monday, February 3, 2020

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Gallery: Hawaii 2019 - Volcanoes National Park

On this day, we drove quite a long way, all the way south and then east, nearly 2/3 of the way to Hilo, to the Kilauea Visitor Centre in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. From there we drove south along the Chain of Craters Road, which winds through many diverse lava fields, all the way to the south coast. There, the Holei Sea Arch stands watch and we also saw some very rare Nene geese, only found on the Hawaiian archipelago.

The Nene is apparently the rarest goose in the world and back in 1952, hunting and human introduced predators on the islands decimated the population down to only about 30 birds. Through strict conservation efforts, that number has increased to 2500 or so today, spread throughout several of the Hawaiian islands. Still 2500 is not very many, and each goose is tagged and identified. The roads that pass through areas where the geese frequent having warning signs and a reduction in speed limits. Temporary signs are also put up, warning motorists if geese are known to be in areas where they generally aren't seen. The geese are apparently related to Canada geese, but have a very unique, twisted pattern on their neck feathers. Seeing two of them close enough to photograph was a treat!

As you can probably tell from the gallery, I am fascinated by the diversity of formations that cooled lava leaves behind, especially the more fluid Pahoehoe lava which creates ropy, almost woven ripples, large pillow formations, and lots of interesting striations and grooves. Seeing lonely plants struggle to gain a foothold on the large lava fields really demonstrates the tenacity of life.

Here is one large panorama I shot, probably spanning a 150º field of view, where many overlapping lava flows of different ages have built up a large hillside. There is quite a variety of colours and types of lava visible in one shot! Click the image to open a much larger version in a new window...

Link to: All the blog posts from my 2019 Hawaii Trip


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