Today we arrived at Hilo on the Big Island also known as Hawaii Island. Hilo is on the windward side of the island which means it gets lots of wind and rain.
We took a ships excursion up to Hawaii Volcanoes National park. The 520 acre park is host to Kilauea and Mauna Loa, 2 of 5 volcanoes on the Island. Kilauea is the most active volcano on the planet. Volcanoes created the Hawaiian Chain. Kilauea still adds land to the Island of Hawaii. It produces fountains and rivers of molten lava that threaten the areas mostly to the south east of the volcano. Certain areas of the National Park the volcano is in are closed to the public due to the lava.
The beautiful ecosystem here is under threat from animals introduced over the years. Rats were brought by the European travelers, the mongoose was introduced to kill the rats but they didn’t so they are now over run by both. Wild pigs and cats are a major problem as well as mosquitoes that transmit avian malaria that kill off the birds. The onslaught of introduced plants and animals drove countless native species to extinction and still threaten unique life forms in Hawaii.
Tomorrow we head to Kona (0f coffee fame) on the leeward side of the Island.