Saturday, May 8, 2010

Activity Alert! Spelunking on the Big Island

Not long ago, I came across a Big Island blog about exploring the Kazumura Caves in Glenwood and decided that it looked like a fun adventure. As a confirmed lava junkie, I was excited to get a new look at lava, and the Kazumura Caves provide an excellent opportunity.

Take a good look at the light - you won’t be seeing it for a while!

Descent into darkness!

Yet another Big Island superlative, Kazumura Cave is the longest and deepest lava tube in the world. It stretches 40 miles and plunges to depths of 3,614 feet! Geologist guide Harry Schick was incredibly knowledgeable and provided lots of insight into the strange underground formations we encountered, as well as the cave’s strange flora and fauna. He’s so well informed that he’s even written a book on the subject, one of the few of its kind.

Lava does strange things underground!

An underground skylight - but there’s no sky for a long ways up!

There are several tours available – we choose the lightest of them, a 2-hour expedition into the least difficult part of the caves. For the extreme cavers out there, there are a 4 and a 6-hour tour, even requiring repelling down drops of over 40 feet! Well, the ladders on the 2-hour tour were challenging enough with my fear of heights (“But we’re not up HIGH, we’re descending into the DEPTHS!” was Harry’s humorous response to my anxiety), but for those of you with the inclination, the deep tours are sure to prove even more fascinating!

Dr Seuss would be proud of these strange formations!

There are a few requirements for the 2-hour tour: you must wear long pants and boots or tennis shoes. No shorts or open toed shoes are allowed. All spelunkers must be 11 years or older. It’s a good idea to bring a bottle of drinking water, but no food is allowed inside the cave. Warm clothes are also a very good idea – it’s chilly and damp down there. Harry provides the rest of the equipment, including flashlights, carabiners and hard hats. Best of all, the 2-hour tour is only $10 per person - now that’s a deal!!

Lavasicles!!

Call (808) 967-7208 for reservations. The tours operate Monday thru Saturday from 8am to 6pm HST, or visit Harry’s Website for more information.

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