Michael Perea • Kilauea – Pele’s Wrath

One of the most extraordinary sights is that of a lava-spewing volcano. Michael Perea tells us about the heart-thumping experience of flying over one, trying to take in this feat of nature with wide eyes

I attempted to take it all in, flying 3000 ft above sea level in a helicopter, looking straight down at an erupting volcano, smelling the sulphur, hearing it, feeling the heat, thinking about homes and lives ruined – all while grasping the magnitude of what truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Watching hot lava spew out of a cinder cone is something I never thought I would see in my lifetime. I realized I was literally watching the newest part of the Big Island of Hawaii being created.

I was preparing for my first ever helicopter ride and my mind and heart were racing. The doors will be off. I will be flying over an erupting volcano. I have been reading about the destruction of the homes and lives of the people living in Leilani Estates, so there is an emotional and human aspect to all of this. I will also attempt to take some images in a hostile environment that will be completely foreign to me on so many levels. My adrenaline was spiking. Nervousness, anticipation and excitement were all fighting for supremacy.

Fissure 8 of the Kilauea Volcano was spewing out 28,000 gallons of lava per second, moving at speeds of up to 20mph. The lava channel was ...

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