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“Geology in ACTION!”

Lava Ocean Tours Inc
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Ultimate Hawaii Waterfalls combo Dolphin Boat Tour
Ranked #2 of 13 Tours in Pahoa
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Lava Ocean Tours is your exclusive way Explore the Hilo side of Big Island. View volcanic activity on our boat & hikes to see the LAVA. Our state of the art vessels are modern aluminum catamarans including the "Lavaone" 49 passenger 40x14 catamaran powered by 4 Honda 250hp motors. Whether lava is flowing on the land or sea we will get you to the closet viewing point safely possible. We also offer the Ultimate Boat Waterfall Tours departing Hilo to see over 30+ boat only waterfalls and dolphins in uncrowded waters. During Hawaii Whale Season (Dec-Apr) enjoy whale watching in Hilo Bay and surrounding waters on an intimate ocean cruise. Our tours include Lava Boat Tours, Guided Lava Hikes, Volcano Boat Tours, Waterfall & Dolphin Tours, Charter Fishing, Hilo Whale Watching and Private Tours.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Activities for young children, Lockers / storage, Activities for older children, Stroller parking
Reviewed August 23, 2009

We went out with the crew of Lava Kai in February and it was an awesome experience. It was a wet early morning due to the light rain we were experiencing. But then, morning rain in this area is not uncommon. The seas were a bit rough and we had no major issues getting out of the boat ramp onto the open water. We were fortunate that there were two flows going, one that had just recently started and that's where we headed first.

The boat captain (Shane?) is well experienced, having been coming out to view the lava by boat with his dad as a child. When we reached the newer flow, he kept the boat moving, making passes close to the flow. We could feel the heat of the lava and it was awe inspiring to literally watch the island grow. We've been to the official viewing point on land for the ocean entry, and it is great as well, but can't compare to seeing the flow this close. The land viewing can be hit or miss, each time you go being unique based on how active the flow is and what masses have accumulated or fallen in to the ocean when you happen to be there. Seeing it by boat, virtually ensures a great view!

While the volcano has been constantly erupting since 1983 (see http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/kilauea/summary/main.html for the history) we don't always have an ocean entry so if you are visiting the island, this is one of those "don't miss the opportunity" moments.

Best part of the adventure is seeing the ocean entry so close. The crew was great, and very informative.

Worst part, it can be a very bumpy ride and you will quite likely come home SOAKED. So don't plan on doing this and then heading out for the rest of your day. Find somewhere to take a shower and get dried off, unless of course your next stop is the beach for swimming! All the warnings associated with roller coaster rides (and probably a few more) apply here.

I'd also be remiss if I didn't say that this ride isn't without risk. The flow can result in explosions that throw molten lava flying. We decided that the low probability of something really bad happening was worth the risk.

6  Thank seiryu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 6, 2009

Dress to get wet was an understatement the morning of our sunrise trip. My 81 year old mother was a trooper and even though she came through soggier than she anticipated, she doesn't regret one moment. Ocean phosphorescence flew up from waves hitting the bow like fireworks as we made our way to the viewing spot. We were racing a squall on the way back and it was a bit of a rough ride but never did we regret the amazing sights, sounds and smells of nature at its most violent and yet most beautiful Pricey? You bet. They gave us a discount for having a group of 8. Definitely worth the 3 am wake-up and the price. I recommend the sunrise tour. Quiet, reverential and the colors as the sun rose were breathtaking.

6  Thank heatherjazz09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 25, 2009

Spend the money -bring a rain jacket. - but true very bumpy

2  Thank 30yroldDINKs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 24, 2009

When Keith recommended we leave Hilo by 2:50 AM to start this trip, I questioned the early departure as I do like to sleep in. But after taking the Sunrise Tour and seeing the lava drizzle into the ocean and feeling the spray of warm ocean water mixed with tiny bits of crystallized lava I realized it was well worth the early wake-up call. Captain Shane got us and the boat so close to the lava I could feel the warmth of the temperature rising and had the opportunity to take some really cool pictures (though I was so excited, I didn't get my camera on the right settings). This trip is truly amazing and awesome, it's worth every penny and minute of sleep. If you go to the Big Island definitely carve out time for this adventure. You'll be glad you did!
As far as safety, you definitely need to listen to the crew, hold on, sit still and facing forward. The ride going out was calm, the ride in was a bit choppy but still enjoyable. My husband is sometimes affected by motion sickness but he wore the wrist bands that help prevent that and he was fine.

4  Thank mrsh25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 22, 2009

I have to say, when I was told that I would have to get up at 1 am and drive a couple hours to do this, I wasn't sure it would be worth it. I had no idea....

I've been to a lot of places and on a lot of tours and I am pretty jaded when it comes to experiences but I cannot say enough about this company and this trip.

After a short boat trip we arrived at the lava. And when I say arrived at the lava, I mean we were practically on top of it! (Captain) Shane kept teasing me to save my camera battery as I tried (in vain, I admit it) to take shots of the lava from far away. He kept telling me we would be closer. And telling me. And telling me.

I could not believe how close we got. We saw erruptions, lava flowing, felt the heat, felt the temperature of the lava. Incredible. Absolutely incredible. The contrast against the sunrise also made for some spectacular photography.

It does sound like a crazy thing to do but I can honestly say that I felt entirely safe the entire time I was on the boat even though the experience was potentially dangerous. The crew knew what they were doing, the rules were clear and the boat was in very capable hands. Shane also made sure that everyone on the boat got an excellent view and made sure we all had ample time to experience it before heading back.

It was a fantastic experience that was made even more memorable because you could truly see that those who were providing the experience were enjoying it as much as the passengers. Shane and his crew are obviously proud of their heritage and shared a great deal about the volcano (obviously) but also the area, history and the marine life. There were happy to answer my (many) questions and even provided (fine, I admit it) excellent photographic advice.

They have an excellent website. If you are going to the Big Island and you miss this tour you are missing an opportunity of a lifetime. Honestly.

7  Thank Gypsy.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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