January on the Big Island

Hawaii, the Big Island is celebrating the arrival of 2012 with numerous specials and events. – Lava from Kilauea’s remote Pu’u Oo vent has again reached the ocean within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park boundaries, at a location USGS scientists have named the West Ka’ili’ili ocean entry. The arduous hike from the bottom of Chain of Craters Road is about four miles one-way across an uneven flow field. Several streams of lava are pouring into the ocean, providing dramatic views, but conditions can change at any time. (http://www.nps.gov/havo) – Lava touched the sea on Dec. 9, 2011, and now visitors have a chance to view it up close and personal. Lava Ocean Adventures offers lava boat tours to see, hear and feel the heat. (http://www.seelava.com) – Spend the day at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center and enjoy its new planetarium offering: Wildest Weather in Our Solar System. This new show takes the audience on a spectacular journey to witness the most beautiful, powerful, and mysterious weather phenomena in the solar system — from a storm the size of a 100-megaton hydrogen bomb, to a 400-year-old hurricane, to a dust tempest that could engulf entire planets. (http://www.imiloahawaii.org) – This month marks the 100th anniversary of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO). Volcano Art Center shares in the celebration by featuring an exhibition titled “Observation/ Inspiration” through Feb. 19. The show features artists who gather inspiration from the volcanic activity at Kilauea, including Catherine Robbins, Tim Freeman, Alan Fine and Kimberly Dark. (http://www.volcanoartcenter.org) – Blue Sea Cruises now offers two ways to experience manta rays – wet or dry. The only Dry Manta Watch is aboard its 70-foot Spirit of Kona. High intensity lights illuminate the underwater scene as giant graceful manta rays feed on the plankton forming near the lights of glass bottom wells. Or, join the Wet Manta Snorkel aboard the M/V Makai for a comfortable cruise along the Kona coastline at night. (www.blueseacruisesinc.com) – Narrated by the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary staff from the Pu’ukohola National Historical Site Visitor’s Center, a free weekly shoreline whale watch takes place Fridays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. until April. For more information, call 808-327-3697. – The Waimea Ocean Film Festival, a world-class film festival combining 30 wide-ranging films, breakfast talks with film makers and ocean people, receptions, art exhibits and activities will inspire, educate and engage participants in our ocean and island culture as well as celebrate the connections people everywhere share between land and sea. The second annual event takes place at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai from Jan. 10-13. (http://www.waimeaoceanfilm.org) – The Iolani Air Tour Company is ringing in the new year with two new lava specials: 1) Party of Two? Take advantage of the Deluxe Air Tour for Two from Kona. Now, couples aboard can experience the entire Hawaii Island in the privacy and comfort of the company’s new state-of-the-art Skyhawk. It is the only company offering a full circle island air tour exclusively for two people priced at $325 each. 2) $99 Air Tours from Hilo. (http://www.iolaniair.com) – Hilton Waikoloa Village’s 62-acre Pacific playground made dreams come true this holiday season by granting a wish for Alexandra S. from the Make-A-Wish foundation. The Dolphin Blessing Ceremony on Nov. 17, 2011 changed the life for Alexandra as she announced the much-anticipated name of the newest dolphin member of Dolphin Quest. Join Dolphin Quest Hawaii as dolphins leap, splash and amaze during its Tuesday afternoon dolphin shows. Stop by on Jan. 17, 24 or 31 at 4:15 p.m. for a 15-minute dolphin show set to music. (http://www.dolphinquest.com)