My in-laws came to visit in Hawaii and we went to the Big Island for a long weekend trip. Two things that were on our bucket list to complete on our visit were to see flowing lava and to swim with manta rays (one of the, if not THE, only place on earth you can do these two things). First up was lava! Because of where the lava was flowing at the time, we had to hike 3.5 miles through a rainforest and then another mile across a lava field to reach our destination (and yes, then turn around and do the same to get back). It was very difficult and VERY muddy but what an incredible experience!
Look at that!! It was gorgeous and magnificent. Our guide said it had only been flowing in this spot for a couple hours, which meant that ground we were standing on, no one ever had before- which was mind boggling in itself. The lava gets up to 2000 degrees and at the top layer (the shiny silver) is a volcanic glass, so as we walked and the lava moved, you could hear the crunch of the glass breaking. We even got to roast marshmallows over the lava- quite possibly the best marshmallow I've ever had!
Life with this man is NEVER boring; that is one of the many million reasons I love him :-)
Up next on our list was a night time snorkeling with manta rays. The Big Island really is the only place in the world where you can do this and if you ever get the chance: GO!!!! It's incredible. The various companies put a "campfire" on the bottom of the ocean (about 25-30 feet) and then all the snorkelers hang onto rafts that have spotlights on them which attract the plankton which then attract the manta rays. (In the above picture, the yellow glowing lights are snorkelers).
Once we got in the water, THIS IS WHAT WE SAW!! There were probably 20-30 of them, the largest was 14 feet across and they came within INCHES of us! It was breathtaking, scary, and exhilarating at the same time.
Shaka!! Proof we were this close.