Review of a volcano expedition to Kilauea, Hawaiiby Britt & Finn Spurre Pedersen, Nakskov, Denmark
Having read about Kilauea and with TV spots featuring the sea entries fresh in mind we decided to make a journey all the way to Hawaii to see for ourselves some of those spectacular events. Seaching the web for the undertaking of such ventures we got in contact with Dr. Tom Pfeiffer and subsequently made arrangements for a 5-day expedition in February 2005. It was aggreed that a few additional participants would be welcome, and thus we ended up being a group of 6 people, including Tom Pfeiffer himself plus Philip Ong, a geolologist living in Hilo, not far from Kilauea.
Throughout the half-year period of tour preparation Tom Pfeiffer supplied us with lots of information which proved useful, adequate and sufficient. Consequently we were able to bring the right gear including heat-resistant boots, head lamps, protective gloves, walking sticks and other necessary equipment. Furthermore we were duly introduced to possible volcanic hazards and had a proposed yet very detailed itinerary, everything presented in a very competent and professional way. The preparation made locally by the volcanologist team also proved of high standard and fulfilling all needs. In fact the employment of their skills and knowledge gave us a head start that took us way beyond our expectations.
The immense advantage of competent guidance ought to be duly emphasized inasmuch as we at a certain time could compare our activities with those of other visitors who apparently were visiting some of the same places and seeing some of the same amazing sights as we were. They were on their own whereas we were in tow and indeed had paid neat sums to be tugged along. But the fact is that those other visitors only to a very limited extent ended up sharing the widespread and unbeatable experiences that we had. We are, therefore, reassured that our investment in expert guidance has paid extremely well off in terms of the quantity as well as the quality of massive volcano impressions, unparalleled and at times not even dreamed of.
These superlatives stem from the fact that Tom Pfeiffer with vigilant and relentless determination takes his party to wherever the volcano activity is on-going and abundant. Not that safety is compromised - to the contrary you feel in safe hands and are never left in any doubt as to the risks involved. Obviously hazards do exist when you are close to volcanic activity - but life without a risk is like food without salt.
We made long car drives and went on endless hikes, just to reach the sea entries where and when they seemed to be at their best. We approached the active vents to an extent that gave us breathtaking thrills and left no doubt that we had surpassed by far the common reaches of anything ordinary. We were made to see and feel things that could not be adequately described in books or shown properly on the screen. The Tom Pfeiffer & Phil Ong tour is the ultimate volcano live performance - give or take the necessary portion of luck determined by weather conditions and the benevolence of Pele, the volcano goddess.
The price you pay is definitely above the ordinary package tour level. But the benefits are obvious and evident. We will recommend going with Tom Pfeiffer on a volcano escursion or expedition to anyone who has a keen interest in volcanic features and activity anywhere in the world. And - by the way - when it is suggested that you should be in good shape, ready for strenuous hikes, you'd better be prepared for exactly that - plus that little bit more that stirs your adrenaline. If you are not among the faint-hearted, you will surely love it!
Britt and Finn Spurre Pedersen
Axeltorv 13 A Nakskov, Denmark