main content starts here

Follow the CVA Hawaii Geology Trip 2015

Follow the CVA Geology Club’s 2015 trip to Hawaii. As a requirement of the trip, students will post each day to share why they travel, what they do and what they learn. (Read it from the bottom up – we’re adding new posts to the top of the page each day.)

Days 11 and 12: Sunday, April 5 through Monday, April 6

“A Hui Hou, Hawaii” (“See You Later, Hawaii”)

On Sunday we first went to the Kona Coffee Plantation, where we learned about the 75 acres of Kona coffee. Anne, a worker on the plantation told us how they harvest the cherry then explained the process of preparing the bean to make the coffee. Then we stopped at a couple of shops in Kona, including Donkey Balls Chocolate Factory, and the Kona Boys’ shop. We enjoyed our last dinner in the shade by the beach, nothing like some pizza and ocean waves. Then on our way to the airport we stopped at a lava tube created from Hualailai, one of the lava flows that reached the ocean, it was also the same lava flow that the airport was built on. We stopped for one last hike, we climbed inside and took our last few pictures of the flow. We arrived at the airport around 6:30 and our flight to LA left at 9 p.m. We arrived in LA around 9 a.m. (Eastern time), were we slept during our three hour layover. We left for Detroit around 9 a.m. (LA time) and arrived around 4:30 p.m. (Eastern time). We left for Syracuse around 8 p.m. for a short hour flight, arriving in Syracuse around 9 p.m.

Abigail Sweeney

Day 10: Saturday, April 4

“A Day at the Beach” with the Kona Boys

Today, we first ate our second to last breakfast at the Manago Hotel and then met up with the Kona Boys at the Kealakekua Bay where we did many different activities in the ocean. Our group separated into three different groups and we all took turns paddle boarding, snorkeling, and kayaking with the Kona Boys helping us out. The group really loved doing all these activities, but everyone believed that the paddle boarding was the most fun out of them all. The Kona Boys also gave us a great lunch after we finished being out in the water. Some of us learned learned a trick while paddle boarding which is known as the Tokyo Drift. This consists of walking backwards to the tip of your board so that the fins stick out of the water and then rapidly paddling on one side to make a drifting like motion. When we went snorkeling, we thought it was very interesting how some of the ocean was cooler because of the freshwater pockets that were flowing in from freshwater streams. After, we spent our morning at the Kealakekua Bay, we went shopping at the different stores around Kailua Kona for awhile and then we headed to dinner at the Kona Brewing Company where we had many delicious entrees and deserts. We drove home in a huge rain storm and settled down for a well earned rest.

Will, Zach, Jacob, Mark

The group also witnessed spinner dolphins at rest in the bay. When they rest, they actually jump, spin and look like they are putting on a show. The group that was snorkeling at that time had a dolphin with a new baby swim right under them!

Kirsten Benson

Day 9: Friday, April 3

Choices, Choices, Choices

This auspicious day started as any other Hawaiian day does, waking up to the piercing sound of roosters that dwell among the picturesque garden of the Manago. But in all honesty, it was a rough wake up this morning, to the extent that our Quinn and Jeremy literally forced Adam out of bed in order to make our 7 a.m. breakfast. After the pleasantry of a Manago breakfast, we enjoyed the opportunity to visit a small business that grew, harvested, and sold exotic fruits that flourish in Hawaii. They even made homemade juice! It was a sort of botanical lesson mixed with the opportunity to enjoy new foods.

After many of us purchasing our fill of fruit, we continued our day by searching for petroglyphs, rough pictures carved into solid earth that depict a story, which dated back to the 17th century if not earlier. The petroglyphs were found on the property of a former resort that will be turned into a site of cultural preservation in the future. The petroglyphs depicted the rather gory death of a chief from Maui. It was incredibly interesting and very intriguing.

After attempting to interpret the petroglyphs, we took the minivans on a rougher road in order to get to Kehaka Kai state beach were we thoroughly enjoyed the most relaxing day of our trip thus far. Tanning and swimming were the two main activities of the beach. It was fun and a great experience, enhanced by the companionship of our geology club ohana (family). After the beach we shopped for souvenirs at the international market. Many of us fell in love of lehua honey and pineapple butter while shopping, as well as the purchase of multiple ukuleles.

To end the night, we enjoyed a delicious dinner at Bubba Gumps. As we blog and get ready to sleep, we are planning for an exciting night, with hopes of waking up at 1:45 am to view the climax of a lunar eclipse that will be seen here in Hawaii. It was a great day and we are sad to see the trip coming to an end, but are very enthusiastic towards our adventures with the Kona boys tomorrow.

From the room 206 at the Manago, the bro a lumis (Nick, Quinn, Jeremy, and Adam) end our blog.  Photo credit: Quinn

  • Photo of CVA Hawaii Trip 2015

Day 8: Thursday, April 2

Today we went Kahalu’u Beach to go snorkeling we were given a presentation before snorkeling on the basics and about not hurting any of the sea life by making sure not to step on the coral and try not to get close to the Sea turtles, and after you put Sun Screen on you should remain out of the water for 20 minutes to let it set on your skin so the chemicals don’t harm the Marine life. During that duration of time our group was snorkeling some of the boys had saw a Sea Turtle, and my sister Paige ended up seeing the State Fish Humuhumunkunukuapua’a also known as Triggerfish which are native to Hawaii’s Coral Reefs, We had learned earlier that coral grows one centimeter per year so you can understand how important conservation of coral reefs are. We went shopping then after that we went to King Kamehameha Hotel for the Island Breeze Luau which was enchanting to say the least we were taught how to correctly open a coconut,do a Hula Dance and how to make a origami fish. We then saw Polynesian dancers from different Countries, Though what I believe to be the most interesting was the fire dancer the way he could do all the tricks without burning anything down deserves some credit. The most fun thing we did today as eating the food at the Luau with all the different things from the Poi (made out Taro) Lomi Salmon goes best with Poi they also had Pua’a also known as pig cooked in the underground oven, in Hawaiian a underground oven is called a Imu. Without a doubt today had been a very fun day.

Erin,Paige,Brandy

Day 7: Wednesday, April 1

Pu’ukohola Heiau, Hapuna Beach, Mauna Kea Visitor’s Information Station

Today was a day our group gave back to Hawaii. We went to Pu’ukohola Heiau where we learned about the area then ventured to the beach to clean up trash that had washed up. After, the rangers surprised us with a bracelet making lesson. We each got the chance to make and keep our own bracelets. Following that was the most exciting part of our day. We went to Hapuna Beach where we had the chance to swim in big waves. After that we experienced one of the most interesting things. We drove 9,000 feet high on Mauna Kea. There we learned about the stars and looked through many amazing telescopes. A man even had a laser to point at the stars. The temperature on the mountain reminded us a lot of home. It was 30 degrees! In conclusion it was a long, exciting day.

Alex, Abbie, Katie, Brooke

Day 6: Tuesday, March 31

USGS, Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory, and Pu’uhonua o Honaunau

photo of volcanic cauldron

The Kilauea caldera (from the Spanish meaning cooking pot) resulted when the volcano’s cone collapsed following an eruption. Photo credit: Quinn

This morning was officially our last morning at the Kilauea Military Camp, though we were very sad to leave, we had the Manago to look forward to! After breakfast we went to the Jaggar Museum where we saw the Kilauea caldera. This was very unique, because the glowing smoke plume rising from the ground showed how powerful mother Earth can be. When we finished at the museum we had lunch at our favorite bakery, where we had ice cream and Hawaiian doughnuts YUM! After lunch we visited Pu’uhonua o Honaunau which we learned was kind of a safe haven for the Hawaiians. A long time ago if you broke kapu which was the Hawaiian law, the punishment was death—no matter how big or small the crime was. There was only one way to redeem yourself and that was making it to Pu’uhonua o Honaunau. If you made it alive, you would have been spared death. No matter what the crime. After all of the activities for the day, we finally made it to the Manago! where the Obama (family) had dinner.

We also met with Jannet Babb, who is a volcanologist that works at HVO (Hawaiian Volcano Observatory). She monitors and researches the activity of volcanoes and earthquakes in Hawaii. This helps inform the public and safety officials if there is a volcano that is about to erupt that could destroy property. She explained the jobs that her coworkers do and why they are important to improve life in Hawaii.

Jacob Fraccola

Day 5: Monday, March 30

Recent Lava Flow in Pahoa, then Hilo

screen shot of Evan Rock's post of the Geology Club students

Hawaii resident Evan Rock was impressed with CVA Geology Club students and shared his thoughts how great the community is to support the trip to Hawaii on social media.

Today was a very interesting day with many different and unique experiences, including a factory, an easy going chat/speech by a man embracing a self-sustaining life style, and multiple waterfalls. The day begun with the typical breakfast at KMC (Kilauea), followed by a trip to see the signature sulfur vents of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The vents were characterized by a pungent smell and a refreshing steam. Afterwards, we were able to visit the factory which is the very source of Muana Loa macadamia nuts, in our opinion the best in the world. At the factory we were enveloped in the sweet smells of the factory and able to sample a wide array of flavors, many of which were instantaneously purchased by our group. Next the days journey led us to the Pahoa district and a solidified site of the June 2014 lava flow, dating only to early December 2014. We were able to witness rock only months old and examine the pahoehoe lava flow were it interacted with a typical metal fence. Another part of the pahoa flow that was particularly interesting was the cinder piled around power lines to prevent destruction by lava flow, representing the virtue of adaptability that Hawaiians possess.

Thanks to Mr. Gloo the next part of our day was immensely interesting, providing an enlightening and educational experience. We had the privilege of speaking to the 30 year old Evan Rock on his parcel of cultivated land. Evan is an incredibly smart former businessman/economist who decided to live of the land and found his “calling” near Hilo on the big island of Hawaii. Some of the messages that Evan shared with us include to live in the present and not be ashamed of who you are, to find inner peace, the science behind the transition of naturally occurring fruits that he cultivated to nutrition, and how to pursue your interests. It was truly educational and he complemented our group for holding eye contact and interest, a complement which was mutual.

After speaking to Evan we went to Akaka Falls and were able to see a 442 ft waterfall in the middle of a rain forest, a landscape that was comprised of a pure green and remarkable valleys. The vegetation was even able to awe, exemplified by a gigantic tree that resembled viny and mammoth tree of life. At our next stop, Rainbow falls, we were able to see another amazing waterfall with a lava tube underneath it. Up the river (the Waiuku river to be specific) we shortly caught a glimpse of boiling pots and Pe’e pe’e falls in the distance, however not able to see a good view of the boiling pots due to the trail head being closed. To end the night had dinner at a mall in Hilo. We had a great day and now are decently tired but very enthusiastic about geology, life, and this trip. It is hard to believe it is only day five.

Malama pono.

Nick, Quinn, Jeremy, Adam

Some pictures from today’s adventures, courtesy of Quinn

  • Photo of Hawaii Geology Trip 2015

Day 4: Sunday, March 29

After breakfast we went to the Black Sand Beach and saw the beautiful sea turtles that were laying on the beach. Later we went on a hike on the 1868 Lava Trail and there we heard about the history of Pele and her sister Hekeaka. Afterwards we tasted the honey from lehua and its was delicious, once we were done we saw the cinder cones and if you look up from the bottom of the cinder cones you can see that it was moving and that looked amazing. We hop in the vans to go to green sand beach to eat and went hiking on Green Sand Beach and many of us got some sun tan and got a bit orange from the trail. After the long hike we went to the bottom and swam at the beach. There were so many waves that dragged some of us which was fun. Later after the long waves we went to the bakery which we had only 10 minutes sadly to get some ice cream and buy some bread. Eventually we got some bread and personally the guava bread was the best and ice cream and then we enjoyed the garden. The last thing we did was enjoying the ride to our way back home to do some laundry and hear the rest of the presentation which was amazing. What we learned and personally was interesting was the mutation from the flower lehua that originally are red but we saw a yellow lehua which, again the honey was good. The most fun was going to the beach with the group and enjoying the big waves and seeing the sea turtles at the ocean. Mahalo, Brandy

Day 3: Saturday, March 28

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Today was very eventful. After breakfast we took a trip to the lava tub then walked Devastation Trail. Following our mini walk we went to the visitor’s center where a park ranger explained to us the significance and formation of the Hawaiian islands. There, we also got the chance to watch a traditional hula performance. Following the dance we drove down the mountain where we stopped for lunch at the ocean side. We returned to our mountain top once again where we did a lab on the formation of lava trees. It was amazing being able to see one in person after all the classroom discussions. Lastly we concluded our day with a breathtaking 4-5 mile hike around and through kilauea iki. This hike was unforgettable as we were able to see peles hair and other geological features. Because we were out past sunset we were also able to use our headlamps and experience a night hike. Overall it was a day to remember.

Alex, Abbie, Brooke, Katie

Photos courtesy of Brooke

  • Photo of Hawaii

Day 2: Friday, March 27

William Paddock said, “Day 2.”

Today we went with our tour guide cousin Kimo to Pearl Harbor and then we went on a tour of the city of Honolulu. When we came to Pearl Harbor, we went on a tour of the submarine called USS Buffin. Our group found it interesting how the soldiers in the submarine had to hot bunk in order to save on space with less beds because they were always warm since the beds were switched on shifts. We then took a boat ride to the Arizona memorial and honored the soldiers who lost their lives in the attack on Pearl Harbor. We then continued on to Honolulu and stopped on the Waikiki Beach where Jeremy and Nick dove into the Pacific Ocean. For our 3rd flight in 2 days, we headed to the Big Island. We saw some of the other Hawaiian Islands on the way including Molokai and some other geological features such as Monoloa and Mauna Kea. Jacob and Mark observed a cinder cone shortly before our landing. When we landed on the windward side of the Big Island, we stopped at the grocery st ore, got supplies, and headed to the Kilauea Military Camp. We had the most fun when we stopped at the Waikiki Beach and enjoyed some fun in the sun and ocean. Today, the main things we learned were the history of World War II and the history of Honolulu on the tour of the city.

Will, Mark, Jacob, and Zach

A few pictures from today from Pearl Harbor to Waikiki Beach.
Photo cred- Quinn. 🙂

  • photo of students by a giant anchor

Day 1: Thursday, March 26- Travel Day

Quinn Worden said, “Day 1, we are finally here. After what seems like a lifetime going through airports and flying on planes, we made it. The first flight to Atlanta was not bad at all for any of us. We did however, have a nicer plane for the 10 hour ride with free videos, games, etc. Nick even got Kumu addicted to “How To Get Away With Murder” a tv show. Quinn is extremely exhausted because he has slept a mere 3 hours in the past 48 and had a baby kicking his seat on the long flight, so that’s just wonderful. Upon arrival, we were greeted with fresh air and 80 degree weather with sunshine and exotic foliage. We gathered out luggage and took the shuttle to the airport hotel.

After putting our bags in our room, we took a short walk to get a bite to eat. We experienced very good food, and how great of personalities the people here have. It seems all they want to do is chat and be friends with you. For some reason, we then had our swim test right after we ate. While the swim test was underway, we had to tread water for a duration of 5 minutes. Following the swim test was a brief group tan. Afterwards, we went to the hotel rooms and listened to a very unique presentation about Pearl Harbor by Will and Jake, and then here we are taped into our rooms blogging. Chances are we will be to bed early tonight as we had a seemingly infinite day of traveling.

Quinn, Jeremy, Nick, and Adam, signing off. Aloha everyone.”

Quinn Worden said, “Here are a few pictures so far, the balcony of the hotel tonight, the view out our plane when we were over the midwest USA, our layover in Atlanta when we all got a bite to eat, and you can see how tired we are as pretty much everyone fell asleep at one point. Photo credit – Quinn. ”

  • photo of students sleeping on plane

Day 0: Night Before the Trip- Wed., March 25

Hey it’s Paige right now in the hotel room with my sis Erin just waiting to get on the plane and start the trip to Hawaii. YEAH. The waiting is the worst part of the whole thing and also having to get up really, really early but i think it’s worth it.

Brandy, Erin, Paige

A message from Ms. Benson

The Hawaii Course is designed as an opportunity for our students to observe the world around them, not just to read about it in a textbook, or watch it in a video.  This course centers on a working trip to one of the most unique geologic sites in the world.  Kilauea Volcano has been continuously erupting since 1983, with a gentle flow that often may be safely observed.  Kilauea is one of the 5 volcanoes that make up the Big Island of Hawaii.  These volcanic structures are formed by a hotspot located near the center of the Pacific Plate.  These volcanic processes created an environment encompassing all but one of the worlds varied climate types, and is home to many species that are found nowhere else on earth.  The Hawaii Course is designed with this in mind, and will guide students toward understanding how geology, the environment, and ecology mold cultures and civilizations, and the importance of nurturing this relationship.  The Hawaiian people have understood this since before they inhabited the islands, and are a wonderful group to work with to understand the importace of sustainability.

The 15 students and 4 chaperones have been preparing for this trip academically and by fundraising to help with individual cost of the trip all year.  Our school and community have been very supportive of this endevour.  We invite you to check back to read about our adventure through this blog, and if you’re interested please attend our presentation.  We will present details of our trip, and topics our students wanted to know more about on Thursday, April 27th at 6:30pm in Central Valley Academy’s LGI.

A hui hou,

Ms. Benson