Videographer Mick Kalber shares his prespective on the creating of
VolcanoScapes 3 and VolcanoScapes Four.

“VolcanoScapes II… Kilauea Volcano Rages On!” &
“VolcanoScapes 3…Living on the Edge!”

      “The loss of the Queen’s Bath in Kapa`ahu hits me hard.  My kids and I love going to the popular swimming hole in the mid-80’s.  Its crystal clear waters nestled in the large lava rock crack provide a great place to swim, sunbath or just relax.  Guava and passion fruit are readily available.  It’s the perfect spot.  So it is with great sadness that I witness its demise in the spring of 1987.  And it was just prior to that inundation that I had my fist encounter with a methane gas explosion.  Park Ranger Mardie Lane took a still photographer and me to a small heiau, a rock platform used historically as a Hawaiian temple.   The lava is surrounding it on its way to the Queen’s Bath.  As we stand on the rock I hear

a loud crack and a rush of gas up my pants leg.  I know instantly that it’s methane gas, created by organic matter that decomposes without oxygen.  It is often ignited by the heat, but this time, thank God, it remains in its vaporous form as it travels up my leg.   As you might well imagine, we take off like rabbits.
      A similar, but potentially even more deadly experience occurs while we are waiting for the first house in Kalapana to be taken by Pele’s fire in early 1990.  The lava has surrounded the house, but slowed in its approach.  Several photographers lie down on the grass to sleep a bit during the night.  They awaken and move as activity picks up… just moments before a huge methane explosion blows a five-foot square hole in the very place they’ve been sleeping.  Understandably, this event makes for many restless nights thereafter."

“VolcanoScapes 3…Living on the Edge!”

      “The beautiful coastal village of Kalapana… drainpipe, Walter’s store, Kaimu Black Sand Beach, the Star of the Sea Painted Church, Harry K Brown Park and the Waiakolea Ponds.  It is with great sadness that I speak of my fond memories there… the destruction of this area in 1990 is absolutely heart-breaking.  Agonizingly slow, and incredibly thorough… it is so difficult to watch the devastation of many old friend’s dream homes.  The Dresslers, the Gapps, Julie Beardsley and many, many others. 

      The agony felt by the residents by the inevitability of their homes’ demise is unimaginable.  Some liken their homes to cancer victims… as Mike Bartlett told me… “You know they have to die… you just hate to see them go.”  And Kalapana residents never know exactly when it will happen… the flows take fully two months to make their way through the community.  A few are spared… most are not.  But the “not-knowing” is maddening.  Many don’t have insurance… and those who do can’t collect until their homes actually burn down.  If the lava stops at the doorstep, there is no claim… their home is always smoke damaged and the property worthless… ending up between a rock and a hot place.” 

“VolcanoScapes Four… Kilauea’s Flow to Kamoamoa”

      “Over the years, the Fire Goddess Pele’s battles with her sister Na Maka O Kaha`I, the Goddess of the Sea, have created numerous black sand beaches  along the Puna coastline.  But it will be a long time before they will be surrounded with palms and coastal plants.  One exception… at least for a time, was Kamoamoa.
      It would appear that the ancient fishing village of Kamoamoa was built around a beautiful black sand beach.  It was not.  Until shortly before 1990, the coast was lined with rugged cliffs thirty to fifty feet above the sea.  But in the late 1980’s, the continual explosive activity of Kilauea’s ocean entry at nearby Kupapau point created lava fragments or “black sand.”  The sand was carried by ocean currents and deposited on the rocks in front of Kamoamoa

Village to form this half mile-long beach.  Abandoned years ago by the Hawaiians, Kamoamoa had become an idyllic setting for picnics and gatherings.  I watched the formation of the beach at Kamoamoa, walked on the coarse black lava sand, and swam in the rough water there.  But its beauty was lost when Pele came to reclaim her creation in late 1992.  I saw what few people ever get to see… the creation and destruction of a beautiful Hawaiian beach… all in less than three years.
Unstoppable in its march to the sea, the lava leaves us few reminders of what once was. The park has bid a fond aloha to its Waha`ula Visitor Center, as well as tens of thousands of archeological features, including prehistoric temple ruins, house sites, and petroglyphs. Kamoamoa Campground and stretches of Chain of Craters Road lie entombed beneath 80 feet of basalt.  Every minute of every day, another 55,000 gallons of molten rock gush from earth cracks on the volcano's flank.”
VolcanoScapes 3 and Four

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