As soon as I heard the lava flow on the Big Island was flowing back into the ocean I wanted to see it. I saw this phenomenon ten years ago but ever since moving back out to Hawaii the lava has been pooling up underground and not flowing into the ocean. This all changed a few days ago when the lava busted out of several tunnels and started flowing over the edge of a forty foot cliff down to the black sand beach and crashing waves below.
The flow kept changing and forming new land. The real show was a couple hundred yards down slope where the lava had reached a precipice where it was flowing off the edge down into the surf below.
I couldn't believe we were getting such a good show! Little explosions, new fissures, and a constant flow of lava marching over the edge of the 40ft cliff. There was a little black sand beach at the base and whenever the waves came in they would sizzle up in poisonous smoke. I could have sat there all night. Every time I put away my camera some new fissure would open up and the flow would change again.
This lava is coming from a crack in the Earth's crust that the North Pacific plate has been slowly sliding over for millions of years. Geologists have traced the track of the plate by following all the islands this hot spot (which doesn't move) has created. The visible islands number 132 while the oldest islands have sunk back beneath the ocean becoming sea mounts. Scientist are debating when the next Hawaiian island will emerge with its own fiery lava birth.
**Update: 7/29/16- Lava just reentered the ocean. See it while you can. It can be a long wait in between these events!
**Update: 11/3/16- Visited Lava Ocean Entry. It is now easier than ever to see. There is a road and you can bicycle in.
Prints of the lava for sale here: DaiMarsPhotos