Spelunking is very simply the sport of exploring wild (non-commercial) caves. Hawaii Island has one of the most extensive cave systems in the world right under our feet! Yesterday A group of friends and I explored the Kazumura Cave system with guide Harry Shick Junior and his father Harry Shick Senior.
Noel descending down the first of many ladders
Francine and Pam coming into the cave opening
The Kazumura Cave It is in fact a Lava Tube, and it is the world's longest known Lava Tube. It was formed between four and six centuries ago as a result of a vent from the East side of the Kilauea Volcano erupting. As the lava flows advanced, they cool from the outside in. This produces a hard crust around the flow and that protects the lava from cooling too quickly. The protective crust thickens and over time a lava tube is formed.
This is an example of a Lava Fall
An other of the many ladders
Noel going down a ladder
The Kazumura Cave is the longest cave in the state of Hawaii. 40.7 miles of it has been surveyed. It is also the longest known continuous lava tube in the world, the 27th longest cave in the world, 7th longest cave in the US and the deepest cave in the US descending 3613 feet.
Here is a video (not by me) that shows the tour of the Kazumura Cave I visited yesterday.
If you are interested in viewing the Kazumura Cave you can contact Harry Shick at 808. 967.7208. Tours start at $10 pp for the two hour exploration tour and are conducted on a reservation only basis Monday-Saturday. You can learn more about the tours and the cave here.