BLACK CORAL ON MOLOKINI

Ben Oostdam Story # 2, May, 1966

That morning in May, 1963, we left the house early so the surf would not be too strong the launch the boat. We drove the jeep and trailer along the rough lava road at the edge of the flow to the small bay where we had discovered a good launching spot. With the weight of three men and all the diving gear, the boat had little freeboard left, but within an hour it took us safely to the island of Molokini.

This island consists of a desolate cinder cone rising from the submerged flank of the mighty volcano Haleakala, on Maui, one of the Hawaiian islands.

This volcano, which is over 10,000 feet high - and more than double that if you measure its elevation above the sea floor - has not been active since 1793, when flank eruptions formed the lava flow across which we had just been driving.
We could see that flow now across the water, a dark and clearly outlined ragged mass of basalt, which still looked as fresh as if it had erupted a week ago. As usual, the top of Haleakala, on which the Hawaiian gods are living, was covered by clouds.

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