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Lava Tour History

Long before ocean lava tours were the popular way to view lava, the Turpin family viewed the lava ocean entry as a fountain of youth.

The History leading to Lava Ocean Tours Lava Boat Adventures -
The Kilauea Volcano Eruption Archives 1983-2011

Back in the 80′s “Lavaman” Bud brought the Turpins to live here on the Big Island to a place called Eden Rock. Well Eden Rock is located just below the Kilauea volcano on Hwy 11. While fishing the Kalapana coastline one day Bud stopped in to take a closer look at the active lava ocean entry. From then on it was a regular stop on the weekend fishing trips. A couple years after moving to the Big Island Uncle Sky bought a Zodiac to fish and dive from, but after many rough days in the Zodiac Bud partnered up with a friend to upgrade to a 17 ft Ali Kai boat the “Ku’uipo”. During this time many commercial fishermen fished out of Po’hoiki Bay, HI common were large Ahi which paid a fair price at the Suisan fish auction in Hilo. During these years Bud and I fished to the flow, from time to time the lava would be touching the sea. After many years of viewing this special we knew that people would love to experience lava as we had for so many years. In 1997 a family friend bought a 22ft Waipoli Cat boat named the “Meow.” After a couple years he no longer was using the boat Bud decided to purchase the “Meow.” Wow what a difference the cat style boat made out here on the exposed eastside waters. I Decided to move to Maui to begin working aboard a the Maka Kai a 100 Ton Snorkel & Dive boat operating Molokini tours. After obtaining a 100 Ton captains license I decided to start a Lava/Fishing Charter in East Hawaii. During this time lava flowed red to the sea sometimes up to a couple years straight. After 10 years of faithful service we repowered, outfitted and renamed the “Meow” to the boat commonly known today as the “LavaKat.” Shortly after in December 2006 Dan & opened up the “Rivers of Fire Tour” this early bird tour quickly became the hottest tour on planet earth. Not even the long drive over from Kona leaving at 2:30am stopped our lava hunters. Still today the “LavaKat” is a proven worthy charter vessel and people still wake early to view this once in a lifetime experience. In June 2007 the opportunity to begin offering a vessel which combines safety, speed, stability & comfort came true. The Aluminum 34ft “LAVAKAI” is rated for 24 passengers by the United States Coast Guard. The seats are covered & face forward like a roller coaster. A once in a lifetime ride you’ll not soon forget. The rest for now is history in the making, we look forward to taking your and your family on a fun filled ocean tour. Isn’t time for you to get out and discover the Natural Wonders of East Hawaii.

A Hui Hou,

Captain Shane Turpin

Lava Ocean Adventures, LLC
14-3782 Pohoiki Rd. PahoaHI96778 USA 
 • 808-966-4200

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