Most people are familiar with the expression, “If you play with fire, you might get burned.” Well, the same goes for scalding lava, and we really hope the guy in the video above gets the memo.
Last August, Hawaii-based photographer Kawika Singson was filming the lava flowing from Kilauea volcano into the ocean off the coast of the Big Island when a different type of spectacle crossed his lens.
Singson, a nature photographer who’s famous for getting extremely close to lava himself, filmed a Hawaii man swimming in the surf near the lava’s entry point. As seen in the video above, the swimmer appeared to be taking photos of the steaming lava as it poured into the sea.
Singson uploaded footage of the daring man to his YouTube channel last week, and, unsurprisingly, Singson’s fans were shocked.
“It’s extremely dangerous, [but] we’ve been living on this volcanic island since we were kids,” Singson told The Huffington Post, referring to himself and the swimmer in the video, which he asked not be named to protect his identity. “If you look through my pictures and videos, you’ll see that I’m no stranger to lava and its inherent dangers.”
“But, no,” Singson added. “I absolutely do not recommend anyone do this!”
It is here that we’ll remind you of the obvious: Do NOT try this at home, in Hawaii or anywhere ever.
Lava, as you may already know, is hot. We’re talking about a fluid substance that can reach an estimated 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Factor in Hawaii’s rough and unpredictable surf, which could have thrown the swimmer into the molten lava at any time, and you have yourself one of the most dangerous situations nature can conjure.
Even worse, the mixture of lava and seawater creates a dangerous scorching steam and volcanic glass.
“It’s super-heated steam laced with hydrochloric acid from the interaction with the seawater and has shards of volcanic glass,” U.S. Geological Survey scientist Janet Babb told The San Francisco Chronicle. “It’s something to be avoided.”
And if you’re still underestimating the risks that swimmer took, consider this: Just a month ago near that area, 26 acres of a seaside lava delta, including an area reserved for lava viewing, collapsed into the ocean without warning.
Those same flows of lava began pouring into the ocean off the southeastern coast of the Big Island in July, marking the first lava ocean entry the island has seen since 2013.
So, yeah. Don’t swim near the lava flow.