Highlights from Big Island!
Kate and I waved off the local who pulled up next to us, innocently reminding us that it was a long hike/walk to get to Green Sand beach. “Ya we know,” – we brought our hiking shoes! We had read enough blogs and books that described the walk as “long”, “arduous”, “difficult” , “extensive” etc that we came prepared. It ended up being an easy and short 1 hr walk to get to one of the most magnificent beaches I have ever been to! Located at the southern tip of the Big Island, the small green semi-precious volcanic stones called Olivine are eroded from the ocean and crushed into fine sand.
Getting back to the car, we headed back the way we came and took a detour to South Point, the southern most part of the nation. My manager, who grew up on Big Island, had it engrained in me that cliff jumping here was a must, saying that hitting the water felt more like landing on a pillow.
40 ft up feels really high when you’re looking down! I made the jump, twice, and neither time felt like landing on a pillow. But it was an amazing rush none the less. Kate and I took turns of taking each others photos/videos on the jump, just to document that we had actually done it.
And then it was off to Punaluu Black Sand Beach!
Thanks to the constant volcanic activity, sand comes in every color on Big Island
This beach is also a turtle sanctuary and we were lucky enough to find this little guy chillaxin.
The next morning it was early rising and driving time to Volcano. We spent the entire day in the National Park walking through lava fields, a 500 year old lava tube, taking photos of ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs, and walking on the newest land on Earth.
Yep, Volcano was AWESOME… a reminder that THIS is what created my the Hawaiian Islands, and that this one is still creating more land and adding to the Big Island. Volcano National Parks website says, “[the park] displays the results of at least 70 million years of volcanism, migration, and evolution in the Hawaiian Island-Emperor Seamount chain-processes that would thrust a bare land from the sea and clothed it with complex and unique ecosystems and a distinct human culture.” 70 MILLION YEARS. During our hike, Kate and I were surprised at the changing ecosystems, temperature, and plants that we came into contact with. Further research on the park told me that even ecological life zones including seacoast, lowland, mid-elevation woodland, rain forest, upland forest and woodland, sub-alpine and alpine/aeolian are included within park boundaries. In short, there is a LOT going on in this National Park.
We spent the night in Hilo, not wanting to make the 3 hour drive back to Kona,and spent the next day exploring Puna.
The drive alone told us this place had a special energy. We spent our day as mermaids floating in the hot springs at Ahalanui Park, and snorkeling with the fishes at Kopoho. With the salt still fresh on our skin, we made a pit stop in Hilo before taking the beautiful coastal drive along the Hamakua Coast, stopping in Honoka’a for the BEST malasadas I’ve ever tasted, and finally getting back home to Kona.
The next few days we took it easy, ending the vacation on a relaxing note. Walks to coffee in the morning, reading on the lanai overlooking the ocean, and a beautiful afternoon in the Paleaku Peace Gardens. The gardens are 7 acres overlooking Kealakekua Bay, with a mission “to offer a sanctuary for the advancement of individuals toward peace and harmony.”
the hibiscus were on steroids!
Our last bit of fun was happy hour at Huggos on the Rocks. $3 Big Wave beers & fish Tacos, fresh ahi poke, my best friend at my side, the ocean in front of us, and LT Smooth serenading us with Hawaiian jams… it was a perfect way to end my Big Island adventure.