If you’re on your way to Tunnels Beach, then you’ll get gorgeous views from Princeville on the way down to Hanalei Bay.
At Tunnels beach, you CAN count on a relaxing day on the sand with a gorgeous view.
However, unless you are willing to brave strong current and deep water to get to the outer reef, then Tunnels is no longer a good easy snorkeling location. Sunscreen and clumsy tourists walking all over the coral have seen to that. Thankfully the turtles were still hanging around; they made our day!
Watching the sun sink below the waves at Salt Pond Beach after enjoying one of our first lazy days of the trip was a great way to celebrate Lukas’s birthday. The following day, we picked up the pace again and braved the slippery steep trail down to Wilua falls. For those of you looking for a whole day trip, the trail isn’t the only way to get to the falls. If you have more time, you can rent kayas from the mouth of the river down by the beach and enjoy the scenery the whole way up. I can definitely recommend kayaking (did it on a previous trip), but be sure to have ample time and wear plenty of mosquito repellant!
It was magical down there. The spray from the falls glittered in the sunlight, casting rainbows.
Our earlier victory in the WAR we had with the cell phone provider Total Wireless had us feeling daring (it took about four hours on the pay phone at Walmart to set up one SIM card…#@!%*, which is a Blow to the USA’s status as being a developed country), so we braved the river and crossed over into the sunlight before heading back up.
Crossing the chilly river:
After making it back up the hill before it got dark, we got to see a wild boar and her piglet enjoying getting muddy!
Fantastic views on the way back down the mountain:
We found a great farmers market down the road at the community college with tons of fruit, honey, good food, and even fresh cocoa/cacao beans!
Delicious lunch! The pink and white fruit is called Dragon Fruit and is grown on-island. Super tasty!
Check out this thing:
Shipwreck beach is a great beach to play in the waves and relax. Off to the left there’s a path to another beach and a bluff that’s perfect for cliff jumping! We even got to try slack lining! …….Hah! I had no idea what slack lining was either 😛 A really nice local told us all about it and even taught us how to do it! You string the line up between two objects and attempt to make it across. The more advanced you get, the longer the distance and the more acrobatics you try!
Me trying it out:
We’re definitely thinking about getting one of these later when we settle. It’s such a great whole body work out. Thanks for the try Chelsea!
We said our goodbyes to the Big Island and drove to the Kona airport (28 October 2016). Along the way we found a lava tube cave and wondered at the ‘mini’ calderas we whizzed by.
Evening found us in Hilo, renting a car and picking up supplies at Walmart and the local shopping market before following Liz and Glen’s instructions to their beautiful home in Kalaheo. (Thank you again so much for letting us stay in your place of refuge!)
At the Kamokuna Ocean entry on the island of Hawaii, you can get up close and personal with lava as it flows into the ocean from the continuously erupting active volcano, Mauna Loa!
We started the 4.5 mile hike/walk across the hardened lava flow at the perfect time of the day- about 4:30pm. We power-walked along at a good speed and arrived to the lava flow right as the sun was setting! The lava flowing into the ocean was the same color of the colors of the sunset over the ocean! It was breath taking.
Luckily the winds were blowing the sulfuric acid steam away from us so that we could safely stand less than a quarter mile (about 500m) away from the lava flow.
Mesmerized, we sat and watched the lava sizzle and crack into the ocean for more than two hours, oo-ing and aw-ing when small explosions of pressure sent glowing rock spatter hurdling skyward.
Lava spitting as it flows into the ocean (41MB, 19 sec):
We even walked inland along the edge of the fresh lava flow, guided through the sharp rocks and cooled bubbles of lava by flashlights, looking for the opening in the lava flow crust. The closer we got, the more articles of clothing came off. Standing so close we were starting to sweat, we peered across the makeshift fence into the huge gaping hole glowing with the lava flowing below.
Hearing the lava crack forebodingly under us got us to start the hike back, but not before we happened to bend down to touch the ground. It was warm! In some places hot air escaped through small fissures, so hot you couldn’t keep your hand in place since if felt as hot as an oven!
It was quite an experience that we can definitely recommend to everyone visiting the island of Hawaii. Just be sure to brave the long walk at the end of the day and have a flashlight with you!
The south eastern coast of Hawaii is gorgeous, lush, and windblown (open to the trade winds).
The ancient royal Hawaiians used to come specifically here to the mango groves to spend the summer in their splendor. We really enjoyed cruising under their towering branches. Too bad mango season had JUST ended!!
The traces of lava flows past are everywhere. The landscape along the side of the road switches abruptly back and forth between forest and sharp jumbled grassy lava rock fields. At Lava Tree State Monument you can see huge empty straight tubes of lava where large trees once stood tall, but burned up as the lava flow passed by.
There were beautiful little surprises around every corner!
Our air bnb for the next two nights was to be the Lava Rock Hale, smack dab in the middle of the jungle, with a private water reservoir, battery powered electricity, and generator heated water (to heat up the gorgeous outside shower)!
Why you might ask? We wanted to be close the lava flows of course! The best way to do that is to stay in Pahoa on the south east shore, where there is no public running water and no electricity. Entrance and exit to and from Pahoa is restricted to one road! All other roads have been cut off by the steady flows of lava prohibiting the state from redoing the compromised infrastructure.
It was so peaceful at the Lava Rock Hale and our hosts were very nice and accommodating! They had built the round little lava rock house themselves and filled it with Aloha! Finding the place was challenging, but well worth the dirt road leading through the jungle many times over! We saw wild pigs, ate delicious fallen avocados, and learned how to open a coconut with a machete.
Lukas and I waved goodbye to the family as they pulled away in the minivan (26 Oct 2017). They were off the airport, but we fortunately had two more weeks in the Hawaiian Islands! We drove away with the top down, and our tanks clunking gently from the trunk.
We snuck in a dive before turning in the tanks and heading to the east coast of the island, where we would be staying for the next two nights. We beach dived (my first) from the dog beach to the left of the harbor opening at the old airport. A local counseled us to be alert since he had seen a few tiger sharks here (probably enjoying the fishermen’s left overs thrown overboard before entering the harbor). That kind of spooked us, but we were able to see an eagle ray (missing his tail) and a cute puffer fish! Thankfully there were no signs of the tiger sharks that day!
Lukas and I were hankering for diving, so we picked up dive tanks from Honu Divers (on Oct 25th 2016) in Kona. They had a great deal for tanks: $10 a day with free refills. We even bought a float with a dive flag since we were planning on doing a ‘swim out from the shore before descending’ dive later on.
Where’d we dive? You guessed it! -our new favorite spot, Two Step- (secretly hoping to have the privilege of diving with dolphins).
The dolphins were nowhere to be seen, but we had a fun exploring the wall along the edge of the reef (tons of different eels and coral species), occasionally blowing special bubbles up to Dom and Gary snorkeling above us.