The Hawaiian Road Trip continued with an early flight to Kona. As with many things in travel, even getting there can be amusing.
Our flight was scheduled to leave at 6:45 AM. About 6:15 they announced a gate change, so we moved down 1 gate only to look out and see the mechanics working on the front wheels of the plane. They changed the front wheels – 4 times!
Finally satisfied we were ok to leave the first passenger boarded – a shackled prisoner with a goofy smile being lead down the jetway by a policeman.
Thankfully the flight itself was short and uneventful, and after about 25 minutes we found ourselves on the Big Island.
About an hour south of the Kona Airport we arrived at Pu’uhonua O Honaunau, a National Historic Park.
This park preserves a site where Hawaiians who broke a law could avoid death sentences by fleeing here as a place of refuge. By serving their penance, they could be absolved by a priest and set free.
The site is considered sacred to native Hawaiians. Out of respect to the native Hawaiians, no activities occur within the park. It is a place for reflection and inner thoughts and peace.
After leaving the park, we continued south along the coast. This area has for centuries been impacted by volcanic activity. Amazingly many of the houses are built on the lava flows.
Our next destination was the South Point of the island. As we made the turn onto South Point Road, we stopped at a farm called Paradise Valley, where we met Raccine.
Paradise Valley is a small working farm where they have an assortment of Hawaiian specialties including Macadamia nuts, coffee trees, and banana trees (among many others), Raccine was more than happy to share with us an assortment of flavored nuts, and their specialty coffees. Later she took us on a tour of the farm.
I was particularly amused with the banana trees.
Finally we left (chowing down on the local chocolate and macadamia nuts), we made our was to the South Point of the Big Island. For those who have been to Key West and seen the ‘Southernmost Point in the United States’ marker, they are way off.
This part of Hawaii is on the same latitude as Guatemala. The point, as with much of the coast here, is from lava flow.
While nearby the sea cliffs make an impressive view.
People jump off he cliffs into the ocean!
Many native Hawaiians feel their land and culture was stolen from them by the U.S. (very similar to the natives across the entire continents). We saw a number of signs stating – This is not the U.S., this is the Kingdom of Hawaii.
It should be noted that almost all of the people we met were very pleasant, receptive and welcoming, they just feel their land and culture has been hijacked.
Nearby is the famed ‘Green Sand Beach’. I had read about this place before we arrived, so we made our way over to the parking lot at the top of a bluff overlooking the ocean.
As we walked across the parking lot there were old 4 wheel drive pickups that said ‘shuttle’. One of them asked us if we wanted a ride – nah I can see the ocean just down the hill.
With a total lack of preparedness we set off – only to figure out much too late it was a 3 mile hike across lava fields and dusty trails to get to the beach. To top it off I forgot water as I thought I was just heading down the hill.
It was a long dusty hike to reach the beach. As we arrived one of the pickup shuttles was parked there. I told the driver I had 2 questions – first, do you do 1 way trips. Absolutely (whew)
Two – do you have any water for sale. Nope, but I can help you out. With that he opened his cooler in the back and handed me a cold beer! My new best friend.
With that cold beer I could finally enjoy the view of the famed green sand beach.
The ride back was insanely bumpy (almost so much I spilled my second beer).
Safely back at the car we continued our journey, with our next stop being the Honu’apo Black Sand Beach. Thankfully it was only about 100 yard walk to the beach, and the sand was indeed black.
It was beautiful, and had an interesting somewhat coarse texture that felt good on the feet.
It is also a turtle habitat.
Our first day on the Big Island complete, we headed to our hotel at Volcano National Park in preparation for tomorrow.