We arrived on “the Big Island” mid-day on an easy inter-island flight through Honolulu.  After stopping for groceries and getting settled in we still had some daylight to spare, so we relaxed by snorkeling at Kahaluu Beach, less then 10 minutes away.  One reviewer said this is like snorkeling in an aquarium and we completely agree with them.

Over the course of the week we drove the entire perimeter of the island and across the middle, putting on a butt-tiring 200 miles one of the days.  With a lot of world yet to see we may not be back, so we figured that we should explore as much as we could while we’re here.  Carpe Diem!

It is very interesting to see the variety of contrasts on this island from barren fields of lava rock, to deciduous forests, rainforests, rolling farmland, developed and undeveloped beach.  Many times we saw cows or horses grazing on huge parcels of oceanfront property!

Since we have visited the Southernmost Point in the U.S. (continental, that is) we had to visit Ka Lae, the southernmost point of the Big Island of Hawaii and of the 50 states.  Other highlights of the week include:

  • Mauna Kea – At 13,796 feet above sea level it’s the tallest island-mountain in the world. When measured from its oceanic base, the total height is 33,476 feet – making it taller than Mount Everest.  The peak also houses the world’s largest astronomical observatory operated by 11 different countries.  It was a rare and memorable moment to stand on top taking it all in, and being higher than the clouds.
  • Volcanoes National Park – It’s a good thing we really wanted to see the volcanoes because we had to push through 40 mph winds and spitting rain.  As one park ranger noted about the rain, “It’s the more authentic rainforest experience!”  We’ve seen volcanic rock that’s millions of years old, but what really struck me here was touching lava that erupted from Kīlauea in 2003.  Just nine years ago, the material I’m holding in my hand was somewhere in the center of the earth.
  • Snorkeling – We snorkeled several times during the week and only scratched the surface of what was available.  It was so convenient!  You step in from the beach, put your mask in the water and boom – surrounded by a colorful array of fish, coral and eel.

I guess it’s a sign we’ve done vacation right when on the last afternoon laying on the warm black and white speckled sand we both drifted off to sleep after snorkeling.  When I woke up I couldn’t help being reminded of this quote:

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, covered in scars, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming, ‘Yahoo! what a ride’.  ~Unknown

You Insured?

You Insured?
I’m pretty sure that this Gold Dust Day Gecko was trying to sell me some car insurance!


Red Slate Pencil Urchin

Red Slate Pencil Urchin
These Red Slate Pencil Urchins are very cool! I like how the spines have blunt ends like pencil erasers instead of the usual sharp spines found on common black urchins.


Swimming Bandits

Swimming Bandits
A couple of Raccoon Butterflyfish swim past as we snorkel at Kahaluu Bay.


Moorish Idols

Moorish Idols
The ever popular Moorish Idols


Sometimes

Sometimes
Sometimes, you just need to lay on the beach and soak up the sun!


Turtle Heaven

Turtle Heaven
These Green Sea Turtles enjoy the warm black sand at the Punaluu Black Sand Beach Park


Black Sand Everywhere

Black Sand Everywhere
The Punaluu Black Sand Beach Park


Black and White

Black and White
Okay, maybe black and peach not black and white, but you can really get a feel for just how black this sand is on Colette’s hands.


Aloha

Aloha
Colorful artwork at the Punaluu Black Sand Beach Park


Mix Tape

Mix Tape
Mix Tape graffiti at South Point


Hawaiian Graffiti

Hawaiian Graffiti
Some Hawaiian-themed graffiti at South Point


South Point Graffiti

South Point Graffiti
South Point Graffiti


South Point Cliffs

South Point Cliffs
The fabulous cliffs at South Point


Windblown

Windblown
A windblown tree stands alone on South Point’s barren landscape.


This Ain’t No Totem Pole

This Ain't No Totem Pole
Impressive Hawaiian carvings at the Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park


Classic Palm

Classic Palm
The classic Hawaii palm tree photo at the Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park


Warning Signs

Warning Signs
Not a warning sign you see often in Minnesota!


Unexploded Ordnance

Unexploded Ordnance
Be careful playing fetch with your dog here!


Ready to blossom

Ready to blossom
This shoot is ready to blossom in the tropical landscape surrounding Akaka Falls


The Medusa Tree

The Medusa Tree
This massive tree at Rainbow Falls on the Big Island reminds me of Medusa’s hair. We found these trees more interesting than the falls themselves!


Gemini South

Gemini South
The Gemini South Telescope at the Gemini Observatory on top of Mauna Kea shines in this overcooked HDR.


Volcanoes!

Volcanoes!
Cones of multiple volcanoes on Mauna Kea


Volcano Hike

Volcano Hike
Hikers dot the top of this peak on Mauna Kea. Hiking at 13,800 feet is not for the faint of heart or the weak of lung!


All By Myself

All By Myself
One lonely tree tried to make a stand at the top of Mauna Kea.


Only In A Jeep

Only In A Jeep
Every tourist with a Jeep must have tried heading down into this volcanic crater.


Back in the Ice Age

Back in the Ice Age
Clouds pack in the sky above the Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area Reserve


Fire In The Sky

Fire In The Sky
Hawaiian dancers call through conch shells as they start the Luau ceremony


Tiki Torches

Tiki Torches
Tiki Torches against the colorful sunset at the Royal Kona Resort


Perfect Silhouette

Perfect Silhouette
A perfect silhouette of a fire dancer at the Royal Kona Resort Luau


Flaming Arc

Flaming Arc
This fire dancer watches his flame arc over his head


Ready to Rumble

Ready to Rumble
Getting ready for the fire dance


Fast Flames

Fast Flames
Fast Flames at the fire dance


Billowing Smoke

Billowing Smoke
The Kilauea Crater belches clouds of sulfuric smoke


End Of The Road

End Of The Road
Colette sits on the lava where it wiped out the road in the Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park


Really?

Really?
I wouldn’t have guessed!


Miles of Lava Cliffs

Miles of Lava Cliffs
Miles and miles of lava cliffs in the Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park


Pele’s Hair

Pele's Hair
These rope-like strands of lava are called Pele’s Hair, in reference to the Goddess of Fire


Volcanic Fumes

Volcanic Fumes
Bill Clinton would have no problem here – “But I Didn’t Inhale!”


Walk This Way

Walk This Way
On the way to the Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs


Let’s Dance!

Let's Dance!
A dancing man at the Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs in the Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park


Abstract Art

Abstract Art
Some Abstract Art at the Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs in the Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park


Ancient Graffiti

Ancient Graffiti
Before we had spray paint, we had sharp rocks to create graffiti with!


Man Turtles

Man Turtles
Men or turtles? Some ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs at the Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs in the Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park


Tall Man

Tall Man
Either we have some Dali-esque distortion going on here, or the ancient Polynesians were really, really tall.


Waiting for a reaction

Waiting for a reaction
Eels always look like they just told a really funny joke and they’re waiting for the reaction


Tiny Puffer

Tiny Puffer
A tiny white spotted puffer fish hides among the coral


1 thought on “The Big Island, Hawaii

  1. Beautiful journaling as usual! Love the thought of standing at the “top of the world” at Mauna Kea and the “Yahoo” quote is a familiar one. I’ve used it in my column and it pretty much sums up my thoughts, too, on putting life in your years! 🙂

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