Pohoiki revisited

Pohoiki boatramp

Pohoiki breakwater markerIt’s been a while since I was last at Pohoiki, also known as Isaac Hale Beach Park. One reason for this is that it’s about as far away from where I live as is possible on the island. But back in July 2016, I went down there at an ungodly hour to board a boat and go see lava flowing into the ocean. I wrote about that trip here and here. At the park were restrooms, picnic tables, and a boat launch ramp protected by a small breakwater.

Last year, Pohoiki was in the news because it was where the flow from the 2018 Kilauea eruption finally ground to a halt, about 100 yards short of the boat ramp. A few days ago, I decided to revisit the park and see the changes that had taken place.

Driving into the park, the cooled lava flow could be seen, stretching down the side of the grassy picnic area (bottom photo). But what I really wanted to see was the boat ramp and the black sand beach at the bottom of the park. They did not disappoint.

The boat ramp, previously used to launch quite large boats, including the lava tour catamaran of 2016, now leads to a small lagoon (top photo). (Note the signs on the left of the photo.) This lagoon is perfect for swimming or sailing model boats, but as a boat launch ramp it has one big drawback. There’s now a long, deep, curve of black sand separating the ramp from the ocean (photo below). This beach began forming during the eruption, but I was surprised by how substantial it was. It’s rocky in places and the sand is quite coarse, but it is unquestionably a beach and it looks like it’s here to stay.

An indication of the beach’s substance can be seen in the second photo. The red triangle on a pole marked the end of the breakwater. Now it’s deep in sand. The breakwater is still there, but almost entirely buried.

The beach was formed by lava pouring into the ocean. Some of it solidified into large chunks, but a lot was quickly broken into smaller pieces and fine sand. (In the postings about my 2016 trip, one of the photos shows a black sand beach forming at the base of the flow.) A good deal of this sand was carried a short way down the coast to form this new beach.

I don’t have a good photo of the park before these changes, but the local newspaper has an aerial view here that shows the features I’ve mentioned. In that photo, the boat ramp, breakwater, and rocky shore can be seen at the bottom. Top left is the restrooms building that is also top left in the bottom photo here. The paths and picnic tables can also be seen.

I’d expect that on my next visit, all these new features that I’ve mentioned will still be there, but there is one caveat. If there’s a new eruption in this area, then everything could change. It’s one of the facts of life of living near an active volcano.

Posted in response to this week’s Friendly Friday challenge on the theme of ‘Revisited.’ See more responses here. Tomorrow, I’ll post a few more photos in response to the Sunday Stills photo challenge.

Pohoiki beach

Pohoiki picnic area

26 thoughts on “Pohoiki revisited

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    1. Graham Post author

      There have been big changes to the park, that’s for sure. Halemaumau Crater, at the summit of Kilauea, has suffered huge collapses so what was a fairly flat crater floor (with an active vent in one part) is now deep and jumbled with sections of the road lying in it. Jaggar Museum is right on the edge of the crater and is closed. It might never be able to reopen.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Forestwood

    Incredible – that barbeque is the luckiest one to escape the lava flow! Fantastic photos and ones that are not readily seen although I do remember some news reports last year. How long after the lava stopped flowing before people could visit the area?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Graham Post author

      The barbecue caught my eye too so it’s in the next post too. It was a few months after the flow stopped that people could return here, primarily because there were no roads to the area. Different flows had covered all the access roads, but recently they built a temporary road over one of the flows. They won’t do a permanent road until they’re sure the center of the flow has cooled enough to cut through.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Graham Post author

          I think so. It takes a while. The PBS show, Nova, had a show about Kilauea’s last eruption (worth a watch if you’re interested – you can find it online) and one thing it pointed out was that the first flows from this latest eruption were actually lava left over from eruptions in 1955 and even earlier. The ground is a good insulator.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Graham Post author

      People have already planted coconut palms on the beach, which will help stabilize it, but the beach should stay pretty sandy. It’s a harsh growing environment with all the waves and salt though there are some native plants that will grow in those conditions. I love going to see the different volcanic events. One can get get blase about it because the volcano had been erupting continuously since 1983. It was easy to think, ‘oh, I’ll go down and see the next flow that enters the ocean.’ But each event is different and you never know exactly what you’ll see. When I went to see the firehose of lava (https://grahamsisland.com/2017/02/04/kilauea-volcanos-firehose-of-lava/) I was late realizing it was going on, But I zipped down there the next day and 24 hours later a cliff collapse ended the show.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Graham Post author

          One factor is that many of the flows that preceded this last eruption didn’t do a huge amount of damage so they become thought of as more of a spectacle rather than a danger.

          Liked by 1 person


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