Punalu’u is one of the more popular places to visit on the Big Island. For one thing, it’s a black sand beach that’s easily accessible. It’s also a great place to see Green Turtles and sometimes Hawksbill Turtles. There’s picnic tables and restrooms, you can camp there, and it’s a beautiful stretch of coastline to wander along.
On my most recent visit, I was happy to see that the area where the turtles tend to rest has been more obviously identified with a rock wall and signs. This is part of the ongoing efforts to deter the ‘Let’s get a picture of little Billy riding the turtle’ crowd. Oh yes, they exist and, sadly, they’re nowhere near as endangered as the turtles. There is one turtle in this photo, but it looks like a rock.
Here’s a closer look.
And a close up (with a zoom lens), getting some much needed rest.
I really like Punalu’u, especially early in the day as this was. Later on, it can get very crowded.
I drove to the southern part of the island recently. Just past Ocean View is a scenic viewpoint that I stopped at. There’s a decent view towards South Point, which is a little farther on from the line of wind turbines in the top photo.
The land down to the ocean is mostly old lava flows with scrubby vegetation striving to maintain a foothold. It’s a bit bleak and primeval, the sort of land I could imagine being roamed by dinosaurs, so it was no surprise to see one on the wall of the viewpoint. It was pink and surprisingly small, but quite friendly-looking. I was not in fear for my life and did not run screaming back to the car.
The dinosaur came with a little note underfoot which said something about posting a photo on Facebook, but since I’m not on any social media, I paid no further attention. I suspect the idea was to have the photo posted and then the dinosaur moved to a different location. I’d have hidden it in a dark, dank place where it might not have been seen again for millions of years, so it’s probably just as well that I left it where it was and continued on my journey.
Turtles are creatures of the water. The only reason they have to venture ashore is to lay eggs, but in Hawaii, green turtles like to find a beach and spend a lazy day basking in the sunshine. This helps them conserve energy and keeps them safe from sharks.
On the Big Island there are a number of places where turtles are frequently seen on shore. One of them is Punalu’u Beach Park, on the Kau coast, which has a lovely black sand beach ideal for getting a bit of rest. Well, it would be ideal except for that most annoying and obtuse of creatures, the human.
There are apparently large numbers of people who don’t know how to read the numerous signs telling them to keep their distance from the turtles. There are a fair number of people who think the world would be a better place if only there existed a photo of them sitting beside or on top of a turtle.
These days, park staff or volunteers tape off the area where the turtles are resting. This seems to help. The bottom photo was taken from behind the tape with a moderate telephoto lens so it’s not like anyone’s being deprived of getting a good view.
Posted in response to this week’s Sunday Stills challenge on the theme of ‘Lazy Days.’ See more responses here.