Tag Archives: Pololu

Colorful Beaches

A view of Green sand beach (Papakōlea) on the Big Island, Hawaii

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Beautiful Beaches.’ See more responses here. Obviously, this was a tricky challenge for me, but I have managed to come up with a few photos!

The top photo shows Green Sand Beach. It’s official name is Papakōlea Beach and the color of the beach is due to an abundance of olivine from the old volcanic cinder cone that borders the beach.

Next we have two black sand beaches. The best known black sand beach on the island is Punaluʻu Beach, which is often referred to simply as Black Sand Beach. However, there are several others. The first of these is Pololu Beach here in North Kohala. The black sand is a result of the breakdown of black lava into smaller pieces. Over time, the grains become as fine as those on white sand beaches.

A view of the black sand beach at Pololu on the Big Island, Hawaii

Pohoiki Beach is the newest such beach on the island, formed by the eruption of 2018. The grains are still a bit coarse, but it’s mind boggling to think that before that eruption, there was basically no beach here at all. Now, as the photo shows, it’s extensive.

A view of the black sand beach at Pohoiki on the Big Island, Hawaii

Finally, some white sand beaches. Anaeho’omalu Bay Beach, at the south end of Waikoloa Beach Resort, is a curve of sand dotted with palms, a quintessential tropical beach.

A view of Anaeho’omalu Bay on the South Kohala coast

Hapuna Beach, farther north, is a regular on lists of best beaches in the U.S.A..

A view of Hapuna beach on the Big Island, Hawaii

The beach at Spencer Beach Park is a current favorite of mine, a place I like to walk in the early morning before going to work. The sheltered waters, shade trees, and picnic areas make it a favorite with families.

A view of the beach at Spencer Beach Park on the Big Island, Hawaii

First visit to Hawaii

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Meaningful Memories.’ See more responses here.

This seemed like an opportune time to revisit my first visit to Hawaii, back in 2010. My wife and I stayed in a vacation rental near Captain Cook, overlooking Kealakekua Bay. The sky was hazy with vog from Kilauea Volcano, but the place was awash with colorful flowers. Just down the road was the Painted Church and at the foot of the hill, Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park celebrates Hawaiian culture and history with its wooden ki’i and towering palms.

We traveled the whole island from the black sand beach at Pololu (even if we had to pass the carcass of a dead whale twice) to the black sand beach at Punalu’u, dotted with resting green turtles, and rocky surrounds. There were waterfalls big and small, and roads lined with tropical foliage leading to the active lava flow at that time.

There, signs warned that flowing lava is dangerous (who knew?), but we were still able to get within 10 feet of oozing tongues of red, and saw small fires still burning in nearby brush.

There was even a house for sale: ‘Buy now before it burns!’ We didn’t, though that house still stands while others, much farther from that scene, have since been consumed by subsequent flows.

It was this visit that prompted us to return permanently two years later. Hawaii isn’t paradise – it has its pros and cons like any place – but we haven’t regretted the move and are looking forward to the next 10 years.

Pololu beach

The beach at Pololu, Hawaii

Pololu beach, at the northern end of the Big Island, is not a place for swimming, despite these people in the water. Strong rips can take an unwary person out to sea in a heartbeat. But it’s a good spot for a walk or just for viewing from Pololu Lookout, up above, at the end of the end of the highway.

Kohala Welcome Center under a full moon

On a recent foray into Hawi to get photos for last week’s Sunday Stills challenge (here), I took these photos of the Kohala Welcome Center. This is the place to get information about North Kohala for visitors en route to Kapaau and Pololu, which marks the end of the highway.

On this particular evening, the welcome center was illuminated by its Christmas display and a full moon, which also highlighted the palm trees that tower over that location.

First Big Island visit

Pololu beach

Turtle at PunuluuTropical foliageLava flowingThis week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Turning point.’ (See more responses here.) Since this is a photo blog about the Big Island it seems appropriate to post some photos from my first visit here in 2010, a visit which was the catalyst for the move to the island. There was no ‘ah ha’ moment, but these photos give a general idea of some of the things that appealed.

The top photo is Pololu beach on the North Kohala coast. Second photo is a Hawaiian green turtle resting on the black sand beach at Punalu’u County Beach Park. Third photo is tropical foliage next to a small cascading stream. Fourth photo shows some small lava breakouts in the flow that was active at that time. Conveniently, that activity was about 100 yards from the parking area and only 10 feet or so beyond where I was standing. The bottom photo is a view of Two Step, a popular snorkeling spot, from Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park.

Two Step from Place of Refuge

The mouth of Honokāne Iki valley

The mouth of Honokane Iki Valley

At the end of Highway 270, on the northern tip of the island, is Pololu Valley. There’s a trail down to the beach there and, at the other end of the beach, another trail leading up to a bench that overlooks Honokāne Nui valley.

Not far beyond the bench, the trail was destroyed by an earthquake in 2006. It’s still possible to descend to the valley, but the trail goes straight down a steep slope and ropes are in place to make this possible. There are no guarantees that these ropes are in good condition and the slope certainly isn’t. If you do descend this section, the trail passes through varied vegetation and ultimately leads down to a rocky beach at the mouth of Honokāne Nui valley.

Beyond Honokāne Nui, there’s another trail that continues over the next hill and down into Honokāne Iki valley. That valley opens up to this beautiful little bay, which is quite protected and, at low tide, has a nice sandy beach. Be aware though that this is private land and in use on a regular basis.

Yellow-billed cardinal on a rock

Yellow-billed Cardinal

Yellow-billed Cardinal on a rockThis week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Something Red.’ (See more offerings here.) I had a few bird photos that fell into that category, but I chose these yellow-billed cardinal photos for their name.

When I’m out on walks, I’ve run into people who ask me about the name of the little bird with the red head. No one has ever asked me about the name of the little bird with the yellow bill, but that’s the feature that gives them their name. I guess it’s because other cardinals have red heads so calling this one a red-headed cardinal would lead to confusion.

I thought this one, seen on the beach at Pololu, looked particularly dapper.