Tag Archives: Punalu’u

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.

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

Punalu’u turtles

Punaluu turtles resting

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.

Punaluu turtle resting