Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Aloha Ka'u~

Our visit to Hawaii began with our late night arrival in Hilo, and a beautiful morning there exploring the neighborhood, and the town. Then we packed into our rental van, and made our way to Volcanoes National Park. Our stay was brief, but packed full. Next? We drove through the rest of the Puna District, moving south and west, and into Ka'u, where the sky and clouds, Kilauea and Mauna Loa gave breathtaking sights. We were headed to Kona, to our place at Keauhou, which is only a two hour drive, but we found too many beautiful temptations along the way, so the drive was more leisurely, long, and lovely.

Back at Thai Thai, the restaurant we enjoyed after a day of hiking, we were advised to be on the lookout for Punalu'u, the black sand beach. The waiter was pretty sure we would find it a worthwhile place to see. This place, pictured, is just some spot along the way where William and I had to get out and take some pictures. The postcard colors, so saturated and rich, the wind blowing up the pali from the South Pacific, it was enchanting.

Up until the 1990s sugar cane was the main crop growing in Ka'u. Now, this is coffee country, and every May, Ka'u celebrates with a Coffee Festival. Looks like fun.

We were on the lookout for the turn-off to Punalu'u. And sure enough, about thirty miles from Volcanoes, we found the Black Sand Beach, Punalu'u, and it was breathtaking. We sort of had it in mind to get to our destination, but why do we make these silly kind of decisions, on a vacation? There really was no need to hurry anywhere. And Maria made it her mission to get us to understand it was time to slow down and smell the plumeria!

This is what is meant when people say picturesque and like paradise. A fresh water pond, fed by springs and streams. The iridescent sand of basalt, the volcanic rock from lava that exploded when it entered the ocean. The coconut palms, swaying and graceful. And on the beach, swimming in the shallows, Hawksbill and Green turtles. This is no place to be in a hurry.

If we were better prepared, we could have camped here.

She didn't stop at her toes!

The sand gets hot. But the water is cooler than most. A lot of fresh underground water flows into the ocean here. "Legend has it that in the time of drought, the ancient Hawaiians living in the area would dive underwater with a jug to get their fresh water. In the Hawaiian language puna luʻu means "spring [water] diver for"

I think this is the Hawaii Maria had been dreaming of. Well, this, and hula dancers, and pineapples.

Then she spied something very special... a honu resting on the beach. This Green turtle was big, and looked old. That could be as much as eighty years old!

We walked up and down the beach. Maria dropped her dress and ran in and out of the ocean, as gleeful as could be. This would be one more stop, of many, where we agreed, this would make a nice place to live.


judy in ky said...

I have grown fond of the green turtles in Hawaii.

That photo of Maria could be on a postcard.

judy in ky said...

How did you find sunny weather in Hilo? Every time we've been there it's been raining.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

The turtles are amazing, right?
They have such a calm and serene air about them,
then in the water they are so graceful!

Maria was aglow with Island aloha! She really fell in love.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Sunny in Hilo... it's a real treat! The funny thing is I've always had luck with weather in Hilo... it rained on one visit, maybe two, but for the most part we've been able to sail through in clear weather. I am no fan of driving in a tropical storm, but otherwise the warm air and refreshing feel of a shower while walking around is actually pretty nice!