The big Big Island

We spent two weeks on Hawaii, The Big Island, called so because it is so. We spent a fair amount of time in the car trying to see and do as much as possible.

One of activities that caught a lot of our time and attention was snorkeling. We were prepared for this as the only extra ‘luxury’ items we brought with us were snorkel and mask. It really paid off here since there were so many wonderful snorkeling sights and we didn’t have to worry about renting and proper sizing.

We went to the Kopoho tide pools twice. It was difficult to maneuver around some of the shallow areas so we made sure our return trip was at high tide. Still, at one point I was about to skim over a shallow area and noticed a juvenile spotted moray eel in front of me just in time to put the brakes on. It probably would have sunk back in its crack but they look so fearsome, I chose to swim around it.

The Kopoho tide pools had some of the most pristine and colorful coral

The Kopoho tide pools had some of the most pristine and colorful coral

At Manini Beach I spotted an octopus as we were returning to shore. What a treat! They are one of the most interesting creatures as they can change color and texture instantaneously. We watched it for about 5-10 minutes hovering far enough away so it wasn’t spooked by us.

Manini Beach

Hawaii has a lot of green sea turtles. Black Sand Beach/Punalu’u, is one of the best places to see them on land as well as in the water. It’s beautiful to watch them swim so gracefully, not caring the least about the presence of humans. I’m told by locals that they were not so common years ago (turtle soup was a delicacy) but now they’re protected and abundant in numbers.

We found this guy lazing on Punalu'u, or Black Sand Beach

We found this guy lazing on Black Sand Beach/Punalu’u

This one was in a tidal pool at a snorkel site called, "Two-step"

This turtle was in a tiny tidal pool at a snorkel site called, “Two-step”

South Point is the southern most point in the U.S.A.. Essentially, a very windy plateau that ends at dramatic cliffs which drop off into the deep turquoise ocean below.

tree at south point

It is also a very cool place to jump off a 25-30 foot cliff into beautiful turquoise water.

It was so irresistible I jumped twice

It was so irresistible, I jumped twice

From South Point, there was a hike across golden brown sands and jeep tracks to a gem of The Big Island: Green Sand Beach.

Green Sand Beach

Green Sand Beach

Before being abolished in the early 19th century, Hawaii had many sacred societal Kapus or taboos such as men and women not being allowed to dine together. Violating Kapu meant an immediate death sentence. But around the islands there were “Places of Refuge”, where, if you could out-run warriors and swim to a place of refuge, you could be blessed by a shaman and eventually return home. Pu’uhonua was one of those places.

bill at place of refuge

It was a very difficult task to make it to a place of refuge. Of course, if you did get there it wasn’t a good idea to taunt the warriors who had been chasing you.

We attended a traditional (read: tourist) Hawaiian Luau. We saw a variety of Hawaiian dances in addition to some from other countries where Polynesians migrated like Samoa and New Zealand.

luau danced

Cindy learning the hula

Cindy learns the hula. Go Cindy!

While at the luau, we saw whales off shore in the distance.


5 thoughts on “The big Big Island

  1. Wow … loved your account of your time on Big Island. I’ve been there twice and not been to all those awesome placed – Kopoho, Manini Beach, Black Sand Beach/Punalu’u, South Point or Green Sand Beach. We will have to go back again and see those places! Go Cindy – the hula dancer 🙂

  2. Hi Bill! Any suggestions on where to get decent snorkeling gear? We are heading to the Caribbean and would like to have it with us too!
    Looks like a beautiful place to be! Enjoy!

  3. Hey Chris, There’s a scuba shop in Chelmsford but there may be less expensive options at places like Sports Authority. The important thing is for the mask to fit well so it doesn’t leak.

  4. You go Bill and you go Hawaiian girl Cindy! You can teach us the Luau when you return.
    Denis and I spent 2 weeks in Hawaii many moons ago. I love Kuai! I have a friend that has a condo in Maui. Denis has a very good friend who loves in Honolulu. So many Hawaiian connections. Enjoy it all! Love the wildlife pics.

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