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.
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.
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.
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.
It is also a very cool place to jump off a 25-30 foot cliff into beautiful turquoise water.
From South Point, there was a hike across golden brown sands and jeep tracks to a gem of The Big Island: 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.
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.
While at the luau, we saw whales off shore in the distance.