Another amazing day on the big island! After leaving Hilo we headed for Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park to get our first real taste of the volcanic landscape that is the essence of these islands.
While there has been some volcanic activity (the current eruption at Kilauea has been ongoing for 24 years), the dramatic scenes I had envisioned weren’t really possible this time around. The surface lava flows were few and very hard to reach, and no lava was visible at the Halema’uma’u Crater. There was quite an impressive smoke and gas plume coming out of the crater, and the landscape itself is simply amazing.
After taking in the views from the Jaggar Museum we headed down Chain of Craters Road to the lava fields along the coastline. The rugged scenery was quite impressive, and we walked a way in to see where the lava flows covered the paved road on its way to the sea.
The views at the coast were also incredible – this is quite a place.
With the harsh light of mid-day creating difficult photographic conditions, we decided to head down Highway 19 a bit further to a place called the Punalu’u Black Sand Beach, where we heard we had a good chance of seeing Honu – the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle. The winds were really blowing but the beach is incredible – comprised of extremely fine jet black sand. And, true to what we had heard, Honu was there! In fact, we saw no less than 4 different Honu! I had tons of fun photographing them in late afternoon light as they rested on the beach. Here are a few shots:
Landscape shots of the beach were tough due to 20-30 mph winds coming off the water (and spraying a fine salty mist onto my gear, and salt+water+cameras=bad!) but I did manage to make this shot of a line of palm trees near the beach that I enjoyed:
With sunset approaching we decided to try one more location – we headed to South Point, the southernmost location in the United States, positioned at the southwestern edge of the big island of Hawai’i.
Along the isolated road to the point was a large wind farm, and before the sun dipped behind a big cloud bank I was able to grab this image:
Unfortunately, sunset was a bust and despite some dramatic (if isolated) scenery I was unsuccessful in making any great images of the place. Then it was back to Volcano town for some much needed sleep!
Thanks for reading – more to come!
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