Monday, January 15, 2018

Green Sands

Another day.....another road trip adventure. This time to the southern tip of the Big Island.  First stop!

Kona Coffee, as we learned, is only grown in a small 40 square mile region here on the western part of the Big Island.

Again, because of the holiday, the processing center was closed, but we got LOTS of free coffee samples.

Here it is, the southern most point in ALL of the United States, not just the continental United States.

Onions has some great footage of people cliff jumping from here, but I was suffering from a coffee mishap.

Our goal was to see the famed green sand beach.  We 4x4 drove our rental truck.  It was FUN.  

I actually did go swimming at this beach!

On our way back, we stopped by this strange development called "Ocean View"  It was developed as thousands of 1-acre plots land on this massive square grid in the middle of the lava fields.  It's sparsely populated.

Houses just are plopped in the middle lava.

We then saw the sign for a road called, "Going to the Ocean Road" and so we took it.  5 miles of bumpy, unpaved around sunset lead to this....

The most amazing green and black sand beach.

Onions driving a 4x4 for the first time!

Here's a picture of our hotel, the Royal Kona resort.  It's a pretty iconic building, as it looks like a cruise ship.

On our last day, we spent part of the day at the beach (this is proof that we actually went to the beach) and then the afternoon at a spa.  Onions got a long massage and I got a deep facial cleaning.  From there it was dinner and our flight back to the mainland.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Snow and Ocean All In One Day

Wait?  What's a picture of snow doing in your Hawaii post?

You can drive to the top of Mauna Kea, one of the two tallest volcanoes (of the five) that constitute the Big Island.  That's Mauna Loa in the distance.

The way the two of us are dressed here tells you everything about the two of us.  And I had JUST put on the long sleeve shirt.

There are a number of observatories at the top of Mauna Kea.

One of them is run by the Keck Foundation

And turns out, you can go inside and see the telescope!

When we were there, the telescope was actually rotating.  It was great.  We didn't get a chance to come back and see the stars, but with no light pollution, the stars were amazing just looking at the sky at night.

Above the clouds!

I'm a sucker for factories, so we stopped by the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory.  

Since it was around the holidays, the factory was closed, but we ate some macadamia nut ice cream.  We also learned the macadamia nuts have the hardest shell to crack of all the nuts.

Driving south from Hilo, we spent the afternoon in the Puna district.  I had to take a picture of this beautiful tree lined road.

Our destination was the Ahulanui State Park with a volcanically heated pool which is cooled by the ocean.  That's the ocean in the distance.  

After a couple hours of snorkeling and enjoying the water, we drove to see the lava at the former town of Kalapana.  More beautiful roads along the way.....

....and stops along the way to see the waves crash against the lava.

On this site, stood the former town of Kalapana.  

Another beautiful sunset looking west towards Kilauea.