Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Big Island - South Point

Often in life it is the journey and not the destination. With Papakolea (Green Sands) Beach it is both.

The drive from our place took us to South Point, which lays claim to being the furthest point south in the United States. We stopped to admire the vista from high on the volcano, and then drove down into the valley. In one magical brief moment, we saw a rainbow and whales sounding.

At the end of South Point Road, natives offer rides to the final destination. We opted to walk the two and a half miles, and it turned into a long hike over desolate terrain. Reddish clay dusted with green sand, with dry sedges lining pathways. A light drizzle kept us cool along the way, but we arrived drenched about an hour later. 

To access the beach itself you climb down a ladder and steep trail. It looked precarious, but I hadn't come this far to stand at the top and look down at a beach. It wasn't really all that difficult, after all.

We enjoyed the view for a long while. The sculpted cliffs are remnants of cinder cones, sculpted by the wind. Ocean waves tumble onto the beach. 

This is one of only two green sand beaches in the world. Depending on the light of the day, you will see different casts of green. I saw an olive colour, flecked with gold.

We rode back to our car, by standing in the back of a four wheel drive truck. A bumpy ride, where at points we were almost upended.

On the map, Panalu-u Beach was just around the corner. We arrived to a black lava shoreline with green succulents framing the sea. In the crowd I could pick out three or four people we'd seen on the Green Sands beach, making the same driving tour. Taking in the sights.

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