Friday, March 09, 2012

Hawaii 2012 - Back in Paradise - Papakolea Beach

Scenic view hiking to Papakolea Beach
Barry and I had a wonderful day on the Big Island yesterday. Our morning began when we heard a load knock at 6:30 AM. We thought it was someone at our door, but they were actually at our neighbors. Since we were up so early we decided to visit Papakolea, the Green Sand Beach. We drove south along the Kona Coast from Waikoloa to Ka Lae (South Point). On our way we stopped at the Kona Potato Chip Factory. During our drive we saw wild turkeys, a donkey, zebra and North American Bison. When I saw the donkey and zebra I told Barry and he asked if "the zebra was really a donkey in prison." I love my husband! No, it really was a zebra. I saw the animals because we passed the Three Ring Ranch Exotic Animal Sanctuary in upland Kona and they were visible from the road.

Waves crashing on the rocks
Papakolea Beach lies at the base of Pu'u o Mahana, at Mahana Bay. The only way to get there is to park the car at the end of the paved road and hike or ride in a 4WD vehicle. Barry and I decided to walk the two miles into and out from the beach. When we parked our car a gentleman asked us if we wanted a ride (for a fee of course.) We had decided we would walk so we did. It took us one hour and 40 minutes, but we got there and had a chance to take lots of photos along the way.

It was a very pleasant walk. The Trade Winds were blowing and the views of the ocean were breathtaking.

Pu'u o Mahana
When we arrived at  Pu'u o Mahana, Barry and I ate our lunch as we pondered if we were going to climb down and then back up what the guide book described as the "steep and dangerous descent down the cliff side." It was steep and dangerous. When we stood at the very top we were blasted by sand, which was not pleasant. Barry asked if we would get in trouble for taking home the sand that was stuck in our skin. We decided to climb down the cliff and walk on Papakolea Beach. As we were walking down, some people who were walking up warned us not to swim in the water unless we wanted sand to end up in unusual and unpleasant places. I decided to just get my feet wet mostly because the guide book advised us not to swim because "the surf is often rough, and swimming is hazardous due to strong currents." Happily Barry and I climbed safely up the cliff and hiked back to the car.

Papakolea Beach (Green Sand Beach)
Barry standing on Papakolea Beach

Waves at Ka Lae
Wind blown Tree
When we returned to the car we decided to stop at Ka Lae before driving back to Waikoloa. Barry and I spent some time walking around the area last year and watching people dive off of the cliffs into the ocean. This year I was determined to walk to the southern most tip of the island, which I did! The Trade Winds were so strong that they created some incredible waves in the ocean. You can see the strength of the winds from the trees and the fact that most of them are permanently bent to the side.

When we returned to the hotel we ended our day by spending time in the hot tub. The water was warm and bubbly. The hot tub was large enough for me to stretch out and float. Since Barry was the only other person in the tub with me I did. I floated on my back. It was wonderful being weightless and surrounded by warm bubbling water. It was a fantastic way to end the day. It also made my muscles happy. I felt a little stiff after sitting in the car for almost two hours.

I am looking forward to our next adventure. Our plan is to go to the water falls.

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