21 May 2008 – What makes Big Island a really exotic, and to me dangerous, place to stay is that there is still an active volcano spewing lava on the south west tip of Big Island. According to our guide for the day, only just months ago were there people still staying on a hill that has now been completely covered by lava flow. Not only that, Big Island has seen its fair share of natural disasters with two major volcanic eruptions and a tsunami in the past century.
I wonder how much housing insurance costs here…
Anyway, our adventure today began after lunch where we set off from King’s Shops down the road from the hotel. What followed was a few hour drive along the Saddle Road which traverses the width of the island. Saddle Road used to be very dangerous to drive on but has since been repaved so the ride wasn’t as bumpy as I feared. For the fastest route from west to east of the island, there really wasn’t any other option!
After the long drive, our tour guide made a stop at one of his friend’s place where she served us really delicious wraps. I wish I took note of the name of the place!
Next up, we made a quick stop at some steep cliffs at the Mackenzie State Park. The speed and force at which the waves crashed against the rocks was really scary. It’s supposedly a “popular” suicide spot as well, for obvious reasons!
The highlight of the day was definitely the Kalapana Black Sand Beach where true to it’s name, the sand was charcoal black and coarse grained. If I remember correctly, the black sand comes from the shattering of hot lava coming into contact with the cold sea water.
We finally wrapped up the day with a view of the Kilauea Volcano spewing lava into the ocean. Unfortunately, due to the limited reach of my lens, I wasn’t able to catch any decent lava photos.
View the full day 3 gallery here.