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Published: March 29th 2010
One day we took at trip down to the south part of the island, starting at Puuhonau O Honaunau National Historic Park (Place of Refuge), then further south hoping to visit both the green sand beach at South point (or Ka’Lae), and the black sand beach at Pulaluu. Place of Refuge was the place where native islanders could go to pray and be forgiven after having done something that earned them a death sentence from the King. They had to swim there, and if they survived, they had to pray and meditate and whatever else, then they were allowed to live. Anyway, it was interesting, with the wooden statues restored and with remains of fish ponds and other buildings. We also saw a Hawaiian Monk Seal resting on the beach there.
The drive to south point was a different experience too. The land got very dry and grassy, and the wind was intense! The guidebooks say that the wind blows constantly here, and the land is not much use except for grazing cattle. The sand is fine and brown, and gets in your eyes and ears and mouth. It isn’t what you expect to see in Hawaii! Once we got
almost to the end of the road, there was a turn-off where quite a few people were fishing off the high cliffs. Take a look at the pictures - try to imagine the strong wind trying to blow you off, combined with the height of the cliffs……it was really crazy!
We tried to find the green sand beach - signs are slim to none to direct you - and finally got on the right road to the parking area (little dirt spot where some cars were pulled off) at the extreme southernmost point of the island, and the most southern part of the USA. We started out, as the guide book said it was a 2-mile hike, but after climbing over the rocky uneven road for a few minutes, and talking to some people who had gone farther, and feeling the wind and grit in our faces trying to push us backwards (we couldn’t even talk to each other without shouting, the wind was that strong), we decided against it. There was a bit of greenish looking sand on the road, and some folks told us that was the same as the beach sand, so we gave up. It
took two days of heavy rain over in Hilo to get the brown dirt off the car!
Then we went on to the black sand beach at Punaluu Beach Park. It was easy to find and didn’t involve a hike. The sand is created from the ocean waves breaking up the volcanic rock into black sand. The day we were there, three or four green sea turtles were resting on the beach. There were signs everywhere reminding people that the turtles are protected, and not to get closer than 15 feet from them. People are so stupid! They were going right up to them, almost touching them, to get their pictures. We were talking to a resident of the island who was watching over them, and who said that this happens all the time. As long as the turtles aren’t touched or harassed though, I guess it is OK. He offered to take our picture on the beach with the turtle close by.
All in all, it was a long drive, and a long day, but another wonderful day in Hawaii!
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