Today we are heading south to visit the Punalu’u Black Sand Beach on the East Coast of the island. Cathy and Heather had their own plans today so it was just Doug and Ev and Val and I going. We left around eight and our first stop was the little fishing village of Milolii. It was a short drive off the main highway until we came to a small residential area which was the town. At the end of the road there was a small harbor and park so we stopped and looked at the tide pools and enjoyed the scenery. It was a very pleasant spot, but we had other things to do so we were soon on our way.
|Ev and Val wait on the beach for Doug and I.|
|Doug and I look at the tide pools.|
|The small church in town (from Ev's cell phone).|
As we continued our way south it was getting close to lunch so we stopped in the town of Na’alehu and ate at the Hana Hou Restaurant and Bakery which was recommended in the guide book we are using. This is a good spot to mention our guidebook which is called “Hawaii The Big Island Revealed” by Andrew Doughty. It is excellent and written by people who actually live on the island and they aren’t afraid to tell you what’s good and what to avoid; I highly recommend it. There were spot on about the restaurant as we had a very good lunch. We each had something different and it was all great. For dessert Doug, Ev and I had a chocolate macadamia nut pie while Val had a macadamia nut cream pie. Both good, but Val’s cream pie was by far the best and the rest of us wished we had gotten it.
|The southern most restaurant in the USA.|
|Val's macadamia nut cream pie. After tasting it, we all wished we had gotten a piece (from Ev's cell phone).|
After lunch, we continued on, turned north and started up the east coast. It wasn’t far to the Black Sand Beach which was said to be one of the nicest black sand beaches on the island. Since it was Sunday, besides the tourist there were a lot of locals enjoying the beautiful weather. As we walked down the beach we could see an area marked by rocks and as we got closer we could see there were giant sea tortoises sleeping on the sand. The rocks made a boundary to keep anyone from getting too close. Only one actually moved and it didn’t move very far, evidently they enjoy the warmth of the sun. It reminded us of the sea lions near our home that seem to spend their days sleeping on the beach. Doug decided to go swimming and while he did that Val and I walked on down the beach to look at some beautiful lily covered ponds. We walked back and found Ev and sat with her on the beach while Doug finished swimming. When he got out he said that a turtle swam around him while he was in the water, very cool. Unfortunately while getting out he scraped his back on some coral, but he said it didn’t bother him very much.
|The Black Sand Beach.|
|Sea Tortoises sleeping and sunning themselves on the beach.|
|Doug enjoying his swim.|
|We weren't sure what he was trying to net; we didn't see him pull anything out while we were there.|
We left the Black Sand beach and started back towards Captain Cook, but we had one more stop to make. We wanted to visit an area called South Point which is the southern-most point in the United States. It’s a sixteen mile drive off the main highway, but very interesting. While there we met a family from California who were visiting and staying in Hilo. They had a friend who was Hawaiian and knew the area very well. South Point is an area of high cliffs above the ocean and some of the braver were diving off the cliffs into the water. The Hawaiian friend of the people we met asked Val is she ever had fresh clams right out of the water and when she said no, he jumped off the cliff and gathered some and brought them back to sample. Val and Ev tried them and said they were good, you can’t get any fresher than that. We had a great time down there as some of the locals who were there fishing talked about various customs and such.
|South Point, the platform in the foreground is where the ladder comes up from the water below.|
|This platform Val is standing on was once used for winching up things from below, but now is used as a jumping platform.|
|A group photo taken by our new Hawaiian friend.|
|Our Hawaiian friend jumps on his way to get some clams for Val and Ev.|
|He was joined in the water by his brother.|
There is a place called the Green Sands Beach in the same area, but it was only accessible by a four-wheel drive vehicle or a five mile round trip walk. Doug wanted to go and snorkel, but couldn’t find any takers to hike with him. We checked out the trail head anyway and found there were local guys there with four-wheel drive trucks that would take you down there for a price, but it was getting late in the afternoon and we had to head back to the house.
We got back to the house around six and found that Cathy and Heather had made a great dinner of tacos and a potato dish. What a great way to end the day. After a bit of after dinner talk we called it an early night as tomorrow we are going to Volcano National Park and we want to get an early start.