~ Day 3 – Today’s adventure was in its entirety a day-long guided tour around the island visiting many of the islands treasures, hidden or otherwise. Lunch and dinner were included. We started at 11am and with not much for us to do except shower, dress and have a relaxing breakfast enjoyed on our balcony overlooking the pool while we wait to be picked up.
Our driver was a chatty fellow named Lawrence who was born in Kona but moved away at a young age before moving back with his family about 10 years ago. He was full of really interesting factoids, legends, lore and personal thoughts on just about everything. He was great.
Our lunch consisted of sandwhiches and chips and took place on a coffee farm that had a stunning view overlooking one of the bays below. This place was also used for weddings. It had a great many kinds of wild-flowers, including the trumpet-angel (which is poisonous) and even turkeys for our viewing pleasure. We were also treated to some excellent coffee. Things definitely had started off right on the trip.
After leaving the coffee farm we took a meandering road up and around that twisted and turned until we arrived at a shop were you could buy all manner of trinkets and do-dads but maybe more importantly had sweet edible goodness in the form of icecream and a tasty pastry called mallasada.
Keeping the tour moving, we headed to Punalu’u Black Sand Beach Park where they had, of all things – a black sandy beach. It was unusual for sure plus the sand was really course. It gets its color from the way it was created. What was in the magma as it flowed into the sea and met the water before exploding bits everywhere. We also managed to see a few more turtles in the water.
Moving forward we next headed to some steam vents that spewed steam 24/7. It was odd, they steam smelled like ramen noodles, not the lipton noodle soup we were told it was smell like. A case of false advertising if ever I heard one!
Keeping things on pace for dinner and the lava tubes, we couldn’t spend too much time in any one particular place. Just enough to entice you to come back on your own maybe.
Dinner was at a winery, which was perfect. We had a tasting of six wines and two meads, one of which was black tea infused. There was also a tour and explanation of the process of making the wine in the unique climate here in Hawai’i. Dinner was chicken, ribs, sweet corn, cole slaw and pasta salad. It was so good. – As a side note, there was a cork oak tree on the property. It is native to Portugal and in their native country grow to more than a 100 feet. The “bark” is so much like cork that it IS used as such.
Our next stop was at a 600 foot lava tube we got to walk through. It may sound weird or claustrophobic but it was pretty big and really cool. No sense of being closed in here. There were tiny roots that had actually managed to creep through all the tiny holes in the rocks and crust of the lava tube to end just above our heads as we walked though. There were several large yellow lights placed evenly throughout the tunnel so we could see but were not intrusive on the experience. A short walk back to the van gave Lawrence, our guide, an opportunity to talk about some of the flora. He showed us one of the few indiginous species of tree that break down the lava rock and help produce soil by excreting a chemical that promoted the breaking down of the lava rock. Crazy! Also they developed floating root sacks to gather water so other specias of plant life that formed around them wouldn’t take all the water around.
Now that it was dark, we made our way to Hawai’is Valcanoes National Park to see some lava – with any luck. Eureka! Not only did we get to see the glow of lava, but actual lava.
On the way back to the van for a long trip home, Lawrence was able to find some lava rock with olivine in it. The stuff that makes up the green sand beaches. He also managed to find some some of Pele’s Hair. This is the stuff formed when lava is ejected into the air and the wind catches it and stretches it thin. It looks like hair. Totally cool!
Here some of the pics that encapsulated the day: