Hawaii local attractions

Samuel M. Spencer Beach Park

Not but maybe 100 yards from the Pu’ukohola Heiau is a beautiful beach park with granular light sand, shallow water, small waves and beautful coral.  There are camping spots and activities such as volleyball court and hoops to make this an ideal spot for a reunion picknic or camping weekend.  We enjoyed the waves but I couldn’t get out of my head that all those reef sharks were just to the side of us still in sight (although we didn’t see any we were told they were there and I believe the park rangers) so we didn’t swim too far from shore.  



We enjoyed the drive home checking out the dramatic shoreline of the the northern tip of the island and just down the eastern edge of the tip.  So beautiful we can’t wait to go back and hike it.

The drive was so green .  We were welcomed from the dry side side of the island to the wet by a beautiful rainbow.

We learned that the annual rainfall at the Heiau was 9″ per year so out of curiosity we looked it up for the rainy side, Kurtistown, which is where we live.

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Pu’ukoholā Heiau

This was our last National Park for this Island, Pu’ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site (The Temple on the Hill of the Whale) built of what else but lava rocks.  The building material of plenty on this island.  Built by King Kamehameha in 1790-1791.  It was told in a prophesy that if he built this temple that he would be able to unite the islands as one kingdom.  He was able to unite the islands.  It was at this time when James Cook from England stumbled upon the islands bringing them in one generation from the stone ages to a global awareness of nations and technology of the English sailors who frequented the island.  One such sailor John Young and foreign advisor Isaac Davis stayed on the island and assisted Kamehameha in his rise to power.  

I share this because you can go on line and listen to the history for yourself it is pretty interesting.



The reef here is full of reef sharks we watched for them but did not see any.  Supposedly they are easy to spot in the morning their black triangular dorsal fin moving above the water.

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Hapuna Beach

This calm child friendly beach was our pick to try out for Saturday.  Actually we were going to go to the last National park on the island but for got our pass, so that will just have to wait.  This beach is shallow a long ways out we kept an eye on the kids but didn’t have to stay at arms length.  We played for several hours until a little guy got stung by a Portugese Man of War (like a jelly fish but not) they came in with the tide.  Chad got stung on the back of his leg too so we called it a day and headed home.  It was calm and restful.  We stopped at the Waimea park on the way home.  It reminded us of the Gilbert House.



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Green Sand Beach

There are only four green sand beaches in the world.  It I s supposedly colored by a precious stone called Olivite created somehow under the perfect volcanic induced circumstances the crushed by the strong waves.  It’s particles mixed in with the black sand from the lava rocks pulverized by the same strong waves make for a dark green color to the sand.  We couldn’t wait to see it for ourselves, that and it was just time for a long hike.  The wind greeted us as we got out of our cars at south point.  That and several other locals asking if we wanted rides out to the beach for $75 for the five of us.  It was a three mile hike in the sun, but the hike was part of the experience.  The breeze was perfect and kept us from feeling like we were baking in the sun.  The path was rough and we were slow.  It took us about two and a half hours to get the whole crew that far.  Several people stopped and asked us if we wanted a ride, we thanked them but declined.  We stopped and ate lunch as it was around 1:30 and the kids were hot, hungry and tired.  



The destination was definitely worth the time and effort.  The beach was more steep and the waves more strong than the other beaches we have visited which made me nervous with the kids.  But we made sure they didn’t get too deep and kept a really close eye on them.



We knew we couldn’t stay too late if it was going to take us another 2.5 hours to get out so we cut it short about 3:30pm.  A guy who had offered us a ride in offered us a ride out and this time we took him up on it.  He was a life saver as we were all hot and tired.  We got home I time to have pizza for dinner.  Thank you nice man.  We apriciate you so much.

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Mmmmm….Macadamia nuts

We pass this Macadamia nut plantation/processing factory everytime we drive into Hilo. Today we got to stop and check it out.  There was a self guided tour which was pretty interesting and offered in five different languages you just have to push the button with the coresponding countries flag.  We learned that you need three hundred pounds per square inch to crack a macadamia nut shell.  In the days before automated machines of every kind macadamia nuts were cracked by driving over them in a car.  Now they have flat presses.  We enjoyed the three mile drive into the visitor center and the lovely 2,500 acher farm that boasted 250,000 trees that produce delicious macadamia nuts.  The nuts them selves were delicious enough, but it was fun trying all the many flavors and picking out a few to take home with us for later snacks.



I love love love chocolate.  Chad got a bag of chocolate and coconut covered macadamias just for me.  I willbe adding them to my lunches to get me through the next two months., yum!

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Rain Rain Go Away

We really headed to the Sunny side of the island to whale watch but we got too distracted by the awesome sun and waves that we forgot to whale watch.

We got there at 1:30pm and left just after 5:00pm and pretty much spent the entire time playing in the waves!!! The kids are getting quite brave with the waves and the two older ones are trying their hand at body surfing.  The consensus is that boogie boards are the only thing that could have possibly made today better.  I just hope the kids remember all these fun days.  Being together is what makes these memories so great.

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Entertainment

Being 45 minutes out of town has had its advantages and disadvantages.  The kids have really enjoyed the freedom to roam outside and use their imaginations, the birds and frogs make a continuous joyful noise, and the road out to our house can be best described as a roller coaster.  Infact one of the hills is called roller coaster hill.  While the commute is fun, I have to eat my way home in order to make it that far with out falling asleep, because let’s face it as all night shifters know. The windows down, music blasting, and face slapping does not really do anything.  This week my schedule is kind of crazy.  Two twelve hour night shifts, two eight hour night shifts, and one eight hour swing shift.  The one eight hour shift that I already completed I got called to come in early.  I don’t feel like it ever really pays to work over time as a traveler because so much of your paycheck is housing and incidentals that are not included in your hourly wage that it is a bit of a slap in the face to work a whole extra twelve hour shift of overtime and have your check be maybe $200 more, so as a rule I don’t do overtime as a traveler at least.  I am hoping to be put on call for one of my shifts this week, that would be great.  

We have been pleasantly surprised at how many activities in Hawaii are free.  Food is very expensive, but you can do that part reasonably if you stick to the foods that the locals eat.  Gas so far has been cheaper than the mainland. But the beaches, and parks are pretty much all free.  No charge for parking, no charge for entrance to state parks, so hikes and snorkeling are free as well as just chilling in the sun.   

Here are a few pictures of what the kids have been doing to entertain themselves!  Checking out waterfalls, dancing in the rain, water fights, coloring on the cement with chalk they found, coloring brown paper bags, catching frogs, long walks, checking out lizards, swimming, finding shells, and making forts and boats out of branches they have found.  Have a blessed week love the Owens family!



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Panaluu, Kalae, & Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau

I am disheartened after writing quite a bit of this post just to have it deleted so hear goes round two most likely more brief.  When we woke up this morning we really didn’t have any kind of plan for the day but we know from experience that three months isn’t long enough to really waste any time and still see the things we hope to see while we are here.  We thumbed through the guide book and decided to see another one of the national parks that just happened to be near Kona on the other side of the island.  We were driving along just minding the GPS when we saw a sign for a black sand beach.  Although we have seen black sand we had not yet been to a black sand beach and it was on the top of Hannah’s most want to do in Hawaii list, so we turned and checked it out.  Panaluu County Black sand beach was a hit.  The smell of BBQ was in the air.  Hammocks hanging on the coconut palms. 

From there we kept on towards the west side. Then Chad made a turn off the main road…where was he going?  I don’t usually ask right away because often it becomes obvious, but the GPS kept chirping directions at us so I asked if Chad wanted me to turn it off.  It was a small one lane road. And the scenery was perfect.  

We had talked about seeing the green sand beach at breakfast, but it requires a hike and it was lunch time and we hadn’t packed a lunch.  That is not where Chad was going he was taking us to the most southern point in the United States!  Yay so fun! A whole bunch of people were there.  Not to say they had been to this point, but to cliff jump.  It was kind of fun to watch them.  

 That was a fun detour!  

Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historic Park was surprisingly awesome.  I wasn’t really sure what to expect and we were a little grouchy and hungry it was 2:00pm and we still had not had lunch, there aren’t that many places to stop for food on the drive around the southern tip of the island.  We got in on the 2:30 ranger talk which was hilarious and gave us the jest of the history of this historic park.  It was a safe haven called by many “city of refuge” a reference from the Bible. Where people could go to find sanctuary if they were guilty of breaking the sacred laws (kapu).  



I could live in a bungalow here. 































A day of fun surprises! 

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Lava Old and New

Today we visited Lava Tree State Monument It is a park that shows a lava flow from 1790 through ha heavily forested section of the jungle near Pahoa.  The lava flowed around and up tree trunks then the heat from the lava burned the tree leaving castings.  Trees that have since grown back up in that area have very shallow root systems because of the thick layer of lava rocks so close to the surface of the soil.  A big wind, the kind that can happen frequently on this side of the island is all it takes to blow these trees down.  A few have been left how hey landed and show just how shallow the root systems are. It was cool to see and the constant chorus of birds singing was the best kind of white noise in the world.  







The night before I had a patient who had been evacuated from her home in November or December for the most recent lava flow so she had told me where to look.  Just up the volcano from Pahoa at the transfer station you can see the December flow. 

Fences to protect people who think it might be a good idea to climb on the not completely cooled lava….sometimes I am amazed at what has to be done to protect people from themselves.  This being maybe 10 miles from our house we headed home for dinner.  After dinner it started raining.  I said that the kids should go out and play in the rain half kidding.  Eve came in dripping wet minutes later asking if I wanted to play with her. I hadn’t even realized she had snuck outside.  I didn’t get in on the dancing in the rain, but I did go outside to get pictures. 

 When the rain stopped it turned into a watertight with a hose and watering can.  Then we watched Diners Drive-Ins and Dives and went to bed. 

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Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

This national park is a short drive from our house and seemed like a good way to start off our school week and celebrate our anniversary as I work tomorrow on the actual day. We got a late start because we had to fuss with the instant hot water heater because the pilot light will not stay lit.  No success was had with that so we quickly took our cold showers, dressed, ate breakfast, and then spent an hour or so trying to download pictures off of my phone to clear up memory for the new ones that would be put on there today.  The kids got their school work done for the day before we left the house.  We weren’t stressing about time. We wanted to be there until dark to see the glow of the lava in the distant crater that is invisible during daylight so later was actually better.  The sign at the entrance warned that the air quality was poor today.  We checked out the first visitors center, bought our patches and had a last minute pit stop before heading out on our first hike, the sulfer basin trail.



We then hiked a segment of the crater rim trail and checked out the lava house before heading back to the car for our Musubi lunch.



 We tried a few other different not marketed in the main land products with lunch as well today.  All were a hit.

We learned a lot about the Hawaiian goddess  Pele of the volcano.  There is a picture of her in our house that I thought was a little bazaar now I know what it is.

We then drove the scenic 40 mile drive where the lava had been flowing into the ocean.



Being a farther distance and a larger roped off path the kids were able to climb in the rocks more and that made for some good fun.  We saw 6-7 whale spouts a few of those breeched the surface of the water as we watched.  I just love whale watching and could do that alone all day.  We then did another section of the rim trial.

The Thirston Lava tubes which were quite sad when  compared  to Ape Caves  in Washington, but still they were fun to walk through. 

Our last hike was two miles down and across a crater that besides vents is not currently oozing its lava and must be safe enough to walk out on or they wouldn’t let us right?

This hike took us a while as the kids were getting tired.

Chad and I took turns carrying Eve back up to the top.  As the darkness settled in on us the bright orange glow of the lava was visible.

We didn’t stay until it was completely dark.  It was starting to rain and the kids were tired and cold.  We may come back again though if we get a clear night just to watch the glow in the clear night sky.

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