Punalu’u Black Sand Beach…and a bonus

•January 29, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Punalu’u Black Sand Beach is gorgeous, to say the least.  Large beach area, palm trees and green sea turtles.

This particular image is not really a great image of the beach, it’s what is behind it, many miles, that is special.  The bonus.

Notice the cloud in this distance behind the palm trees?  That’s not a cloud.  When I arrived at the beach the sky was clear and blue.  Suddenly, a large plume of smoke and Sulfur Dioxide rose through the sky.  It’s from the summit of Kilauea, the Halemaʻumaʻu pit crater that is always bubbling and boiling.  A wall must have fallen in or something of the kind causing the smoke to rise like a bomb had gone off.

The scene felt like something out of The Twilight Zone.  Here you have a world class black sand beach, palm trees, trade winds and sea turtles taking a nap 25 feet away.  Then, in the distance, an erupting pit crater from Kilauea Volcano.  Beautiful and unsettling at the same time.


Green Sand Beach

•January 18, 2015 • Leave a Comment

This beautiful green sand beach is near South Point and is in the control of Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.  If you are planning a visit, call the DHHL and ask them if you can drive the road.  They will most likely say yes and give you the name of the person who does have the authority to control access.  Very nice people.

I start out saying all of this due to the thieves that slither in the parking lot about 4 miles from Green Sand Beach.  They will tell you that you must pay to park in the lot or cannot drive your own vehicle on the roads.  They will be happy to toss you in the back of their truck and bounce your brains out for $15 a head all the way to the beach.  Not going to happen.  If someone yells at you as you drive through the parking lot, smile and continue driving.  They are just trying to steal your money.  And probably everything else you have in your vehicle if you leave it at the parking lot.  Only take a high clearance 4×4 if you do drive the road.

Don’t be put off by what I’ve said above, just be informed and safe.  This part of the Big Island is not safe for the naive.  Yes, it’s wild.

Once past the parking lot, continue to the boat launch and make the only left that is there.  Continue on the road, always staying to your left, until you reach the beach.  Now, there are many other roads and some run right next to the ocean.  It would be great to spend all day just exploring those roads and to take in the view from there.  But, if you intend to get to the beach, stay left, left, left.

The water is safe to swim in and bring your grill.

Punalu’u Black Sand Beach is just a 45 minute drive from here.  Very easy to hit both a black and green sand beach in the same day.

Green Sand Beach


•January 18, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Spent a little time at Volcano last night and really enjoyed the clear skies.  In my experience, it is unusual to not have clouds, rain and a steady breeze.

We left earlier than I would have liked when the breeze did start to blow and we could begin to smell Sulfur Dioxide and see that the smoke from Halemaʻumaʻu was beginning to head our way.

Halemaʻumaʻu is a pit crater is located in Volcanoes National Park and is situated within the summit caldera of Kilauea.


Halemaʻumaʻu Up Close

The Day The Moon Stood Still

•January 17, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Just out in the front yard enjoying the trade winds blowing away the Vog the other day and noticed the moon staring back at me.  Could not resist.


Hawaii Moon



Capturing all things big and small.

•January 17, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Capturing as in digital capture.  This not-so-little snail was near the rear of the lava flow the other day.  I doubt he will outrun it.

The snail may be quiet, hidden and very slow…but it’s still wild.


Lava Snail

Red Road Beams and Dreams

•January 13, 2015 • Leave a Comment

This particular location along the Red Road in the Puna District is one of my favorites.

The changing light in the late afternoon along with the mist from waves near the road can create some dramatic views.  Certain times of the year are better than others and this is one of the locations I take folks to, when appropriate, during Jeep tours.  Always a great place to be, see and photograph.

Red Road Beams and Dreams

Lava Flow 2015

•January 7, 2015 • Leave a Comment

The current lava flow in the Puna District began last June and continues, very slowly, to advance across the landscape.  It has traveled almost 14 miles from the source, which is the Pu’u O’o cinder/splatter cone in the Eastern rift of Kilauea.  Lava has been spewing forth from Pu’u O’o since 1983.  If the flow continues to the sea it will cut off over 9,000 people from the rest of the island.  If it flows over a southern ridge, it will eventually cover the Puna District, an area larger than the entire island of Oahu.  This part of old Hawaii would be gone forever.

Public access to the front of the slow moving front is not allowed and all I have to show are images of the cooled lava behind the front.  Updates as things progress.

The lava is very slow moving and builds higher and higher as the flow underneath pushes under the cooling lava, the end result being an incredibly deep, impenetrable layer of solid rock.  The images below show some of the height and were made at the ‘dump’ or transfer station where rubbish is collected and sent by barge to a landfill on the mainland.


lava 4




lava 1


lava 2


lava 3










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