Monthly Archives: January 2015

Punalu’u Black Sand Beach…and a bonus

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. Punalu'u

Green Sand Beach

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 has the authority to control access.  Very nice people.  Only take a high clearance 4×4 if you do drive the road or contact Epic! Tours and we’ll do the driving for you.

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, beautiful and one-of-a-kind to swim in and remember to 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


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

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.

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

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

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

Cathedral of Trees, Puna District

This section of the Pahoa-Kapoho Road has been on many top ten lists as one of the most beautiful tree-lined drives in the world.  It’s easy to see why as you view images of the way it used to be.

After Iselle blew through in August of 2014, the landscape was forever changed.

Few people realize that the Albizia were planted at the onset of WWII to hide movements of troops, supplies and citizens from planes and dirigibles.  The Albizia have been at home on Hawaii far longer than most of the people.

You will never be able to drive under the canopies and listen to the trees play tag with the breeze, but you can see what once was in the following images.


Albizia 1

Albizia 2

Abizia Gone

Albizia Gone 1

Albizia Gone 2