January 27 – February 11, 2016
On arrival to Papkolea (or Green Sand Beach), it was no surprise there were only a handful of people. The drive in was a barely passable three miles. Vendors at the last drivable point took a bunch of us down a rocky, dusty journey along the coast to reach this gem. There are only four green sand beaches in the world.
The turquoise ocean against the black lava land, golden cliffs, white waves and olive green sand was an unbelievable combination.
The deep olive sand. Absolutely stunning. The green is created from olivine (the gem quality of olivine is peridot) which is made when lava forms and the mineral in the cliffs sloughs off and is ground by the waves into beach sand.
The olive sand appeared more so when the sun peaked through the overcast sky. The color, from the mineral olivine, mutes quickly when the sun disappears again.
This woman on the cliffs captured my photographic eye. Her unusual clothing for the location, along with the billowing of her scarf and the strong pink colors had me and my lens mesmerized.
I always keep an eye out for subjects to make the landscape more interesting and give it scale. I was lucky to find such a perfect one here.
A swimmer in olive matched the beach perfectly.
Washing her hands in the surf I followed her movements once again, feeling voyeuristic except that with the beach being so small everyone there was well aware of each other.
After only 30 minutes or so on the beach, and as sunset approached, the driver stood on the cliff above and called for our return. I was the last one off the beach. I didn't want to leave. Next time perhaps I will remain and watch the sunrise there as well.
My first visit to one of only four green sand beaches in the world was brief. But it was unforgettable.
I was fortunate on my first day in Hawaii to find out my friend Jake Gillis was enjoying his final day on the island. We headed out to the Kuamoo Battle Burial Grounds (a Hawaiian burial site for warriors killed during a major battle in 1819.) Our intentions were to cliff jump, but the rough ocean conditions made that too dangerous. So instead we explored the lava land points. There are two kinds of lava that make up the ground of the Big Island of Hawaii. This area is made of the rough, jagged A'a variety which is lightweight, porous and can be treacherous if the body makes contact.
Jake braces for a wave to engulf him. After surveying the situation I planted my equipment, gathered my waterproof gear and made my way out to the lava point as the Pacific Ocean surf pounded around us.
Kuamoo Battle Burial Grounds, south of Kailua Kona on the Big Island. The island ground is all lava.
Jake surveys the surf getting ready to get drenched and the serious attempt to remain upright.
Jake Gillis bracing for the waves.
The rough A'a lava makes this journey to the ocean more dangerous as falling onto the rock can abrade or slice skin with its sharp edges.
Hit by a wall of water and staying upright is no easy feat.
Underground lava tubes dot the landscape all around the island.
Climbing around inside the lava tube in Hawaii.
Entrance to a lava tube along the west coast of Hawaii Island. The Big Island is made up of five volcanos.
Looking west to the Pacific Ocean at the Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Park, Big Island, Hawaii. This area is made of the smooth variety of Pahoehoe lava rock which is easy to walk on. It looks and feels similar to asphalt - somewhat smoother - but has no smell. It is surprising that it also isn't dirty. I was expecting blackish residue to get on clothing and bags but its like rock once it cools and doesn't come off on what makes contact.
Bogie takes a swim along the lava beach at Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Park, Big Island, Hawaii. It is so beautiful the way the ocean pools in the lava shores. The shoreline changes every day, every every year as new molten lava flows and cools into a new land mass.