On Wednesday, we were greeted by our wonderful cabin-owner. We spent probably the first hour of our time at the cabin listening to him tell of all the things we should see. Um, we were going to need an early start if we were going to fit everything in
So on Thursday, on our first full day on the Big Island, we left early in the morning for site seeing and a day at the beach (and a surprise ending).
First stop: black sand beach [Hawaii's state bird is the Nene Goose. Maybe because it's such a funny name, the whole trip Kyler and I called every goose-resembling bird a Nene. We really thought these were the real thing though...until we saw a real picture of one and realized these were just ducks. Bummer]
There's the black sand though!
And whaddya know, a sea turtle taking a nap. We could see at least two others swimming in the shallow water just off the beach so we stuck around for a little while. No such luck of them coming onto shore as well. But this 'ol guy and the real black sand made the trip totally worth it.
And on our way out, I spotted our neighbor's car. To me, that car is the epitome of Hawaiians' vehicles!
Our next stop: green sand beach. According to our cabin-owner, once the lava hit the ocean, there was a chemical reaction with all sorts of explosions that left the beach with green sand. I pictured a beach exactly like the black sand beach but with emerald green sand. I couldn't wait! And after winding down to the southernmost tip in the U.S. we found a cliff...and trails leading to the green sand beach.
Here is me perched on said cliff.
We walked and walked and walked and finally found what we assumed to be the green sand beach.
On the way back, we missed the trail that would take us back to our car. Yeah...neither one of us were very happy about that mistake.
Until we stumbled upon this scene. No that is not our car [ours is still about 2 miles away], but doesn't this look like a car commercial?
Well, once we did get back to our car, we headed off to the beach! We wound through a community near Kona...
[we l.o.v.e.d. this sign]
...to the beach. Oh wait. Did I say beach? We definitely made it to the coast, but there was no beach. Just huge rocks.
Off to beach number two: Magic Sands Beach. I really have no idea why, but we have no pictures of this beach. I don't think its sands were magical, but Kyler did go into the ocean for a little bit. The water was really rough, and he even got yelled at by the life guard for entering too close to the rocks.
After some lunch at BIG: Big Island Grille, we were off to beach number three: Hapuna Beach!
Success! Until we tried to lay down and got a facefull of sand. Man that beach was windy!
So after absorbing a ton of sand, we moved up the beach a bit...to the grass.
Much better. No more sand blowing in my ears. I can still see the beach and ocean. And the sun! Oh the glorious sun!
After we'd had enough beaching/grassing it, we decided to head home. At this point, we were directly on the other side of the island of our cabin. Our whole day of adventures had taken us about 3ish hours away from home. So Kyler whipped out his iPhone and saw that the quickest route home was through the middle of the island, between the two mountains that cover the island. Oh, and this is the road that our cabin-owner said that most rental car companies advised against, but he said we should be just fine. So with the sun setting, Kyler said that's the route we were going to take. Needless to say, we were both a bit nervous. So we filled up on gas, bought some snacks and drinks, and were on our way.
At first, we were just surrounded by the gorgeous scenery we had become accustomed to, all the while heading climbing the foot of mountains.
Then we hit some fog. Ok, a lot of fog. Ok, that's not fog. We're in the clouds!
It got much foggier/cloudier after this, but I decided to put the camera down and help Kyler navigate.
I had asked the guy at the gas station about taking this specific road home. He said we should be fine as long as it was daylight. Oh, good thing it was right about sundown and the clouds were blocking what little light was left...
Eventually we made it home. We only had to spend half of the two-and-a-half-hour drive going down a mountain, pitch-black outside, and the road being reconstructed (i.e. we were driving on a one lane gravel road lined by cones). After we made it back to our side of the island, we laughed about the whole experience and picked up a pizza from Kiawe Kitchen on our way home. Another eventful day in Hawaii!