|Waipi'o Valley in the rain|
We headed over the hill through Waimea, the old ranch town. It is located just where the hill gets green on the saddle between Kohala Mountain and Mauna Kea. We first went to the Waipi'o Valley lookout. The GPS wanted to send me down a road that dropped off the highway into a really steep little road but I thought it better to stay on the paved roads. It was raining the whole day but that is why it is so lush. The Waipi'o Valley is the largest of the steep Kohala valleys from the collapse of the mountain It goes back 6 miles, is a mile across and the cliffs are a couple thousand feet deep. A few people live down there and farm. the road down is so steep you need 4 wheel drive to get back up. The Hawaiian royals once lived in this valley, accessing it by the sea.
|Anaeho'omalu Bay Fish Pond|
|Ocean inlet for fish pond|
|Native Hawaiian house|
We took a swim in the waves at Hapuna Bay with a lovely white sand beach. The Big Island has only a few white sand beaches and they are all on the west coastline. This beach had the polished coral sand of a natural beach - easy ont he bare feet. I found a neat lava tube cave. They are formed when the hot lava comes up out of the earth in channels. The rock hardens on top and the sides but there is enough pressure to have the hot lava tube go for a ways. When the magma pressure stops, then the hot lava in the tube drains out, leaving a big tube cave. This one is washed by the sea and there is some driftwood in the back.
|Lava tube at Hapuna Bay|
|Puako cave dwelling|
|Puako - inside the cave dwelling|
Our last day was most of the day on the island as our flights didn't leave until the evening. We took the higher mountain road back down to the Kona coffee belt. A beautiful drive but the VOG was noticeable so we retreated back up to Hawi on the north coast for dinner and because it is the farthest away from the VOG while still being easy to get back to the airport. We saw the mountain on Maui topping the clouds from the north coast.
|Kona Joe's view to the ocean|
Anthropologically, the native Hawaiian culture and religion are a study in isolated human groups. I don't know how long it took or if they brought the rigid taboo system with them or if it developed into the bloody thing it was when the Europeans arrived. But it does make me wonder at how ruthless people can really affect a closed population.
It would have been fun to have a 4 wheel drive vehicle but we still got to see a lot of the island in the rental car. I picked up a great map called Hawai'i Island Atlas and Maps that is chock full of information about the island. It was perfect to learn about it and find our way around.
The reds and oranges are flows from 1790 to present