For obvious reasons my thoughts are on the Big Island a lot these days. We are in contact with the owners of the Avocado Tree House and know that for the time being they are safe - if you can ever be really safe, living on a volcano. Their organic farm is just beyond the East Rift Zone toward the ocean and the nearest fissure is about three miles away, but the lava is flowing in the other direction (downrift and farther into the lower East Rift Zone). As of today there are 15 fissures in Leilani Estates and neighboring Lanipuna Gardens. My heart breaks for the people who have already lost their homes to the lava.
I thought that today I take you to the other side of the volcano, toward the west. We had heard about the black sand beaches but never visited one back in the summer of 2016. This time, however, we discovered Punalu'u Black Sand Beach. It's almost like a regular beach with the slight difference that the sand is volcanic and therefore black and there is a lot of lava. After all, we're almost at the foot of the volcano, near the South point of the island.
Of course there were lots of palm trees, and as usual it was a bit windy, but otherwise a gorgeous day.
We could sit on the lava and look out toward the ocean, watch the waves break against the rocks.
The sand was - indeed - black, coarse and there were some sparkles in there as well.
I couldn't stop taking pictures of the tiny beach snails. They were clinging onto the lava everywhere.
We watched a black crab crossing the lava - sideways of course. Yes, even the crabs were black!
And then there was this bird - I assume (but am not sure) it's a Stilt Sandpiper in winter plumage. I observed it for quite a while.
Since this is Hawai'i, there was also this on the beach - a rescue surfboard!
I didn't mention the palm trees, did I?
And then we saw this:
But where were they?
We found them a couple days later.
They were super calm and didn't pay any attention to the picture taking humans. Thankfully no one got too close to them, everybody gave them lots of space.
They were beautiful.
I could have watched them for a looong time.