To anyone who is reading this: Thank you. Mr. Mussack and I really had such an amazing time on the Big Island of Hawaii and we wanted to share those experiences. Not because we think we have the best advice or the best photos or even the right to think what we did was special. But. In my mind, it was. We were determined to cram every last adventure into our five day trip and we had no idea what we were doing. So, really, I just want to help others get the most out of their vacation and, to be honest, their lives. Any who, I just didn’t want anyone to think “She sure thinks highly of herself to put her entire vacation out there, expecting others to care.” Really, I am the one who cares. Squeeze every last drop of life out of your day. Namaste, yo.
Our third day started off with excited energy and a full plate. I’ve said it already, but the Banyan Tree Sanctuary was the bees-knees. I just couldn’t get enough. Their “mothership” hosts yoga practices and meditation. They lead adventures weekly. You eat fruit straight off the trees. Oh, and you wake up and see the ocean. Okay, okay enough free advertising.
After strategically packing and booking out next three nights of lodging (yes, for this night) we started south. We ventured on Mamalahoaha Highway, winding down the west coastline. We stopped a few times for photographic opportunities and oogled over the ever changing landscape and sheer magnitude of lava fields.
South Point Road took us 12 miles to the southern most tip of the United States.And we jumped off it.
Like, Mr. Mussack jumped so fast I barely got photos of it. PROTIP: Don’t dwell on it. Just jump.
It was really some of the most clean, clear blue water I have ever been in. Oh, we also saw some familiar faces. Christina and Lucia, the engaged couple from the Manta Ray night dive, just happened to be jumping of the side of a cliff too. I, of course, was more excited by this coincidence than Mr. Mussack but isn’t that just weird?! This island is HUGE.
Shakily, we returned to our car and headed back to what was a fork in the road headed to the point. That was a right, now it was our turn to take the left option. We parked in the crude parking lot assessed the situation and changed our minds. Oh, not on the adventure, but in the way we would travel. Our next stop would be Papakolea Beach or “Green Sand Beach” When we were planning our day, I was convinced that we would be hiking the 2.5 miles to the beach but once we got there and were offered a ride ($10 both ways per person) we took it. It was bumpy but short and I didn’t even break a sweat and this cut our time by more than half and it tuned out to be a necessity to keep our day on track. Also, this terrain was another throwback for us. It looked like western Nebraska during a hot and dry summer. (This trip made me realize that I was missing home just a little)
We got to the beach within 15 minutes and Mr. Mussack and I took turns for a quick swim. Our driver gave us an hour before he would be leaving and it was enough time to enjoy the water, take some photos, take a deep breath and head back out.
Excuse the bruise. That was from cave diving on Oahu the day before we left. Our ride back to the car was a blur. I was just so happy. We stopped by Kae Lae Coffee, a small coffee shop and flower farm, for a quick snack and we hit the highway.
Punalu’u Beach is widely known for its black sand. And since we just happened to be on the island during a holiday weekend we weren’t keen on setting up shop here. BUT it was beautiful and we would love to come back on a random Tuesday morning to swim and enjoy the company of a few sea turtles.
With really no time to spare (thank you, Uncle, for the ride to Green Sand Beach) we arrived at the Hale Ohia around 4pm. Seriously, how many times can I be speechless in one blog post?! This was my dream home. A little cottage tucked away into a rain forrest. Holy. Moly. Mr. Mussack said it was like “walking in Sleeping Beauty’s forrest” I said Snow White but they’re probably one in the same.
We made ourselves at home and got ready for dinner. THAI THAI is a local, you guessed it, Thai restaurant. We had a spicy, enjoyable meal and fell in love with the Volcano Village. I would seriously love to have that as my address some day. Oh, no big deal, I live in Volcano, Hawaii. Ha.
As the sun set, we made our way one mile to Hawaii Volcano National Park. There is a one-time $10 entrance fee that can be used for one week. The park is open 24 hours a day and evening/night is when you are able to see the bright orange glow of the Kilauea Caldera from the Jagger Museum. I took a few photos, entranced by the glow and we slowly made our way back to the cottage. We would be back in the morning to traverse the landscape, looking for lava.
What a day. What a life living, life loving day. I fell asleep a happy Mermaid that night.
- Don’t leave valuables in your rental car. We didn’t have anything stolen, but like any tourist destination, it is easy to spot an outsider and especially a rental car. Be smart and be safe.
- SUNSCREEN. SUNSCREEN. SUNSCREEN. I don’t even know the number of times we reapplied on this day. I’ll be in the sun for 15 minutes? Sunscreen. I just jumped in the water real quick? It’s cloudy? Double sunscreen. Sunscreen. I am sweating profusely? Really? Sunscreen. Just do it.
- If you’re going to jump, jump a few times at South Point. I wish I would have done it more times and then brought my mask to snorkel a bit. Awesome fish. Awesome water. And you did all the work.
- Mr. Mussack thinks climbing up the ladder was the worst point. Jump, and you be the judge.
- Um. Take the ride from Uncle going to Green Sand Beach and go on a weekday. I was scoffing at the reviews online suggesting that you take the easy way out, but seriously I think it was worth it.
Happy Hump Day and remember to Just B the Aloha in someone’s life.