Hawaii: Part 6 (The Puna & Kau Regions)

For our fourth night on the big island we stayed in a region called Puna (you can see all the regions here).  This region refers to the area south of Hilo and just east of the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.  Since I knew we'd eat up a large portion of our day at the botanical gardens and driving I had booked an airbnb in Pahoa for the night so that we could head out and explore the national park the next morning.  The airbnb wasn't anything to write home about (hence why I'm not really highlighting it here), just a cheap, decent place to crash, and Pahoa in general was kind of blah.  It was basically a residential area with very little to eat or do around the area.  At one point we went out to find food and gas, and it didn't go too well.  When I tried to search for a 7/11 the GPS took us here...
And there wasn't a single gas station in sight...just ocean!  We were pretty sure at this point that the GPS was trying to kill us.  Still, it's a pretty.

The next morning we got up bright and early and headed a little east to the Kapoho Tide Pools, which I had found in my travel planning.  When you search "Hawaii" and "tidal pools" this is what comes up.  The reviews were pretty good, so I figured we'd check it out before making our way to the national park.  On our way to the tide pools we got lost yet again...the GPS wanted to take us one place while the tide pools were in another.  To be fair, it is located way in the back of a residential community, so it's just plain hard to find.
When you first come up to the pools you see an expanse of black lava rock and the ocean far off in the distance.  Then you see the mellow-toned coral, fast-swimming fish, and quick crabs throughout the pools.  Then you nearly fall on your ass because almost all the rocks are incredible slippery!!!  Neither Antoine or I had on our water shoes or hiking boots, though I doubt it would have helped much!  Seriously, it's not super safe, so be careful if you go!  

We didn't stay very long since we were both so terrified we were going to fall.  But we did stay long enough to see a rainbow in the distance!
The tide pools were pretty, but at the same time we were both so uncomfortable and nervous about slipping that we didn't stay long.

Next stop was the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park...
I didn't know these but you can really see the lava glow during the day, it can only be viewed from a distance at night...but you can see the steam.
On the recommendation of a very nice and helpful park ranger, we decided to do a little hike around the rim that lead to the lava tube, which is the most visited place in the park!
The hike was pretty with lots of moss and ferns and a view of the crater to the side.
It had been raining just as we got to the park and then stopped as we were hiking to the lava tube, so everything was coated in a layer of mist.
Doesn't this root/stump/whatever it is look kind of like a moss covered elephant with no ears?!
Selfie at the entrance to the lava tube.
The lava tube!  So basically a couple hundred years ago lava was flowing through this underground cavern.  Pretty cool, right?
The entrance.
Selfie in the lava tube, of course!
Kids running around playing in the lava tube.  I love this shot, they look like little super heroes or something!

After the national park we headed along the coast, slowly making our way to Kailua Kona again.  The only stop I really had on our agenda was the Punalu'u Black Sand Beach Park.  I had read reviews that it was THE place to go on the big island to see sea turtles!
Half of the beach is black sand and the other half is lava rock.  There were a lot of people on the black sand beach like us, just standing there waiting for the sea turtles to come.  But no luck.
While we didn't see sea turtles we did see several pretty birds, like this beauty.  

We were pretty bummed about not seeing any sea turtles.  Like more bummed than people should be!  Mainly because we thought this place was our only hope of seeing a sea turtle on land.  But no worries, there were sea turtles in our future we just didn't know it yet!

That's all for now.  But I have a ton more posts coming up!  I've still got Kailua Kona and all of Oahu to cover, so stay tuned.  Anyway, happy Friday!  Any excellent plans in the works for this weekend?  We're headed to my family reunion this weekend.  I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone, especially my grandparents, I haven't seen them since we've gotten back from Hawaii!  Have a good weekend everyone!

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