Roadtrip on Big Island (31jan)

This post used to contain pictures, but due to new storage limitations from WordPress, I had to fix the problem and decided to create a new blog that works as an archive for all the posts from my two years in California. This full post can be found here.

I am so broke right now, and that is thanks to Enterprise. The world’s worst car rental company. Today was all about driving around the island seeing other things than the hotel and Kailua-Kona.  But it took the rest of my money just to rent the car because stupid Enterprise wanted $300 in deposit! And after the $80 for the car I only had like $100 left… In California and on Oahu they only wanted $200. So now I can’t afford my second bag to Sweden. I asked mom to transfer some money and I really hope I will get them before my flight departs on Monday morning (that is evening time in Sweden, so it should be okay, otherwise I’m totally screwed!).

After that our day just got better. We didn’t take any insurance because the a******* at Enterprise didn’t ask about it and then just acted like b****** when they gave us the car. So I drove the whole day, and it was a long day.

Roadtrip Big Island

Ka Lae, South Point

Our first stop was at the most southern point in the United States, Ka Lae. Out there one could jump from a cliff right down in the crystal clear water. A lot of fish were swimming right there and I so wanted to do it! I really wanted to, but we didn’t really have the time since we had a lot of stops to do today. It was only 35 feet (10 meters). I probably would have survived! If I ever get the chance to cliff jump again, I will totally do it! I’m so bummed I didn’t do it, there were no rocks, just a straight cliff and really deep water. And it was hot, like 85F, so it would have been perfect with a dip in the ocean. There was also a blowhole, which is kinda like an underground cave where the water goes in and “blows” up through the ground. When the waves come in the level in the hole rises and stupid people can jump in. Right before we came there was a guy jumping in. Cliff jumping is one thing, but blowhole jumping is just stupid…

Red sand This is what I call red sand!Blowhole The blowhole.Cliff jumping I so wish this was me!South PointHanging loose at the most southern point in the United States of America!

Green sand beach

Our next stop was right around the corner, Papakolea Beach/Mahana Bay/the green sand beach. To get to the beach we had to park the car and then do a ridiculous hike. It probably would have taken us 1.5 hours.  There are people with pickup trucks there who work as shuttle. $15 roundtrip and they drive you all the way and then wait for you to take your pictures.  The ride was bumpy and dusty though. I never get carsick, but today I did and it took me several hours after to get rid of the feeling. It took 30 minutes one way. And now to the description of the beach! It isn’t as green as leaves on a tree, but it is definitely green. The closer you look the more green you see. So the sand is tiny bits of crystal. Most of them are green, some gold, some black. It was so cool!

Bumpy ride Bumpy ride Papakolea Green Sand Beach Papakolea Green Sand Beach Papakolea Green Sand Beach

Black sand beach and turtles

Our third stop was at a black sand  beach and it was way more impressive than the one on Maui. First, this was blacker! It was so dark and Nina (a girl from Maui whom we met later tonight) told me that the darker the lava rock is, the newer it is. Second, it was surrounded by palm trees (and you all know how much I love those!) and I just love the color combination of black lava rock and green. Third, and the best, was that there were turtles basking in the sun!! We saw five of them in total and they were hard to see, they were dark, the sand was dark and they totally look like rocks. I took like another million pictures of the Honu, the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle and I will probably have a new profile picture on Facebook as soon as I get the pictures from Caroline’s camera.

Panaluu Black Sand Beach This was a very beautiful beach.Turtles at Panaluu Four turtles, a fifth out in the water and the sixth was behind me!Turtles at Panaluu Turtles at Panaluu Turtles at Panaluu

Kilauea, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

This roadtrip was so easy. We didn’t need a GPS because everything was accessed from the HWY 11. Our last stop was at the Volcanoes National Park. Kilauea is the most active of the islands five volcanoes but it is sleeping right now. The biggest is the Mauna Loa which is located just 20 miles north. There isn’t any lava in the Halema’uma’u crater, which is located in the Kilauea caldera. I had to google what the difference between crater and caldera is, and I think I understand it. A caldera is what’s left when landmasses collapse after a volcanic eruption. And the crater is where the lava is I guess. Anyway, according to Wikipedia (I know, I shouldn’t look up information there, but it’s so easy), who refers to Hawaii Volcano Observatory, says there still is lava down there, like 70-150 meters below the crater floor. And someone at Banana Bungalow told me that the lava hasn’t been visible for a while. So we didn’t see anything, but we did see steam though!

African landscape The landscape changes so much here on Big Island. One part is full of lava rocks/cliffs, one part is overgrowing rainforest, one part looks like African savannah, one part looks like forests in Germany and some part look like northern Sweden. Really cool :).European landscape

Okay, that volcano has a road on the rim, called the Crater Rim Drive, so we could drive to all the places. Our first stop up there was the Lava tube with Nahuku which means stalactites. It was like any other tunnel/cave I’ve been in. It was moist, a lot of water dripping and since it was a tourist attraction it had lights. It wasn’t too long, just a few hundred meters. When we came out of it we walked through a rainforest but it wasn’t as cool as in the movies. But it was cool with the super big ferns. I felt like a little ant walking under them.

Lava Tube Lava Tube Rainforest

Our second stop was Pu’u Pua’i. It is a big pile of solidified lava covering part of the Crater Rim Drive so it’s not possible driving all the way around. It got covered in 1959 during the 37-day eruption in Nov-Dec. During that eruption the Kilauea volcano made a 580 meter high lava fountain! It’s so crazy it’s hard to believe. It’s also very fascinating googling and reading on the signs about all these things.

Our third stop in the National Park was the steam vents. It was a place among the drive with simply explained, a lot of steam coming out of the ground. It was really cool, but it smelled like a rotten egg fart out there. And it was hot. I got burned twice on my legs when the wind took the steam in my direction.

Steam vents Steam vents

Our fourth and last stop along the drive was the Jaggar Museum and the Hawaii Volcano Observatory. There we learned that this volcano only was 4000 feet. It is a little confusing what we actually saw. Well, what we saw was a big desolate area (Kilauea caldera) with a steaming crater (Halema’uma’u). That crater was a big lake of lava until 1924 when it exploded and doubled the size of the crater. So no lava today but that was probably good. What if there would have been an eruption and I would have been stuck on Hawaii? Oh no! Horrible thought :).

Halema'uma'u Crater

I drove all the way back to Kailua-Kona and stopped at Pineapple Park hostel where Nina from Banana Bungalow on Maui stayed. We picked her and three of her guy friends up and drove to a nice burger restaurant. It was a real restaurant with good burgers! On the way back to the hotel I got a little lost, no, not lost, but I took an involuntarily detour which resulted in a funny sign which said: Entering Banana Virus Quarantine Area. Haha! I didn’t enter though, I found the right way back to HWY 11. I wonder what was going on there!

Back at the hotel I booked my shuttle for Sunday and now I only have like 400SEK, which isn’t even $100. Stupid Enterprise… And then I grabbed my computer and spent a few hours in the bar updating my blog. I couldn’t post this though because I didn’t have all the photos. And I think my readers will have plenty to read anyway.

It was awesome taking a long shower and to get rid of the dust layer. And then I couldn’t stop reading about volcanoes on Wikipedia and now it’s almost 2am… I’m on vacation though, so it’s fine!

This day turned out to be really nice, even if I’m moneyless. Tomorrow’s our last day on Hawaii and we are just gonna relax by the pool, working on our tan one last time. And since the Wi-Fi at the bar (which is right next to the pool) is working I will probably continue to read about volcanoes. I don’t know the history about Haleakala on Maui yet :).

2014-02-01, 01:41

Road to Hana

This post used to contain pictures, but due to new storage limitations from WordPress, I had to fix the problem and decided to create a new blog that works as an archive for all the posts from my two years in California. This full post can be found here.

Wow! What a day!! I take back every bad thought I had about Maui yesterday. I am so glad we came to this hostel on a Monday around noon so we could sign up for this tour, it was amazing!! We saw lava rocks, turquoise water, black sand beach, red sand beach, bamboo forest, waterfalls, whales and swam in a freshwater cave. I will explain everything better under these headlines.

Road to HanaB was the Keanae Peninsula as well.


This road was seriously ridiculous! You can compare it to Pacific Coast Highway 1 in California between Los Angeles and San Francisco. But this was crazier! It was sick! I just read online that it is 60 miles of scenic coastal road. It is extremely curvy and has around 620 curves and 59 bridges! I don’t get carsick but I was close today. I was very grateful that I didn’t have to drive that road and could enjoy the beautiful view. Bamboo were growing next to the road, palm trees, banana trees, beautiful red flowers. Big mountains on one side and the blue ocean on the other. It was amazing! On the way back we saw a lot of cats on the road. Someone in the van said that there are at least on cat per person on Maui. I should probably move there.Road to Hana Road to HanaSeven Sacred PoolsThe Seven Sacred Pools are part of Haleakala State Park, but we only stopped with the can for a few seconds to look at it.


Our first stop was for banana bread at a famous place called Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread. And it was delicious, just out of the oven and so moist! I and Caroline shared a loaf and that was a perfect breakfast since the pancake batter were out when we wanted to eat breakfast. One minute away from that place was such a beautiful peninsula with a lot of lava rocks and turquoise water. The contrast was so amazingly beautiful!! And the waves were big and white clouds of water splashed everywhere all the time. It was breathtaking!

Keanae Peninsula Keanae Peninsula


The second stop was also completely taken out of a photoshopped picture of paradise. There were two parts of this stop and the first one for our van (two vans with like 12 people in each) was the black sand beach! I’ve never seen that and I was impressed by how black it actually was! The colors at this place was as beautiful and I just couldn’t believe what I saw. The black sand and lava rocks, the same awesome turquoise water and the green vegetation on the black lava rocks. I think the pictures speak for themselves! But as you all know, it is always more beautiful in real life and this place was truly amazing!

Wai'anapanapa State Park, Black Sand Beach Wai'anapanapa State Park Wai'anapanapa State Park

The second part of the stop was the Wai’anapanapa cave. I knew about it and had mentally prepared me for the experience. Because I knew I would regret it so bad if I chickened out. The cave is a freshwater cave you can swim through. I thought we were gonna have to swim underwater and that was what freaked me out a little bit. Swimming under water in a cave… Not exactly something safe. But apparently the water levels have been really low the last couple of months so that wasn’t  necessary. Puuh! BUT, it was still scary when our guide (who btw looked like the boy’s first grade teacher) told us that once we jumped through the little hole in the cave, there was no going back. Shit! I don’t like that sentence. But I actually wasn’t afraid and I didn’t have any second thoughts at all. I knew I wanted to do it and so many other people have done it so why not me? I felt a bit like Tris in the Divergent book when she at the Dauntless initiation had to jump off a roof into a black hole in the ground. I actually went first in the black hole in the cave.

Anyway, so here’s how the cave worked. First we had to jump down in to the pool. The water was cool, not too cold, maybe a little bit colder than the ocean in San Diego. The jump wasn’t high, it was like 1.5m maybe? Probably not even that. When we all were in the crystal clear water the guide and a guy went before me into a small tunnel. When I came in the second “room” of the cave the guide was pointing her flashlight at a tiny, tiny hole. It was a little jump of a few decimeters and below it was another room with a lower level of water and it was pitch dark in there. Since the second “room” were so small we had to go through the hole right away and I volunteered to go first. Crazy me! But I felt brave. In there I have to admit that I panicked a little. I was all alone in a black water cave, I had no idea how big it was, how low the ceiling was, what else could have been there in the dark with me. It wasn’t real bad, but it was scary. So I clung to the wall like a curled up baby and hung there until everyone was in the third “room”. My fingers hurt really bad after holding on to the lava rocks but I didn’t want to tramp water in there, it was scary. When we all were in there the guide swam first into an even smaller tunnel where I was afraid of hitting my head in the ceiling. I couldn’t see anything and I tried touching the wall all the time with my hand, but I had to swim at the same time. It wasn’t a very long tunnel, maybe 4m? And then we were done with the water. One last part before we could be out in the sun again. We had to climb out of that cave! And that was the scary part for real. The black cave was scary fun, I knew there weren’t any dangers there. But climbing up on a wet and sharp lava rock wall was scary. I tried going after the guide (she had the flashlight on the wall, but it didn’t reach all the way down to the water where we were) but I seriously couldn’t find anywhere to grasp. So I got back in the water and let another girl go ahead of me. And then I tried again. And, oh my god, I was so afraid of losing my grip and fall backwards and hit my head in the wall and probably die. I didn’t, but I was really scared and I scraped the front of my lower leg a little bit. When I got up and was safe my heart was trying to pound itself out of my chest and I was shaking. Not because of the cold water, but because of the adrenaline kick I had! That experience was the best thing ever. Such a rush and I felt so alive!! The rest of  the way up to the paved road was very slippery so the danger wasn’t over, but I climbed like a monkey, holding on to roots and did it. WOW!

Wai'anapanapa State Park CAVEThat’s me jumping in the cool freshwater. It was a little bit less than 2m deep.

There is a legend behind this cave and they say that a Hawaiian princess ran away from her cruel husband and hid in that cave. Her servant used a feather Kahili (a symbol of royalty) to fan the princess and the reflection in the water made the husband notice them and he killed the princess, coloring the cave all red. At certain times during the year the cave fills up with tiny red shrimp and some say it is a reminder of the blood of that princess.

Just when we got in the van to leave we spotted whales breaching pretty close to the beach so we watched them for a little while. They were way closer than the ones in San Diego. And on Friday I will see them even closer, like right next to the boat.



The third stop was lunch. Right when I was about to order they ran out of fish tacos and that was a real bummer, I’ve heard those are really good. So I took the BBQ chicken instead and that was probably the best barbecued chicken I’ve ever had. So amazing!!


Our fourth stop was the Haleakala State Park, where the big volcano crater is. But we went to another part of the park to do a hike in a bamboo forest and look at waterfalls. It was a pretty easy hike, two miles to the big waterfall and two miles back. It took us around 2 hours in total. In the beginning I was really afraid that my calves were gonna hurt and they did when we went up. But then it flattened out and the trail was actually like a real road with planks laid out. It was perfect. In the beginning of the hike there was a huuuge banyan tree! Those trees are so cool, with their trunks going in all directions and growing how they like.

Haleakala State Park, Pipiwai Trail, Banyan tree

The bamboo forest later on was pretty awesome! They were so high, so it was dark in there. We saw pools and tiny waterfalls on the way and it was just a very nice hike. At the end of the hike was Waimoku Falls which was a skinny but tall waterfall. It has a drop of about 400 feet (I don’t know how much that is in meters and I’m too tired to look it up, but it was pretty tall). The flow wasn’t that good, I think it was a while ago it rained here. Our guide said that the trail normally was all muddy but today it was really dry. It was like a giant wall there with a tiny pool where the water collected. It was dripping all along the wall and it was the same colors ad before. Black rock and green lush. It was really beautiful!

Haleakala State Park, Pipiwai Trail Haleakala State Park, Pipiwai Trail Tiny Caroline among the bamboo!Haleakala State Park, Pipiwai Trail, Waimoku FallsWaimoku falls at the end of Pipiwai Trail.


The last stop was a red sand beach and it was also super cool! Now I’ve seen white, black (pink on Crete in Greece) and red beaches. On Big Island we will see a green one! It wasn’t just the color of the sand that was cool, it was a lot of lava rocks right outside the beach making like a pool in the small bay. The walls around the beach were massive. It probably would have been even more beautiful there if the sun would have been a little higher in the sky. It was just about to set behind the mountain.

Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach

When we started our journey I learned why I thought Maui was so boring. There are a lot of sugar cane fields here and this part of the island has flat ground and therefore a lot of fields. It looks really boring. My roommates by the way, are nice. Except Caroline, I have a 22 year old Canadian girl and an older woman from New York. She talks a lot but she is nice. AND, I forgot to write something yesterday. When we were at the mall a guy came up to us and asked us if we were from Sweden. He said we looked really Swedish with our blond hair and blue eyes. Haha!

I think that was all today. It was an eventful day. I’m tired but had such an awesome time! When we got back to the hostel at 8:30pm the list for tomorrow’s tour was already full, but we wrote our name on the waiting list and are either hoping for dropouts or an extra car so we can go to Lahaina and snorkel with turtles at Black Rock! Otherwise we will take the bus to Lahaina. Black Rock is further away so we will probably just hang out at the old Hawaiian capital and then eat at hard Rock Café.