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September 18, 2009

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Honomolino Adventure

The Honomolino Outing started off with the group loading up the cars and heading to the old village of Milolii. We parked the cars in the village and hiked south along the coast for about a mile or so across dry lava fields. The hike ended at a large bay, coconut grove and a 100 yard long black sand beach. Despite the rainy and overcast weather most other places, the beach was sunny and hot. Honomolino is conducive to many activities including swimming, snorkeling or play games on the sand. There are tide pools to explore and an ample supply of coconuts to crack open. Weather permitting, there are also a deep water cove with steep sides where the kids can make take small jumps into the water. On this trip, the visibility in the ocean was low and the waves were a little too big for us to jump off the rocks safely. Regardless we all had a great time.

September 12, 2009

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Snorkeling trip to Honaunau

The west side of the Big Island offers protected bays teaming with sea life.  Snorkeling at Pu’uhonua O Honaunau, or two-step as it is commonly referred to is some of the best adventure the Island has to offer.  Last Friday the students and staff set out to explore and learn about the unique underwater ecosystem.  The group identified a number of brilliantly colored and exotically shaped fish, ranging from trumpet fish to boxfish to Picasso triggerfish, unicornfish and even the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a!

Next, the group went to Place of Refuge park for lunch. They explored tide pools and collected sea cucumbers, green sea urchins and hermit crabs.  In addition, they saw a green sea turtle resting on shore. The outing then focused on the palace where the 23 dead Hawaiian chiefs were buried.  This is a historically rich area and more information can be found on the US National Park website

August 28, 2009

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Green Sands Beach Trip 8-26

In addition to spectacular white sand and black sand beaches, the Big Island of Hawaii boasts a unique green sand beach.  Green sand is formed from the gemstone olivine, or peridot.  Through volcanic action the olivine is brought to the earth surface.   As the olivine weathers, it is broken into small fragments, which eventually becomes sand.  The green sand is heavier than the white or black sand and remains on the beach when the ocean currents sweep away the lighter weight sands.  It is a unique phenomenon that occurs at the south point of the island.

The green sands beach contains the oldest know evidence of human habitation in the Hawaii island chain.  It is rich with ruins, petroglyphs, and ancient fishing spots.  Hawaiian mythology believed the green sand to be the tears of the Goddess Pele.  It was used in many healing ceremonies.

The students were guided by Kawika, an expert on the local environment and culture.  Kawika is native to Hawaii and enthusiastically entertains the students with legends and pertinent scientific information (including geological, anthropological, cultural, ecological etc.).  Kawika is a valuable resource and many of the students look forward to adventures with him.

The weather on Friday was fabulous.  The group traveled down the scenic highway and turned south on the coastal road toward the beach.  Although the bay is well protected, the ocean was too rough for swimming that day.  The students ate lunch on the beach and enjoyed the scenery.  Besides being unique for its green sand, the beach is also the furthest southern point in the USA.

On the drive back to Pacific Quest the group toured on scenic Ka’u roads.  They made a couple of stops to pick lilikoi, guava and macadamia nuts.The students also went to Punalu’u black sand beach.  They saw three giant sea turtles resting in the sun.  Check them out in the pictures!