9 Pohiki to Fox's Landing Pohiki
Pohiki also has a natural jacuzzi heated by the volcano
and of course we make use of it. We watch the local surfers and
bodyboarders ride a seriously shallow reef in front of our camp
since surf spots are few and far between on this coast. The surfers
skill levels are high but we can see the potential for disaster
as they ride in front of, and around, the nearly dry coral heads
and lava rocks.
We make friends with the locals living near the ramp and
the local fishermen who make their living off the ocean. The house
by the ramp is one of the islands oldest buildings on the Big Island
and we are told stories about it's history, including being used
as a funeral parlor and military officers quarters during WW2 when
the area was a military training camp. They showed us bayonet marks
still in the walls as proof of it's historic past.
We reluctantly leave our friends at a respectable hour (10:00am),
no longer worried about early starts. If the wind picks up it will
be pushing us along so we take a leisurely paddle and stop for a break
at Kehena, the islands most popular nude beach and partake of the
activities. A group of spinner dolphins comes in and puts on a show
for hours, that even Sea World would be proud of.
Dolphins at Kehena
Mik swims with the locals (some attractive female variety) out to visit with the dolphins and
Mik gets some great underwater shots, some even of dolphins! Again
we reluctantly press on, our newfound friends wishing us luck. Shortly
thereafter we enter the Kalapana area where the recent lava flows have been
entering the ocean and have destroyed one of the most beautiful
areas of the island, including a lot I still own, now under 40 feet
Everything along this coast is now jet black and cliffy until
we come across a small Kipuka (an area missed by the lava), Fox's
Landing. It is absolutely pristine, paradise found, with an abundance
of coconut trees and vegetation. We have the beach to ourselves
as we explore the area, take photos, and set up camp.
lava covered the nearby neighborhood, Kalapana had some of the islands
best surf spots with a number of quality breaks, beautiful beaches
and lush vegetation. Now the coastline is limited to just a quarter mile of still beautiful
vegetation and the surf breaks are long covered by tons of lava. Mik at Fox's Landing
Fox's Landing to Halape (20 miles, 5 hours):
The Molten Lava entry on a later trip
We hoped to see the active lava flow entering the ocean but
it is not to be on this trip. The flow regularly changes course, lava tubes seal
themselves then a new spot breaks out and a new entry ocean point
appears. Today the flow is quiet which probably is good for us since
we won't have to worry about toxic fumes and lung problems in the future.
The trades are finally kicking in, blowing at 30-35mph, at this point in our circumnavigation we are directly downwind, enjoying the thrill of catching the wind swell (occasional breaking waves) and riding wave after wave for hours on end.
The rugged volcano coast
We stay well off the coast for this stretch. The continuous lava cliffs offer no safe haven and the backwash created by the pounding waves inside would only slow us down, making paddling more difficult.
We take a rest stop and lunch break at Keahou, a bay protected by a natural breakwater. We clean and cook up the fish we landed, take a shade break inside one the small camping areas and then we depart for the short 1.5 mile stretch to Halape.
Keahou fish cleaned, napping
Finally we reach Halape, an isolated, picturesque, white sand lagoon. The isolated tranquility belies the sites history. In 1975 a nearby, offshore earthquake caused a localized tidal wave, surprising a boy scout troop and other campers.
Two died and 19 were injured. You can read about the terrifying ordeal at:
We refresh ourselves in the freshwater, clear, inland pool. We set up camp in one of the volcano park campsites making sure to keep the lane open for the Hawksbill turtles to access up and down the beach from their nesting area.
11 Halape to Kawa Bay
We leave Halape and again stay off the cliffy
coastline riding the 25mph trades. It's a surprisingly relaxing
paddle even with the rough conditions. We just keep pointed in the
right direction and let the waves push us to our destination. We
plan on Whittington Beach Park but end up angling in too soon. We
do find a beautiful bay however and decide it looks like it was
meant to be our campsite. We find out from some locals that it's
called Kawa Bay.
Kawa Bay to Waiahukini (22 miles)
We expect the trades to give us the push but they are down today.
We plan on camping at the launch ramp just before South Point, (one
of the places where the dangerous currents sweep away from the island
into the endless pacific) we stop and visit with the fisherman,
watching their skill at getting their boats through the shallow
channel and onto their trailers. It is interesting enough today
(a calm day). On a rough day their entrance would make our voyage
look like child's play, but they are suitably impressed by our accomplishment,
knowing as they do the mood changes of the ocean. They tell us of
the 40' ketch that headed around Ka Lae (South Point) , never to
be heard from again and advise us to head around today, while it's
calm, and informing us of a great camp spot just a few miles around
the other side.
Rounding South Point on a calm day!
Rounding South Point, the most dreaded
coastal area of the Big Island for anyone who's got any sense. It so happens that it's unbelievably anticlimactic
due to the calm conditions which is just fine with us. We hop in
and snorkel directly off South Point and we see the strong current running
even though the ocean has a glassy surface. Shortly after we come
around the point we see Waiahukini but sunset is upon us. We quickly
make our way in to find a good landing before darkness envelops us making landing
Kona to Upolu Point (Through day 3)
Hamakua and Hilo Coast (Day 4-8)
South Point to Kona (Day 13-16)