PapaKolea – Green sand beach hike
The day we decided to go to PapaKolea (AKA the green beach) the weather was obviously against us…when we woke up there was some sunshine to warm us from the cool ocean breeze, but by the time we reached a cafe, clouds took over the blue skies. Somehow we did not realise it was almost 10am by the time we finished our coffee and bagels. But who was in a hurry? We did not think much of the upcoming 62 miles journey to the beach’s parking lot. Perhaps we should have forced ourselves to leave our base earlier to make the most of the sun and the day, but 62 miles did not sound that far. And we were wrong! The winding journey is not the straight 3-lanes-constant-speed-highway you may think of…the road is mainly a single lane which passes through some of the beach spots and attractions from Kona to Capitan Cook and then through wilderness and the flanks of the Mauna Loa volcano. You will be rewarded by great views of the ocean and will get the opportunity to spot lava fields that in the past had covered the landscape and created more land out of the ocean. But that takes time…
According to Google Maps the journey was supposed to be 1.5 hours long. It took us nearly 3 hours to reach the starting point of the hike…we stopped here and there to shake our legs, and probably this could have been avoided if we were in a car, but we also stopped to admire the scenery, we stopped at the lava fields view points and in some instances we were seeking shelter from the rain…on the way there we caught a light drizzle and we were a bit worried this could have impacted our day/hike. By that time our target was however not too far and we carried on.
For the first part of the journey we passed through many populated ares and beautiful beaches at a rather slow speed. Few traffic lights, the occasional intersection to give way to other vehicles and city life. We also had the opportunity to spot a crazy woman shouting out of her house to the cars lined in traffic and probably cursing at our very loud CBR 🙂 Not too far after the scenery takes over and you can start going a bit faster too…enjoying the nature’s beauty. At this point civilization was a bit rare and once we reached the south point car park we started to feel hungry. Too bad for us though that there is pretty much nothing around here…just the coast, fields and we had no idea where the closest restoration point would have been. But we are young and careless and tough! We wanted to enjoy the hike, the beach and make the most out of it. We pressed on.
We started walking towards the beach. We did not want to get on those “shared taxi services” that were going on. Apparently they are also illegal, but not boycotted or stopped. Obviously we wanted to walk to the beach to enjoy the place. It was a shame to see how the coast line is disrupted, broken and ruined by the tracks that these shared taxis leave behind. We hope there could be better ways to preserve the hiking trails and the terrain around the this beautiful stretch of coast.
The ocean breeze was our companion throughout the walk. The maroon color of the terrain/sand was in full contrast with the darkness of the lava rocks underneath. Nature managed to grow over the lava and it was impressive to witness its beauty. And in another contrast was the bluest of the oceans breaking it’s waves against the lava rocks.
This goes on for the whole 2.5 miles of the coastal walk. The weather has been on our side during this first part; muggy for sure, but at least we were still dry. And there it was…we could start seeing the peculiar shape of the bay at a distance; and there it was too, the rain! Bloody hell, it could have waited a little longer to come!
The good things about the rain during this day is that it was light and it came in waves…it was the first time we experienced such strange way to rain :-). The wind would blow and you’d be able to see darker clouds advancing from the sea. The light rain then would hit you for a few minutes, like 3 to 5 minutes, then pass. Then it would be calm and then the wind would pick up again bringing those darker clouds closer. And it would rain for another short while and then stop and all over again.
We were cold by the ride and the rain and the wind made us a bit miserable. People were bathing in the sea and Anto was very tempted to go for a quick dip, but Olla was of another opinion. Having been a bit more prepared we could have had all we needed to be dry and enjoy a little swim, but we packed for a hike and not to go for a swim! If we ever visit big island again we would make sure to bring swimmers and towels too! And lunch!
The flanks of the beach were quite steep too and some were attempting a slide down which seemed fun, but we were just not in the mood and decided to start walking back. All in all we stayed by the beach and surrounding cliffs for about 45 minutes…
We must have had the accountant’s cloud over our head! (We will explain the accountant cloud in another post)! On the way back the rain was totally gone, and bloody hell! Why is like that! Must have rained right when we were at the spot???? Seriously, the time we wanted sunshine it rained and when we needed the least, the best of weather! Anyways, when we reached the CBR we were still wet from the rain we took on the way and during our visit at the green beach. Not ideal to ride when wet, but it was staring to be late and we had a loooong journey back to Kona.
(Rant coming) By the way Hawaii, you should do something about amenities! There was barely a portable toilet and the one that was around was utterly disgusting! Anyways, we just needed to get going and hopefully find a restaurant or similar.
Needless to say, the moment we started our journey back our friendly cloud decides to follow us, but this time it poured down a heavy one. We were completely drenched and it was also not safe to ride with such a heavy rain. We managed to see a place to grab a bite and we got in. It was a Thai restaurant. We got in to find shelter and somehow no body attended us…we also found the place a bit strange and the menu was not that appealing. Luckily a couple of locals that were there (apparently they were motorcyclists too, but wise enough not to go out on their bike with such weather!) told us to continue for another while on the road to the next pub, which was a much bigger place and with a nice crowd. We did that and finally managed to sit down, order a warm drink each and got some food to warm our stomachs.
Our journey back was incredibly wet but we still managed to get home safe. The following day we learned that that night when we were riding back from the south, kona had seen a massive thunderstorm which caused fallen trees and a big mess on the road. We were riding in that storm, but were lucky enough to have experienced just the heavy downpour rather than the winds and lightning! What an adventure!