Although I had lived in Hawai’i for 11 years I had never actually been to a black sand beach, until I recently visited the Big Island, Hawai’i.
It is hard to express the wonder that you feel when you walk out onto this beach. The sand is jet black; it is like walking on crushed black diamonds. The black sand is made of basalt and is created by lava flowing into the ocean which explodes as it reaches the ocean and cools. The black sand does not stick to you at all and feels so clean.
Punalu’u Beach is one of the more famous black sand beaches of Hawai’i and is a favourite spot for turtles. Punalu’u Black Sand Beach’s jet black shores are an unforgettable sight with coconut palms bordering the upper edge of the sand. Punalu’u beach is easy to access off Highway 11, and is about 55 miles from Hilo. We drove down to Punalu’u beach from the Volcano National Park.
Almost immediately after arriving we spotted a couple of sea turtles, called Honu, resting on the black sand.
Rolling waves meet the shore bringing in sea turtles who like to bask on the warm sand.
The water at this point is called sweet water which is fresh mountain water meeting the ocean in springs. This is another reason the turtles love it here.
The green turtle is a large, weighty sea turtle with a wide, smooth carapace, or shell. It inhabits tropical and subtropical coastal waters around the world and has been observed clambering onto land to sunbathe. “Basking” (resting) behavior is becoming more common all around Hawai‘i and is an exciting way to watch green sea turtles
While this is not a great place to swim, the unusual encounter with the natural world is almost surreal. You’ll come out with incredible pictures and wonderful memories.
To see a black sand beach is unlike anything you’ve seen before. I was captivated by the actual beauty of it, and how soft the sand can be after the lava breaks down so much!