We leave Volcano House early bound for Kona, our final city of the holiday, where we hope to spend 3 or 4 days before the (long) flight home. Along the way, Highway 11 brings us past a couple of unusual natural features that might make up, in some small way, for the departure from Volcano National Park. First is Punalu’u Beach Park.
Punalu’u is a black sand beach, well known for its population of sea turtles…and its black sand. This is my first opportunity to experience a non-sandy coloured sandy beach. Before this morning it hadn’t even occurred to me that sand may not always be, well, sandy. It’s a very small beach and very crowded: a stall rents scuba diving gear and a horde of signs implore you not to bother the turtles while they’re “basking” (the turtles are okay – they will return to the sea when they want to!).
Though crowded, hardly anybody is actually here for the day: a line of coconut trees shelter a handful of sunbathers while a coach-load of holiday makers shuffle back onto their bus. We stroll up and down admiring the sight of it all while pondering the meaning of “turtle etiquette” but return before very long to the Highway 11 and what we hope will be the day’s real highlight: a green sand beach.