Our last day in Hawaii…is it time to go home already?
Today we parted company with the rest of the family and headed back to Hilo where we’d catch our flight back to Colorado. Our flight didn’t leave until 9:00 PM, so that gave us time to do a little more exploring of the Big Island. We’d spent almost the entire trip on the northern end of the island, so we decided spend our last day checking out the country on the south end.
The drive to the Southern Point Road from Waikaloa is nice, but there’s not a lot to see once you get past Kona. Our only stop along the way was in Kainaliu town to visit the Donkey Balls Factory. After picking up a small package of the delicious chocolate-covered balls (it’s not what you think) for the road trip, we continued on to South Point.
After driving for a couple of hours more, we reached the turn-off from the highway to South Point. The narrow, but mostly paved road passes large cattle ranches as well as an abandoned wind farm. The old wind farm was in full operation when I visited here in 1997. Now, there’s only one non-functioning tower still standing while the other turbines lie in rusted piles on the ground. I thought it kind of strange to let this wind farm go to seed when the prevalent strong winds of the south point are ideal for the generation of wind energy. We soon discovered a brand new, and much larger, wind farm closer to the coast.
We parked the car and wandered around the cliff bands and rocky shores that make up the southern-most point in the United States. People were fishing along the cliff walls next to an abandoned hoist that was once used to lower boats down the cliffs onto the choppy seas (like the old wind farm, this too was functioning when I last visited).
We also found the old canoe-mooring holes carved in the rocks by the early Polynesian settlers over 1,000 years ago.
We would have loved to go to Green Sand Beach but we didn’t have enough time. I visited Green Sand Beach the last time I was here. You definitely don’t want to drive there yourself, especially if you are in a rental car. There are locals in the area who will drive you to the beach in their vehicles.
After wandering around the rocky shores of the southern Big Island, we hopped back into the car and continued our journey to Hilo and the flight home. On the way, we made a brief stop to get some turtle photos at the Punalu’u Black Sand Beach.
We finally arrived at the Hilo airport around 6:30. A wonderful end to a great journey to the Big Island of Hawaii.