Return to Hawaii…The Big Island: Cruising Around the Southernmost Point in the US

Southernmost point in US

Southernmost point in US

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.

Old, non-functioning wind farm

Old, non-functioning wind farm

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.

New Wind Farm

New Wind Farm

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).

Fishing

Fishing

We also found the old canoe-mooring holes carved in the rocks by the early Polynesian settlers over 1,000 years ago.

Old canoe moorings

Old canoe moorings

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.

Photographing the waves

Photographing the waves

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.

Advertisements

About Mike

I have a passion for adventure travel that began in 1989 with my first overseas trip: climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Having never been to a foreign country, Africa felt like being on another planet; I knew then and there I was hooked on travel. Since that time, I have visited all seven continents and dozens of countries. I’m using the experience I’ve gained in planning my own trips to help my clients plan their own adventures through my adventure travel company (http://www.offtrailtravel.com). After working as a firefighter for the US Forest Service in California and Wyoming for three years, I moved to Durango, Colorado where I graduated from Fort Lewis College with a degree in accounting. After graduation I moved to the Denver area where I worked in a Big Eight accounting firm to obtain my CPA license; soon afterward I began a career as an auditor with the Colorado Department of Education. My background in accounting helped me develop detailed-oriented skills that have been extremely useful in researching and planning my own travel over the years. I think this provides a unique asset to my clients in putting together their adventure travel plans. I currently live in Golden, Colorado with my wife Valerie, who shares my love of adventure travel. I’m an active member of the Colorado Mountain Club where I lead trips for club members and have taught ski lessons in their Telemark Ski School. I enjoy skiing, mountain hiking, trail running, photography, and astronomy. I take any opportunity I can get to explore new places, whether it’s on the other side of the world or just down the road.
This entry was posted in US Travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s