14. August 2022
Day 72: Big Island - Pololū Valley & Pu'u Wa'awa'a
Our first goal for the day was the Pololū Valley, which was a ~1:30h drive from the sanctuary. We didn’t go up early, so it was after 10:00 when we arrived there. The parking was quite crowded, but we found a spot along the street.
There was a quick information from a volunteer about the trail (it’s steep, bring water, be careful) which also explained the boundaries of the trail. Behind the beach is private land, which is also considered sacred by the natives. Therefore it’s not allowed to go further than the beach, even though there are more trails.
Soon we could already see the beach, we continued on the way down, which was sometimes steep and slippery. But nothing to crazy and it was a short decline, around 0.8 km total.
The valley itself was nice, but we couldn’t do much as everything beside the beach was already fenced off. So we walked along the beach for a bit and did then a short snack break in the shade.
Now it was time to go back up, ~120m of elevation gain, nothing too crazy but we still sweat like crazy under the sun in this hot & humid weather.
Koai’a Tree Sanctuary
Nicole found this place and we weren’t sure what to expect, as there isn’t much information to be found. As we arrived there were only two other cars and the sight of the Tree Sanctuary wasn’t spectacular. We decided to anyhow check it out and give it a try. This was a good choice!
First part of the trail was through trees, nothing too special and we wondered if it looks different during rain season. Then it opened up a bit and became an interesting walk.
We somehow took a wrong turn somewhere and ended on an unofficial trail, but got some amazing views from that.
After we realized our fault, we turned back and found the trail again.
Next we wanted to Hike the Pu’u Wa’awa’a Cinder Cone, a nice 10km hike, which looked promising on paper. But as we got closer to the trail head, the clouds became more and more. As we got out of the car, the rain had already started.
It wasn’t too bad, so we put on our rain jackets and moved on. But with each step, the rain intensified and after 2 km we decided to call it a day. It poured like crazy and everything was soaking and it wasn’t clear if it would get better and there was definitely no view from the top. We will try it again tomorrow :)
Soaked we arrived at the car, I had thankfully my swimming shorts in the car. On the way back we stopped and grabbed a Pizza at Papasan Pizza and got us a late lunch. We drove back to the Apartment and hung up our stuff. Then it was laundry day, so we drove to the next coin laundry and washed our stuff.
Now after we got clean clothes, it was time for our highlight of the day. Snorkeling with Manta Rays! This was an organized tour, and yes, the Manta Rays get attracted by light. Or to be more precise, the light attracts plankton which then gets eaten by the Manta Rays.
It was so impressive to see this animals close by, they sometimes came really really close!