ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Black Sand Beach at Punalu'u Hawaii

Updated on November 20, 2009

A Unique Beach

On the southeast coast of the Big Island of Hawaii is a little park with a beautiful black sand beach.

As I described in my Hub The Island of Hawaii and its Six Volcanoes the black sand is the result of the continuing volcanic activity on the island. The black sand is created when hot, black lava from a volcano is suddenly cooled when it falls into the ocean and the sudden cooling causes it to shatter into sand and small rocks.

With six live volcanoes on the island of Hawaii and a seventh just off shore and still under water, nature continues to produce black sand in the area around the island. Currently the Kilauea volcano, located just up the road from thePunalu'u's Black Sand Beach, in the Volcanoes National Park, has been active and spewing lava into the ocean since April 2008.

My wife's bare feet in the black sand.  Note the course grain of the sand.
My wife's bare feet in the black sand. Note the course grain of the sand.
The beach with concession stand in background.
The beach with concession stand in background.

Normally, black sand would be washed out to sea by the waves and tides leaving the more common tan sand behind.

This is what happens on most beaches over geologic time. But for now the volcanoes on the island keep replenishing the black sand leaving an all black beach.

The sand itself is is very course and not at all like the fine grained sand found on most beaches. It is not very comfortable to walk barefoot on.

And, if you play and body surf in the waves be careful not to let the surf wash you in to the shallows where your body will scrape bottom.

The effect on your skin from this will be the same as a brisk massage with a piece of very course sandpaper.

Sea Turtle Coming Ashore

Honu - Green Sea Turtles

Like some other beaches on the Island of Hawaii, green sea turtles, or Honu as they are called in Hawaiian, are frequent visitors to the black sand beach at Punalu'u.

These turtles make an impressive sight, but they are a protected species and the Hawaiians are especially protective of their turtles. Visitors to the beach can look at and photograph them but are not suppose to touch them let alone threaten or harm them in any way.

Kauila

At the right is an engraving of Kauila carrying a sleeping child on her back.  Kauila was mystical turtle that made her home in the Ka'u district where Punalu'u bay and the Black Sand Beach are located.

According to Hawaiian legend, Kauila had the ability to turn herself into human form which she did regularly.

However, unlike some other mythical animals that had this power, Kauila's intentions were always good and she never sought to harm or cause trouble for people.

Kauila liked people, especially children, and when in human form she would play with the children on the beach and, in either form, she would always watch over and protect the children along. This has endeared her to the native Hawaiians ever since.

Monument to Kauila
Monument to Kauila

Green Sea Turtles

Turtle sleeping in the warm sand.
Turtle sleeping in the warm sand.
Don't Bother the Turtles
Don't Bother the Turtles
Turtle coming ashore.
Turtle coming ashore.
Two turtles resting together in the sand.
Two turtles resting together in the sand.
View of the beach
View of the beach
Black Lava rock at north end of the small Punalu'u Bay
Black Lava rock at north end of the small Punalu'u Bay
Vegetation taking hold in the lava rock
Vegetation taking hold in the lava rock
Close-up of vegetation growing in the crevices of the lava rock.
Close-up of vegetation growing in the crevices of the lava rock.
A View of the beach
A View of the beach
Another view of the beach
Another view of the beach
Punalu'u Bay
Punalu'u Bay
Waves hitting rocks at north end of the bay
Waves hitting rocks at north end of the bay
Close-up of the course black sand.
Close-up of the course black sand.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • April Reynolds profile image

      April Reynolds 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      Very interesting! I just recently visited friends on the Big Island and had the privilage of seeing the turtles and the black sand beaches personally. I can't wait to return.

    • TattooKitty profile image

      TattooKitty 

      6 years ago from Hawaii

      Punalu'u is a true Big Island treasure! Beautiful hub ;) Much mahalo for reminding everyone not to mess with the turtles!!

    • 2uesday profile image

      2uesday 

      8 years ago

      Interesting hub, lots of nice pictures. I have been to a beach with black volcanic sand in Greece it was so hot that you could not walk on it bare foot.

    • mercon profile image

      mercon 

      8 years ago

      a very nice place, I want to go there

    • Dao Hoa profile image

      Dao Hoa 

      8 years ago

      Great hub and good pictures. I can imagine that the sand is hard to walk on!

    • elayne001 profile image

      Elayne 

      8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      You wrote about one of my favorite places - the Big Island. I love the botanical gardens there too and of course the volcanos. Great hub! Aloha!

    • Chuck profile imageAUTHOR

      Chuck Nugent 

      8 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

      Nan Mynatt - Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed the Hub.

      In answer to your question, yes, my wife, son and I spent a week at the Sea Mountain timeshare resort located next to the beach.

    • Nan Mynatt profile image

      Nan Mynatt 

      8 years ago from Illinois

      Good information and beautiful pictures! Did you vacation there?

    • girlpower profile image

      girlpower 

      8 years ago from eugene oregon

      great hub bub, i always wanted to see a black sand beach ever since my aunt and uncle came back from Hawaii and brought me a chuck of black volcano rock. Never heard of the hard to walk on part. THe turtle are amazing. THis is the third travel hub i viewed of yours. love them

    • Rose West profile image

      Rose West 

      8 years ago from Michigan

      Great photos of the honu!

    • sutrapu profile image

      sutrapu 

      8 years ago from kuwait

      very clear pics, entertain hub.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I liked the pictures of the turtles. Interesting hub.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)