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Magnificent Big Island beaches - part 2

Mauna Kea Beach was definitely one of the nicest on the island but there are only about 20 public parking spaces; if there are not any spaces you won't be admitted to the resort grounds

Mauna Kea Beach was definitely one of the nicest on the island but there are only about 20 public parking spaces; if there are not any spaces you won't be admitted to the resort grounds

This green sea turtle had the most pristine shell so I'm thinking he must be a juvenile; this species is endangered but they can grow to 5  ft long and live to 80  years

This green sea turtle had the most pristine shell so I'm thinking he must be a juvenile; this species is endangered but they can grow to 5+ ft long and live to 80+ years

The Waipio Valley Lookout offers stunning views of Waipio Valley which is about one mile across and over five miles deep, and surrounded by cliffs up to 2000 feet high

The Waipio Valley Lookout offers stunning views of Waipio Valley which is about one mile across and over five miles deep, and surrounded by cliffs up to 2000 feet high

Amazing root systems of trees above Kehena Black Sand Beach; the snorkeling was surprisingly good here (although in very deep water) with Lee seeing a couple of turtles

Amazing root systems of trees above Kehena Black Sand Beach; the snorkeling was surprisingly good here (although in very deep water) with Lee seeing a couple of turtles

It was a long drive to Punalu'u Black Sand Beach on the SE corner of the island; this gorgeous beach is popular because it offers perhaps the best chance to swim with sea turtles of anywhere on the island

It was a long drive to Punalu'u Black Sand Beach on the SE corner of the island; this gorgeous beach is popular because it offers perhaps the best chance to swim with sea turtles of anywhere on the island

Papakolea Beach is one of only 4 green sand beaches in the world; the others are in Guam, Norway and the Galapagos; reaching the beach was a 4.5 mile roundtrip hike

Papakolea Beach is one of only 4 green sand beaches in the world; the others are in Guam, Norway and the Galapagos; reaching the beach was a 4.5 mile roundtrip hike

Endangered monk seal on the only black sand beach (Makole'a) near Kona; we also saw a monk seal (maybe the same one) foraging close to shore at a nearby beach when we first arrived in the morning

Endangered monk seal on the only black sand beach (Makole'a) near Kona; we also saw a monk seal (maybe the same one) foraging close to shore at a nearby beach when we first arrived in the morning

Of dozen  books I read in Hawaii, Obama's autobiography A Promised Land was easily the best; it's only volume one with a second volume to be published later

Of dozen+ books I read in Hawaii, Obama's autobiography A Promised Land was easily the best; it's only volume one with a second volume to be published later

Yellowmargin moray eel; Makalawena Beach is one in a series of beautiful coves all of which had very good snorkeling although the winds kicked up in the afternoon

Yellowmargin moray eel; Makalawena Beach is one in a series of beautiful coves all of which had very good snorkeling although the winds kicked up in the afternoon

South Point is the southernmost point in the US (not Key West); local kids often jump off the cliffs into the water (there is a ladder up) but we were too early for them

South Point is the southernmost point in the US (not Key West); local kids often jump off the cliffs into the water (there is a ladder up) but we were too early for them

Mahai'ula Beach is the southernmost beach in Kekaha Kai Beach Park and one of the Islands more secluded beaches; the only way to access this beach is through a winding, rugged road (quite bumpy, but most cars are able to make the trip)

Mahai'ula Beach is the southernmost beach in Kekaha Kai Beach Park and one of the Islands more secluded beaches; the only way to access this beach is through a winding, rugged road (quite bumpy, but most cars are able to make the trip)

Pacific Sailfin Tang; Puako Bay was one of my least favorite beaches we visited with tedious snorkeling; it was also the only beach where we had brief rain showers

Pacific Sailfin Tang; Puako Bay was one of my least favorite beaches we visited with tedious snorkeling; it was also the only beach where we had brief rain showers

This lost jellyfish was, fortunately, the only one I saw on the entire Hawaii trip; the Big Island (the largest island in the US) has 63% of the state's landmass but only 13% of its population

This lost jellyfish was, fortunately, the only one I saw on the entire Hawaii trip; the Big Island (the largest island in the US) has 63% of the state's landmass but only 13% of its population

Rockmover wrasse; Kahalu'u Beach Park (just south of Kona) is one of the highest rated snorkeling spots on the island with an outer reef protecting an inner lagoon

Rockmover wrasse; Kahalu'u Beach Park (just south of Kona) is one of the highest rated snorkeling spots on the island with an outer reef protecting an inner lagoon

Whitebar surgeonfish; the stretch of shore north of the old airport was listed as a snorkeling adventure in our guide book and Lee was lucky enough to see a white-tip reef shark

Whitebar surgeonfish; the stretch of shore north of the old airport was listed as a snorkeling adventure in our guide book and Lee was lucky enough to see a white-tip reef shark

It was amazing to see snow on the top of 13,803 ft. Mauna Kea while snorkeling at 49 Black Sand Beach; Mauna Kea is the highest point in Hawaii and last erupted about 4600 years ago

It was amazing to see snow on the top of 13,803 ft. Mauna Kea while snorkeling at 49 Black Sand Beach; Mauna Kea is the highest point in Hawaii and last erupted about 4600 years ago

Wild saffron finches prefer to live in flocks during the winter while in spring they live in pairs for breeding; unlike many other finches, they are not migratory

Wild saffron finches prefer to live in flocks during the winter while in spring they live in pairs for breeding; unlike many other finches, they are not migratory

The highlight of any snorkel outing was spotting a turtle; 8 of my 9 flights on the Hawaii trip were completely full (including middle seats)

The highlight of any snorkel outing was spotting a turtle; 8 of my 9 flights on the Hawaii trip were completely full (including middle seats)

The only hotel at idyllic Hapuna Beach is the Westin with rooms for about $500 per night; the hotel, 27 miles north of the airport, recently underwent a $50 million refurbishment

The only hotel at idyllic Hapuna Beach is the Westin with rooms for about $500 per night; the hotel, 27 miles north of the airport, recently underwent a $50 million refurbishment

I saw 5 crown of thorns sea stars at Hapuna Beach; this unusually large, sinister-looking (but endemic) species grows to 3 feet in diameter with as many as 19 spiny arms

I saw 5 crown of thorns sea stars at Hapuna Beach; this unusually large, sinister-looking (but endemic) species grows to 3 feet in diameter with as many as 19 spiny arms

Moray eel; my Facebook has been hacked so I've frozen it and have been trying for weeks to regain access with no success; I'm irritated with Facebook for making it impossible to get my old acct back and don't want to start a new account from scratch

Moray eel; my Facebook has been hacked so I've frozen it and have been trying for weeks to regain access with no success; I'm irritated with Facebook for making it impossible to get my old acct back and don't want to start a new account from scratch

Goats were everywhere on the Big Island; they especially enjoyed eating the grasses on the side of the highway but were skittish and afraid of people

Goats were everywhere on the Big Island; they especially enjoyed eating the grasses on the side of the highway but were skittish and afraid of people

We enjoyed snorkeling at Sapphire Cove which was difficult to reach leaving us the lone swimmers; this pin cushion sea star was one of the only things somewhat unique at this site

We enjoyed snorkeling at Sapphire Cove which was difficult to reach leaving us the lone swimmers; this pin cushion sea star was one of the only things somewhat unique at this site

Ornate butterflyfish; Lee and I visited every good snorkeling beach on the island; Spencer Beach Park was our least favorite and had the most monochrome underwater topography

Ornate butterflyfish; Lee and I visited every good snorkeling beach on the island; Spencer Beach Park was our least favorite and had the most monochrome underwater topography

Mahukona Beach Park is at the site of an abandoned port from sugar cane days; there's no beach and limited parking on the old concrete dock; this site seemed over-rated to me

Mahukona Beach Park is at the site of an abandoned port from sugar cane days; there's no beach and limited parking on the old concrete dock; this site seemed over-rated to me

Posted by VagabondCowboy 02:39

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