Connie and I awoke in our second campground of the trip to beautiful sunshine and surfers. Turns out the beach here at Isaac Hale, though not at all sandy, have waves which are magnets for those who want to ride them. As we watched we gobbled up a fresh, mostly tropical fruit breakfast and wandered the park to get to know our surroundings.
Today called for our first snorkeling of the trip just up the highway a bit at the Kapoho Tide Pools. After winding through a quiet, seemingly retirement neighborhood we parked at a spot on the edge of numerous pools that eventually connect with the open ocean. We chose to explore an inner, warmer couple of pools where we saw numerous fish and coral. I stayed in a bit longer than Connie and had a blast swimming down into some of the deeper spots with iPhone in-hand to snag underwater photos.
We were hungry from our active morning so headed back to the nearby town of Pahoa to get lunch at Kaleo's. Our lunch was amazing with good food, drinks, and a porch view of the small town slowly moving by in the warm afternoon sun. We headed back south through pieces of the beautiful Puna forest along the southern coast (Hwy 137 -- stunning!) to the end of the road in Kalapana. This town was mostly wiped out in 1990 in one of the lava flows from the nearby east rift zone of the active volcano so, beyond where we met for our guided lava hike, there is no more road. The hike with Kalapana Cultural Tours* took us over different ages of basalt and, just after sunset, up to an active surface lava flow and stunning ocean entry. The folks who led the tour were obviously skilled at crossing such a harsh (but beautiful) landscape and showed great respect for the land and the people on the tour. I could've stayed out there for a long, long time but we headed back in the dark and eventually split into two groups so one could forge on faster than the other.
* Warning: Music plays from their homepage but their blog of lava photos from their daily hike is what made me choose them.