Sunset from the summit of Mauna Kea. Notice the waves of people entering and exiting frame at the most photogenic moments.
Mauna Kea panorama courtesy of the nice couple I met who also happened to be from NYC and Philly.
Made it to the summit of Mauna Kea, which is over 4200m above sea level and 10000m from the undersea base to the summit. This gives it twice the base-to-peak height of Mt Everest. After a mandatory stop at the 2800m-high Onizuka Center for International Astronomy and Visitor Information Station to acclimate to the decline in oxygen, I threw the jeep into 4wd and headed up the rocky 13km switchback through narrow passes and past broken or missing guard rails to finally reach the array of enormous telescopes at the summit high above the clouds. The oxygen content of the air up here is 40% of sea level, so that little (white men can’t) jump was exhausting. Thanks to the nice couple I met - also randomly from the NYC and philly areas - who took my photo and gave me great advice on where to get cheap delicious local pork and sushi dishes. Mahalo if you see this! (at Mauna Kea)
Kekahakai State Park in western Hawaii has an expansive dried black lava field leading to a gorgeous beach.
Ka Lae is the southern-most point in the USA, at the southern tip of Hawaii. It has a 12m (40ft) cliff jump, miles of excitingly dangerous 4WD-only dirt trails, and one of the planet’s only green sand beaches, Papakolea.
Music: Hillbilly Hellcats - Hillbillies On Speed
Monday afternoon I took a Jeep to Ka Lae, the southern-most point of the USA’s 50 states. This view was the start of my drive, and it is a freshly paved highway compared to the miles of treacherous off-road grassland and punishing deep cut earth that lead me to one of the world’s only green sand beaches.
Two Saturday morning scuba dives to almost 30m and a few spontaneous “oh those are spotted and spinner dolphins quick stop the boat jump in” surface snorkel swims. Plus we saw Lefty Ray who is nearly 3m across and at least 40yrs old. Lots of colorful fish, other rays, and even a shy octopus who hid in her cave and squirted water at us when we got too close. Boat dives give lots of flexibility (plus great views, snacks, and conversation) but I’m looking forward to a shore dive next week with the hopes of seeing some large tiger sharks. (at Honokohau Harbor)