17. Black & Green Sand Beaches

Blkack Sand Beach 2

17. Black & Green Sand Beaches

After getting settled into Hilo and the new routine of teaching at the University of Hawaii Hilo campus, we wanted to explore this Big Island, and discover what was unique to Hawaii.  For example, on Hawaii there are black sand beaches, the sand coming from eroded basalt – lava that flows down from the volcanoes and is pulverized by the ocean waves.

We found the beach easily by driving around the south end of the island past the small town of Pahoa.  Beautiful to look at, the pure black sand is sticky to walk in, and the beach not a place to swim because of a strong undertow.  We shouted a warning to a couple who missed the sign and were in the water.  A beautiful picturesque spot we went back to several times.

Further on to the southern-most tip of Hawaii there is a green-sand beach.  Green sand is made of olivine, a solidified rock that is rare on the surface of the earth.  Olivine is formed when the hot lava or magma from the volcano hits the cold water of the ocean.  The beach was actually very tiny, maybe thirty feet wide, and accessed by climbing down a steep cut trail in the cliff above the ocean.  I did not attempt the climb, but the green beach was beautiful from above! Olivine is made into jewelry.

Betty has a necklace and a pin.