And now we come to „my“ island – real name also Hawai’i, and so as not to confuse people, commonly referred to as Big Island. Big Island is amongst the youngest land on Earth, every year, new land is born. The island currently rests above a „hot spot“ where hot magma is pushing through thin earth crust, which makes Kilauea the most active volcano in the world. 2 months prior to my arrival, new lava came up, but unfortunately (for me), by the time I got here, all had gone, and there was no glowing lava picturesquely flowing into the steaming sea at all. So, no pictures of firy rivers of lava, only of cold, „frozen“ one, but that has its own beauty.
To make up for it – the stars! Yes, stars are everywhere, but rarely as beautiful as here. I had arranged to volunteer at the visitor center of Mauna Kea, the dormant volcano with some of the largest telescopes and observatories in the world, but the native Hawaiians were protesting against ever more telescopes and observatories being put on their sacred mountain, so access to the summit was blocked and the visitor center closed. No matter, all good reasons to return to Big Island one day.
In the meantime, I entertained myself by taking pictures of Kilauea’s crater, Halema’uma’u, the abode of the fire goddess, Pele. At daytime, a rather dull affair, but wait until it gets dark…
The only disadvantage – you literally can’t see any constellations for the stars…
Big Island has other attractions as well – black lava beaches, tide pools with wonderful snorkelling, „normal“ beaches, tropical scenery, alternating with moonscapes where lava has killed off all life (indeed, the astronauts trained here for their moon landing) – but life is fighting back and green is again sprouting through black.
I found the people were friendliest by far on Big Island, soaked with Aloha – that wasn’t always the case on the other islands. I spent some nights in Pahoa, on the South coast – this little town was nearly lost in December, when lava decided to move towards it; unbelievably, it stopped literally meters in front of the town, some say, because prayers to Pele the fire goddess were successful – who knows. On Big Island I spent most of my time, and I would immediately return there.
So, that was Hawaii – beautiful, remarkable, a bit far away, but definitely worth a visit.