52 States in 8 Months

A Black Sand Beach, a closed campsite and very little about Hana

Posted in Hawaii by Ulf on January 12, 2009

Our next major stop on the road to Hana was the Waianapanapa State Park. It’s marked with a “D” on the map I posted a few days ago. There is a lovely little campsite at that place. They have clean restrooms and a huge area of fine grass for putting tents. And the area was almost empty. We saw just one tent on the whole site.

However, the caretaker of this facility was the most unfriendly woman I met on Hawaii. Actually she was the most unfriendly woman I met during my whole stay in the US so far. Well, even in Germany it has been a long time since I met someone who was as dismissive as this witch. I just noticed that there is just a one letter difference between a “witch” and a “bitch”. Concerning the woman at the camp ground, this letter certainly would not change much. As it was still Thanksgiving, we assumed that she failed to prepare the turkey dinner. At least for me, I would not even try to eat the charcoal which results from her cooking.

We did not have a permit for camping in State Parks as the municipal counter was closed when we tried to get it. Therefore we only visited the Black Sand Beach which is just next to the camp site. This is how the Black Sand Beach looks like from above: 2008-11-27_17-43-36-hawaii-0298

They have plenty of warning labels on the way down. They used to have six times as many warning signs as life preservers at the beach, but then someone removed the sole life belt. Maybe we have to count the existence of an empty life preserver box as another, more subtle warning sign ;-). The messages on all those danger signs reminded us a bit of our “bad luck day” on Oahu: Matthias was told about the waves at this place while Andi read the inscription about jellyfish. One of the signs even told us about some “Man-o-war”. As we expected neither battle ships nor loud and monotonous metal music down there, we finally figured out that “Man o’ war” was something similar to jellyfish.

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Down at the beach Andi forgot about the jellyfish warning, so he had a close walk into the water anyway. He was more lucky this time…

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Besides the beach itself they do also have little lava tubes next to the Black Sand Beach. We walked through one of them (trying not to hit our heads against the cave wall). At the end there was another tiny beach with water streaming into the cave with every wave. It’s an amazing feeling that lava was flowing right through this place many years ago.

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As this was perhaps the first and last time on our lives to stay on a black beach, we obviously could not resist grabbing some of the sand.

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Were all of us getting our hands dirty in the sand? No, obviously not. Some people say that orangutans could climb the World Trade Center using just one arm and one leg, and that they would eat ten bananas in just under a minute. All I know is that Andi once again went up a palm tree:


After we left the Waianapanapa State Park we finally arrived in the city of Hana. It was already dark, so we did not take many pictures. In fact, it also seemed as if there is not much to see in Hana. They have two roads in the city. One goes along the beach. That’s the road the tourists are supposed to take. The other one is the “business road” which goes along the police station, the fire station and the gas station. We took the second road for a very simple reason:

My a priori fuel calculation for the road to Hana turned out to be rubbish. We made about 10 mpg while I expected to do at least 20 mpg. With the gas we added on the way from the Haleakala to Paia we wanted to go all the way to Hana and back to Kahului airport (that’s where the rental service is located). Well, we obviously could only do half of that ;-). The only gas station in Hana sells fuel for $4/gallon. That is about $1 more than you pay near the Haleakala, and about $2.50 more than what is normal back in Delaware. Well, running out of options, we wanted to refill in Hana. On Nov 27th however, the gas station was closed. But at least we knew where to go on the next day…

We decided to drive a bit further around the island until we once again reached the Haleakala National Park. As we already bought a National Park ticket the day before, we were allowed to camp there. The road really changed my view on what a “highway” is. LEO offers several translations for a “highway“. They include (in alphabetical order) “Autobahn”, “Bundesstraße”, “Fernverkehrsstraße”, “Schnellstraße” and finally “Straße”. Well, the last one seems to be the most adequate one in this case. It was just wide enough for one car in most places, and the density of chuckholes made driving any faster than 5 mph like a bombing raid for Matthias’ broken neck. But for the rest of us it was great fun!

By the way: Between Hana and the National Park we’ve seen twice as many cows as other cars! Here is the proof:

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And since we were driving very slowly, two of the cows even followed us for about half a mile. We finally reached the National Park and put up our tents. But I’ll tell you more about this place in tomorrow’s blog post. Aloha!


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