Mack’s Craic


We’re going around the world in twenty-five days, one day for every year we’ve been married.

Day 20 Hawaii, The Big Island

We’re so close to the equator here that the weather is pretty much the same all year round, hot and sunny. That makes it difficult to start conversations with strangers.

Today we rented an SUV to explore The Big Island, first stop, Punalu’u Beach. We’d heard it was a good place to see green sea turtles. They are endangered and protected by law, you’re not allowed to even touch them. Just getting a glimpse of one would be a real thrill.

Punalu’u is amazing, tall palm trees; some of the coconut palms at the back of the beach make it look like a Hollywood desert island. That’s until you get to the sand because the sand is volcanic, so it’s black. Black rocks make up the edge of the horseshoe shaped bay and some of them jut out into the water in the middle. We walked out onto the rocks and straight away we saw one! Bobbing in the water looking as if he wasn’t making any effort to swim at all, was a big green sea turtle. They’re very big, about four feet long, and almost as wide. Then we saw another one, out of the water, on the rocks in front of us pointing out to sea. There was a third one in the water further out and eventually a fourth came towards us, lifted himself up onto the rocks and looked right at us, what a face! They are beautiful in an almost cartoon character way, a real treat. We were still buzzing when we got back into the car and headed for Volcanoes National Park.

The crater of the volcano Kilauea is three miles across with a smaller “active” crater inside it. I say smaller, it’s not that small, you could easily fit Wembley Stadium inside it. We ate sandwiches at a picnic spot inside the rim of the big crater overlooking the active bit. It was angry and venting. Hey, we’ve all been there! In the visitor center the park ranger told us there was an observation area much closer to the active crater and it’s a must-see at night.

We got to the observation area just before sunset. As the sun went down, a small pink glow in the active crater got bigger and eventually, when it was pitch dark a crimson and orange glow lit up the inside of the volcano. Fire and molten rock was being blasted out. It was like looking into hell. You could hear explosions which sounded like thunder as Kilauea grumbled and groaned into the night.

Neither of us can decide if watching a volcano erupt or coming face to face with a green sea turtle was the highlight of today. It’s a good way to start a conversation though!

There’s a Craic around the world!

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