TEXTURES.005 / the many faces of the Big Isle

Reflections in the lagoon at Mauna Kea

Reflections in the lagoon at Mauna Kea

When we decided to visit the Big Island of Hawaii, I knew to expect it was much bigger than the others, had epic volcanic landscapes, great beaches, and lots of visible evidence of historic Hawaiians. While we were there I saw pretty quickly that the diversity of this island is truly unique and rarely paralleled elsewhere in the world. It’s easy to understand why it became such a desirable place to settle. From deserts to grassy valleys, to jungle and desolate wastelands, and a rich cultural history, you can really see it all here. When you drive along the saddle road through the mountains, you can go from sunny skies to post-apocalyptic looking fog, making the desolate landscape seem even more extreme. During our trip in March, we were able to cover a lot of ground and made our way all around the island, taking in as much as we could in our two week visit. Here are a few of my favourite photographs that really illustrate the differences you can see there.

The last two images of the black sand beach are at Isaac Hale Beach Park, where the newest lava flow came through to the shore and took out a large portion of the original beach and road. It was extremely moving to see the raw, new land jutting into the sea. As we drove to the beach, we could see the extent of the damage from this last eruption in 2018 - going from dense jungle to black lava rock instantly, with nothing but lava stretching up towards the hills where homes and forest once stood. The powerful feelings, sights and sounds at the beach were something I’ll always remember: Rough surf pounding onto new earth, lava rock making hollow knocking sounds and glassy tinkles as it rolled around in the waves. Baby coconut plants blowing in the wind, planted by residents to start new growth, and as a symbol of new beginnings and recognition of those who have lost their homes. About 700 homes were destroyed in 2018. I’m glad we took the time to visit this part of Hawaii - it really hit home the power of our planet and the resilience of humanity.

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Thanks for reading my reflections on The Big Island of Hawaii - I’d love to hear what places have resonated with you! Comment below with your story.