Travel Souvenirs from Around the World: Big Island, Hawaii

They must have thought I had gone mad. After the excitement of walking on lava that is one day old on Hawaii’s Big Island, the adventure tour bus stopped along a stretch of a sandy beach. While people alighted and frantically tripped their camera shutters, I bent down and bagged a handful of black sand.

Black Sand and Lava

Black sand and lava rocks, Big island, Hawaii

Punalu’u Beach is unlike any beach I have seen. The sand is coarse and jet black and spreads against the foamy white waves that wash its shore.  Green turtles are known to visit on occasion but there were no sightings during our visit.

I later discovered that the Hawaiian Volcano goddess, Pele, places a curse upon visitors who take home black sand or lava rocks. We put our case to the test when we declared them at the airport due to stringent customs laws in Australia. The officer took one look and waved us in. I’m sure the fiery Goddess Pele can also make one exception.

Previous Travel Souvenirs from Around the World: Tokyo, Seoul, Jbeil, Dubai, Provence, Tahiti, Montmartre/Paris.

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Travel Souvenirs from Around the World: Big Island, Hawaii was last modified: December 20th, 2015 by Corinne Mossati

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Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.

14 Comments:

  1. so what did you do with the black sand once you got it home?

    • I put it in a glass jar on our travel display cabinet. It reminds me of happy times in Hawaii’s Big Island!

  2. I walked over that lava flow before the road closed completely a decade ago, and probably got to within about 50m from molten lava flowing into the sea. You can’t get that close to it now, the walk is too far and it’s really only accessable by chopper  or a 6 hour hike over jagged, treacherous ʻAʻā.

    I can relate a similar experience with the sand, although mine was inadvertent! I finally took off the hiking boots I’d worn as I trudged along Waimea the day before, flying into Nadi. As the orange sand poured onto the airline seat I  scooped  up as much as I could and put it in the nearest thing I could find.
    I still have it… complete with Singapore Airlines barf bag. =)

    • Martin, wow! That would have been a little scary. We got close enough to see it glow bright red beneath us then we were told to hurry back to the bus. I would have loved seeing it flow into the sea!
      Your sand story sounds more interesting than mine! A surprise souvenir no less :)

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