Day 8 Overview:
On the last full day in Hawaii the group toured the northern coast of Kohala and spent the rest of the day at the beach in Kekaha Kai State Park. That evening the group attended a traditional Hawaiian Luau at the Royal Kona resort in Kona.
(Kohala's coastline from the road)
(view of the Pololu Valley from the park west)
The first stop on day eight was the Pololu Valley along the coast of Kohala. We noticed a great change in the type of vegetation as we went from desert on the west side of Kohala to tropical rainforest to the eastern coast. It was amazing to see the drastic effect that orographic lifting and the rainshadow effect have on climate. The Pololu Valley is an extension of the Waipio Valley located on the east coast of Kohala. Like the Waipio Valley, the Pololu Valley was largely formed by the process groundwater sapping. The coastline of the valley was extremely rugged with 1000 foot sea cliffs and large sea stacks. Unfortunately, little time was spent at the Pololu Valley because heavy rains in the area that day.
(up-valley view of the Pololu Valley)
(photo taken by the class of the Waikoloa Petoglyph)
After visiting the Pololu Valley, the group headed back towards the dry side of the island and stopped at the Waikoloa Petroglyphs. The petroglyphs were carvings etched in lava rock located in the middle of a large resort and golf course, most were estimated to be carved between 1400 to 1800 A.D. A wide variety of petroglyphs could be seen, with everything from what appeared to be people’s initials to carvings of circles and human figures. Native Hawaiians often used the lava rock around Waikoloa to create tools and would etch carvings in the rock to write down everything from traditional rituals to recording accounts of their trips.
Beach at Kekala Kai State Park:
(Kekala Kai State Park)
Our next stop was a fun afternoon at the beach in Kekala Kai State Park, located near Kona international Airport. The beach was composed entirely of white sand and had only recently opened up to visitors. We spent the afternoon bodysurfing on the large waves, sunbathing on the beach, and relaxing after a long trip.
Luau at Royal Kona Resort:
(dancers at the luau performing a
The group's final stop of day 8 was at the Royal Kona Resort for a Hawaiian Luau. Native Hawaiians have held luaus for centuries to celebrate a special event in someone’s life such as a birthday or wedding. The Luau at the Ro Kona Resort featured many traditional Hawaiian, Maori, and Tahitian dances. Perhaps the most impressive dance was from Tahiti and consisted of a man dancing with two sticks that were lit on fire. We also had a traditional Hawaiian meal consisting of pork that was cooked underground and covered with taro leaves, as well as poi, an array of local fish, and many other foods from Hawaii. Attending the luau was agreat to be a part of because the group was able to experience Native Hawaiian culture and enjoy the islands’ incredible food.
(workers retrieve the pig from its wrap of taro leaves after it was burried and cooked using heated rocks.)