Hawaii is blessed with a wide spectrum of beaches–yellow, white, red, green, black, and more. On the Big Island’s southern shores near the town of Pahala you’ll find Punalu’u County Beach Park, an exceptional example of what a black (ele’ele in Hawaiian)sand beach should be.
Sheltered in a small cove, the shoreline here is a mixed of jet black a’a, pohoehoe, and sand. The beach’s qualities were created when fresh lava flowed down the mountain, meeting the ocean at the perfect temperature and speed to cause it’s coloring.
Over many years the solid lava rock was buffeted by waves and wind to form medium-sized grains of sand.
Punalu’u draws a large population of green sea turtles who take advantage of the warm black sand while basking in the sun. Alternatively, these turtles then cool off by playing the cove’s waves.
This photo shows the rugged lava shoreline in the foreground and the sandy beach in the background.
Reef fish clean a sea turtle passing through a “cleaning station.” read more
An adult Green Sea Turtle swims by a woman, taking it easy in the clear blue ocean off Maui’s north side. read more
A Green Sea Turtle takes it easy on a patch of lava rock with tasty algae within reach. read more
A Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle spreads its fins and flies over a shallow rock and reef ocean bottom in Hawaii. read more
A Lahaina, Maui local honu–Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle–heads off into the sun and the Pacific, starting a journey that will lead to an unknown destination and create unknown adventures along the way. What do you think his story will be? Or what has it been so far? read more
If you already think sea turtles are chill, this shot will help further convince you of their relaxed nature. It would be amazing to know what this Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle is thinking. The expressive face, barely open eyes, wide spread fins, and positioning on the sea floor all seem to say, “Just chillin’. How you doin’?” read more
A Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle flies by an underwater observer amidst corals and white sand as streams of light pour in from above in Maui’s near-shore ocean. read more
A Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle, called “honu,” floats serenely through the sandy shallows off the Maui coastline as light cascades down in streams from above painting a mosaic on the sea floor. read more
In Hawaii sea turtles are different. Unlike other places in the world, Hawaiian sea turtles come ashore to nap and bask in the sun. read more
Known as a Honu in Hawaii, this green sea turtle looks up after nibbling on the algae. read more
Something about sea turtles tugs at our hearts. It may be that we’ve seen one too many Disney or Pixar movies or that all those ‘save the planet’ speeches have gotten to us. read more