Sunday, June 05, 2016

Coffee, Green Sand, and Volcanoes

Today was full but so much fun! Our first stop was the Greenwell Coffee Farm, because you can't very well visit Kona without checking out the coffee offerings. It was a beautiful little farm overlooking the sea. We got to try several different coffees as well as some honey. We also got to participate in an educational and entertaining tour of the farm. The tour guide was knowable not only of the history of the plantation and of coffee production but also of most of the other plants growing on the property. And, she was so sweet with the younger boys and involved them in every step of the tour.

From there, we made our way to Papakolea Beach, which is one of only four green sand beaches in the world. This particular one also happens to be at the southernmost tip of the U.S. so we got to have two cool experiences for the price of one. I don't even want to tell you how we got out to the beach, because I'm not sure all of it was entirely legal. It was definitely an adventure, and so much fun. The beach is absolutely gorgeous, and we are so glad we made the effort to get out to it. 

Our final stop was the Volcanoes National Park. There are several volcanoes in the park, but the main attraction is Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes. In 1490, the summit collapsed, leaving an enormous crater (caldera) and an almost flat shield volcano behind. But that hasn't dampened the spirit of this feisty mountain, which last erupted in 1983 and continues to actively produce lava. We got to look into the crater, see the volcano's many steam vents, and even see the glow of the lava within the newer, smaller summit caldera. It was an amazing experience! While we were in the park, we also caught a glimpse of the endangered Nene bird. It was such a great day, and we made so many fantastic memories!

Greenwell Coffee Farm
The farm operated for many years without a single coffee plant.
However, Mr. Greenwell shrewdly invested in a roaster and encouraged
all the local farmers to bring their crops to him, so he could provide it to a global market.
The catch is that only roasters get to put their name on the final product, so Greenwell Coffee was born.
The first coffee plants, which are now over 100 years old (bottom right pic), were planted by
Mrs. Greenwell after her husband's death, because she wanted the complete experience.

Papakolea Beach
We really loved this beautiful beach, and while we were there,
we saw a man catch a yellowfin surgeonfish, which was very exciting!

Volcanoes National Park
From left to right, starting at the top:
A large topographical map of Hawaii, with Kilauea at left-center; steam vents;
a 6-ton, Max-sized boulder the volcano spit out when the summit collapsed;
the newer caldera hidden by all the steam; the rare nene bird; our junior ranger;
just crater as far as the eye can see; lava inside the  summit caldera

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