visit the boat docks at south point. Also on the way towards the volcano. I don't believe the hoists are used anymore. The water was an unbelieveable blue color here! We even saw snorkelers here. There was a spot where the water was somewhat accessible---if you climbed a bit. The water was so clear we could see the fish from the cliff. I understand it can be a dangerous place to dive/snorkel, though. This is on the southern most end of the USA and I read a strong current leads straight to the antarctic from here.
Ka Lae, Ka'u (south point)
The road to south point is some 7 miles west of the village of Naalehu and then you turn off the main circum-island highway 11 and go south for another 20 some miles. There to greet you will be tourists like yourself and pockets of locals with time to talk story and fish all day. This is the southernmost point in the USA and the point fabled to be that first reached by the Tahitians who over time became Hawaiians. This is speculation, however, based on the fact that if you are coming from Tahiti, the first island you are likely to see is the Big Island because of the 14,000 foot mountains and then because this south point would be the closest landfall.
Looking up the west side of the point, this is one of the most interesting aspects here. These are boat hoists that raise and lower boats into the water. They are modern versions of what was here in ancient times. You would think that it would be easier to just launch a canoe on the other side of the point where the land slopes gradually into the water, but apparently it is too difficult to drag the canoes and dragging them over the rocks gradually destroys them. People also jump off here but it is not advised because strong currents will carry you out to sea.
Here you can hike to Green Sand Beach to give you an idea of the feel of nature walking the coast of the big island where your viewing vistas are uninterrupted.
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