The Big Island is Hawaii's place for Big Drives, so it's nice to be entertained by lava graffiti. Don't worry -- there is no paint involved. Rather, people gather up white coral stones on the beach and take them to roadside lava deposits where they write words and draw pictures. The white stands out well against the dark black lava, creating the worlds most eco-friendly vandalism (if you would call it that!).
One of the most interesting things to see while on the Big Island is the "Island Graffiti" that runs along highway 19 from Kona to Kohala Coast. These are all "written" with white coral and leave a striking image in one's mind with the juxtaposition between the black lava rock and the white coral stones.
There are many types of messages left ranging from memorials to loved ones who have died, marriage proposals, proclamations of love as well as messages to people passing by. It has been around for ages and people are generally good about not disturbing the messages or taking rocks to make their own message. The residents ask that the white coral not be harvested or moved from the beach.
The photo shows our message we left on Kiholo Bay beach....we did NOT take our white stones away from the beach or farm it from the ocean as this is illegal. We only used coral stones that were already on the beach and the message was left on the same beach. No harm no foul. Sort of like building a sand castle when the tide comes it it will reclaim it to its natural state.
As you drive past the miles of black lava fields that stretch further than the imagination, little white rocks pepper the darkness. These rocks, bone white in color, gathered miles away, brought to this barren location and strategically placed into position to tell the innermost desires of thier creators. Who loves who, who was here, who is no longer here...it's all recorded in this local form of "grafetti."
It is considered rude and bad luck to disturb these messages.
The graffitti made out of writing with white coral (arranging the pieces into words) on black lava along the highway near Kona was extremely striking, and something I'd never read about before I went to the Big Island. I can't believe I didn't get any pictures.
Mile after mile of peoples' names and messages and designs ....
While driving on the road between Kona Airport and Kailua-Kona Town you will notice White Rock "graffiti" on the side of the road. This is nice! And has long tradition. Do not be tempted to rearrange the rocks for YOUR names! Be respectful. Gather your own beach white coral rocks!!!
If you drive past all those names spelled in white rocks on the hardened lava, you may as well stop and add your name to it ! ! ! Be sure to get your own rocks though, and don't even think about bothering someone elses' name. Usually somewhere along the road, you will see "extra" white rocks, feel free to stop and gather these for your signature.