BRAVE NEW EARTH
Bruce Weaver explores breathtaking coastlines, world-class snorkeling and pure Aloha spirit along Hawaii’s Route 137
The Kalapana-Kapoho beach road in south Hawaii, also known as Route 137, is a narrow two-lane stretch along a jagged spine of 15 miles of exotic coastline.
Once called the Red Road for the red cinder that covered it, pavement now cuts through dramatic black lava fields and beneath a Jurassic overstorey, made of mammoth banyan, coconut palms, grand albizia and the knarly limbs of the monkey pod trees.
Homes sparsely dot the lane and instead of the typical palatial opulence often seen on such breathtaking coastlines, old-world Hawaii and hippie-chic architecture nest behind walls of sculpted lava rock, mango, papaya, ginger and pineapple hedges.
If you plan on staying in the area, you will be using AirBnB or one of the local property management firms: there are no hotels! The Puna District is a hotspot for AirBnB in fact, with everything from five-star digs, to an eco-water farm, exotic tree houses and tent camping on organic farms – and all come with pure Aloha spirit!
The Kalapana coast defines "biodiversity" in its many forms: plants and people and places! The few subdivisions showcase this diversity beautifully. Seaview and Puna Palisades are two delightfully un-master-planned communities, with homes that are three-storey castles to Tiny Homes, unmoored boats-turned hide-a-way, Balinese-inspired tree houses, and dwellings suited for features in Dwell or Architectural Digest. Whatever you can imagine, you can make it here!
Of the many things to see and do, world-class snorkeling at the Kapoho tide pools is a must.
If you want to swim or surf, Isaac Hale Beach Park at Pohoiki Bay is a locals’ spot, complete with lava-steam vents! This makes this spot a saltwater hot springs.
As you make your way west, you will arrive at Kalani – a yoga, massage, meditation, spa and retreat center that offers consciousness-raising workshops and organic meals, year-round.
Past Kalani, approximately three miles, you will come to the Kehena Black Sand Beach. Here you can participate in drumming circles, go for a swim or even take the plunge in a nude yoga class (clothing is optional)!
If that is not your style, continue west and the road will come to its end at the edge of the lava field where the historic fishing village Kalapana is buried beneath some 80-feet of lava that flowed out to the sea from Kilauea Volcano in the 1990s.
Uncle Roberts bar is the destination spot, situated on this historic site. And the "only" spot for miles if you want to enjoy a cold beverage, some socializing and authentic Hawaiian hospitality. On Wednesdays and Saturdays you will find live bands playing Hawaiian, reggae or blue grass music during the farmers market held there – the best place to shop for your provisions!
While there, don't miss the New Kaimu Black Sand Beach. Only a short walk from Uncle Roberts, across the lava fields reaching to the ocean edge, and beyond – spanning out to a 500-acre swath of new earth formed by the 1990s flow that the Kingdom of Hawaii claims as sovereign ground.
If you need more evidence you have arrived at the end of the world and the birthplace of a brave new earth, you will find something you don’t see every day – the Star Visitor Landing pad established by the Kingdom of Hawaii as a UFO landing site. An invitation to our extraterrestrial brothers and sisters, perhaps ... to bring more intelligent life forms, and encourage more biodiversity?
Bruce Weaver is a transmedia creator using new technology and web platforms for storytelling with motion and sound. A graduate of Vancouver Film School, he focuses on video shorts involving people, place, purpose and food.
A passionate solutions thinker for becoming good stewards of the earth, Bruce imagines possibility where others see limitations. He believes we have what we need available to create possibilities, and imagination is our greatest asset. His superpower is in investigative research, with an unbounded curiosity for the unknown. He is currently looking for what he's calling a New Earth Imagination Director position where he would use all of his talents and skills to lead and direct a unique land-based project.
Green Adventures June 2015