Yes, Hawaii has great beaches (and I’ll come to those in my next post). But my favorite part is the tropical vegetation. The lush, neon green mosses and drippy ferns. Things that grow, rot and regrow all at the same time. I sketched these fiddlehead ferns and mosses while hiking through trails with huge vents spewing sulphurous steam on the rim of an active volcano. To be in Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii is to be transported back to a time when the Earth was young and just forming. You could almost imagine dinosaurs walking through here.
Halema’uma’u Crater as seen in the daytime is huge, impressive and creates a vog all day long. This is the crater sketched from the Jagger Museum, the closest point form which it can be viewed. It is so pitch dark (and cold) once night falls that I couldn’t sketch it, but it is incredible to see the volcano transformed at nightfall: the molten magma, only a couple of hundred feet under the rim, lights up the sky above it in orange, red, and pinks. We stayed at the Volcano House in the Park ( stay there if you ever visit, it is worth it just for the views) and could see the blazing volcano from our room through the night.
All the classic Hawaiian beaches are on the other side of the island, but we did visit a black sand beach called Punalu’u, with gritty volcanic jet black sand. I spotted my first Hawaiian green sea turtle here. He (she?) looked so beautiful, catching some sun on the black sand.