I gazed out at the searing hot sands.
I was watching a miracle of sorts, something that shouldn’t be here, yet still, by some crazy feat of nature, was. The warm air whisked across my face as I felt all sorts of things go on in my mind. Puzzlement. Disbelief. Throbbing, powerful interest. Even a little bit of fear. My skin crawled; my stomach flipped. I felt like I was in one of those virtual reality simulators I’d heard of. The front part of your mind knows, without a doubt, that what you’re seeing isn’t real, couldn’t possibly be, yet the back part struggles against the bonds tying it to reality, wanting to believe the impossible.
“Come on,” my brother, Oscar, said beside me. He seemed bubbling, eager. A part of me felt that way too.
My mom and dad walked up behind us and surveyed the beach.
“Wow. Isn’t this amazing?” my dad asked us.
Oscar and I nodded.
“And how do you think it’s this way?” he prompted.
Oscar immediately launched into a story about lava rocks and waves. I didn’t pay much attention. I was still engrossed in the unearthly beauty of the beach.
By now, you’d probably be dying to know what was going on. Maybe I should start at the beginning and explain it all the way through. I glanced again at my brother and chewed my lip. No, that’d take too long. Instead, I think I’ll just bring you to the moment.
Once again, I watched the beach. It wasn’t deep, ebony black like I’d expected. It was more salt and pepper, like the beach used to be white and shining and perfect and then became charred and burnt and astronomically mystifying.
We were at 49 Black Sands Beach, on the Big Island, Hawaii, somewhere in between Kona and Kawaihae (pronounced Ka-why-eh-hi), if you know where those are. It was summer, not deep into it, but like the tide pools back in Santa Barbara, when the tide just keeps creeping up the beach, craaaawwwwling, slowly but really, in the broad expanse of things, faster than you’d imagine. That’s how summer in Hawaii felt so far, like one of those dreams you feel like you might never come out of but know you will.
Anyways, the beach, accordion-crunched between the tumbling lava rocks on either side, spread out before me was one of the most incredible things I’d ever seen. It was, however impossible it seemed, black. I couldn’t wait to test the azure waters and explore its mysteries.
I took a step, a mix of determination and small, questioning hesitation, out onto the beach.
The black sand spilled into my tan colored sandals and snuck in between my toes like only sand could do. My family followed as we walked down to the edge of the beach, where it met the ocean. We quickly set up our things and put on rash guards.
I removed my sandals and snatched my goggles from our bag. They were tie-dye pink and blue and felt rubbery and smooth against my fingers. The inside of them was caked with sea salt.
The trade winds threw back my hair as I raced into the sea. The sand seared into my feet, seething hot. The minute waves washed over my feet, relieving, when I stepped in. The ocean was confined in a small cove, but barely. Craggy lava rocks jaggedly pierced the sky in a row midway through the cove. I shuffled my feet so I was facing the rocks; I knew that that was where the most fish would be gathered.
The ocean itself seemed conflicted; it reflected both the color of the blinding blue sky and the dark sand beneath its surface. Imagine a pond, murky and gray, yet somehow clear, as if it had some kind of depth.
That was how the ocean at 49 Black Sands looked to me.
A little bit about this...
All trips have their share of funny stories. We decided it would be fun to recall these laugh-out-loud moments right here, on this page.