I hit the gym for a morning workout, and it felt good to move again (too much sloth on the days after Christmas!). S had booked us a couples massage at the spa at the hotel, and we were treated to an amazing hour of massage on a balcony where we could feel the ocean breezes and hear the waves smashing against the lava rocks. Wow!
After the massage, we checked out of the resort (Aloha, Sheraton), grabbed a disappointing breakfast at a highly-reputed coffee shop, and continued down to the Place of Refuge:
The Place of Refuge is one of a handful of spots on the Hawaiian Islands where commoners who had committed crimes (most of which were punishable by death) could be absolved of their transgressions and reaccepted into society. This PoR is one of the most well-known, and because it's run by the National Park Service, it's one of the most well-maintained. There were lots of recreations of structures, historical points, and plenty of beautiful shorelines. S and I spent quite a while waiting for a turtle to pose for us.
After the Place of Refuge, we jumped back in the car for the journey south. Our next stop was at the southern-most point in the United States (suck on THAT, Florida!). The point was a 12-mile detour off the rainy highway down a one-lane road, at the end of which you end at a cliff where fishermen have dropped lines into the water. Despite the warnings about how strong the current is, people were jumping off the cliff and into the water, swimming madly for the ladder once they came up for air. S and I estimate the drop was about 25 or 30 feet. S wouldn't let me jump. Sad face.
After watching a couple of jumpers go down and come back up, S and I left them for the last half-mile walk down a dirt road (again, note the changes in climate)...
to the southern-most point of the USA. S stands with her hands raised, the only thing preventing her from a current-driven trip to Antarctica being her sure footing on those lava rocks.
From there, we jumped back in the car, back to the rainy highway, and on to one of the few remaining black-sand beaches. Black-sand beaches are formed when cold water shatters hot lava. As the beach naturally erodes, the sand is washed away, so all black-sand beaches have a definite life-span. This beach was lovely, full of solitude. We made it to the beach just after sundown with enough time to wander for 20 minutes or so. Again, turtles! Here's a shot of S lining up a photograph:
After the beach, we hopped back in the car, drove through more rainy highway, and got to Volcano Village just in time to grab dinner (not as impressive as last night, but still quite good). Our b&b here in VV is exquisite - spacious, cozy, well-appointed, and very convenient to Volcano National Park, where we'll spend tomorrow!