Makalawena, what a fairy tale! There is no other way to describe this B-E-A-U-TIFUL deserted beach.
The only way to get there is either to have friends that are willing to smash their car through a hiking road, or to leave the car by the side of the road where it can be broken in at any time, and then hike four miles down with all your camping supplies on your back. Gladly, Maddy and I opted for the first option thanks to Matt and Nate that bought “Bruce”, the car, in order to destroy it by venturing as much as possible. The steep and loose road that took us to our camping spot was extremely scary! It is amazing to see how differently guys and girls think. A girl would never “test” a car among this perilous road the way these boys did. Every unusual scary noise, every bump and every scratch only attribute to Bruce’s personality according to Matt. I cannot stress how risky this road was, but what matters is that I am here recounting my adventures. Matt, the driver, repeatedly stated “Bruce is smoking, isn’t it?” with pleasure, excitement and a desire to push the car to its limits. The girls and I were panicking in the back. We also envisioned the savagery of men; they stopped the car in the middle of the road and grabbed a rock in order to “nail a quail”, JESUS! The pleasant surprise was that Bruce successfully made it to the paradisiacal beach-spot where our crew, about twenty-five people, was stationed.
Makalawena is a long semi-circular beach that intermingles rocky areas and sandy beaches. It is not a touristic spot which is an enhancement to its beauty. The silky sand beach is perfect to lie down to tan or to contemplate the sky. The water is perfect for swimming and there are great snorkeling spots. In the rocky spots, the mixture of black lava and white corals allows people to show their artistic side, write their name or declare their friendship or love; the most romantic I read was a marriage proposal. The scenery of this beach is out of the ordinary, unbelievably exotic. A small village consisting of about eight houses, a church and a school, got wiped out by the 1946 tsunami and only one house was rebuilt in Makalawena, that of Annie Una. Porto, her last husband still lives there and sustains himself out of the land by raising goats, chickens and by fishing. We offered him a beverage and had a conversation with him around the fire.
Around the camp-fire, we had a great time with the crew; we made some ‘smores’, and ate burned chicken. Some of the boys went night-diving to go spear-fishing; I have not yet understood the fun out of this activity but I respect it. They actually caught a couple fishes that they immediately cooked over the fire and gave everybody a taste; deliciously fresh but a little nauseating to eat it after seeing it alive a couple minutes before. We also met some really cool ‘locals’ that I joined for a while to go crab-hunting, their night-time hobby. It was pretty awesome, especially the sky.
After everybody went to sleep, some in tents, some on the floor with a sleeping bag, some by the beach and others on “hamacs”; I climbed on top of “Bruce”, the car, with my sleeping bag and contemplated the profound stellar sky for hours; this was absolutely my favorite part of the whole camping trip. At that point life made sense, not that I questioned it, but this sky only confirmed it. If I could, I would stare at the Milky Way incessantly. I witnessed lots of shouting stars, and I evidently made a wish for every single one of them. This peaceful moment was therapeutically relaxing. At that point I wished I had a greater astronomical knowledge. I could write endlessly and repeatedly about the profound stellar sky but you will eventually get tired of my obsession for the Milky Way. I ended up sleeping on top of Bruce and it was surprisingly comfortable. If you go to the big island, I definitely recommend Makalawena as one of the “MUST SEE” spots.
Maddy and I decided to go back to the Palms the next morning because we had plenty of responsibilities, including taking a hot shower and sleeping in a bed. We found a ride with a girl from Wisconsin but we had to hike back as she left her truck by the side of the road. Fortunately, a genuinely nice couple from Utah picked six of us, including a humongous but majestic dog, and gave us a ride back on the hiking road. We got to our destination and rode back to Hilo in the back of the truck. On our way back, we went through all the possible ecosystems but tundra. The view was exceptional; from mountain to desert, to tropical, to forest, to ocean. It is just astonishing how the scenery constantly and suddenly switches; I think Maddy enjoyed more how the wind deformed my face throughout the ride though.