Black Sand & Green Turtles in Hawaii


With all the nearby volcanic action on the Big Island of Hawaii it is not too surprising to see black sand beaches. Punalu’u Beach on the south-east coast of the island is a great example. The black sand is formed by tiny grains of volcanic rock washed in from the ocean and provides a stunning contrast to the normal white/yellow sand you normally see.

Punalu'u Beach Hawaii
Hello to you too
Punalu'u Beach Black Sand Big Island Hawaii
Punalu’u Beach

When the hot lava hits the cold water of the ocean it more or less shatters into smaller pieces and just down the road is Kīlauea Volcano. So there is no shortage of lava and volcanic rock!

Black Sand at Punalu'u Beach Big Island Hawaii
Black Sand at Punalu’u Beach

Apart from the stunning backdrop there is something else very special to see at Punalu’u Beach. Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles abound! I saw at least nine of them swimming about in shallow water and sleeping on the sand.

Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle
Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle
Punalu'u Beach Hawaii
Black sand, green turtle
Sleeping Sea Turtle Hawaii
Sleeping Sea Turtle

As you can see in the photos they appear a dark colour but not green. Why are they called that? Their vegetarian diet creates a green tinge in their fat, hence the name of Green Sea Turtle.

Green Sea Turtle Punalu'u Beach Hawaii
The large flippers of the Sea Turtle enable them to swim long distances
Sleeping green sea turtle Hawaii Big Island
Very relaxed

They are so relaxed it makes for a very peaceful afternoon watching the turtles. From what I have read male sea turtles spend their lives at sea, so those that generally come ashore are females and would normally do that to lay their eggs. In this case I am not sure what sex the turtles were, but the one taking a nap on the beach sure looked comfortable!

Sleeping green sea turtle Punalu'u Beach Hawaii
So sleepy
Green Sea Turtle close up
It is so peaceful and relaxing watching the sea turtles
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2 Comments Add yours

  1. I like the sea turtle’s facial expression XDDDD Gives the “I am sleepy, don’t bother me” vibe in the last two photos ~

    1. Deano says:

      Yes that’s what I was thinking at the time too 🙂

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