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Hawaii (Big) Island
Article Source: Copyright © 2012 by Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House Inc. All rights reserved.
After a hard rain, these falls thunder into the Wailuku River gorge, often creating magical rainbows in the mist.
Four separate streams fall into a series of circular pools, forming the Peepee Falls. The resulting turbulent action—best seen after a good rain—has earned this stretch of the Wailuku River the name Boiling Pots. There's no swimming allowed at Peepee Falls or anywhere in the Wailuku river, due to dangerous currents and undertows.
This is one of the most beautiful spots on the island. Dramatic cliffs surround crystal clear, turquoise water chock-full of stunning coral and tropical fish. The term "beach" is used a bit liberally for Napoopoo Beach, on the south side of the bay. There's no real beach to speak of, but there are easy ways to enter the water. This is a nice place to swim as it's well protected from weather or currents, so the water is almost always calm and clear. Excellent snorkel cruises can be booked through Fair Wind Cruises, the only company allowed to moor in Kealakekua Bay.
This no-frills industrial harbor, where in 1793 the first cattle landed in Hawaii, is a hub of commercial and community activity. It's especially busy on weekends, when paddlers and local fishing boats float on the waves. Second in size only to Hilo Harbor on the east coast, the harbor is often home to the Makalii, one of three traditional Hawaiian sailing canoes. King Kamehameha and his men launched their canoes from here when they set out to conquer the neighboring islands. There are several restaurants with nice sunset views in Kawaihae should you be nearby at dinnertime.
Though most fishing boats use Honokohau Harbor, this pier dating from 1918 is still a hub of ocean activity. Outrigger canoe teams practice and boats shuttle cruise ship passengers to and from Kailua-Kona here, and tour boats depart from these docks most days. Along the seawall children and old-timers cast their lines daily, careful not to hook the pair of sea turtles nesting nearby. For youngsters, a bamboo pole and hook are easy to come by, and plenty of locals are willing to give pointers. Each October close to 1,500 international athletes swim 2.4 mi from the pier to begin the internationally famous Ironman World Championship triathlon competition.
This lighthouse was miraculously unharmed during the 1960 volcano eruption here that destroyed the town of Kapoho. The lava flowed directly up to the lighthouse's base, but instead of pushing it over, actually flowed around it—an impressive sight now that the lava flows have hardened. Locals say that Pele, the volcano goddess, protected the Hawaiian fisherfolk by sparing the lighthouse. The building itself is a simple metal-frame structure with a light on top, similar to a tall electric-line transmission tower. To reach the lighthouse, keep going straight for 1½ mi when Highway 132 meets Highway 137 and turns into an unpaved road.