Photographer & Author: Francesco Stumpo
Camera: Nikon D3100 & iPhone 5C
Film: N/A
Processed: Photoshop CS6, Lightroom and VSCO.

Date: June 14th, 2018

Photo Essay:
Pacific Islands of Hawai
Five days exploring Honolulu, Manoa, Pahala and Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.

Landing on Honolulu for the first time is somehow a bit of the end of a lifelong distant infatuation for Hawaii. Ever since I could remember, this pacific islands has been stuck in my travel bucket list, so as the reality of being in Hawaii synced in through the trip, I realized “I'm on a island, in the middle of the pacific, on top of volcanoes, with friends I met Sophomore year of college in a foreign country in 2012. Life is nuts.”

Honolulu & Manoa

Our first destination was Honolulu in the main island of Oahu. We stayed in the neighborhood of Manoa where my sophomore roommate now lives in a tropical bungalow overlooking what consists of the Manoa Valley. This entire canyon, running from Mānoa Falls to the end to King Street, typically receives rain showers through day, is home to multiple rainbows a week and on going alarm-like sounds through the night and day, thanks to the neighboring abundant flora and fauna.

For three days, we get to know visit local spots in the various island neighborhoods, ventured around the different lookouts or peaks and spent quality leisurely time by the coasts. During the first half of the days, we explored Manoa Falls, Waikiki and downtown Honolulu.

For the latter part of the trip, explorations continued to the south towards Diamond Head Park, all around the eastern portion of the through Jurassic park’s backyard and Lost’s preferred locations, up until North Shore Pipeline’s coast and legendary waves.

Throughout the trip, rain came and went through the night, lush scenarios kept getting better and vistas of the Oahu’s landscapes continue to be more impressive; all while we continued to wake up everyday back in Manoa to watch the sunrise from the “lanai” (or back portico) overlooking the green hillfoots. It was truly a unique and special time.

Pahala & Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

We had planned to make a second stop during our visit, so we decided to spend our last days in the eastern portion of the island chain, the Big Island. After taking a short flight to Kona-Kailua, our first morning in this volcanic destination started with a quick breakfast and short drive down Highway 11 to check the local green and black sand beaches. In the meantime we stopped by Kona's Boy to rent some snorkeling gear, and met a warm local named Frank. He recommended hiking to Captain Cook's Monument and swim at Kealakekua Bay. As we carried the snorkeling search, with the sounds of waves crashing in the background, we looked for our second spot. This time, it was a southern shoreline full of interconnected natural pools, formed by lava and now coral reefs at Kauhako Bay.

Last days were enjoyed exploring Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park terrain and grounds. Walking on Pahoehoe trails was an experience like nothing I've done before, as I kept telling our crew, “This is what walking on the moon must feel like”. Truly mind-blowing.

“Sand. Rocks. Plants. Saltwater. Corals. Sunsets. Island life is real life.”

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