The Kilauea eruptions of 2018 spewed ash into the air, plunged lava into the ocean and destroyed more than 700 houses. It also created a new black sand beach that's a sight to behold.
Isaac Kepo'okalani Hale Beach Park, also known as Pohoiki, re-opened to the public on Dec. 6, 2018, after being closed for nearly 170 days because of lava. Prior to the lava flow, the beach was "all rock and no sand," according to Hawaii News Now. The beach is now one of the more accessible black sand beaches created by the eruptions.
"This is really hard to see but it's still beautiful. It'll still be Pohoiki, but it's changed. It will be forever changed," resident Nadine Camacho told the news outlet during the re-opening ceremony.
The photo above was taken in October 2018, after the lava flows had ceased but before the park re-opened.
In addition to the black sand, thermal ocean ponds have appeared, and swimmers say it feels like take a dip in a warm bath. Swimming in these ponds is discouraged, however, due to the risk of bacterial infection. Additionally, the shore breaks and ocean currents are strong, so visitors enter the ocean at their own risk.
The park is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time and has 24-hour security. Visitors will also need to bring and drink plenty of water when they take in the sights as county water lines were damaged during the lava flow.
Still, it's a small price to pay to see a beloved park transformed into something beautifully different.