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Finding Untouched Hawaii


“Oh, you don’t want to go there” interrupted an old Hawaiin lady shaking her head at us from beneath a pile of leis. “Your body will be sucked under and washed away into the ocean.” She turned and as suddenly as she had joined our conversation, hurried off down the beach still muttering away under breath.

Now if anything is going to instil fear into your heart it is the whisperings of old island hearsay. Wise enough not to ignore local advice, however unasked for, we indulged in a careful amount of investigation.  We eventually established, as so often true of hearsay, that there was only a certain amount of truth in the old lady’s warnings. True, the boiling pots are prone to unpredictable underwater currents and yes, there have been incidents of people being dragged under, but it is rare and has only happened in certain areas. Therefore, feeling inspired and partly indignant we ignored her; and I’m eternally glad that we did.

Like a perfect picture postcard the river valley stood resplendent in front of us.  A series of pools were linked by small cascading falls and vast rocky outcrops. As the eye cast itself along the chain of watery wonderlands it was drawn to the far end of the scene where a dramatic waterfall stood pouring from its heights into a large clear pool.  The sound of the plummeting water resonated across the valley.

It seemed a shame to ruin the image by stepping into it but like a Mary Poppins pavement drawing it was just too much to resist and with eager anticipation we climbed down further into our imaginations.

We ventured into the pools enjoying the tantalising feel of the water fresh from the mountains awakening our senses.  Plunging in we disturbed the serene stillness with the same feeling of purpose as placing the first footprint in freshly fallen snow. We swam across each pool making the motionless water ripple with our excited movements and scrambled over the rocks to fall into the next.

The boiling pots were created by the water running downstream over basalt depressions and swirling and churning to form bubbling pools. This is at its most forceful after high rainfall and with Hilo getting measurable rainfall on 262 days of the year, it is no wonder they gained their name.

They lie down Waianvenue Avenue, one and a half miles from the better known Rainbow falls. Its smaller sister, at the top of the boling pots is called Peepee falls and although less grand in scale is just as enchanting.

As we reached the final pool we paused for a moment on top of the rocks to survey the unspoilt view at the end of our journey.  The scene was framed with lush green vegetation offsetting the ice blue gleam of the water. Nestled in the rocky cliff face were a number of smaller waterfalls each finding its own unique path down .

Swimming in the pool beneath a waterfall and feeling the fresh spray gently spritz against your skin is the stuff that daydreams are made of and we were well and truly in daydream land. The currents were too strong to go directly underneath Peepee falls so we clambered up the rocks and stood in the path of a smaller waterfall to feel the cold streams pelting down on us.

During our whole stay at the boiling pots we only saw five other people. A father and son were playing in one of the shallow pools and three girls lay sunbathing on the rocks.   It is a destination little known by tourists who come to Hilo. They tend to visit the bigger sights and attractions like the Akaka falls or the volcanoes. It is for this reason that you can enjoy the true beauty of Hawaii here, unspoilt by tourism and the influx of holidaymakers.  Although so close to the hub of the town the boiling pots feel like an undiscovered corner of the island where you can relax and escape from everyday life.  They offer the best of the big island’s diverse geography combining lush vegetation, an impressive waterfall and an idyllic hideaway.

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