Waikoloa Rock Graffiti

When you leave Kona airport on the Big Island of Hawaii, you pretty much have 2 options in regards to direction, you can head south on Highway 19 aka Queen Kaahumanu Hwy (try saying that three times fast) and that will take you into Kailua-Kona  and loops around the southern half of the island.  Or, you can head north, which will take you to the Waikoloa Beach Resort area (which is where we stayed), Waimea, and loops the northern half towards Hilo.  What’s great about this road is that on our way into Waikoloa we drove past miles and miles of  hardened lava flows where people have created what I’ve termed as Rock Graffiti.   Like all graffiti, it’s a mish-mash of shout outs, declarations of love and peace, and just stuff.  Unlike graffiti, the lava flow was not tagged with spray paint, instead white coral rocks were used for tagging.  Well…who was I to leave the island without putting in stamp on the lava wall, so I immediately vowed to leave my “Black Chick On Tour” moniker somewhere along that road.

I drove past this site almost every day of the 6 days we were on this island.  I kept wondering…where do I get the white rocks?  I need white rocks!!

We were down to our last day and I still hadn’t tagged the lava flow, and I still didn’t know where in the hell to get the white rocks.  And, almost magically, as if he had heard my siren’s call…my husband came in from his morning run and his pockets were loaded down with white coral rocks!!!!  There weren’t a lot…but it was enough, enough to spell out BCOT.  😀

So…if you’re ever on the island of Hawaii, and you just happen to find yourself on Queen Kaahumanu Hwy (which isn’t hard considering it’s the main highway the oops around the island), near mile marker 80, on top of the lava flow, you will (I hope it’s still there) see my contribution:  BCOT.



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About Terri Lundberg

Terri Lundberg is an American expat currently residing with her husband in Saudi Arabia, but she calls Seattle and San Diego home. She’s a travel writer, an avid photographer and is a resource and cross cultural trainer to expats relocating to Saudi Arabia. She's been to 100 destinations, 30 countries, and counting.


  1. This a fun idea to leave a little of one’s energy behind…

  2. Michael Grant says:

    I drove along this road yesterday and was shocked to see all this graffiti. I had no idea what was going on so I searched for it and landed on your site.

    Frankly I was more disturbed by what I saw than impressed. The thousands upon thousands of graffitis along this road is shocking. Personally I felt it disturbed the natural beauty of the place. Secondly, I suspect that not all of that coral was collected from the beach.

    I realize people have been doing it for many years and surely confined to one small area using only washed up coral would be harmless but this really has gotten out of hand. This is now questionably eco-vandalism.

    • Hello Michael,

      It’s always interesting how people find my site. I don’t know that your suspicion are true (that not all the coral was collected from the beach) and you surely can feel what you want. However, i can assure you that ours was picked up on the beach during my husband’s morning run. All along the beach, you can find lots of those white rocks. So I don’t know that someone would take the time to actually go diving, down deep, to break off coral to make their rock message. Some things are just “fun” and are meant to be fun. Personally, I like the rock graffiti and I don’t agree that it’s eco-vandalism. Maybe the car that you drove along that beautiful road in hasn’t contributed to in any way in damaging our eco system? 🙂

      Hope you’re enjoying your time in Hawaii. We loved it and plan to return to the islands again soon.

      Thanks for stopping by

      • Terri –

        I came across your website in a similar manner to Michael Grant. I understand that you meant no harm in what you’ve done, but please know that just because something is “fun” it does not make it okay. You might encounter “locals” who say this sort of thing is fine, but I assure you that real natives (or at least non-Hawaiians who can trace their family’s island linage back several generations or more) will tell you that this practice is not only unacceptable, but it is also offensive. Please take a look at this link – it is not a picture that I took myself, but it is a picture of a real sign:


        I realize that you were not in a protected national park area, but the rules and certainly the wishes of the people apply to the whole island. This is been a major problem for many years, and an uphill battle for Hawaiians. With so many tourists coming every year, and with the native population in decline, it becomes increasingly more difficult to clean up this graffiti and prevent it from spreading. Websites like this and (seriously, no offense intended but) attitudes such as yours to this issue help to make this problem worse.

        Just so you are aware, it is in fact illegal to remove coral from the beach – even dead coral. In some cases it is permitted, but you must obtain permission to do so. Why? Because it is part of a fragile ecosystem. Even the dead coral has a part to play in that ecosystem. Sand is not alive, but would you think it okay if all of the sand was removed from a beach? Furthermore, it is illegal to dump foreign materials into an ecosystem (i.e. pieces from one area into another). The islands have been victim to many forms of this sort of abuse for centuries – the people strive to prevent more from occurring. Imagine what would happen if everyone did this. Keep in mind the large number of tourists that come every year. Whether or not the coral was collected from the beach, or simply found on the road does not matter, it is still vandalism. Ask yourself: how did the roadside coral get there in such amounts to begin with?


        Your argument about car pollution is invalid. Just because a car pollutes does not make further pollution acceptable. Besides, this is a slippery slope – one could argue (and some radical locals do) that tourists no longer be allowed to visit at all, let alone drive their rented cars on the highway. Obviously Hawaii benefits greatly from tourism, and everyone should be able to enjoy the wonderful sights on the islands, but preferably without desecration to the natural beauty. Please do not use this as a defense.

        Please don’t take this as hostile (I really don’t mean it to be) but I suggest that you educate yourself on Hawaiian culture/environmental issues. I would also ask that you consider removing or changing this entry on your website to discourage others from continuing this practice. It would be unfortunate for everyone if the countryside was cluttered with signs out of necessity, or worse – fenced off. I hope you visit again, but that you do not decide to add another message.

  3. I’ve just reread this post. I must say again, that I don’t agree with those who see something wrong with this. I think it’s fun. We got a few pieces of white coral and rocks that had washed ashore from the beach, and spelled out BCOT. Hawaii, is an state that thrives on tourism, which is to a certain extent, anti eco-friendly. Which I could more in-depth with but I won’t. What I do know is that, nothing was killed, nor was anything polluted. Coral/rocks were taken from one location and taken to another.