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Posts tagged ‘Hawaii’

Caves and Volcanoes and Rainbows

Here I am looking at Rainbow Falls


Rain pounding on the roof woke us this morning—three inches over night. Rain continued after breakfast and from the look of the weather forecast promised to be an all day affair.

Our first adventure was in a local lava tube cave. It was quite wet and drippy inside; the entrance draped with ferns and long roots. The interior was interesting with a floor of rubble that although uneven was not difficult to walk on. The sides of the cave-tube looked like glaze on a bundt cake; whitish material formed on much of the side walls with rivulets of more concentrated white—almost like a root system. There were no cracks underneath those lines—and due to the darkness—and need for flashlights, I have no photos. However, I was quite soaked when I finally climbed out of the cave.

We spent some time at the Boiling Pots and then Rainbow Falls. With the recent rain there was a lot of water bubbling and boiling over the rocks. Several tour buses were at Rainbow Falls, the rainbow only showing itself in the early morning hours.  Several huge banyan trees were nearby—and the whole area appeared quite tropical.

We drove along the coast northward—I think—the ocean was on our right and the hillsides were green and lush. Macadamia groves, banks of flowering poinsettias, breadfruit trees, and ecualiptis forest—planted as a substitute for cash crop sugar cane were on the road side. When we finally came to the Bishop Wapui park area, four wheel drive was necessary to make our way down a very tiny winding road to sea level. A few wild horses grazed in the groves; the surf was spectacular (for this Texas girl used to one to two feet high waves) and we were treated to a surfer making a run. I picked up a bottle of black sand and a few rocks.

Tomorrow Don has to work and so we made an early evening of it—eating spaghetti and meatballs for supper and turned in early.

 Photos are on smugmug at:

Telescopes and Sleet in Hawaii

TelescopeThursday Day Four November 13, 2009

Mynah birds with size sixteen feet thumping about on the roof awakened us. The roof is tin and carries sound quite fervently.

Breakfast was a repeat of the previous day and we headed out equipped with warm jackets and gloves. Our first stop was the lava flow from 1984. This was at the end of a five mile very bumpy run of what might be described as an off-road pathway. The understory was quite dense in parts, feral pigs roaming about in the underbrush. The lava flow was coarse and bumpy but covered with an incredibly soft leathery gray lichen coating. There were patches of ferns here and there; some bright pink smart weed and in the distance I could hear birds in the forest. Lava is quite fertile and with the amount of rain here, new soil is quickly formed.

Our next stop was driving through the sides of Mauna Loa up to the telescope area. Mulleins, a common weed in Wisconsin were spaced along the roadside looking rather like planned sculptures. The lava varied in color from deep rusty red (from it’s iron content) to dark black to gray to brownish. The texture also varied from smooth to very hard to spongy to looking like an experiment making fudge gone wrong with ripples and caked areas. Part of the area underwent an Ice Age and that was still a different texture.

We arrived at the telescope visitor center, bought a sticker admonishing us to be wary of the invisible cows ( free range cattle, dense fog, and unsuspecting tourists are not a good mix), and then proceeded to the actual living quarters/dining area of the telescope workers. As guests of my brother-in-law, we were invited to a lunch of kimshee burgers and spinach soup. Our next stop—the telescopes.

It is hard to imagine snow in Hawaii or being cold or being in the middle of an ice-hail-sleet storm—but there we were. The telescopes are huge and impressive; all the parts being trucked up a 17% grade to 14000 feet.  Day and night crews work the telescopes, the mirrors are resurfaced, counterweights applied to balance new pieces of equipment—-and then after supper we watched a video of time-lapse photography shot of the things seen through the telescopes and the telescopes themselves.

After a significant amount of hail ran down the back of my polar fleece, we climbed back into the car and drove back across the saddle to Kona. The land here is ranch land dotted with cattle pens; the other  side of the island is Kona—home of Kona coffee. Coffee plantations are small, on the hill-sides, and require a great deal of hand labor as each bean must be individually picked and they do not all ripen at the same time. A bit further down there were huge groves of macadamia trees.

It was getting quite dark and so we decided to skip South Point and head home.

Supper was pizza, salad with avocado, and something that looked like strawberries with whiskers—but were like lichees—you peeled off the bright red exterior to reveal the pale white shiny peeled grape like interior around a single seed.

 More photos are here on smugmug at:

A closeup look at Pele

FernWednesday Veterans Day

The day started with breakfast—Virginia sausage and eggs and toast. Our first stop was at Walmart to get some bottled water for the day—and I found a hula dancer for my truck dashboard.

We headed up the mountain and stopped at an orchid factory/show-place. There were hundreds of orchids on display and many more in the back greenhouses. Ladies were invited to wear an orchid, over the left ear for ‘taken’ , over the right ear for  ‘available’ and over both for ‘taken but still available and looking’. A packet of papaya seeds captured our fancy.

Next we stopped at the winery, and did a small tasting of several wines and left with a bottle of red plus two jars of mango and passionfruit butters. By this time  it was lunch—the Lava Rock Café was nearby—and we each had a shrimp-crab wrap.  A local favorite is potato/mac salad which is potato salad with macaronis.  We split a passionfruit cheesecake.

Then on to the volcanoes. Steam poured out of various vents; the calderas were huge; tree molds were interesting—it is so desolate—

Supper was salad with fresh avocado.

**Sorry I didn’t write more about this day but I was really tired. I did take a lot of photos though–the orchids were gorgeous and I could have spent all day there. The ranger that did the tour was adorably gauche but incredibly knowledgeable. I kept getting left behind because I was stopping to take photos–it is truly an artist’s wonderland. There is a artisan shop filled with all sorts of local wood carvings and painting and prints. I could have spent all day here too. Then there was the cute little quilt shop next to the Lava Rock Cafe–also filled full of all sorts of fun things. I bought two pieces of batik that were designed by an Hawaiian–made elsewhere–and two patterns–with no intention of making them–I just like to look at them.

 more photos are here on smugmug at


It’s been nearly a month since our trip to Hawaii and I took a lot of pictures. It’s taken me awhile to edit them all but thought I’d post them in order along with my blog entries—I was too busy during the day and too tired at night to spend time on the internet.

Leaving Continental USA for Hawaii

November 11, 2009

Monday was a very long day. The flight from Houston to Honolulu is 8 hours long and the seats are even tinier than I remembered. The plane had an inflight GPS which showed the plane’s location. There is a lot of water between Baja California and Hawaii. I took some photos but slept some and then read a book on my Kindle.

We spent about two hours in Honolulu airport before our final flight to Hilo. I wished I had schedule two days in Honolulu but there is always another time. Carol met us at the airport with shell leis in hand; it was now quite dark; the sunset in the tropics lasting all of about two minutes.

Their house is quite lovely and full of curios from their life in Tonga and their art collection. Our room is upstairs with a lovely mango wood floor, lots of windows, and I feel as though I’m living in a wonderful treehouse.

Don got caught in the bad weather on  the mountain but arrived mid-morning yesterday. We drove around some, I got to play in the black sand beaches. The water here is so clear—and a bit chilly. The only wildlife we saw were college students clad in bathing suits and bikinis, with bottles of wine, pens in hands and textbooks on their blankets. We had lunch at an ice cream shop and stopped for a sample of the  local ice cream.

Then we headed back home to rest a bit before our evening event—a sake tasting. The event was held in what looked to be a church basement with the long tables and gray folding chairs labeled on the back and pillars supporting the ceiling. We sat around the tables staring at our score card—with circles and names of the different sakes. It looked a lot like a bingo card. They served some pupus—appetizers—that were as fun to guess what they were as the sake’s names. There are fourteen colors and our task was to find the one that was ours—-I don’t think saki comes in my color.

Tomorrow we’ll take a look at the volcanoes.

photos are here on smugmug at: