Friday Fotos—Big Island Lava

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Kilauea Volcano has been steadily emitting a flow of lava since January 1983. Historically, Kilauea has been one of the world’s most active volcanos. It’s frequent eruptions have shaped the island as well as the ecosystem of the Big Island. In recent years, even the banyan trees on the other side of the island have been showing signs of succumbing to the frequent presence of vog, or volcanic organic gasses.

The currently active flow that has been dominating island news began on June 27, 2014. The flow continues to extend its reach, passing through manmade structures as though they didn’t exist. Residential areas are now being impacted, with roads being closed, utilities threatened, businesses impacted, and more. Here are a few photos taken by the US Geological Survey that might help to put this tremendous power in perspective.

You can follow the latest developments and see new photos almost daily on the USGS website at hvo.wr.usgs.gov/

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Friday Fotos—spectacular Hawaiian waterfalls

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The Big Island of Hawaii has some fabulous waterfalls. Here are some of the best shots we’ve been able to find that show off this beauty. The tour goes from A-Z (actually, W, since there’s no Z in the Hawaiian language).  Some of these waterfalls can be viewed at no cost, while others may charge for parking—or for a guide to get you there. Of course, they’re all free to view here.

Whether you’re planning a trip to the Big Island or just want to learn more about any of these waterfalls, try going over to hawaii-guide.com, where you can get more info about most of these and much more. Information on Nanue Falls, which is on the Hamakua Coast, can be found on world-of-waterfalls.com.

Most of the waterfalls shown here are well known, but one in particular, Kahuna Falls, is a bit lesser known. Kahuna Falls is not as famous as its nearby neighbor Akaka Falls, but it does have a B&B named after it. While Akaka Falls doesn’t have a B&B, it does have a cool legend. It seems that Akaka Falls was named after King Akaka, whose wife returned home one day to find the king with his mistress. The wife began chasing her husband, who fell to his death at the falls.

Enjoy the photos and please share with your friends! Hint: you can manually advance through the slides by placing your mouse over the slideshow and clicking the pause button.

 

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Ka Lae – past to present

Drawing of priests traveling across Kealakekua Bay (near Kona on the left side of the Big Island in the map). Drawing by John Webber.

Drawing of priests traveling across Kealakekua Bay (near Kona on the left side of the Big Island in the map). Drawing by John Webber.

From its windswept rolling hills to rocky cliffs, from the days of the first Polynesian visitors to today’s thrill seekers, Ka Lae, or South Point, has been through massive changes. Today, Ka Lae is a popular destination for adventure seekers and those who want to boast that they’ve been to the southernmost point in the US. I hope you enjoy the slideshow for this little tour of Ka Lae, past to present. The images included here are mostly in the public domain, but attributions are provided where appropriate.

Hawaiʻi is at the northernmost point of the Polynesian Triangle, which includes Easter Island (2) on the lower eastern corner and New Zealand (3) at the lower western corner. Depending upon which expert you listen to, settlement began as early as the 3rd century.

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In 1779, Captain James Cook and the crew of the Resolution “discovered” Hawaii. Cook actually visited Kauai first, then worked his way South. According to the Historical Background of South Point from the Bishop Museum, Cook’s journal of January 5, 1779 included the following.

This part of the coast is sheltered from the reigning winds but we could find no bottom  to Anchor upon, a line of 160 fathoms did not reach it at the distance of half a mile from the shore. Towards the evening all the islanders leaving us, we ran a few miles down the coast and there spent the night standing off and on (Cook/Beaglehole, 1967:487)

Cook’s visit set the stage for a massive depopulation of the islands beginning around 1800. Opinions as to the why the islands were hit so hard by pestilence vary, but by the mid 1800s, the population had been reduced to less than half of what it was when the Resolution made that fateful discovery.

Hint: you can manually advance through the slides by placing your mouse over the slideshow and clicking the pause button.

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Friday Fotos—Cultural Festival at Volcanos National Park

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Most likely, you have not had the opportunity to see the Cultural Festival held at Volcanos National Park each year. These photos are from the 2013 event, but they are timeless. Also, mahalo to the National Park Service at nps.gov for hosting a Hawaii Volcanos National Park page. If you want to see all of the 46 photos posted for the event, click here to visit the event page.

The philosophy behind the festival is expressed on the National Park Service web page dedicated to this event:

Ka ‘ike o ke keiki – The learning of the child:
i ka nana a ‘ike – by observing, one learns;
i ka ho‘olohe no a maopopo – in listening, one commits to memory;
i ka hana no a ‘ike – by practice, one masters the skill.

I hope you enjoy these photos. We have not had the good fortune to be able to visit during this event, but it would be so much fun to visit in mid July and be able to attend a future festival. Also, we should all say thanks to Park Ranger & Visual Information Specialist Jay Robinson for these fabulous photos!

 

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Sunrise, sunset…Hawaiian style

Are you a lover of great sunrises or sunsets? Here are ten of my favorite photos taken over the years. Most of these photos were taken at Nukoli’i Beach on Kauai’s east side. Even those taken in the same location change every minute and every day. I hope you enjoy!

 

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Quaint, quirky, crowded Kona

Our trip to the Big Island concluded with two days in beautiful Kona. Once a sleepy little town, Kona has long since become a tourist mecca and a center for residents. Kona still has a quaint feel, but part of that might have been because we were there in the off season. Even though a cruise ship had come into port, there were very few tourists. Pau hana traffic, the jam up that happens at rush hour meanders through town at about 5 mph…for real. What this creates is a street where people jaywalk freely, roaming the streets in search of that perfect treat, gift, or photo.

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South Point or bust!

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Our trip to South Point was filled with wonder and unnecessary stress. The wonder was due to the incredible landscape where we crossed through lava flows, then back into forest, and back again. The stress was the needle on the gas gauge dropping faster than I’d expected.

We can chalk the stress up to “different car syndrome” or, if you’d prefer, bad judgment. Either way, we were rapidly approaching what I called “the point of no return”—that halfway point on a journey where you know you can get back as long as you make an immediate U-turn—when we found a station in Ocean View.

From that point forward, the trip was stress free and the wonder at nature’s power took center stage. I hope you enjoy the photos of our journey that was South Point or bust!

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The road to Kona

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The road to Kona from Waimea takes in many changes in scenery. Most of the tourists probably make the drive using the Queen K Highway, which is shown on maps as Highway 19. That coastal route has some of the same changes in scenery seen along the Hawaii Belt Road, but also misses some of the beauty of this inland route.

From the rolling hills of the upcountry to the lava flows scarring the center of the island to the lush country surrounding Kona, the inland route is missing only one thing—the traffic. We traveled this route at midmorning and were pleased to see very few cars. It made for a peaceful drive through some amazing country.

 

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Welcome to Puako…a coastal town without the mega-resorts

And, of course, the historical marker...

And, of course, the historical marker…

In the short history provided by HawaiiLife.com, they say that the area has been many things over the years. “The life story of that small community began nearly a millennium ago. It has been a fishing village, a sugar plantation farm, a honey farm, a feeding stop for cattle drives, and today, the only residential oceanfront community on the South Kohala Coast of the island of Hawaii.”

Puako is a beautiful little area worth a visit to get away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the coast.

By the way, I love the beach photo in the slideshow from www.mybigislandvacation.com and that great turtle shot from www.alphamatte.com/2011/05/puako-bay-snorkeling. For more of their photos, check out their sites!

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Big Island Upcountry – stunning scenery and cool nights

This would be a great spot for a writer's retreat!

This would be a great spot for a writer’s retreat!

On the Big Island, they call this part of the island Upcountry. It’s home to beautiful Rolling Hills, cattle, cowboys, and incredibly friendly people. During our two-day stay in Waimea, which is also known as Kamuela, depending on who you happen to be talking to at the time, we discovered that upcountry also has some excellent restaurants. One in particular, Merriman’s, has a five-star rating and food that is rumored to be among the best on the island. Sadly, we didn’t make it to Merriman’s before the end of our short stay.

At the other end of the spectrum is a little cafe known mostly to locals, the Hawaiian Style Cafe. This is an old diner complete with a large counter where the locals assemble for breakfast. Their food? Incredible. Service? Very friendly. And, if you have food allergies, they’re very helpful.

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We had enough time to visit the Parker Ranch Visitor Center, which gives insight into the history of the industry that shaped the upcountry. Parker Ranch began in 1847 when John Palmer Parker assisted King Kamehaha I by ridding the island of feral bulls. The grateful king granted land to Parker, which he used to start a cattle ranch that eventually grew to more than 250,000 acres and made it the largest cattle ranch in the US. While the ranch is much smaller today, it’s influence can be seen everywhere upcountry.

Are you thinking of a trip to the Big Island? One word of caution, upcountry is not a popular tourist destination like Volcanos National Park, the Kohala Coast, or Kona. What you will find, however, is time to decompress in a place where the hustle and bustle of the world is replaced by cool nights, fabulous scenery, and peaceful surroundings. For writers and artists especially, a few days upcountry just might be a dream come true.

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