Sunday, November 22, 2009

HELCO doesn't care about you: Exhibit "A"

The Kealakaa/Palani intersection remains uncompleted because HELCO has yet to move their power poles, replacing them with special new poles that had to be ordered from the mainland. Aaron noted at the beginning of August that the poles were the only thing holding up the completion of the intersection, and reported later that month that the fancy new poles were on their way from California, and would arrive in 2-4 weeks*. In September he reported that HELCO would be finished replacing the poles by December 2009. Here we are just before Thanksgiving, and there's no sign that HELCO even remembers the project.
Bear in mind that this project has been underway for at least three years*. Remember HELCO holding up various parts of the Queen Kaahumanu project. Go down to the Coconut Grove Marketplace and look makai (that's going to be Exhibit "B"). The only conclusion is that HELCO just doesn't care, on a basic level, about its customers and community.

*they've known about this pole replacement for three years. Why only order them from California after the rest of the intersection was completed? Because they don't care.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

If you've flown into Kona, you've flown over this landscape

The coast south of Mahaiula. Basically, you go to Kekaha Kai State Park and take a left, through this gate:

The road is moderately difficult. Four wheel drive and a good clearance are necessary. From this angle, it's pretty obvious that Hualalai is a volcano:

Now and then, a roadway over the lava goes off to the right as you cruise south, toward the airport. There's a grey sand beach, plenty of cliffs, and a little storm beach with a grove of trees:

A little further south is my favorite site on this part of the coast:

A little more south and you can see the security fence around Kona Airport. A connecting road goes off mauka and connects to Queen Kaahumanu Highway about a mile north of the airport entrance.
This is all the Huehue lava flow came down in 1801 or so, from Puhia Pele, only at the 800 foot level or so:

Near the airport fence, there are several hornitos, little spatter cones. Click for a bigger picture (twice for an even bigger picture) of the detritus at the base of one:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Friday, November 06, 2009

Views of Waipio and Hi'ilawe

(as always, click on photos for larger view)

Yesterday I got up at 4:30 to be at Hawaii Forest and Trail (on Queen K by the harbor/Kealakehe turn). I got a free Waipio Rim Hike Adventure.
One of my friends from the Aloha theater, Joel Michelson, who works for Hawaii Forest and Trail, could not participate in a photo shoot to publicize the new Waipio Rim Hike, so they needed another old guy for the photos. Wanting to jump-start my new career as a male model, I agreed.

A large mini-bus transported us smoothly past Waimea to the country club, where we transferred to one of their Pinzgauer vehicles for a bouncing ride through one of those eucalyptus groves (planted on former sugar land and someday will be harvested for some purpose or another) to the trailhead.

The trail is about three miles long, winding through the rainforest, the strawberry guava crowding out the native ohia in places, past native lobelia, with several small waterfalls (like this small one above Hi'ilawe) en route. There are many vistas of Waipio from different vantage points, like this view of Waipio stream meeting the sea:

Plus, as much culture, natural history and Hawaiian legends as you can cram into your skull, all presented professionally. If I had paid the $149 for the hike, I would have felt well-served indeed. Of course, had I paid for the tour, I wouldn't have had to cross a stream several times to get the shot just right and then again a few times for the video. The life of a male model is tougher than I thought!
At one point we trekked down a little stream to the edge of a 1000' drop. A hands-and-feet-tingling moment. The amount of water isn't enough to create a waterfall, though. It dissipates into mist before it hits the ground. The photo doesn't do it justice:

At the end of the tour we got a spectacular view of the storied waterfall, Hi'ilawe:

Finally, here's the song about the waterfall, by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole: