Saturday, February 27, 2010

Watching Hilo Bay Churn - Tsunami Tsaturday

6 a.m. and the sirens went off, as they did every hour until 10, then 10:30 and 11:00. We'd seen the earthquake reports the night before, so we knew what it was. A tense, though fairly normal early morning, then watching the news starting about 10. Over the next several hours Hilo Bay churned as water flowed in and out. After about 11:15, the news readers on KGMB ran out of things to say, so it was just Guy Hagi looking at the same pictures we were seeing and saying the same things we were saying.

Stephanie Lum said that their "jaws were literally on the floor" about something or other, and we had a good laugh about that. Later she said that Waikiki was "literally a ghost town" and we had another laugh. The water flowing in Hilo Harbor was cool to watch, but being jaded by Hollywood, I was hoping for a huge wave to cover Coconut Island, breaking right on top of it with a tremendous roar and destroying those two buildings, ideally with an explosion of some kind, but it was not to be.

Finally, about 12:30, it became clear that the show was over, so I went to Keauhou Shopping Center to get the mail. The Center was packed. No parking places, cars double parked, and people everywhere, sleeping or resting amid the landscaping, eating take-out food, or just standing around aimlessly. Almost all of them seemed to be tourists, I assumed, from the condos makai of the center.

Later I walked at Honokohau. The ocean seemed to be doing a gentle version of the surge-and-recede seen in Hilo Bay, but I couldn't really be sure. I did get a picture of two other residents avoiding the churning water:

We should be grateful that today proved to be nothing more than what it was. It could have been a lot worse.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What is it about the phrase "invasive species" these people don't understand?

Margaret Wille casts her lot with " medical anthropologist"(med school dropout)/coqui frog defender/ antibra crusader/crank Syd Singer and his lawsuit against various entities to halt the poisoning of mangroves anywhere on the island.

No doubt relying on extensive training in environmental engineering, Margaret notes that mangrove removal was a negative factor when New Orleans was hit by Hurricane Katrina. Mangroves play an important part in anchoring the silt from the Mississippi River in the Louisiana delta, where they are native. She doesn't consider that such anchoring might be necessary for an area comprised of silt and mud, but useless or worse in Puna's recent lava land (which is, I have noted, fairly solid), or why a thicket of mangroves preventing access to the shoreline is desirable.

Huge areas of this island are overgrown with one or another invasive plants. Some people like the invasive plants. Most newcomers, though, understand the need to protect, to the extent possible, Hawaii's native environment. They understand that if they want to live around mangroves, there are planes to Louisiana and Florida every day. They understand that when they champion the destruction of Hawaii's native environments, they join an only too-familiar tradition. Busybodies and Cranks, on the other hand, don't care, and are themselves a kind of invasive species.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bishop Estate Halts Huehue Street Access

I've been hiking on Kam Schools/Bishop Estate property from the end of Huehue Street in Kaloko Mauka ever since I moved here, in 1991. Over half of the photos I've published on this blog, I'll bet, were taken there. All these, for example. I've always known it was private property, and that there was no legal public access, but I had always assumed that Kam Schools/Bishop Estate knew, and tacitly allowed, the public use. And the evidence pointed that way. Example: The "no trespassing" part of the sign at the gate has been painted over with graffiti for at least two years, which indicates not that access is legal but that the landowner is not very concerned with keeping people out. The only legal access I know of is through Rob Pacheco's Hawaii Forest and Trail at $115 a pop. In those 19 years hiking up there I'd never heard, as they say, a discouraging word, though two friends of mine recently were berated, when they tried to hike early one Sunday, in profane and crypto-racial terms ("you people").
So when, Sunday afternoon, I reached the top of Huehue Street and saw a pick-up parked by the gate, I suspected it was KS/BE. A very polite and professional young man asked me if I was planning on hiking through the gate, and upon receiving an affirmative response, apologized to me and informed me that I did not have permission to enter, and that I'd be trespassing if I did.
I told him that I understood. I admitted that I'd always known it was private property, but thought that KS/BE didn't care. I explained how long I'd been hiking up there and my feelings about the land. I said that I try to take care of the land by picking up rubbish and pulling invasive plants. I said that I'd be willing to buy a permit to hike, and that I would miss hiking up there. We talked for a while about the land, a good talk, I'd say.

I understand, and appreciate, that KS/BE is trying to protect the land. I'm on their side, and want to help. I'm betting that there are more people out there who have found a moment of peace or a connection with nature up there, who would be willing to help with conservation/replanting projects up there and/or pay a fee for an annual permit or pass. I hope something can be worked out.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thursday Sunset

Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park
Posted by Picasa

Wordless Wednesday, One Day Late

Ae'o, the Hawaiian Stilt at Kaloko Pond.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Whales Are Putting on a Show!

Yesterday I noted that the north fork of the Ka'upulehu Lava Flow abuts Kiholo Bay on the south. Today I walked on the flow that abuts Kiholo Bay on the north, the 1859 Mauna Loa Flow. It's the longest lava flow in the state, folks. The lava surfaced at about the 11,000' level and reached the ocean 32 miles away in 8 days, destroying a couple villages, and filling in a fishpond.

A little north of where most people park to go to Kiholo is a little switchback to a former base for highway equipment. The trail starts there.

Not quite a quarter mile later, you reach the border of the 1859 flow:

Crossing the black pahoehoe in the middle of the day is very hot, and not advised unless you're in the mood for heat and you have plenty of water. But some of the forms are interesting and beautiful:

Instead of going directly for the pond, I went north, hoping to see some whale activity from the cliffs. There were whales, seemingly, everywhere offshore. There is more whale activity this year, it seems to me, than I've seen in Kona for a while, maybe ever. Though I saw several breaches, this is the only one I was able to get a half-decent shot of:

Later I watched the same whale just lolling on his (or her) back, flippers in the air:

I made my way south to the pond:

The bright aqua water against the black lava is always striking:

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 13, 2010

84 Mile Marker, Etc.

Some time before 1800, a large eruption at the 6000' level on Hualalai produced the Ka'upulehu Lava flow. At about the 1000' level, the large a'a flow divided in half. The south fork abuts Kona Village and is presently the scene of development (For all photos, click for larger version):

The north fork of the a'a flow abuts Kiholo Bay. In the middle, the pie-wedge of 2000-year-old pahoehoe is called Kalaemano, or Shark Point. It was the subject of litigation I may have mentioned before.

The 84 mile marker on Queen Kaahumanu was where the road down to the shore at Kalaemano started. It wasn't really a "road", it was just a trail of white paint sprayed or splashed on the lava to mark a navigable path, except for one place where an opening was smashed through a small sharp ridge to enable a 4WD vehicle through. Now the road is "officially" blocked by the state DLNR, although the barrier can be easily avoided.

The road is still there, in any case:

15 years ago I used to drive down that road to the shore (about a mile and a half by measurement) , to camp and fish. Ah, well, passage of time and all that.

Speaking of the Ka'upulehu Lava Flow, here's a one minute video of clouds filling the westernmost (and largest) of the craters from which the flow, uh, flowed. Don't expect excitement.

Continuing on with the theme, here's a lava formation and ohia in about the middle of the Ka'upulehu Lava Flow, just above the Scenic Lookout on the Upper Road (Mamalahoa, Hawaii Belt Road):

Looking to the north, at sunset, at about the 2000' level on the Ka'upulehu Lava Flow. Pu'u Wa'a Wa'a and Mauna Kea in the background:

Finally, no post would be complete without a repetitive photo of another Hawaiian plant, this time an a'ali'i, on (again!) the Ka'upulehu Lava Flow, just below the lip of the westernmost crater:

Monday, February 08, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Public-sector unionism is a very different animal from private-sector unionism. It is not adversarial but collusive. Public-sector unions strive to elect their management, which in turn can extract money from taxpayers to increase wages and benefits -- and can promise pensions that future taxpayers will have to fund."

Friday, February 05, 2010

What do you get when the government owns one or two car companies?

A built-in conflict-of-interest in investigating and publicizing safety concerns.

A government-driven scandal and West Hawaii Today's gigantic headline about a brake problem that's caused 4 accidents and 2 minor injuries. Ever remember the government making such a big t0-do about auto recalls before now?