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:

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Anonymous said...

I was out in the ocean today on the Kona Side and a whale breached right in front of our boat!

My friends from the mainland were terrified... but I kept telling them how special it was!

noel said...


that was a gorgeous post and a beautiful capture on the humpback, it looks like its almost going to go all the way out!

Andrew Cooper said...

Been out along the south end of Kiholo, but have never walked the north end. From your photos I am going to have to change that.

The whales are thick this year along the Kona and Kohala side. Counted over 190 off Kawaihae when we joined one of the sanctuary volunteer groups. You can not help but hear them when underwater.