On the Island of Hawaiʻi, Kaluapele (the pit of pele or Pele) crowns the summit region of the volcano Kīlauea.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Monday, November 12, 2018. Iʻve looked at clouds that way...

Brrrrr...There is a definite chill in the air.  Iʻve always said I donʻt like winter.  The low light, the chill, the colder ocean, the chill, the longer shadows (because of the low light), and those temperatures requiring layers of extra clothes because of the chill, sometimes requiring heat in the house.  And of course I live up Volcano, where because of our elevation (4,000 feet or so) and the damp, cold seems COLD.  But then we have the rain forest, and ʻapapane, and our walks to Keanakākoʻi.  Certainly no reason to namunamu (grumble) about anything. 

In times past Iʻd go bake at Puakō (thanks, vt) or hike in to Maniniʻōwali for the day.  No more.  Now, I go walk to Keanakākoʻi (KKOI) in whatever weathers are out there.  The only limit is when trades are more than 18 or 20mph.  Then I maybe do a couple half-way roundtrips. The rest of the route, out of the forest, is too exposed and way too windy past 20mph.  Even with a walking stick, stumbles happen.  So we deal with what we need to deal with to avoid injury.

And when past injuries cause us to behave irrationally, we must deal with that too.  Iʻve had two concussions.  First one I slipped on the front steps and took a foreheader on a nice big rock on the ground.  Complete postconcussion amnesia for 45 minutes, then in and out for several hours.  Second time was slipping on the floor with wet feet and whacking the back of my head.  Not as bad, but pretty sure it added to brain damage.

Recently, over a couple of days, all that caused me to be irrational in listening, understanding, and re-telling information.  It created a situation requiring explanation, apologies, thinking, assessing, and coming up with A Plan to deal with deficits in my processing.  You know, when weʻre young and carefree, itʻs all good.  Then we get up there and we REALLY need to be diligent and pay attention.  To all sorts of things.  And we do, and carry on, praying for grace and attentiveness and forgiveness and...

Then we look at clouds.  The vogless skies are a marvel.  Like seeing newly remodeled Kaluapele and trying to learn her layers and patterns and colors.  And hoping that they all register and stick.  Skies over Hawaiʻi nei are BLUE.  And the clouds, most of them, are WHITE.  And because the skies are so blue, the ocean is bluer too.  Itʻs been decades...

Joni Mitchell, a favorite, wrote "Both Sides Now" in March 1967.  A half-century (yikes!) ago.  That line "Iʻve looked at clouds that way" seems to be so apropos these days.  Iʻm especially enamoured of The Cloud that sits over the Lua.  It changes always, seemingly dissipating on a whim, then re-forming, but simply floats there.

I walked two times this past Saturday.  First in the morning, 730 or 8ish.  Had kona breezes, and the air was hauna with hydrogen sulfide.  The REALLY stink air.  Below, you can see the fume rising out of the pit just below The Cloud.  This photo was at 823a.  Then the winds shifted, and trades returned.  

The Cloud disappeared for a bit, then re-formed.  
First, just a bit of a wisp (right there in the middle) at 847a:

Then kinda flattish at 904a:

Then rounder and fatter at 906a:

And the last pic at 911a:

The spherical ones remind me of the old-fashioned malasadas I make.  Generally ball-like, but misshapen, with odd lumps and squiggly tails.

Went back at noonish with long-time friends visiting from Maui, and skies were mostly overcast, though you could still pick out The Cloud.  Iʻm hoping that someone somewhere will come up with an appropriate name for it.  Something related to the exhalation of fumes vapors steams at the Lua.  The cause is volcanic, and it forms and just sits there.  Lucky us.

After the p.m. walk, we went to Volcano House for snacks and beverages.  ʻOno was.  And the mists rolled in, and the light kept changing, and the floor of the main part of the Lua glistened, and there on the right-hand wall, I saw Kalupe, complete with tail.  What a cool thing!  From that angle, everything made sense.  At least to me.

So.  Lupe = kite or sting ray.  Hīhīmanu is the same.  Sting ray.  Hāhālua is the manta ray.

Theodore Kelsey noted the location of "Pohaku Lupe (Kite Stone)" at the bottom of his sketch.  Note that he drew Halemaʻumaʻu on the wrong side of "Kilauea Nui".  A bit of dyslexia perhaps?

Mr Kelsey recorded a lot of information on this sheet of paper.  And as things are, his informant places "ʻa-kani-kolea" on a different part of the wall than does another informant.  More about that in a future post.

OK. Bob, back to the topic:  Kalupe...

Kalupe, in scientific circles is known as the Uēkāhuna Laccolith.  Itʻs an intrusive body that cooled slowly, and so is made of very dense grey rock.  Magma intruded under the summit, didnʻt erupt, and stayed put and cooled.  We had seen and admired Kalupe for years and years.  And then we had 62 lūʻōniu, those collapse explosions, and tens of thousands of ʻōlaʻi (earthquakes) during The Three Months.  All that shaking peeled off vast sections of the wall of Kaluapele, exposing unweathered faces. Amongst those freshly exposed layers is what I believe to be the tail and stinger of Kalupe.  Viewing it from Volcano House:  Wow!  Look at that!  Of course!  Sometimes it takes awhile for everything to click.

ABOVE:  Kalupe is that pale grey shape just to left of left of center, at the base of Palikapuokamohoaliʻi, that section of the caldera wall seen above.  Note HVO on the rim at the left edge.

BELOW: An extremely crude outline.  The main body of Kalupe at the left, then its tail (the core of an ʻaʻā flow or a layer of dense lava), and the stinger, (a trapezoidal bit of grey dense rock).  That bent ʻōhiʻa points to the stinger.  And the slope of Maunakea is to the right.

If you havenʻt already, GoLook. If you want company, get in touch.  Iʻm always happy to get out there.  Thatʻll do it for today.

As always, with aloha,


Sunday, November 4, 2018

Sunday, November 4, 2018... About Roads. And Lava. And...VOTE!!!

         Please...VOTE...Itʻs your civic duty and kuleana.

Itʻs been awhile.  Again.  Trying to figure out a workable schedule for writing has obviously not been the easiest thing to do.  Chalk it up to lack of urgency, to procrastination, to being busy with other of lifeʻs many details.  And maybe even to A.D.D. or something.  Good friend hk suggested a three-consecutive-day regimen.  Sounds like a great plan, though figuring out WHICH three days is problematic.  What with all the distractions and all.

So here we are.  Walking to Keanakākoʻi has been excellent.  The seasons changed on October 22 here in Volcano.  That morning when you wake up with that certain chill in the air, and you know that Fall/Winter is here.  And though itʻs been mostly sunny, save for the sporadic torrential downpour, the lower angle of the sun and cooler temperatures make for very agreeable walking conditions.  Friends have joined us, and views are still remarkable.  I wonder how long itʻll take for the scenes at Kaluapele to become "regular"?  So that when we look at new pali faces and new contours weʻll think:  Of course.  Here we are.  One interesting comment heard a few times: Oh.  Itʻs like a quarry back home.  If one was not acquainted with the lua before, the changes mean nothing.  There is no frame of reference.  Those with keen eyes and understanding can pick out that hanging slab of former floor with the diagonal center-stripe of Crater Rim Drive.  Others might simply remark on the nice views.

The photo above, on the HVO website, was taken from the south rim of the lua, looking toward Volcano House, perched on the distant mostly-green pali.  Former roadway at middle right.  Yellowish sulphur deposits on walls of the abyss.  Pali face below the green one is new, and in places is 450 feet tall.  It formed during the 62 lūʻōniu (collapse explosions) between late May and early August.  Bewildering.

And, just because, webcam views of a beautifully lit and cloud-decorated summit of Kīlauea:

And a lei ʻohu bedecked Maunaloa from the tower at HVO:

ʻohu     nvs. Mist, fog, vapor, light cloud on a mountain; adorned as with leis.

On to other bewilderments, confoundingnesses, perplexments, and related sundry topics:

Kalanianaʻole Ave in Hilo, between Kanoelehua (the intersection with Kenʻs and Vernaʻs) and Kūhiō Street (the entrance to Hilo Harbor), is being remodeled.

Itʻs estimated to take Two Years (plus weather-related delays), at a cost of $17,000,000+ dollars.  Seventeen Million Dollars for 4,000 FEET of road.  My math tells me that the project is costing $4,250 PER FOOT.  At about $32,692 per day.

Why?  Who approved this contract?  Theyʻre building (slowly) a stone wall, by hand, to hold up the bank on the ma uka shoulder in places.  I know that sometimes I dwell in the fog, but it seems that they made the Saddle Road a LOT quicker.  And yes, get major utilities buried in the current road, and they gotta make a sidewalk, and figure out drainage, and...

And then we visit Puna ma kai.  Helicopter pilot extraordinaire David Okita posted this in late October.  Math I did in early September, aided by the Flow Map on the County website, shows that between MacKenzie park and Pohoiki is about 2.3 miles.  Seven-tenths (0.7) of a mile of the road is covered by pele.  Theyʻre "Working On It", and started on October 19.

Below, from GoogleEarth, the two houses at the bottom.  MacKenzie park is the brownish area on the coast, a third of the way down from the top of the photo.

Much has been said about the fact that rock is an effective insulator, and itʻll take "awhile" for the tens-of-feet-thick flows to cool.  Cannot work on it for six months.  Too hot.  No can hemo the lava from the road.


On November 17, 2017, there were sluggish breakouts on the lava delta at the Kamokuna ocean entry.  When the eruption in Keahialaka began in early May 2018, it was deemed necessary to reopen (again) the Chain of Craters Road as an escape route.

Work, by Goodfellow Brothers, began on May 30, 2018.  The work was pau and the road ready for traffic on Saturday, June 2, 2018.  Letʻs see:  one, two, three days.  THREE DAYS!!!  Oh.  They had to make seven-tenths (0.7) of a mile of gravel road.  Same as between Mackenzie and Pohoiki.  Three Days at a cost of $120,000.  Wow.

And came out nice...And yes, I know I donʻt know The Full Story, or have All The Facts, but the work was done, as above, according to the news story at:

KHON2 News Re-open Chain of Craters, June 1, 2018

The reconstructed gravel Chain of Craters Road is 26 feet wide, and to make the surface, a three foot thickness of lava was excavated and crushed.  Pretty tidy.

When I worked at the Park, I spent thousands of hours on and/or next to active pāhoehoe flows.  One can walk on a flow several hours old.  Of course itʻs hot, but itʻs walkable.  And yes, rock is a very good insulator.  Go visit the old stone churches in the Kona districts.  Nice and cool inside.  The flow will indeed stay hot, inside, for awhile.  And when it rains, it will steam.  But fresh flows are also able to bear weight.  They arenʻt mushy and you wonʻt sink in like quicksand.  The only problem might be if a lava tube was created and fed the flow front.  If the roof is thin then thatʻs a hazard.  But the Keahialaka flows were channel-fed pāhoehoe that transitioned to ʻaʻā.  No tubes likely developed.

When I hear Officials talking about removing the lava from the road, and cannot because itʻs too hot...it makes me...frustrated.  Look the picture above.  Thatʻs all they have to do:  Three Feet.  Bust out the GPS, use records, resurvey the centerline, hire competent contractors, and Just Do It.  Iʻm hoping that The County already knows how many linear feet of roadway, in which specific locations, need to be redone to provide access for residents whose properties are now in kīpuka.  Gravel road.  No need guardrails, no need reflectors, no need shoulders.  Just the basics to get people back to their properties.  As weʻve seen above, it CAN be done quickly.  If The County doesnʻt have that info now...someone needs to be held to account.  Oh.  Sorry.  No can.  That simply doesnʻt cut it these days.  Can!  Figure it out!  

No Can.  Get Law.  No Can.  Need Permit.  No Can.  No moʻ money.  No Can.  Get building code.  No Can.

Figure it out!!!  Of course CAN!!!  If youʻre too lazy or incompetent to figure it out, get out of the way and find someone who can.  People make all the laws, rules, permits, and codes.  All those things can be changed if thereʻs a will.

OK.  Better stop the rant now...  But really...No More Excuses.

And in Leilani Estates...

Visitors want to see the lava.  They want to see Fissure 8.  What great opportunities to educate, and at the same time to make some money to help those in need.

The community association might buy a couple lots near the edge of the flows.  Clear them to provide parking and space for PortaPotties.  Charge an admission fee at a controlled access point.  Provide TalkStory sessions by residents so they can share their experiences with visitors.  Have guided lava walks so the important features arenʻt destroyed.  Explain and share about Pelehonuamea and Native Hawaiian history and culture and geography and geology and....

And I gotta go walk...I have another busy week ahead, but will be here again next weekend.

Closing with a remarkable photo by Sean Goebel.  The shadow of Maunakea over Hualālai, and ka mahina, the moon...

Please...VOTE...Itʻs your civic duty and kuleana.

As always, with aloha,


Monday, October 22, 2018

Monday, October 22, 2018. Another??? Already? The icebox, adaptability, and variability

Maybe itʻs the regular walking.  Or something...

So.  Leon and Brian built my little house in the forest starting in November 1984.  I moved in in April 1985.  "Little" = a 16 x 24 main floor, a 10 x 16 loft, and the shower on the back porch.  Added a 12 x 12 bedroom downstairs about 10 or 12 years ago.  Ma gave me an icebox to get started.  It was a GE, same brand we had ever since I can remember.  In Honokaʻa, the silver swirly GE logo on the door was used by Ma to check my eyes when I was in third grade.  We had had one of those exams in school - the one with all the "E"s facing in different directions - and you had to hold out your hand to match what you saw.

Joanne Ahuna went home and told her mom that I couldnʻt see.  Her mom Margie called my mom...thus the impromptu test.

And so my sentimental fondness for GE iceboxes.  Laugh or chuckle as is your wont.  And I just found the original receipt, The Book, and the computer-punched card (Remember?) for the warranty.  You supposed to keep ʻum:

A few weeks ago, 33.5 YEARS after Ma bought my icebox from LK Appliance in Hilo, it started making funnykine noises off and on.  From the freezer compartment.  Stevie said was the bearings in the motor.  Better get a new one.  MAN!!!

So I did.  A Whirlpool.  With an icemaker that Stevie and Iris took out because I neva laik um.  I doubt very very much that the new one will last even half as long as the old one.  And people wonder why I get nuha.  Built in obsolescence.  Gotta keep buying new ones when the old ones broke to keep The Economy going.  Auē!

I know...pua ting me...

And now, not even a tangent...A complete Change of Topic...

The forest in which I built my home is ʻōhiʻa dominant, with an understory of hāpuʻu pulu, and other rain forest species.  Including a happyface spider I saw on my shower head not that long ago...

Maybe youʻll be able to see the smiling face...

Some folks like to tell the story of ʻŌhiʻa and Lehua, the fated lovers, so listeners are able to "connect" with the trees.  "Why?" I ask?  Why repeat a made-up story, when reality is so much more fascinating.  According to a report published recently, ʻōhiʻa lehua came here from Tasmania...maybe island-hopping along the way.  Trees canʻt sail the ocean sapphire (unless theyʻre made into waʻa or float as logs), but their ʻanoʻano (seeds), especially those of ʻōhiʻa, are eminently waftable.  See???

Theyʻre tiny.  Yes, thatʻs a US Twenty-Five Cent piece.  A quarter.  And those are indeed ʻōhiʻa seeds.  Easy to be blown on the wind.  And maybe the seeds are so abundant, or because its the nature of Metrosideros polymorpha to be so variable, every single tree of my acquaintance is different.  Poly = many, morpha = forms.  Many, many different forms.  Liko (young leaf shoots), pua lehua (the flowers), the form of the tree as a whole; all are different and variable.

The photo collage of liko (above) is courtesy of Nate Yuen, and can be found on his sometimes vertiginous website:


Liko tea is excellent for persistent coughing.  I favor the shiny red ones as in the lower right photo.  For some reason the scent is evocative of the seashore.  Kinda limu-ish.  At least to my nose.

And, I believe, that like ʻāhinahina (silverswords), the fuzzy leaves shield from ultraviolet rays at higher elevations.  I think.  ʻŌhiʻa with pubescent (fuzzy) liko seem to be happier in deserts too, while the glabrous (smooth) ones can handle rainforest climate better.  They all seem to grow where ever, but trends are seen.

Lehua in all its kalakoa-ness.  These were gathered around our Waimea a few years ago by friend Alan Cressler.  Check out his flickr site for amazing photographs.

nvs. Calico; variegated in color, as of croton leaves, or of a pinto horse spotted with several colors; printed cotton cloth (modern); said also of scars left after impetigo. Eng.

Just like us, each ʻōhia tree is different.  Variable.  And they are adapted, methinks because of their variations, to living in many many different ecosystems and niches.  The desert of Kekahawaiʻole near Keāhole, dryland forests around Puawaa, bogs on the upper reaches of Kohala, massive trees are found in the mesic (kinda wet, kinda dry) forests of Kīpukakī and Kīpukapuaulu in the park, treeline on nā mauna Loa and Kea, the pali Hāmākua where koaʻe lele, and rainforests young and old...all are home for ʻōhiʻa lehua.

Hawaiʻi nei has lots of examples of variability and adaptability:  our three kōlea (the plant ones):  kōlea (Kīpukapuaulu and Kalōpā for example), kōlea lau liʻi (lots on the ʻaʻā flow by Naulu forest in the park), and kōlea lau nui (in the forest from the Devastation Trail Parking Lot toward Keanakākoʻi).  Regular-sized leaf, small leaf, big leaf.  All kōlea.  And there are many examples of other plants that are variable and adapted to life in different circumstances.  Just as we should be.

I know...Sometimes hard.  You get used to something (a 33.5 year old icebox), and then we have to adjust to something new.

OK.  That wraps it up for today...

As always, with aloha, till maybe Thursday or so...


Sunday, October 21, 2018

Sunday, October 21, 2018. Just a brief note...

Itʻs been a pleasant season up here.  Today, unlike most days of the last two weeks or so, we havenʻt had afternoon thunderstorms.  Sunny mornings, then often the clouds build, skies darken, and those fat pakaua begin to fall.  Pretty sure I mentioned this before, but paka...paka...paka... think that sound on an iron roof.  And "ua" is among other definitions, "rain" in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi.  When we were small, hearing that meant that it was snowing on The Mountain (Maunakea).

The walking to Keanakākoʻi in the park has been excellent.  Many others are enjoying that stroll too, most coming from afar:  Japan, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Mexico, France...quite the international assortment.  It seems that those from outside the US are more inclined to get out and walk, and perhaps arenʻt in as much of a hurry as those from the continent.

That cloud hovering over Kaluapele is present more often than not, and in the mornings we can watch it grow and evolve.  Itʻs about temperature and humidity, and hot afternoons as we have now, are clear.

Below is Version 2 of the pic (from mg) we posted last time.  This one includes Maunakea, far right horizon.

Below, posted on October 15 on the HVO website, shows the "puff" cloud on another day, but this from 20+ miles away.   Taken from near the top of Puʻuhonuaʻula, view is across the māwae, the lava channel.  The geothermal plant is, I believe, off the frame to the left.  The puʻu was the site of the PG cam that burned in a brush fire.  Always amazing to see how resilient vegetation can be.  Hāpuʻu (tree ferns) are putting forth fresh fronds, kī are green and happy.  Many of the leafless trees in the distance are albizia, a scourge in Puna ma kai.  They grow quickly, have softish wood, and break in strong winds, though too, they have been use to carve waʻa (outrigger canoes).  Hurricane = lots of fallen trees = no electricity for days or weeks...  It remains to be seen whether or not theyʻll resprout.

I forgot to note last time that on October 5, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory lowered the Volcano Alert Level from Watch to Advisory.
Activity has decreased significantly, but Kīlauea will be closely monitored for any increase in activity.  Note, as weʻve said previously, that some pauses during eruptions have lasted three months or more.  

And finally, on a somewhat lighter note...

Many know and have enjoyed "Kings Hawaiian" bread, from Kingʻs Bakery, established in Hilo in 1950.  Now we have "Pillsbury Sweet Hawaiian Crescent Rolls".  Pretty sure when Kingʻs Bakery started marketing their bread, it was called Sweet Bread.  Or something.  Then when they went national, it morphed into "Hawaiian" bread.

So.  A problem with all this is that Hawaiians did not have bread or rolls in pre-contact times.  These Hawaiian breads and sweet Hawaiian rolls are actually...Portuguese!!!  Portuguese sweet bread, and malasadas (malassadas), both sweetish, were introduced to our fair isles by Portuguese immigrants.  Note, though, those immigrants came from Madeira and the Azores, and not from mainland Portugal.  Many were recruited by botanist William Hillebrand, who was sent to those islands by Kalākaua so our fledgling sugar industry would have workers.

And since we seem to be on a bit of a roll, and I do sincerely apologize for following sweet bread with kitty litter, but...

And yes, this is actually on the Internet.  I donʻt know if this is a product currently offered for sale, but it was...a year or so ago.  Note the Trademarked "Hawaiian Aloha".  And of course the "Odor-Eliminating Luau".

Go figure.  

But yes, we close, as always, with aloha,


Monday, October 15, 2018

Monday, October 15, 2018, Now...where was I?

Yes, indeed...Itʻs been two weeks since my last post?  Really?  Good thing I keep a paper calendar so I can remember whatʻs transpired during that time.

Itʻs a bit of a challenge, trying to figure out how to proceed.  When we were in the throes of The Three Months (TTM), it seemed easy.  Wake up, coffee up, up stairs, power up, and typewrite.  Repeat Daily.  Now it seems that lives are resuming whatever passes for normality, and priorities have shifted, as has scheduling.  Thinking I should make time a time or two a week to say something about whatever rises to the surface.  At least thatʻs the current thinking.  I procrastinate, and here we are...

So.  Iʻve been walking.  Almost daily.  From the Devastation Trail parking lot to Keanakākoʻi, a crater adjacent to Kaluapele.  Actually, Iʻve been visiting a couple different viewing areas across the roadway from KKOI.  The route is on portion of Crater Rim Drive that was closed in 2008, because of poor air quality after the start of the Halemaʻumaʻu eruption.  

The Way is paved, unpotholed, with just enough elevation loss and gain to increase heart and breathing rates, and quite quietly scenic.  Good for those of us with ambulatory issues.  Iʻm learning to share, because these days there are any number of folks on the walk.  Pre-TTM, it was mostly myself and walking companion eb.  And the sounds of winds rustling trees, ʻapapane melodiously calling there, ʻōmaʻo first here then a reply there, and, if early enough, nēnē announcing their passage from desert to Golf Course, the skies, clouds, mists, rains, and what-la.

Because whatever flight restrictions there were over Kaluapele during TTM have been lifted, we also get to be annoyed by the extremely intrusive thwackthwackthwack tuktuktuk or whatever, of helicopters.  They can be heard approaching from at least 5 miles away.  Lucky us if we happen to be there between tour cycles.

But.  The views astound, clouds light and shadow are always at play, and Iʻm pretty sure itʻll take a long while for us to become accustomed to her (new) face.  Remember that post about "Ua noho au a kupa"?  Go look at August 19...

Just below, from yesterday morning, thanks to mg.  And with a note:  "Not the old chugging away, constant plume of yore.  She makes her own cloud and gently holds it aloft."

What happens these days is that moisture in escaping fumes and vapors cool and condense as they rise, and often simply float lazily over the lua.  The clouds produced are fat and fluffy; often round-bottomed.  The one pictured leans to the right because we had gentle kona winds. And look carefully:  below the middle of the cloud we can see the source of the rising billow...that bit of bluish sulphurous fume rising from the abyss.

Maunaloa in the background.  That ridge in the foreground, just beyond the young ʻōhiʻa tree, is a spatter rampart formed in 1974.  eb named it ʻEnuhe (caterpillar), because it looked like one, and from the viewpoint we can see another ʻEnuhe, in the distance to the left of the photo, just past Pāhala.  The gap just above the tree formed when part of the rampart broke during ʻōlaʻi sometime during TTM.

And the drama of clouds steams vapors in morninglight are always something to behold, these from the KE cam in the tower at HVO:

And down at Pohoiki...the new black sand beach has filled in the bay quite nicely.  Greens are returning to the landscape, and it seems that the kumu niu (coconut trees) will survive.

Talk of reopening the boat ramp is sporadic.  I still believe that we should be thankful that Pohoiki ma kai was spared, a beach was created (though the sands are still sharp shards of shattered lava), and one day weʻll be able to visit.  Go look if you can make a ramp at Honolulu Landing.

Just past the second bay where a wave is just breaking, you can see the three fingers of pele that made their way to the ocean between Pohoiki and Mālama, where MacKenzie park is located.

And of course, in Keahialaka, Fissure 8 is fuming a bit.  Itʻll take awhile for magma remaining in the conduits to degas.  Note that the fume here, like some at the summit, has that bluish cast, an indicator of sulphur.   

No new information on the naming of features created during Pelehonuameaʻs works, so weʻll live with "Fissure 8" for the time being.  Note that there are many new landforms that might be named, but, as Iʻve said before, we should observe and get to know them first.

And clouds arenʻt exactly landforms, but able researchers could look for Hawaiian names for pyrocumulonimbus, the source of torrential downpours in Puna ma kai, and our fat puffballs hovering over Kaluapele.

Moving ma uka to the uppermost lands of Hawaiʻi nei, this from friend hf...

Probably the sharpest mountainshadow Iʻve seen, cast by Maunakea at sunset a couple weeks ago.

What looks like a lake below the peak of the shadow is a small patch of cloud.  Hilo Bay is in shadow to the right, and Makanaka, the largest puʻu at left.

And back here in the forest, the ʻōpelu is in bloom.  Maybe a third of the way through... Weʻve been gifted with 15 spikes this season, not including the little branches at the bases of the main ones.  ComeLook.  No fragrance, but impressive architecture.

And finally, today, for kicks... Lei of sorts.  Any guesses?

Till next time...as always, with aloha,


Sunday, September 30, 2018

Sunny Sunday, September 30, 2018, The Heat, the Icky Ikiiki...

Cannot help:  ikiiki is "stifling heat and humidity".  And itʻs icky.  Itʻs been this way for a week or more.  Hilo has been fairly horrendous, mostly because I havenʻt made time to submerge in any number of icy waters along the Keaukaha shore.  And I cannot, much as I try, remember such weather.  Up here, Iʻve left windows open day and night, for a week, for the first time in three decades.  Notable...

But the shade is most pleasant, mostly vog-free skies still amaze, and early morning walking to Keanakākoʻi is excellently quiet, cool, and relatively unpopulated.  Iʻm thinking that although many are happy that The Park has reopened, they may be disappointed if visitors donʻt return full-force.  There is no molten rock to be seen, no glow at sunset, no hiking across the coastal plain in search of flowing pāhoehoe.  Or, to be more precise, one can hike and search away, but itʻll be a fruitless endeavor.

So we do what we do...This morning it was a short-notice gathering of friends, "What you doing?  Come up!"  "You up here?  Come over!"  "What??? You where??? In the plane on Oʻahu ready to take off to Taiwan??!!  Good one.  Next time then..."  And in early morning cool winds we walked.  To the edge of Kaluapele and marveled yet again.  And the nēnē flew over, and the lighting was excellent, and the countless wisps and plumes of steams and vapors wafted this way and that, and I wished, really wished, that I had wide-angle vision, so I could sit and stare transfixed without headturning.  But so it goes.  And then we brunched on frittata, and salad, and lemon squares, and hijiki-shiitake-carrot rice, and tamagoyaki, and crusty baguette with fig jam, and strong coffee, and I am so very grateful and happy to, and for, my friends!!!  We all so lucky!

And here we are.

Our friends at USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (remember The Three Months???) have compiled a tidy Fact Sheet:

2018 Summit LERZ (Lower East Rift Zone) Fact Sheet

Great info, easily digestible, extremely concise and informative.

Pretty sure itʻs not only me, but it seems that Iʻm awakening from a dream.  That The Three Months happened to someone else somewhere else.  Odd.  And yes, I still miss our lūʻōniu.  And that discombobulated frame of mind I kinda miss too.  Never satisfied.

So hereʻs something cool:

Itʻs the Summit Tilt in blue, and Puʻuʻōʻō tilt in green.  Summit down, Puʻuʻōʻō up, but not particularly concerning according to geologist friends.  ʻŌlaʻi (earthquakes) are still few and far between...

The thing I found interesting a few days ago, was the consistency of the shapes of the blue line.  Looks like pictures Iʻve seen of the Grand Teton range.  But so regular.  And in the middle of the day.  And why???  TryRead:

Volcano Watch for 092718

Short answer:  Middle of the day, up here, HOT and clear.  A diurnal or quotidian (that word again!), or happening every day, cycle.  Good to note.  

And because Iʻm really visual and really like nice pictures:

I REALLY wish I had planned ahead, done the research, and gone walking at the proper time that morning.  But I had to go town...

And below, from the Photos & Video section on the HVO webpage:

HVO Webpage

First, in Keahialaka, the Leilani Estates subdivision and Fissure 8 and its māwae (channel).  Note again how the leeward side of the vent (to the left and bottom right) is still greenish, while the windward (at the bottom) is brown and sulphur-burnt tephra-stripped.  Tephra is volcanic products (cinder, reticulite, Peleʻs hair and tears, etc.) that fall from the sky during fountaining.

Then below, at Kapoho.  Waiapele (a.k.a. Kapoho Crater, Kapoho Cone, Green Mountain) at the upper left.  The green lake of Waiapele was filled in by pele.  And too, Pele simply filled in the gap between the 1960 flow (left photo at top), and the 1955 flow (left photo at bottom).  I hope that we are no longer surprised when pele flows where She is supposed to.

And more, I hope and trust that our Government Officials understand that rebuilding infrastructure at our expense (or ANY expense) is a Foolʻs Errand in the long term.  And residents and former residents need to understand that too.  I hope.  

I feel a rant coming on, so with that, Iʻll go enjoy the rest of this beauty full afternoon.

Thisʻll be a crazybusy week, but I hope to post something nevertheless.

If any are interested in archaeology, the Society for Hawaiian Archaeology is holding their annual conference in Hilo this coming weekend.  Registration is $120 for members, $140 for nonmembers:

SHA Conference

Till next time, as always, with aloha,


Monday, September 24, 2018

Monday, September 24, 2018: After the autumnal equinox, with a gentle Ipoprod

Has it really been more than a week?  It was easy to stay in The Groove during all the works of Pelehonuamea and associates.  Fairly regular cycles, at least up here, of rocking and rolling, and wondering what next.  Now our collective guard is mostly down, though lurking in darkest recesses:  What if?

But life has generally resumed its quotidian-ness (is there such a word?).  Daily tasks keeping us more-or-less on track, and productive, healthy, and happy, have resumed their places in our lives.

And of course The Park re-opened, on The Autumnal Equinox, this past Saturday.  Iʻve been four times so far to Keanakākoʻi (KKOI) and surroundings.  Methinks early mornings are by far the best.  Cool (as in degrees F or C), fantastic lighting, and that sort of quiet, when it seems that most of the rest of the world is just beginning to stir.  The walk, 2 miles roundtrip, is on part of Crater Rim Drive that closed in early 2008 because the uahi ʻawa (sulphur smoke) wafted across part of the road downwind of Halemaʻumaʻu.  Wonder if theyʻll change the name of CRD, since some of it is in the abyss?

Getting used to seeing the head-turning expanses of pali faces, many many many layers of lavas, all shades of reds and greys of varying thicknesses, the big white pali, labeled on the south side of Kaluapele, pre-pali, as "Old Sulphur Beds" back in August 1886 by Dodge:

Itʻs enough to make one dizzy.

The weathers have been fair, hottish mid-day, and clouds build followed by light afternoon rains.  But to me, cool of morning is always the best.  The predicted crowds, at least at KKOI, didnʻt really materialize.  And Iʻm learning to share.  For the time being, companions and I wonʻt be the only ones strolling.  Iʻm happy that others are curious enough to 

be outside...paying attention

To this:

Metal plate over gaping crack allows safe passage.

And this:  Maunaloa with entire slope clearly outlined, top of white pali just visible, mantled by September 1982 flow.  To the right of the brownish-reddish patch on the pali, is a small light grey area.  Itʻs part of the caldera floor and Crater Rim Drive, complete with center stripe.

Similar to the pic in this Volcano Watch from HVO:

HVO: Volcano Watch, September 20, 2018

And then to the right, from a slightly different vantage:

Annotated, so we learn something about what weʻre paying attention to:

And below, with people for some sort of scale.  Me at left...

That "sharing" mentioned earlier became a life lesson that equinox morning.  I got to the Devastation Trail parking lot early.  Making the right turn, I saw three people already walking up the road.  Harumph!  Then a few minutes after I started walking, I heard others behind me.  More harumphing!!

As it turns out, we all know each other from various times and places.  It was an endearingly sweet morning, made all the better  because it was just us (yup...just a teeny bit selfish) in that enormous immensity, and better, that weʻre all friends.  What a remarkable time.

And, as I am wont to do, I came home and wrote this:

And because there can never be too much beauty and wonder in the world, this from friend Steve Bumgardner.  A time-lapse taken at night on Haleakalā on June 20, 2018.  Leleaka, or Hōkūnohoaupuni, the Milky Way, with bright Jupiter, the glow from Fissure 8, and Maunakea, Maunaloa and Hualālai.  Wow.  The right place at the right time... 

What times these are.

If any of you make it up here, Iʻm more than happy to stroll along.  Just ask.  No shame...

As always, with aloha,


Sunday, September 16, 2018

from the ma uka-most reaches of Keaʻau, Sunday, September 16, 2018

Hūi!  Yes...Iʻve been away, resorting at Lāhuipuaʻa with HK, enjoying winds, rains, pacific bobbing, eating ʻono foods...all those fun things.  In retrospect, The Three Months, as Iʻve taken to calling them, were taxing.  And though allʻs been quiet on the eastern front for six weeks now, doubts lurk.  At some point sooner rather than later Iʻll write one of my stream-of -consciousness prose things in an attempt to portray what those times were like up here.

Iʻve come to understand that The Blog is actually a pretty cool diary.  It was all so in-the-moment, uncalculated, and driven by lack of sleep, Iʻm curious to go back and read what I experienced.  Because life goes on, and we seem to adjust to new paradigms/para-dimes faster than perhaps is healthy and healing.

If all goes as planned, The Park will be open next Saturday.  No potable water, most trails will remain closed, including the most popular Kīlauea Iki loop.  All those ʻōlaʻi shook loose many many boulders from the faces of pali, and so trails are blocked in places, and/or cracked and fissured in others.  But views from Volcano House and from Crater Rim Trail between there and Wahinekapu (the main steam vents area) should prove to be stunning, at least to those of us who know Kaluapele "then".  Malihini (first-time visitors) may volunteer something like... "Oh.  Nice hole...But whereʻs the lava?"  Of course there isnʻt any.  For now.  No evening glow, no choking fume during kona winds, no golden Peleʻs hair being wind-wafted.  

But the aerial footage gives us an idea of the scope of change.  The colors on the faces of newly revealed pali, a multiplicity of kaulu (ledges) spacious and small alike, the many layers, colors, and textures of pele formed since the last major collapse of Kaluapele in 1790, all exposed in new walls.  

Kaluapele from a USGS HVO drone, September 6, 2018

One of the coolest things, I think, is that we wonʻt be able to see the bottom of the abyss from any overlook.  No matter how much we tiptoe, crane our necks, or climb up on walls, the bottom will remain hidden.  We donʻt need to see everything.  Especially when Pelehonuamea decides to be discreet. 

A couple words that may be apropos from the Pukui and Elbert Hawaiian Dictionary:


nvs. To keep asking questions; inquisitive, curious, plying with frivolous questions (often used in pejorative sense, as of a busybody asking things that do not concern him); to quiz, pump; question. As an exclamation of annoyance: you are too inquisitive! Who cares to answer your questions! hoʻo.nī.ele Questioning, especially by leading up indirectly rather than directly; quizzing; curious; curiosity.


vs. Bold, impertinent, impudent, insolent, nervy, cheeky, rude, forward, presumptuous, saucy, brazen. 

To some the difference may not matter, but itʻs most polite NOT to be mahaʻoi...and itʻs not only about asking too many questions or being rude, itʻs about not going where you arenʻt invited.  No one has a "right" to go where ever they desire.  Especially now in The Park.

Some of us believe that now is a time for reflection, for being quiet and reverent, to contemplate stupefying changes we didnʻt even think about in April.  The challenge is that those who are visiting, who donʻt understand our cultures, and the majority who didnʻt experience what we did in The Three Months, much less during our lifetimes here, THOSE are the people we wish would also be quiet and attempt to learn about our ʻāina aloha.

Itʻs difficult to express and explain how we feel sometimes.  And Iʻm thinking Iʻm not doing a particularly good job right now.  Emotions are still raw, I guess.  And too, the ways in which Hawaiʻi is marketed to the world leaves a lot to be desired.  It shouldnʻt be about more More MORE!!! We just set another record!  But of course, now, itʻs just that.  Lip service is paid to the Aloha Spirit, to Sense of Place, to Authentic Culture, to Mālama ʻĀina, to Pono, but what does all of that really mean?  Really?  Use an ʻōʻō (digging stick) rather than a golden shovel to break ground for the latest highrise and itʻll make it all right?

I feel a rant coming on, but itʻs too beautiful an afternoon to get worked up.


All remains quiet here at the summit.  ʻŌlaʻi are rare.  Friends and I were talking and agreed that MAYBE weʻve felt a couple in the last several weeks.  

And here you go:  for the last Month, 166 ʻōlaʻi at the summit.  One could almost count them on the image!  Imagine that!

And shaking my head, a similar view on August 7, for the previous Month, 15,527 of them:  

Just in case some of you forgot or something...

And then down at Keahialaka, HVO installed a webcam at Fissure 8, maybe a week ago...

Fissure 8 cam

The view this morning:

The colors are of course highlighted differently depending on where the sun is, cloud cover, etc.  Looks like a cozy little bay...

And then the Tilting...or absence of Tilting.  All appears quiet for the time being.  For now.

near Puʻuʻōʻō:
 and near the summit:
Some of us prefer flattish lines...

OK then...These posts will obviously be more erratic than they were.  And I need to mull and muse topics.  If you have some to suggest, shoot me an email and Iʻll oblige if I can.

In a few days, then...

As always, with aloha,