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Friday, November 02, 2012

Big Island Joy

Lacy canopy at Lava Trees State Park 
This week was a whirlwind, and amazinglyit felt as if I've lived here on the Big Island with Ron, Jeannie & Stephanie for ages. Usually time seems to race by, but perhaps because of the novelty of being here, time moved in slow motion. Hum... almost as if the Island's heart, the concept of 'On Hawaii time' is more than just a saying, it's a fact. I certainly know I'm believing it.

The past few days we visited Hilo and shopped at its wonderful Farmer's Market. The few shots below just show the little food vending area. There are other sections that sell everything from soaps, t-shirts, trinkets and art.

All the veggies you can eat or turn your nose up at if you're not into FRESH.
Flowers everywhere
Freshest ginger root I've ever seen in my life. Fresh, it looks waxy and has a pink blush.
 When we were on the Hilo side of the island we toured every square inch we could get access to.

We viewed the area that was freshly ravaged by lava in the 1990s
Stephie and Jeannie checking out a little snorkling area south of Hilo (East side of the Big Island)
We had the repeat joy of viewing the Waipi`o Valley. We didn't go down into it, as it requires a 4WD to do so. Don't need 4WD to stand at the edge and feel the breeze on your face. 

Waipi`o Valley - Valley of the Kings
The trot down to the Wa'pio overlook - that's me, in green taking Jeannie & Stephanie's pics     photo by Ron Huey
 Ron nudged me into hiking with the gang at Akaka Falls, a Hawaii State Park. It was, according to the map, only .25 miles on the loop trail, but between you and me - it was at least 47 miles around!

Gang of Three at overlook in Akaka Falls State Park
Close up shot taken from the overlook in the previous photo    photo by Ron Huey

Akaka Falls Park is all ups and downs
Beautiful, one of dozens & dozens of beautiful plants in Akaka Falls Park
Lush, lush & LUSH

Late in the day we visited Lava Trees State Park (right) where we walked the loop trail. The trail was level and only .7 mile so no whinging was heard from Ms. Nowalkiewalkie (that would be me).  The lava trees were formed in the 1700s when a lava flow overwhelmed (you think?) O'hia trees, leaving skeletal lava rock piles in the shape of the long-gone trees.

Tromping down the trail at Lava Trees
Lava Trees

The entire park echoed, "KO-KEY! KO-KEY!" Everyone, including me, at first thought we were hearing some kind of loud & obnoxious bird. Then I recalled some PBS show or the other & realized we were hearing an accidentally imported froggie from Cuba, called Coqui frogs. LOUD.

What was my favorite activity on the island? Even including the birding, I would have to say the Snorkling was AWESOME. You know my hear belongs to birding, but if I can't be crawling through shrubbery, looking for birds, I want to be submerged in warm tropical waters.

Stephanie & Jeannie getting ready to climb into the waves
 Our first snorkling spot was just outside of Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau, a mouthful that means 'Place of Refuge', which is a National Historical Park. Getting in and out of the water at the beach there is somewhat challenging, what with slippery lava rocks and rolling waves. I was excited because I got myself a water proof camera for underwater photography and was excited to try it out. My first outing was so-so because I had the camera on a screwy setting, & the water was slightly cloudy at times. Still - I'm not fussing!

Didn't even see the skinny Pacific Trumpetfish' (yellow stick on left) until I checked the photos post snorkling

Loads of sea life, urchins & funny little puffer fish

Score! A Humahumanukanukapaua'a! Otherwise known as a Lagoon Triggerfish
A hungry sea turtle visited one of the tide pools, spending hours eating algae or some such stuff on the rocks

 Now, I had a ball, but Jeannie and Stephie hit the big time! They swam out at least three times further than I did and swam with Spinner Dolphins! Jeannie said she was in touching distance of a baby Spinner and would have touched it had not its Mama given her the 'stink eye'.  And Stephanie said she looked up to see 30+ dolphins headed right for her!  She freaked, but the dolphins just shot past her. WOW!  They told me about the dolphins (which were in the bay the whole time we were there) but I only got half way to the dolphins when my lungs and energy levels told me I would be wiser to stay closer to shore. Oh well. Some soar with the eagles, the rest of us wallow with the turtles.

Ron & Jeanie on Kahalu'lu Beach
 On the right are pics we took of Spinner Dolphins leaping. They did that all afternoon long. Click on the pics for a slightly better view.

This afternoon we went to a spot that was new for me, just north of Kauai-Kona at Kahalu'u Beach Park. Holy mother of calm seas - it. was. AWESOME!  Access to the water was way easier than at the Place of Refuge and once in, the water was clear. I could LIVE in that little inlet.
***Click on any photo for a MUCH larger views ***

 Black Durgeon Triggerfish - loads of these out there!

 Only saw one of these little beauties - a Forceps Butterflyfish

Moorish Idol 

 Little Raccoon Butteflyfish - this one thought I was wonderful... or hiding goodies from it. It wouldn't leave me alone

 Sargent Major and an Orangespine Surgeonfish

 Tiny Blue Boxfish

 Saddle Wrasse

 Lined Butterfly fish

Fancy schmansy Butter... I mean, 'Ornate' Butterfly Fish

Orangeband Surgeonfish (comes with its own racing stripe!)
The Hawai'i State Fish, a Picasso or Reef Triggerfish. Famous for the old
Hawaiian song with lyrics "...and the Humahumanukanukāpuau'a swam by..."

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