“Pic of the Week”, December 19, 2014: Ferns, Hawaii

POD 05a Ferns, Volcano House

The vegetation around the Visitor’s Center in Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii’s Big Island is in a cool tropical rainforest.  Situated at 4000′ above sea level (1220m) there’s a lush growth here including ferns of several varieties.  Some ferns are only inches tall, struggling for survival in the volcanic rock.  Others are up to 35 ft (10 m) in height, the size of a small tree.

While walking to the visitor center, I came across a thick patch of ferns, one of the larger ones including a lot of new growth that we in Canada like to call “fiddleheads”.  I’m not sure about this variety, but fiddleheads can make excellent eating.  Regardless of their culinary value, I’m fond of walking in forests rich in …

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Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii, Redux

00 Volcanoes National Park.  Chain of Craters Road

I’m a huge fan of National Parks, and one of the most amazing parks anywhere is Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii’s Big Island.  When you visit, you’ll know why it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site!  I’ve previously shared some of my experiences here, which you can read at this link if you’re interested.

I recently revisited Volcanoes NP (something about the volcano draws me back again and again).  Kilauea is still active, currently only to a limited extent within the park boundaries itself, although this could change at any time as volcanoes are notoriously unpredictable.  Where Kileau’s lava flows are most active right now is outside the park in the southwestern part of the island …

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Hapuna Beach Prince Resort, Hawaii

043 Hapuna Prince 10-2014

One of my favorite places to travel is the Big Island of Hawaii.  Where else can you find the tallest mountains in the world, the most active volcano in the world, and a surreal landscape of lava flows, desert vegetation, coffee plantations and tropical jungle?  The Big Island and its welcoming, friendly people never cease to amaze me.

I try to visit or attend medical meetings on the island whenever feasible.  One of the meetings I enjoy and learn a lot from is held regularly at a wonderful resort known as the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel.  This resort was opened on the Kohala coast (rainshadow side of the island) 20 years ago, twinned with the Mauna Kea Resort on …

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Coping with Hurricana Ana, Kauai

07 Hurricane Ana approaches Kauai’s  southern shore @Po’ipu

It’s not every day a traveler has to deal with a hurricane — especially when vacationing in the South Pacific.  My first brushes with one were exciting in a way, but tedious in most respects.

I’ve experienced a number of “natural disasters” in my life, ranging from significant earthquakes while living in California to brush fires that were close to our home.  And, of course, Canada is known for its blizzards and severe cold weather.  But I’ve never had to deal with extremes of tropical weather before.

While attending a medical meeting on the Big Island of Hawaii, I became aware that tropical storm Ana was forming and gaining strength hundreds of miles southeast of the Big Island and moving on a …

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“Pic of the Week”. May 16, 2014: Honolulu, viewed from Diamond Head State Monument

515 Honolulu viewed from Diamond Head 10-004

As most everyone knows, the Hawaiian Islands exist because of land created by volcanic activity.  The newest of the islands, the Big Island, is the only one still showing active volcanoes but on the rest you’ll find remnants of that activity.

Diamond Head State Monument on Oaha, adjoining Honolulu, is a dormant and partially collapsed volcanic crater.  Used by the U.S. Military during the second World War for the strategic position and great views it provides, it’s now an interesting state park.  You can hike up the crater, including a portion through a rather long tunnel, and besides seeing some of the residua of its days as a military post, you’ll enjoy beautiful views of Honolulu as did …

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“Pic of the Week”, Sept. 13, 2013. Volcanoes National Park, Big Island of Hawaii

2013-037-Sept 13

I love visiting the Big Island — it’s such an awesome destination!  Where else can you walk on the tallest mountain in the world (Mauna Kea, as measured from it’s base on the ocean floor) and watch lava flow from an active volcano (Kilauea), all in one day?

This photo was taken in Volcanoes National Park on the Chain of Craters road.  Over the years lava flows have completely obstructed what once was a loop drive, but it’s still very interesting to see.  Park near the end of the road and walk out on to the hardened lava shield for a great view — Pacific Ocean on one side, and endless acres of recent lava on the other.

I love …

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“Pic of the Week”. May 3, 2013. Rainbow over West Maui

West-Maui-2013-070-Kaanapali Shores Rainbow over West Maui

If you want to see lots of rainbows — almost too many to count — Maui is the place you should go.   The frequent showers carried in by the trade-winds usually don’t last long and give way to brilliant sunshine.  The sunlight is dispersed when it hits the water droplets in the air and, voila —  a magical rainbow!  Often Maui’s rainbows span a full hundred and eighty degrees and double rainbows are common.

I like this photo because you can see the lush green bulk of the West Maui Mountains (an eroded volcano) framed behind the rainbow, which seems to stretch to “infinity and beyond!”

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance)

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“Pic of the Week”. March 8, 2013. Pu`uhonua O Hōnaunau (The Place of Refuge), Big Island of Hawaii. Differing perspectives of sunlight at dusk

2013-010-March  08

The Big Island is one of my favorite destinations, a place I can go to often and always feel at home.  It’s a rugged land, newly created by it’s great volcanoes (and with new land formation continuing in the southern part of the island).

A special place I came across during my last visit to the Big Island was the “Place of Refuge” or, in Hawaiian, “Pu`uhonua O Hōnaunau”.  It’s a smaller National Historic Park situated just south of Kona that was important to the Hawaiian people because it was a “safe zone” — a place where someone who had broken one of the many Hawaiian laws could seek refuge and escape their sentence (usually death), with no fear of …

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