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I’ve previously described an encounter with two rare Hawaiian geese on Maui a few years ago at this link. This past fall when I visited Kauai with my brother and father, we found at least two dozen nene — most on the rocky and wet north shore of the island, but a number of free-loaders hanging out at the koi pond of the Marriott resort hotel (lots of fresh water, shelter, and free food).
While they remind me of Canada geese, they’re much smaller and the webbing between their feet is incomplete. And they are fearless — they’ll walk in front of you whether you’re walking or driving, not sensing any danger. It’s this complete fearlessness that nearly killed them …
Among the pleasures of being atop Hawaii’s giant volcanoes — Haleakala on Maui, and Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island — are the unusual things you see. Standing on an otherworldly landscape of reddish-brown or gray-black lava rock, the views over the clouds are often breath-taking. You can often see the Big Island from the top of Haleakala, and Maui from Mauna Kea.
If you divert your eyes from the magnificent views to the ground, you’re likely to see this rare gray-silver spikey plant known as “Hawaiian Silversword”. It only grows in Hawaii and then only a mile or more above sea level. Your best chances of seeing it are on the giant volcanoes. The climate up here is harsh — …
I love a scenic road-trip! One of the greatest short drives in America is Saddle Road, which crosses between the dry and wet sides of the Big Island of Hawaii, across broad lava flows and the saddle between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, the world’s largest and tallest mountains respectively (base of Mauna Kea is 19000′ below sea level; the part above ocean is 13796′ high). The drive is best done on a clear day, especially in the morning as it often clouds over in the afternoon. It’s a windy road but of good quality. It used to be that not all car rental companies allowed you to take your car rental across it, but the road is so good now …
I’m fond of exploring parks and libraries in the cities I visit, for different reasons. Libraries are fun because I love and collect books, and because the quality of a city’s libraries tells me a lot about that city’s priorities. Parks are places of escape, especially appealing in largest busiest cities because I quickly tire of wall-to-wall concrete. An oasis of green is an amazing balm for the soul.
While visiting Oahu recently we stopped by the Wahiawa Botanical Garden situated in a small town on the outskirts of Honolulu (and a convenient stop on the way to the Dole Plantation or the North Shore). It’s one of five small parks under the supervision of the Honolulu Botanical Gardens and is …
There’s a lot you can tell about a city simply by looking at small things, like its signage or public art. Every city has unique and interesting shops and landmarks that add to its personality.
Today I’d like to share with you some of the signage and street art we saw in Waikiki Beach on a recent visit. Waikiki is a fairly unique place. Almost exclusively catering to tourists, the facilities and services are aimed at its thousands of visitors. Still, you’ll see some of Honolulu’s many citizens enjoying the sand on the beach, or having dinner at one of the restaurants, or walking by the beach. Surfing and paddle-boarding are especially popular because of how sweet the waves are as they break on the coral reef …
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 …
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 near the …
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 1839 …