Saturday, September 13, 2008
Another day, another island.........
A quick interisland flight and i'm on hawaii island in the hawaiian islands, otherwise known as the big island to reduce confusion.
The newest island in the chain with the most active volcano and quite different to Oahau where i was before. It is also the highest mountain in the world, if measured from base and not sea level.
I can see the plumes from the volcanic activity from my yurt, some gas spewing from a huge crater and the more spectacular display consisting mainly of steam, created as larva flows downslope into the sea, instentaneously boiling the waves as they crash over the red hot rock. Best viewed after sunset, as the evening draws in, allowing the colours to show through better in the dim evening light.
My hosts, Camille and David, moved here from the mainland several years ago and have constructed their home from scratch, all shipped from the mainland in containers, from yurt kits, furniture and right down to the ikea kitchen. Their plan is to create a self sufficient lifestyle, growing cacao for chocolate as a form of income, along with all their fruit and veggies. An uphill struggle with weeds growing at an alarming rate. The areas i cleared at the start of the week are already green again and the grass appears to have grown again no sooner as it has been cut. A good foot every couple of days. It is very pleasant working outside in the tropical sun, view out over Hilo bay to the distant volcano, relaxing on the lanai (deck) with two well seasoned travellers, exchanging stories and retiring to bed in my very own yurt, falling asleep listening to the sounds of the tropical night.
Explored the island in a 48hour mad dash ina hire car, 450 miles and as many sights as i could fit in. The most southerly point in the USA, an amaing orchid nursery, i could have filled a car and brought them all home, plenty of haaiian history, amazingly similar to what i have already seen in New Zealand, with shared ancestry, the polonesian inhabitants created a highly ordered kingdom until discovered by the well travelled Captain Cook who introduced them to european ways before being dispatched to the next world after a tragic misunderstanding. He was later buried at sea. The scenery on the route round the island varied dramatically, due to climate and elevation, there are 13 distinct areas, ranging from raw lava fields, through savanna, rain forest, mountain pine forests and even winter ski fields. each region incredibly different.
If the volcano wasn't enough, the islands are frequently affected by tsunami, there are frequent reminders along the coasts with memorials to past disasters, towering trumpets ready to warn the locals at a moments notice and evacuation route signs indicating where to head for safety. All very well if the cause is across the ocean and there is plenty of warning, but locally produced waves, caused by the volcanic shelves collapsing under the sea can cause devastation with only a few seconds warning. Good for a visit, but i don't think that i shall be setting up home here.