Monday, November 16, 2009

On Hawaii's Big Island

We arrived on the Big Island of Hawaii on a beautiful clear day. As we flew in, I caught this scene of the island's two most famous volcanos, Mauna Kea in the foreground, and Mauna Loa in the background. 'Mauna' means mountain; 'kea' means white, as Mauna Kea's 13,796 foot peak is often cloaked in snow; 'Loa' means long; Mauna Loa stretches way out to the right (west) beyond the photo.
We stayed at the Hilo macademia nut farm of our friends, Evonne Bjornen and Paul Tallett, at first. A few years ago, we wrote and article for Relish Magazine about the farm, and Greg included a delicious recipe for macademia nut bars. Then we spent one night in the upcountry town of Waimea, also called Kamuela, as almost every Hawaiian island has a town called Waimea. 'Waimea' means 'reddish water;' the volcanic soil has a red color in many places, and when it rains heavily, the water of rivers and streams can turn red. We took the long way to our condo in Kailua-Kona, driving to the northernmost point of the island, where dense rainforests cover the steep walls of Pololu Canyon. We had thought about taking the trail to the beach, but after reading the signs, we decided it was too hot to make the trek. A major earthquake three years ago struck deep under the sea near here, making the ground potentially unstable; hence the warnings. Instead, we continued our drive along the west coast of the island, past the big resorts, through the town of Kailua Kona, arriving at our home-away-from-home with plenty of time to settle in.

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