Saturday, 12 October 2013

HAWAII, land of fire and ice

Here we are in the land of fire and ice where volcanoes, tsunami's and earthquakes abound
Enjoy our new adventure with us as we settle in our new home.

I call it the land of fire and ice because it snows on the volcanoes!
A friend of ours works for the observatories on the mountains, and when she called the mainland to order a snow plow to be sent to Hawaii the suppliers thought it was a prank call! 
You can ski on Mauna Kea (White Mountain) the world's highest mountain *
and then you can warm up in a volcanically heated pool. 
(*measured from it's undersea base of -19,000 feet to a peak of 13,796 feet).
Shield Volcano in the background
There are lots of fish varieties which we are learning to identify as we snorkel, and best of all we swim with turtles.  We just have to keep a respectful distance.  Sometimes the turtles have other ideas though and they seem to like following Jessica. Maybe because she is small? One turtle popped up right in front of Siobhan and looked her right in the eye, nose to beak... which is a bit intimidating when that beak is so big and sharp! Siobhan said "well hello there!"

 I love the mongoose, although they are a pest here.  They were brought here in the late 1800's to control the rat populations but the clever person who brought them did not account for the fact that mongoose are day time animals and rats are nocturnal. Anyway I don't imagine them hunting rats! They prefer to eat birds and their eggs, so they have done damage to the bird population.  I still love to see them scurrying around, they are far braver than our mongoose.  Probably because they live among people. We saw a few wild pigs the other day, they were brought here by Capt Cook.  The Polynesians also brought pigs.  The locals have hunting dogs and love to hunt pigs just like in Texas!  One local told me his dogs get distracted by the wild chickens (skinny black morsels).  The biggest ranch in the USA is here on the big Island, even bigger than king ranch in Texas.  That surprised me!

The sea is beautiful, we have swum in a gorgeous rock pool or inlet , photo's can't do it justice. The water mixes with fresh water springs which are icy cold.  You can actually sea the different temperature waters mixing. The sand is white and the water perfectly blue. There are also black volcanic sand beaches and we swam on one of those last week.  Very strange to see pitch black sea sand flecked with green crystals. It's against the law to take the sand since they believe it angers the volcano god... wish I could send you some!  Dylan was loaned a surf board and went surfing at the black sand beach. Some local boys taught him how and he managed to get up briefly 3 times.  There is one good beach for surfing in our town, but for experts only and they are territorial. They can keep it since tiger sharks lurk there.

There are parks with lawns right up to the waters edge, and tidal pools with little streams and Japanese bridges over them.  The reason the land is not developed is because after repeated tsunami's it was decided that building was not a good idea, parks work better. We had a tsunami alert yesterday although it did say that the threat was not serious and no action was needed.  This morning there was a 3.4 scale earthquake but we did not feel it. A few days ago I was wondering why the gas stove doors were rattling and assumed it was because the kids were jumping around, turns out that there are constant earthquakes here and we don't feel most of them.  Rattling and rumbling are normal, depends on what your version of normal is! 
The Island is beautiful with rolling hills and tall mountains.  Lots of huge delicious monsters and big leafy plants climbing to the top of tall trees. The banyan trees are spectacular huge trees like baobabs but they have masses of leaves.  The roots hang down as long thin tendrils which thicken into lots of stems. There is a banyan tree in Maui with a trunk nearly as big as a  city block!The bush is full of exotic plants that we normally grow in our gardens, like ornamental ginger, Taro, Shampoo ginger, Sugar cane, Hybiscus, Stelitzia, Bromeliad, Heliconia and of course Orchid.   A lot of the edible plants are called 'canoe plants' because they were brought over on canoes.  Anyway they all combine to make it look like Eden here.  As we drive up the mountain to come home we notice the bush change to mountainous plants, shorter trees and lots of bracken ferns and fields of orchids under a rainbow sky. Hawaii has the highest rainfall in the USA (182 inches per year here) so the sky is often filled with vivid rainbows.  Apparently Hawaii has 19 of the 20 climate types. They grow coffee,macadamias, chocolate & vanilla here. Did you know vanilla pods come from an Orchid?

Our neighbors have been so kind and brought over baskets of tasty exotic treats like crystallized ginger (my fav) Island candy (famous candy made right here) and some Asian stuff like spicy dried peas (yum) salty crackers, and wasabi peanuts (yuck). Best of all we have enjoyed having some people to talk to since moving can be so lonely.
Well, the kids are getting frisky and it sounds like another earthquake in here but this time it's the kids.
So we are going for a walk! 

1 comment:

  1. Always written so well! U paint pictures with your words, now I want to visit so I can paint pictures with the scenes u live with daily! Xxx