Category Archives: November 2018

Place of Refuge pond

Place of Refuge pool

Palm trees are reflected in still waters at Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, otherwise known as Place of Refuge. This is one of the royal fish ponds, an anchialine pool in which fish were held for consumption by Hawaiian royalty.

For more information about Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, visit

Billbergia nutans

Billbergia nutans

Billbergia nutans detailI took these photos on a recent visit to Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. The plant looked somewhat familiar to me, but I couldn’t put a name to it. After rummaging through the garden’s plant database, I finally identified it as billbergia nutans. That name sounded even more familiar and a quick check revealed it was a plant I grew in my (tropical) garden in Washington State. There, it was an annual or one to be overwintered indoors. Here, it grows year-round.

Billbergia nutans is native to South America. It’s commonly known as queens tears or friendship plant, the latter because it is an easy plant to split and share. It’s an epiphytic bromeliad, meaning it is shallow rooted and gets most of its moisture and nutrients from the air and from rainfall through the leaves and flowers.

For more information about Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, go to

Pride Of America

Cruise ship

Cruise ship Pride Of AmericaEvery Wednesday, the cruise ship Pride Of America drops anchor off Kailua Kona and ferries people ashore to explore the offerings of the town and of the Big Island.

What I like most about the ship is how the name is reflected in the paintwork – all red, white, and blue, and stars and stripes. Indeed this ship was built in the U.S.A. and sails under an American flag. And even though the name of the company that operates the ship is Norwegian Cruise Line, it’s now an American company. Best not to mention that Norwegian Cruise Line’s parent company is based in Bermuda, and not because it’s warm and sunny there.

Cruise ship name

Hayseed bovine


There are a great many deeply meaningful and insightful blogs out there, but this isn’t one of them. Instead, here’s a photo of two beef cattle in a field. The reason I like it is for the stem of dry grass sticking out of the one on the left. I imagine him saying something along the lines of, “You ain’t from around these parts, are you?”

Waipi’o Valley

Waipio Valley

Waipio Hi'ilawe FallsThis week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Bucket List Images.’ (See more responses here.) Since I don’t have a bucket list that posed something of a problem for me, so I plumped for this image of Waipi’o Valley, since I might never see this view again.

Waipi’o is a valley on the northeastern slopes of Kohala Mountain. The valley is about one mile wide at the mouth and about six miles deep with walls that are around 2,000 feet high. It’s accessed by a steep, one-lane road that’s for four-wheel-drive vehicles only. On the left of the top photo, and in the photo to the right, is Hi’ilawe Falls which tumbles almost 1,500 feet into the valley.

Waipi’o means ‘curved water’ in Hawaiian and the valley is known as the “Valley of Kings.” It was the home of Hawaiian royalty until the 15th century and was a stronghold of King Kamehameha, who united the Hawaiian islands under one leader. In its heyday, the valley was home to somewhere between 4,000 and 10,000 people.

Those numbers dropped over time, but the valley remained well-populated until 1946 when a magnitude 8.6 earthquake in the Aleutian Islands triggered a massive Pacific-wide tsunami with waves ranging from 45–130 ft. high. Waipi’o Valley was hit by this tsunami, and though no-one was killed, most of the structures in the valley were destroyed. Today, the population is around 50 residents, though many more visit on a daily basis.

Signs: Ironman advice

Signs-Ironman advice

During last month’s Ironman race, these cyclists had committed some sort of misdemeanor, probably following too close, on their way to Hawi, and had been pulled over to serve a 5-minute penalty. But what I liked about this scene was the sign in the background reading ‘Exertion plus perspiration equals inspiration.’ I suspect many of the Ironman participants might have thought the sign should have read ‘Exertion plus perspiration equals pain.’

Incidentally, that bright neon sign was a source of great community consternation when it went up. Some locals thought it was OK. Others thought it was a blight on the community and a sign of the impending apocalypse. It’s been in place a few months now and the hubbub seems to have subsided. I have to say though that the neon colors are still as garish as they ever were.