Category Archives: April 2019

Kekaha Kai beaches

Some of the beaches in Kekaha Kai park. The most popular is Makalawena, which requires a bit of a hike but offers several stretches of sparsely populated golden sand. The swimming is decent at many of these beaches unless there’s onshore swell. The biggest drawback to them is that the road in is very rough and directly overhead is the flight path approaching the airport.

Flying frigatebirds

This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Looking up.’ See more responses here.

Birds were my first thought for this theme since I spend a fair amount of time gazing skyward, either looking for birds or following their flight. While I had several options of which birds to feature, great frigatebirds seemed an obvious choice for three reasons.

First, they fly with no apparent effort, using the wind currents to glide along, even into strong winds. Second, they’re big, imposing birds, which catch the eye as they soar overhead. And third, they are forever sneaking up on me, easing up from behind so that I don’t see them until they’re alongside, and by the time my camera is out, they’re disappearing into the distance.

Great frigatebirds are pretty easy to identify thanks to their size, their distinctive wing shape and their forked tails. The wickedly hooked beak is another distinctive feature.

Passion vine butterfly on a passion flower

This passion vine butterfly was feeding on passion flowers, but it will feed and many other flowers, too. It gets its name because passion vines are the host plant for the passion vine butterfly’s caterpillar. Those caterpillars spend their days munching leaves, many of which have little yellow bumps on them. The bumps, which can be seen in the photos, are the plants’ way of trying to fool the butterflies into believing that there are already eggs on the leaves and so it’s not a good spot to lay more.

It’s hard to know how effective this ruse is. I’ve seen many butterflies laying eggs on these leaves, but perhaps some are discouraged. Regardless, the caterpillars will move from leaf to leaf while chowing down, but they never seem to defoliate the plant, which is, in any case, a robustly growing vine.

Signs: Arrow World

Recently, the highway department carried out some improvements on Kohala Mountain Road. The road is narrow and winding, though very scenic, and there are often accidents. The latest improvements added more guard rails and more yellow and black arrow signs to let drivers know they’re approaching a corner. I had a couple of observations about the work.

The guard rails are probably not a bad idea since anyone running wide at these places would be looking at diving into a gully or plunging down a steep hill. On the other hand, there’s virtually no shoulder where the new rails are and, in some places, none at all. So now, a moment’s inattention is likely to send a vehicle banging into the rail and bouncing back into oncoming traffic. We’ll see how that shakes out.

What made the biggest impression on me though were the new corner signs. They’re bigger than the old ones – all the better to see them then. But as I mentioned, it’s a winding road, so for about three miles there’s now a never ending sequence of these signs, pointing one way, then the other, then back again. While this is visually striking during the day, at night the effect is dramatic. The signs are, of course, reflective and impressively so, especially as they’re new. Driving along as the large signs flash up and past is like a carnival ride and I’m starting to hear calliope music as I pass. I just hope it’s not of those sinister rides where you wonder whether you’ll make it to the end alive.