Category Archives: Hawaiian History

Water inlet

Behind the beach at Anaeho’omalu Bay are two fishponds, Kahapapa and Ku’uali’i. These ponds are typical of the kind that form behind a beach, which protects them from the ocean waves. The ponds are connected to the ocean by this channel, which allows was to come and go with the tides. A sluice gate was used to prevent fish using the channel as an escape route.

Where natural ponds weren’t available, they were created by enclosing areas with rock walls. I featured one such fishpond here.

In Hawaiian history, fishponds were very important. In such an isolated community it was important to have reliable food supplies. The ponds provided this, supplementing fish caught in the ocean. Many ponds have disappeared due to development, volcanic activity, tsunami, and the like. But the ones that survive are a bit of living history, used now more for education than for food.

For more information about Hawaiian fishponds go here.

Place of Refuge and Two Step

There’s a good variety of fish at Two Step including raccoon butterflyfishes, seen here mingling with goatfishes and yellow tangs.
A barred filefish swims by with a startled look on its face, which is just their usual look.
Ki’i at Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, better known as Place of Refuge.

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

Often, on our wedding anniversary, my wife and I go to Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Garden (formerly Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden). This year the garden was shut, and still is, probably until tourists return to the islands. So a different anniversary is my birthday, which is not marked with candles on a cake, since that would be prohibitively expensive, but usually by a trip somewhere and a meal out. This year we went down to snorkel at Two Step and then had a wander around Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, otherwise known as Place of Refuge, which is right next door.

Two Step is a very popular snorkeling spot on Honaunau Bay, south of Captain Cook. This is a marine reserve so no fishing is allowed and the fish tend to be more numerous and mellow because of this. It’s a popular spot to see and swim with dolphins, though I haven’t done either of those things there. Currently, it’s not nearly as busy since there are very few tourists on the island and those that are here are diligently following quarantine rules (I’m trying to keep a straight face writing this!).

After our swim we made the short walk to Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park. The park is on the south side of the bay and, at the moment, is fully open only on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. However, on the other days, pretty much everything else is accessible, it’s just that the parking lot and visitor center are closed. What this means is that there’s basically nobody there so our visit was quiet and uncrowded. The park is an important place in Hawaiian history, and the location is beautiful. What’s not to like?

For more information about Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, visit https://www.nps.gov/puho/index.htm.

Palm trees reflect in one of the fishponds at Place of Refuge.

Goats at the watering hole

A recent visit to Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, otherwise known as Place of Refuge, included this encounter with a herd of goats. The goats were passing through and stopped to get a morning drink in the ponds. These anchialine ponds are connected to the nearby ocean through underground channels. Because of this, the levels of water in the ponds vary with the tides.

In the ponds, fresher water floats on top of saltwater from the ocean, which is why they’re a good watering hole for the goats. Back in the days when Hawaiian royalty lived on these grounds, the ponds were used to hold fish for future consumption by those living here.

For more information about Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, visit https://www.nps.gov/puho/index.htm.

Kilauea Military Camp

This is a view across Chain of Craters Road, in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, toward the flagpole and entrance of Kilauea Military Camp. The camp was founded in 1916, the same year as the park, as a rest and relaxation facility for military personnel. Today, it continues to fill that same function though the facilities are somewhat nicer than they were back then. There’s an array of cottages, a store, theater, sports facilities, gas station, laundromat, even a bowling alley.

While it’s been an R&R post for most of its existence, during WWII it was used as a prisoner of war camp and as a Japanese internment camp.

For more information about Kilauea Military Camp, go to https://www.kilaueamilitarycamp.com/. For more information about Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, go to nps.gov/havo/.

Posted in response to Becky’s July Squares challenge theme of ‘Perspective.’ See more responses here.

Kamehameha Day

The statue of King Kamehameha is draped with leis as part of the proceedings.
A rider in the parade as it passes through Hawi.

This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Summer Traditions.’ See more responses here.

Some summer traditions, such as barbecues and going to the beach are year-round here, but Kamehameha Day is an event that kicks off summer, occurring as it does in mid-June. There’s a ceremony at the king’s statue in Kapaau, a parade through the community, and festivities at the local park. Many places mark the king’s birthday with similar events, but some take place on the Saturday nearest his birth date. In North Kohala, the king’s birthplace, the celebration is always on the actual date regardless of which day it falls on.

This year though, the celebration was one of a multitude of events cancelled because of the Covid-19 virus. These photos are from previous years’ events.

Hula dancers dance in front of the statue during the opening ceremonies.

Spencer Beach Park

Spencer Beach Park, near Kawaihae, is a popular spot for families. With protected water, sand, shade, and facilities it’s got most everything little kids need. On weekends it can get crowded, but during the week it’s usually possible to find a quite spot.

The park is right next door to Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site so it’s possible to visit both places from one parking spot.

Better Days: Kona Village Resort

Looking across Kahuwai Bay toward the Kona Village Resort
The sign on the fence says it all.
Some of the damaged buildings lining the shore.

On March 11, 2011, the northeastern part of Japan was jolted by an earthquake registering 9.0 on the Richter scale. While the quake caused extensive damage, the resulting tsunami was even more destructive. Water surged up to six miles inland and flooded more than 200 square miles of land. Perhaps the best known result of this tsunami was the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, after it was overrun by the surging waters.

Here in Hawaii, a few hours after the earthquake, tsunami waves washed up on shore. The waves were up to 10 feet high, but the damage was not as great as was feared. However, along the west coast of the Big Island, there was flooding and damage to coastal properties.

One of those properties was the Kona Village Resort, situated to the north of Hualalai Resort. Damage to the resort’s properties was sufficient to force its closure. The property then sank into the swamp that is insurance settlements and financial shenanigans. During this time, the buildings deteriorated.

Originally, the resort was supposed to reopen this summer, but that was pushed back a year, then more. Currently, sometime in 2022 is the planned reopening, but this being Hawaii, that date shouldn’t be taken too seriously. When I walked the beach past the site, work was going on, but I saw only a handful of workers and a couple of active machines. It didn’t appear to be a project going full-steam ahead.

The current work site, lots of orange netting but not much action.
At a casual glance things don’t look too bad, but the roof thatching is mostly gone, the buildings are open to the elements, and there’s other damage in and around the area.
It’s still a beautiful setting and the beach is enticing.

Kilauea lava

Lava fountains flare up alongside the rim of the active vent in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater at the summit of Kilauea Volcano.
The walls of the crater illuminated by the lava.

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Mother Earth.’ See more offerings here.

The Big Island is home to Madame Pele, who in Hawaiian culture is the goddess of volcanoes. She is the creator of new land as well as a destroyer. These photos were taken on April 24, 2018. (An account of that visit, and more photos, can be found here.) On May 1, the lava in the lake began to drop. Within a week, it had dropped more than 700 feet and continued falling. Lava had also disappeared from Pu’u O’o, the other active vent on Kilauea.

The drop in lava levels was due to magma in the system moving down the east rift zone of the volcano where it emerged in a series of vents in Leilani Estates, a housing subdivision in the southeast part of the island. This new eruption lasted until late August, 2018, since when the volcano has been quiet.

While there has been no visible activity, below ground, magma has been moving through the system, notably into Kilauea’s summit chamber. It’s surely only a matter of time before Madame Pele makes her presence known again on one of the world’s most active volcanoes.

The early morning light shows the crater and land around Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. This is a scene that no longer exists. Since this photo was taken, not only is the vent no longer active, but the crater floor has collapsed numerous times and the walls have also subsided in places.