Category Archives: Series

Signs: Keep off

A sign on the breakwater at Kawaihae Harbor, Hawaii

This is the sign at the landward end of the breakwater that protects Kawaihae harbor. The breakwater is just over half a mile long and, as you’d expect, people rigorously respect the warning to stay off this dangerous structure. Just kidding. We’re talking people here. They fish from the structure on a regular basis and, as far as I can tell, nobody seems too bothered about that. This is an early morning view.

Better Days: Sonny’s Place

When I moved to Hawaii, this building looked pretty much like this. The only difference was that Sonny’s Place, a restaurant, was a going concern. Not that I ever saw anyone going in or out. Indeed, I never saw any activity there at all except for the occasional sighting of a cat in the window.

It’s not a going concern today, though I honestly don’t know when that change took place. One thing’s for certain, the transition made no difference to the appearance of the place.

Signs: Tsunami hazard zone

The coastal regions of Hawaii are dotted with tsunami warning signs. Basically, any place within reach of a tsunami gets a sign.

I came across this sign while hiking the Puna Coast Trail in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It stood out as a dot of color in a field of lava and scrubby grasses. What I liked about the sign was its sage advice ‘In case of earthquake, immediately go to high ground or inland.’ At this spot, the high ground is inland, so that kills two birds with one stone.

On the other hand, getting to that high ground inland involves scrambling over a mile or more of rough lava. Also, if the earthquake was big enough, it might just mean that you could encounter lava from a new eruption heading down to the coast to meet you. The sign doesn’t offer any advice on what to do then!

For more information about Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, go to