I work at Hapuna on the South Kohala coast and typically, during the day, clouds build up to the north and east until Kohala Mountain, Mauna Kea, and Mauna Loa are obscured. That was the case a few days ago when I noticed a dense, dark patch rolling down the hill from Waimea. My first thought was that this was rain headed my way, but it looked odd. It proved to be smoke, a fact soon confirmed when the smell filled the air.
The smoke came from a brush fire, 30 miles away, in the vicinity of Pa’auilo on the Hamakua coast. Tradewinds blew the smoke over the saddle at Waimea and on down towards the ocean. The fire consumed about 1,400 acres of brush and eucalyptus trees before it was contained late the next day. The cause of the fire is under investigation, but it’s been remarkably dry for quite a while so the fire danger is currently high.
The top two photos show smoke blotting out Kohala Mountain, the second one being taken 15 minutes after the first. (Compare this with the hillside under normal circumstances here.) The bottom photo, taken a little way north of Kawaihae, shows the plume of smoke over the ocean with clear skies to the north of it.
This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Weather.’ See more responses here. Last month, I did a post about our local weather here. Weather in one place can be very different from another place just a few miles away.
The basics are that the east side of the island is wetter and cloudier, the west side, sunny and dry. Both sides are warm, but not as hot as they might be thanks to the prevailing northeast trade winds, though they’re not as consistent as they used to be. Paradoxically, the driest places on the island are also the coldest, the summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, which are usually above the clouds.
So here are a few photos illustrating some of the varying weather we get, even if it wasn’t forecast.
This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Winter Wonderland.’ See more responses here.
We do get snow here on the Big Island, on the summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, but there’s none up there right now. However, for those knee deep in snow, shrouded in freezing fog, or sliding on icy sidewalks, I thought these photos might seem like something of a winter wonderland.
Hapuna beach (officially Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area) regularly features on lists of the world’s best beaches. It’s a long stretch of golden sand across the head of a wide bay with fairly protected waters. Swimming is good, but when waves do roll in, surfers take over.
The top two photos show the view from the south end of the beach. In the second photo, the line of greenery jutting into the beach represents the edge of the State Recreation Area. North of there is Hapuna Resort, which is private, but the beach is still open to the public. The bottom photo shows the view from the north, looking south. The tracks in the sand are from vehicles used in beach maintenance or by the lifeguards who patrol the beach.
I saw a little group of ducks on a small reservoir near Hapuna. Most are ring-necked ducks, the bird on the right in the top photo being a male, and the two birds on the left below, being females. The odd one out is the bird on the left in the top photo and on the right below. That’s a female lesser scaup.
According to my bird book, a small number of lesser scaups migrate to Hawaii every year, but ring-necked ducks are considered uncommon visitors.
Thanks to birdforum.net for help with the identification of the female lesser scaup.
What’s this grader got to do with a happy new year? Well, it’s sitting near the edge of a newly-graded house pad at Hapuna Resort. Soon, a house will be built here and when it’s done it will have a fabulous view toward Maui (above) and out over the ocean (below). So it’s kind of a new beginning with a wonderful outlook. I hope your new year has a similarly great prospects.
This is the lobby of the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort on the Kohala coast. Each of the Kohala resort hotels has a version of this look at this time of year.
To be honest, the tree decorations are a little over the top for my taste, not surprising considering I don’t have any decorations or a tree. However, these are minor details. Quibbling about festive decorations misses the point when there’s such a killer view, through the palm trees, over the white sand beach, to the blue Pacific.
Posted in response to this week’s Sunday Stills challenge on the theme of ‘Festive.’ See more offerings here.
Here’s a view of part of the golf course at the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort on the Kohala coast. Besides the usual trees and bunkers to challenge golfers, there’s a generous sprinkling of goats. I liked the pastoral feel of this photo, but if I were a golfer and my ball came to rest within a club’s length of some of these goats, I’d be inclined to drop a new ball a safe distance away.