Tag Archives: Hilo



SurferIn response to this week’s Sunday Stills challenge on the theme of ‘Water’ (more responses here) I thought I’d post something very Hawaiian. Most widely-seen surfing images feature a surfer cruising through a barrel of blue water or sliding down the face of a terrifyingly steep wave. But many people enjoy getting out on the water and having fun on whatever waves are available.

The Big Island isn’t known for its surfing spots in the same way as Maui and Oahu, but there are still plenty of surfing enthusiasts. Good, rideable surf often leads to an increase in people calling in sick to work.

These photos were taken at Honolii Beach Park north of Hilo, a popular surfing spot on the east side of the island and a good spot for kids to get to grips with the sport.

Signs: Boiling Pots

Signs-Boiling Pots dangers

Boiling Pots is part of Wailuku River State Park, in Hilo, along with Rainbow Falls. It features a series of small falls and pools. So why the name? When the river runs fast, those pools roil and bubble as if boiling.

The park overlooks these pools and access to the pools is forbidden, hence these signs. However, people go down there all the time and a few die every year. When people do get swept away, rescue divers usually spend 24 to 48 hours searching the river, at some considerable risk to themselves. Sometimes the body turns up several weeks later, swept into some unlikely spot. Sometimes it’s never found.

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls and rainbow

Rainbow Falls and offeringRainbow Falls are located in Wailuku River State Park, in Hilo. They get their name from the fact that, in the mornings, rainbows often form in the mist from the falls (above).

Center, someone left an offering, possibly to Hina, mother of the demigod Maui, who is said to have lived in the cave behind the falls.

And below, someone who has inadvertently walked past the 83,000 ‘Danger’ and ‘Warning’ signs to wander around at the top of the falls. Flash floods occur often and people die here every year.

Rainbow Falls

Abstracts: Rainbow Falls banyans

Abstracts-Rainbow Falls Banyans

Abstracts-Rainbow Falls BanyanThe main attraction of Wailuku River State Park, in Hilo, is Rainbow Falls. But at the top of the hill are these huge banyan trees.

Banyans are not just a huge sprawl of branches, but a sprawl of roots, too. As epiphytes they begin life growing on other trees, from seeds dispersed there by birds. Over time, they send roots down to the ground, known as prop roots, which help support the mass of branches.

Banyan trees are also known as strangler figs because their roots and branches will ultimately overwhelm the host tree and kill it. Eventually, the dead host will decay and leave a hollow center to the banyan tree that’s left.

By continuing to send down prop roots, banyans grow out as well as up. Very old trees can cover a huge area. For example, the Great Banyan Tree in Kolkata, India is more than 250 years old. Its covers around four acres and has more than 3,500 prop roots. Here in Hawaii, the largest banyan grows in Lahaina on Maui. Planted in 1873, it now has 16 main trunks and covers two thirds of an acre.

The Rainbow Falls trees aren’t that large, but they’re coming along nicely.

Kaumana Caves

Kaumana Cave entrance

Kaumana Cave access stairsKaumana Caves State Park is a small park west of Hilo. Besides the usual park facilities, the main attraction is the caves. The caves are actually a lava tube, created by a flow from Mauna Loa in 1881. They’re accessed through the large opening where a section of the tube collapsed, so the two caves are at opposite ends of this opening.

My understanding is that the caves go on for quite a way, but one is not supposed to go much beyond the entrances because it is, officially, private property after that. It’s also very dark and claustrophobic, so that was enough for me.

The photos show – Above: A view from mouth of the southern cave; Middle: The staircase down to the caves; Below: Foliage that’s grown in the open portion of the tube. The cave entrances are the dark areas at the edge of these photos.

Kaumana Cave tropical foliageKaumana Cave foliage

Cheerful Emu


This cheerful looking emu is a resident of Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens, near Hilo. What strikes me most though is how this photo is just like looking in a mirror. I mean, the hair, the beak …

Posted in response to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge ‘Smiles.’

For more information about Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens, go to hilozoo.org.

Signs: Don’t tease the tiger

This sign can be seen at Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens in Hilo, and that’s Sriracha pacing behind the fence. I post this because I really want one of those signs. It would be great, give local kids something to think about, maybe even cause the neighbor’s dogs to think twice before pooping in the yard.

The only thing that could improve this sign is to add, ‘or we’ll throw you over the fence.’

For more information about Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens, go to hilozoo.org.