Tag Archives: On The Coast

Better Days: Noak Dom

Places and things that have seen better days are likely to be vandalized or tagged with graffiti. On the North Kohala coast, there’s an old fishing shack with a couple of derelict vehicles nearby. At some time in the fairly recent past, the scene has been accessorized with a paint job. I think Noak Dom is the name of the graffiti artist who painted these.

Calotropis procera

Calotropis procera, also known as Apple of Sodom, is a member of the milkweed family. A native of parts of Africa and Asia, it’s another of the many invasive plants that have found a home in Hawaii. On the plus side, it’s a host plant for Monarch butterfly caterpillars, while the butterflies themselves feed on the flowers.

In these photos, you can see the leaves, flowers, and the large green fruits of the plant.

Kohala valleys

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Mountains and Valleys.’ See more offerings here.

Kohala Volcano is the oldest volcano on the Big Island and has long been extinct, having last erupted around 120,000 years ago. Since then, the various processes of erosion, from rainfall to landslides, have carved deep valleys into the volcano. Waipio, the easternmost of these valleys, is accessible by vehicle (4-wheel drive only), horseback, or on foot. It has permanent inhabitants so access within the valley is restricted.

The other valleys are most easily seen from the air, along the Kohala coast. The top photo shows Waimanu Valley. This can be accessed by foot from Waipio, after a long and arduous hike, and permits are available for camping there. Waimanu River can be seen on the far side of the valley and is one last obstacle to be crossed to reach the camp site, which is in the strip of land between the river and the ocean. The steep sides are typical of these valleys and another consideration to keep in mind when thinking about hiking here.

The middle photo shows a fairly typical view directly into one of the valleys from the ocean. Again, notice the steep valley sides and the abundance of foliage, evidence that this is the wet side of the island.

The bottom photo shows valleys cutting through the mountain farther inland. There’s little or no water running in this view. A few valleys have spring-fed streams, but most depend on rain for water flow. However, when it does rain, it can rain long and hard. Flash floods are common. It’s not a shock when campers in Waimanu Valley are cut off and unable to make the return hike.

I’ll do another post about the water courses for next week’s Sunday Stills challenge.

For more information about Hawaii’s volcanoes, go to https://www.lovebigisland.com/hawaii-blog/hawaii-volcano-history/.

Cliff ladder

My regular walk around Upolu Airport almost always occurs in the afternoon when I walk along the coast towards the east. This usually puts the sun at my back and the wind in my face. Last Friday, I went out in the morning and so walked in the other direction with both the sun and wind at my back. I was surprised by how strange it felt to do this. Approaching spots where I tend to stop and look for things in the water felt weird. I guess it shows what a creature of habit I’ve become.

One other oddity was this ladder propped halfway down the cliff face. I’d never noticed it before. Now, it might be a recent addition, but it’s also possible it’s been there for years because it is somewhat hidden when walking in the opposite direction.

The ladder was probably put there by someone who goes down onto the rocks to harvest opihi. The opihi is an edible limpet that is something of a delicacy in Hawaii. It can be eaten raw or cooked. Some people eat them right after they pry them from a rock. It’s a dangerous business though. They’re found on rocks right at the water’s edge and an opihi picker can easily slip or be swept into the ocean by big, breaking waves.

When I got home, I noticed the figure at the top of the photo. I hadn’t seen him at the time, but he’s an opihi picker who I ran into a little later on my walk.

Posted in response to Bushboy’s Last on the Card challenge. See more responses here.

Beach pea vine

Beach pea vine (Vigna marina) is an indigenous plant with flowers and seed pods that clearly identify it as a member of the pea family. It fares well on the coast because it’s salt tolerant. It spreads, forming large swathes stretching away into the distance, as in the top photo.

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

Search helicopter over Mau’umae Beach

I saw this Hawaii County Fire Department Search and Rescue helicopter flying over Mau’umae Beach, just south of Kawaihae. I think it was just on a training exercise, but we have had a run of missing fishermen and free divers so it might have been associated with one of those searches.

The body of one fisherman was located submerged along the coast, but no trace of the others has been found yet, to my knowledge. The standard practice on the Big Island is to search for three days. If nothing is found by the end of that time, then they call it off.

There are strong currents around the island and if a swimmer or fisherman is injured in the water, it’s easy for them to be swept out to sea, where the chances of finding them diminish rapidly. Sad as it is when a body is recovered, it’s almost harder when nothing is found and there is no sense of closure for families and friends.

Laysan albatross

Not the greatest photo, I know, but when I saw this bird flying off the North Kohala coast I knew it was something I hadn’t seen before.

It’s a Laysan albatross, more often seen on Kaua’i and O’ahu, but also on other Hawaiian islands. This wide-ranging traveler can cover a couple of thousand miles or more as it searches the Pacific for food.