A rainbow arcs over a small red and white flag floating in the water. This flag is used in North America to indicate that there’s a diver or divers below and that boats should stay clear.
This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Bodies of Water.’ (See more responses here.) Last Sunday, I posted photos of the Kohala valleys. This week, I’m posting a bit about what goes on in them and elsewhere on the island.
The top photo is shows the mouth of the Waipi’o River looking back toward the cloud shrouded Kohala hills. The river, is fed by water passing over Hi’ilawe Falls and other waterfalls deep in the fingers of the valley. Like all water courses on the Big Island, its flow is greatly increased by the often heavy rainfall.
The second photo shows a waterfall, farther down the coast, cascading into a pool at the bottom before flowing out to the ocean. Some of these waterfalls drop more than a thousand feet. Some cascade into valleys, some directly into the ocean. During dry spells, the water flows are greatly reduced and many falls, those that are entirely rain fed, disappear for a while. When rains are heavy, the water flow is so great that some falls blend together to form a sheet of falling water.
On the east side of the island is Wailuku River, the longest river on the island. This flows down to the ocean in Hilo, and on its way, tumbles over the aptly named Rainbow Falls (third photo). The falls and rainbows are best seen in the early morning. This stretch of the river is very dangerous with flash floods being common. People get swept away here every year.
Finally, the bottom photo shows the biggest lake on the island, which can be found at the top of Mauna Kea! Lake Waiau is fed by rainwater and snow melt, mostly in the winter. That it exists at all is something of a mystery. The ground on Mauna Kea is highly permeable, and it’s not fully understood what the layer is beneath Lake Waiau that enables it to retain water. Lake Waiau is not just the biggest lake on the island, it’s the only one. Green Lake, the biggest lake previously, disappeared during Kilauea’s 2018 eruption (photos and story here).
This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Favorite Place.’ See more offerings here.
I could think of several places on the Big Island that would fall into the category of favorite place. Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Palila Forest Discovery Trail, the ocean – all these are places I return to. But the coast at Upolu is where I go for exercise and to enjoy the ever-changing scene there.
This stretch of coast features scenic high cliffs interspersed with lower areas where tide pools nestle among the rocks. Often, there’s a great view of Maui across the ʻAlenuihāhā Channel. In those waters I look for humpback whales, turtles, monk seals, and once, even a passing shark. Up in the air I might see anything from plovers to noddys to great frigatebirds. On land, there’s an assortment of birds, bugs and butterflies to be seen, as well as horses, cattle, and the occasional wild pig.
Sometimes, it’s hot and dry, but usually there’s a decent breeze, occasionally strong enough to make me lean into it while blown dirt sandblasts my legs. Sometimes, I get caught in the rain, but when I do, I’m usually dry again by the time I get back to my truck.
I’ve lived here seven years now and I never tire of going down there and looping around the fenced airstrip, wondering what I’ll see.
I was about to set out on one of my regular walks at Upolu, when I looked up and saw this halo around the sun. It’s the first I’ve seen here (which doesn’t mean there haven’t been others).
In days of yore, halos were considered a sign of impending bad weather. In this case, there’s some evidence to back that up. The ice crystals that cause halos are found in clouds, high in the troposphere, and these clouds are often a sign of an approaching weather front. Sure enough, the next day was fairly wet though, ironically, not in the area where I saw the halo.
Today marks the start of this blog’s fifth year and to mark the occasion I’m posting a rainbow photo, as I did for the first blog post and for last year’s anniversary.
This rainbow occurred while I was snorkeling in somewhat lumpy water with clumps of clouds above.
This rainbow appeared when I was snorkeling and conveniently arranged itself over a rock I was swimming by. Even a couple of water spots on the camera housing were artfully arranged on either side of the rock.
A rainbow arches into the sky just beyond the tsunami siren above Kapa’a Beach Park. The scrubby, dry ground reflects the lack of rainfall on this part of the coast, less than 20 inches a year.
A rainbow stretches out above Kawaihae, the main port on the west side of the Big Island.