Tag Archives: Tropical Foliage

Better Days: Wrecked bomber

Better-Days-Wrecked Bomber in trees

Better-Days-Wrecked Bomber in ravineOn the evening of Tuesday, February 25, 1941 this twin-engined B-18 bomber was part of a group of four aircraft on a night training mission. They had started out from Hickam Field on Oahu. Not far from Hilo the plane lost its port engine when a bearing failed. The pilot decided to try and reach Suiter Field (now known as Upolu Airport) at the island’s northern tip. It was not to be. Flying on only one engine, the plane lost altitude. The crew thought they were over the sea, but suddenly a mountain appeared in front of them. The pilot yanked on the flight yoke wheel and the plane stalled and flopped into the trees around 10 p.m.. Incredibly only one crewman was slightly injured.

Search aircraft from Hickam Field found the plane the next morning around 9 a.m.. The nose of the plane was hanging over a 75-foot deep ravine about 3,500 feet up on the northern side of Kohala Mountain. It was one of the most inaccessible places on the island. A rescue operation was started, but it was Thursday noon before it reached the crew.

Over the years, the aircraft has slid into the ravine which is where it rests today. As these photos show, the plane’s condition has deteriorated and it is increasingly being engulfed by trees. But it is still quite easily spotted from the air. On the ground, it remains one of the most inaccessible spots on the island.

It’s also worth noting that just nine months after this crash, almost all the B-18 bombers based at Hickam Field were destroyed on the ground during the attack on Pearl Harbor. 77 years on, this B-18, in its remote resting place, is one of only a handful remaining in existence.

For more information about this aircraft and the crash, search online for Big Island Bomber – hiavps.com or go to pacificwrecks.com/aircraft/b-18/36-446.html.

Better-Days-Wrecked Bomber

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

Rampant tropical plants

Tropical foliage at Lily Lake

Tropical FoliageI live in a pretty green area of the Big Island, but I always enjoy a visit to the much wetter east side. The extra rain allows the tropical foliage to run amok. Trees and shrubs compete for space and light, and vines run everywhere – along the ground and up tree trunks. It’s a riot of many shades of green and leaves of every size, from tiny ground covers to giant bananas to the distinctive leaves of a monstera deliciosa surrounding its flower (below).

Posted in response to this week’s Sunday Stills challenge on the theme of ‘Plant Life.’ See more responses here.

Monstera Deliciosa flower