Tag Archives: Upolu

Gray days

A helicopter emerges from the clouds off the Big Island, Hawaii
Two nene feed on a rainy day

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Gray.’ See more responses here.

The top photo is finally getting scheduled after being lined up for a previous Sunday Stills challenge with the theme of ’emerging.’ I was walking along the coast on a damp, gray day, when I heard a noise out over the water. I couldn’t see anything, but the noise got louder. Finally, this helicopter emerged out of the clouds. It looked like a military helicopter, which would have been the most likely thing flying in those conditions, and which tend to be louder than the average helicopter.

In the second photo, a pair of nene chow down on a strip of grass beside Upolu airstrip’s gray tarmac under an equally gray sky.

Atop Mauna Kea

Three telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea at sunset
A wind turbine with snow covered Mauna Kea in the background

This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Mountain Top.’ See more responses here.

Mauna Kea is the highest mountain on earth, when measured from its base to its peak. It logs in at 33,476 feet, 13,803 of which are above sea level.

The top photo is a late afternoon view from near the summit of Mauna Kea, with the Subaru Telescope on the left and the two Keck Telescopes to the right. The top of the cloud layer lies a thousand or more feet below them, which is one of the reasons it’s such a prime site for astronomy.

The second photo is a view from Upolu, showing the summit with a lot of snow on it. While this photo was taken in February, the volcano is high enough that snow can fall at any time of year.

Local weather

Rain falls at Upolu, Hawaii
The sun shines on the Kohala coast

Yesterday, I posted a photo of clouds over Upolu. Sometimes, those clouds do what clouds often do, which is dump a load of rain. When that happens, my drive down to the airport looks like the top photo. It also means that walking on the coast there will not be pleasant. Rain is one thing, but it turns the dirt roads into cloying mud and I end up with sandals weighing five pounds more than when I started.

However, such is the nature of the weather here that, most of the time when this happens, I can drive seven miles down the coast and walk there in bright sunshine as in the bottom photo.

Where I live in Hawi, we get around 60 inches of rain a year. Upolu, about three miles away to the north, gets about 45 inches a year. The spot in the second photo receives less than 20 inches a year. The abrupt differences in rainfall are down to the northeast trade winds bumping into the Big Island’s volcanoes. The windward sides of those volcanoes get lots of rain topping out at a whopping 280 inches a year just north of Hilo. The leeward side of the island is much dryer with the South Kohala shore, where the resorts are, receiving less than 10 inches a year. The northern tip of the island, where I live, is a transition area where the shoulder of Kohala Mountain runs down to the sea. I always tell anyone thinking of moving here to check the isohyet map. A half mile east or west, or a half mile up or down the mountain, can make a world of difference to the weather they’ll be living in.

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