Tag Archives: Upolu

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.

A rainy day in North Kohala

A rainy day at Upolu Airport, Hawaii
A crab spider web in the rain

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

I had just finished my walk around Upolu Airport when the weather closed in. Usually, clouds and rain are blown in by the northeast trade winds, but on this day a system was moving in from the west. I’d been watching its progress as I walked, but still got caught out as it moved faster than I expected. Still, I did make it back to the car, waiting for me in the wet parking lot, before the next deluge arrived (top photo).

The crab spiders didn’t seem to mind the weather, and the raindrops made a picture of their webs (middle photo). It also made them easier to see so that I could avoid my usual trick of blundering into them and having webs wrapped around my head.

On the drive home, after my walk, I carved an avenue of spray as I motored along the puddled road (bottom photo).

A rainy day in North Kohala, Hawaii

And now for something completely different

Black and white photo of Mauna Kea from Pu'u Wa'awa'a, Hawaii
Black and white photo of a wharf on the coast of Hawaii
Black and white photo of a tree on the coast of the Big Island, Hawaii

The current Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Something Different.’ See more responses here.

I think in my 6+ years of doing this blog, I’ve posted exactly one black and white photo. So a selection of black and white scenes seemed like a suitable response for this challenge.

The top photo is of morning clouds scudding over Mauna Kea as seen from the top of Pu’u Wa’awa’a. Second is a shot of surf crashing against an old wharf in North Kohala and, yes, I was secretly hoping the man on the wharf would get soaked! Third is a tenacious tree on the coast near Kawaihae. The bottom photo shows a small fishing boat in the ʻAlenuihāhā Channel, as seen from the North Kohala coast.

Black and white photo of a fishing boat off the coast of Hawaii

Helmet urchins on the coast

This scene drew my attention because of the smooth, round rock nestled into a matching recess in the shore (bottom left in the top photo). It was when I zoomed in (bottom photo) that I noticed the large number of helmet urchins stuck to the shoreline. These cheerful-looking purple blobs live in the harsh tidal zone, and area of crashing waves and surging water. They feed on algae that grows there.

In the middle photo, an a’ama crab skirts a colony of urchins. When the tide comes in, the crab will move to higher ground, but the urchins will stay put, tenaciously defying everything the ocean throws at them.

A marked monk seal pup

I posted here about seeing the monk seal Hiwahiwa on the coast below Upolu. In that post I noted that Hiwahiwa, the only monk seal pup born around the Big Island in 2020, had no tags or markings of any kind.

Some time after that sighting I saw this monk seal in the same general area. Since the seal was on the small size I figured it could be Hiwahiwa, but it didn’t move so I couldn’t even be sure if it was male or female. I reported the sighting to Ke Kai Ola, which tracks monk seals, and got the response that it probably was Hiwahiwa. They noted the line circling his body in front of the flippers and, while they can’t say with certainty how he got the scar, it’s believed he got entangled in some fishing line.

So now I have a way of identifying him and, of course, haven’t seen him since. The scar doesn’t seem to have bothered him and, like most monk seals, he looks quite contented while resting. The markings on him are where he’s been splashed by waves, the darker skin being wet and smooth.

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