Archive for the ‘Hawaii’ Category

South Island Beaches

Posted: July 28, 2012 in Hawaii

For Friday, we set out to explore two beaches: the green sand beach in south point and the black sand beach at Punalu’u. I knew the drive to the green sand beach would be tough. It started with a 40 mile drive on HI-11 to the access road. The access road is 12 miles long and is paved. But it is only one lane. Drivers that meet must each pull off into the rocks or grass to allow enough room to pass each other. The access road passes through beautiful horse and cow farms before reaching the pacific ocean. From this point, it is another 2-1/2 mile off-road drive across lava fields, lava ridges and sand dunes. The stress is that if something were to happen to our Jeep, it would cost a fortune to get towed out. The terrain was rough, steep and dusty. We took it slow driving all 2-1/2 miles in 4wd low in first gear. One we got to the top of the green sand beaches, it was still a hike down the cliff to the beach.
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We left the green sand beach and traveled to the Punalu’u black sand beach. This was one of our favorites. Very relaxing and comfortable. I slept on the beach. Plus, the beach had about 8 sea turtles lounging on the beach or resting in the tidal pools.
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Right behind the black sand beach was a fresh/brackish water pond.
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While laying on the beach, I made my own Japanese meditation garden using a couple of lava pebbles.
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Two hands signifying our unity for over 25 years now. Tolerance, love, listening and the ability to ignore my wife as she screams “There is no way in hell we’re going down that road!” as we left the pavement and started down the eroded lava cliff for the green sand beach.

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Volcanos and Rain Forrests

Posted: July 28, 2012 in Hawaii

From our home base in Waikoloa, we visited A’Bay beach, Hapuna Beach, Mauna Kea Resort Beach, the Mauna Kea observatories and Waipi’o valley. That was a lot of new sites and experiences for us. On Wednesday, we left the resort area of Waikoloa and drove south along the west coast of Hawaii Island stopping for lunch at the Kona Brewery, Co. and arriving in the evening at our new home in Volcano Village. This house was quite a change. The house is a stilt house built in a rain forest. The lot is dense with fern trees, flowers and other ‘wet forest’ looking plants and trees.

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We spent Thursday in Volcano National Park. This is a very interesting park – rain forest, steep trails, desert-like caldera, earthquakes, steam vents, lava tubes, fault zones and flowing lava. We hiked about 7 miles through a rain forest, through a lava tube, across the Kilauea Iki caldera, and around the Kilauea caldera. Cheryl called it “the land of the lost”.
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All four of us in front of the Kilauea caldera.
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Looking into the Kalauea Iki caldera (the twin of the Kilauea caldera).
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…and through an ancient lava tube…
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Hiking across the Kilauea Iki caldera stepping over cracks in the lava that expose deep holes.
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I took a ton of pictures of various ferns, flowers berries and other vegetation. But I thought the new growth on the giant fern trees called fiddle heads were cool:
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We came back that night to look at the steam rising from the caldera. The steam is due to rain water finding its way down to the molten lava. At night, the steam cloud glows from the lava pool right below it.
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Lu’au

Posted: July 27, 2012 in Hawaii

I’m not entirely sure what I expected, but I totally enjoyed the Lu’au we went to. I’m sure it helped that it was at the Mauna Kea resort. This is a top class resort with one of the best beaches in Hawaii. We spent the day on their beach, went home and cleaned up and return to the Lu’au. Food was phenomenal. And the show was excellent. The first part of the show was a review of the royal courts of Hawaii and several traditional Hawaiian stories. The second part was a revue of the dances of Hawaii. A great time…

The beach at the Mauna Kea Beach Resort…
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Me and my girls…
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The imu ceremony where the meats are uncovered after cooking underground all day…
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The dining area…
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And the show…
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Girls in Town

Posted: July 24, 2012 in Hawaii

My girls got here Saturday night. I left the Hilo Hawaiin around 9am, visited the RESOLVE team at the Imiloa Science Center in Hilo, and then drove up the coast over to Waimea and down to Kona to pick them up. To say the least, I was pumped.

Bought them fresh leis to greet them with in Kona. No jokes on the leis please. All the over-used lei jokes are on our Facebook pages (which I still think are funny).
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We’re using Kohala coast as our home base for the first four days. We spent Sunday on Anaehoomalu Beach – probably better known as A Bay Beach. Beautiful scenery, but Florida sand is better. I have seen our Florida Gulf coast and Atlantic coast waters just as clear. My feet are cut up from the rough sand and rocks. I still liked it, but I am very spoiled living in Florida.
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And then believe it or not, I took the girls back to Hale Pohaku for pool, dinner and altitude acclimation (at 9,200′) before going to see the observatories at the peak (13,770′). We watched the sun set into the clouds which we were above and then drove down to Hale Pohaku for star-gazing. It’s hard to explains, but the milky way appears 3-dimensional here with Sagan’s ‘…billions of stars…” suddenly very believable. Had a great view of a new moon, Mars, Saturn and billions of stars…
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It was really cool (literally and figuratively) around 7pm when all of the observatories started opening up. I think they were performing atmospheric calibrations. In particular, Gemini was really cool. It opens by raising the top part and lowering the bottom part. It has a giant reflector lens about 24′ in diameter. This picture is me in front of the open Gemini resting against my awesome Jeep. Which BTW, I like a lot.
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On Monday, I kept the girls busy by heading off to Waipi’o Valley. Access to the valley is via an EXTREMELY steep one lane road with grades greater than 25%. The valley is an ancient area of rice and taro cultivation. The valley carries water from the volcanic mountains over waterfalls and through gorges down to black sand beaches. We stood in the fresh water river and walked into the Pacific ocean’s surf confined by the 900′ tall valley walls around us. According to Wikipedia, if this access road were classified as a road, it would be the steepest in the USA and probably the world. Our Jeep was amazing. I love it. It reminded me of my Tonka truck I had in my sandbox when I was 5. It can do anything. We went through 3 rivers and numerous mud pits without hesitation. Cheryl screamed the entire time. The girls and I laughed uncontrollably.
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With my bride of 25 years…
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And after all of that, we stopped by Hapuna Beach on the way home for a couple of hours. Sand was very, very nice. This is a nicer beach than A Bay. Sorry, no pictures. We just slept on the beach.

Headline News

Posted: July 22, 2012 in Hawaii

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Pictures of Team Mates

Posted: July 22, 2012 in Hawaii

I’ve taken far more pictures than I could ever post. And as you can probably tell, I’m more picture-oriented than word-oriented. So here comes a bunch…

First, the whole team (sans me) getting ready for group photo…
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Tom, Curtis and Kyle
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Tom A. and Greg
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Jackie and Katie prepping the test site.
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Tom, Tom, Janine and Jim
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In the control center.
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Lucas, Janine and me
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Very late, cold, windy and dusty night troubleshooting in the valley tent.
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Katie and Jennifer – late night in the control center
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Late Night Socializing and Team Building…
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Ronnie and Tom
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Rolando and Tom Preparing for Shipping
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Jim, Greg and Katie
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Joshua
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Favorite Picture

Posted: July 20, 2012 in Hawaii

Last couple of days have been a blur. Today we pack up and leave Mauna Kea. And I am going to try to post a few more things about my time on this mountain. Before coming here, I knew it last erupted about 4,500 years ago. But, I just read today that it is NOT dormant and could erupt anytime. Nice…

So here’s a great picture of the RESOLVE payload on the Artemis Jr rover in black & white.
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