Friday, January 28, 2011

Another day at the beach

Just up the road from us is Hapuna Beach State Park. It is a classic beach – big wide curve of sand, great waves. In fact the waves can be a bit much – the beach was closed last week due to bigness of waves. We learned to body surf a couple of years back at Hapuna, and a day at the beach is part of our routine here.

On our last visit to Hawaii we pulled into the parking lot at Hapuna and we could see the rescue helicopter hovering over the beach. That didn’t bode well – kind of hard to have a fun day at the beach if someone was in distress. It turned out to be quite something else – it was training day for the local rescue people. Lots of superfit supertanned young fellows in black swim trunks were jumping out of the helicopter, running up and down the beach, diving into the surf, jumping in and out of boats. It was quite a show.

Yesterday at the beach we had quite a different show. It was tree trimming day! A group of four men were climbing the coconut palms to trim the fronds back, cut off the coconuts and flowers and other stuff. When I say climbing I mean just that – they had spiked shoes  and would grab the tree and start climbing. Once they got to a certain point they’d fling a rope around the tree and clip it to themselves so they could then lean against the rope and use their machete to hack at the tree.


This guy was way up there and the tree was really swaying in wind. Took him a long time to get settled and start cutting.


In some jurisdictions there would have been traffic cones and a safety marshall and keeping people away. Not so much here – people were gawking right underneath the trees being worked on. We were out of the line of direct fire where we were sitting, but enough stuff was flying around that we retreated to the picnic tables.  After the cutting was done another crew came along to pick all the stuff – the usual story. A few minutes of cutting leads to hours of picking up.



That’s business part of the coconut plant – those are coconuts to be – only a few grow up to be coconuts.

Earlier in the week we were at the golf club for breakfast, and the trees were being trimmed there – one of the gardeners took a fallen coconut and cut the end off so we could drink the contents – doesn’t really taste like much- and then he cut it open so we could taste the inside. He scraped out a mild tasting jelly – didn’t taste like coconut, really.

So – it seems to be all about the coconuts this time around!

And here’s a gratuitous fish picture for you:


The most beautiful lemon coloured koi at the King’s Shops pond.

Turkeys? Really?

There are lots of beautiful birds here on Hawaii. Little rosy finch things, several types of cardinals, a form of dove that calls ‘woo-hoo-hoo’ all through the day. In the lagoon on the golf course are fish hunters that sit on the rocks all hunched up, looking, looking, waiting. Sitting there they look like old men in gray raincoats – shoulders hunched against the cold. And then they move and unfurl a great long neck – it is always a surprise.

The other morning, in my pre-caffeinated state I heard a bird call. My first thought was ‘Rooster’? Well, Kauai is over run by chickens, but no. Turkey? Surely not! And then, while we were having breakfast:



Not a great picture, taken from the third floor balcony, but trust me –those are a pair of Thanksgiving turkeys, on the hoof. Now I hear them most mornings, gobbling in the distance. Word is that they’ve always been around. Somehow we just managed to miss them for the past several years….

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Day at the Bay….

And here we are on Big Island of Hawaii. We’re staying on the Kona side – the dry side, north on the Kohala coast in the Waikoloa Resort Area. Being made of lava, and a lot of that lava recently arrived, what rain that does fall on this side vanishes pretty fast. The lava sucks it up and it runs down toward the ocean, where, at certain areas, fresh water re-appears in ponds and springs. Waikoloa is one of those places. The ancient Hawaiians used and expanded the fresh and brackish ponds to farm fish, as well as access the water for their own use. So, even though we are out in the Kohala Lava Desert, we have a lovely leafy green oasis to enjoy.

The bay here is usually called A Bay.  I think even the locals get tired of folding their tongue around the full name ‘Anaehoomalu Bay’. The sign on the highway for the turn-off to the beach is about 18” high and 7’ long! But, it is a nice beach – a big curving crescent of golden sand. The south end  is rockier and more treed. And there are a couple of places where you are almost guaranteed to see these guys:


Just a snoozin’ in the sun!

Since we’ve been here the weather has generally been hot and sunny, especially here in the north. Windy, which is not uncommon (some call the resort area WaikaBlowa, after all!) But just before we arrived there had been a long stretch of very high winds, which had warnings and beach closings in place. The beach at A Bay backs onto a series of fresh water fish ponds that are an historic sight. When we were there there was evidence of just how high the waves have been:


The white stuff in the above picture is a pile of sandbags. The picture is looking towards land from the beach, across the pond to the houses on the far side. The sandbags are to keep the sand (and the salt water) out of the ponds. Even though it was late afternoon the sand was, in places, still very wet where the high tide had passed over it. Of course, where there’s a will, there’s a way:


If there’s a scrap of shade – I’ll find it!


All in all, a lovely afternoon at the beach.