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Kohala  -  2018  Spring

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In Hawai'i 4/27 to  5/28 (32 days - 552 in Hawai'i- 385 in Kohala)

We are scheduled to do our twelfth house/pet/sitting gig in Hawai'i, but this will be a little different this year. Kent's wife, Linda, is staying at our home in Pleasanton, so there will be someone home while we are gone this time. She will be taking one or two trips up to Boise, where they have recently moved, while we are gone, so our granddaughter Delaney indicated that she would stop in and take care of Sandy, Kent & Linda's little dog. She is staying with us until Linda goes up in June, because there are no fences up at the new home... yet.

Drag race With An Airbus

We had a talkative co-pilot, which I enjoy, because we get to hear more about what is actually going on. He called our attention to this plane... he identified it as an Airbus... which seemed to be running a race with us to get to the islands. It left our path at about the 2/3 point. We wre pretty much staying at the same speed or most of the trip.

The co-pilot told us when we were still sitting in San Francisco that this was a new Boing 737-900. It was certainly clean and everything seemed new, so I guess he told the truth. Interestingly, the very first plane my family rode  in was a 737 during Christmas time into Idaho Falls, Idaho. We landed on an icy runway. That was about 1971 or so.

Land Ho! Off Port Side, Cap'n

That would be Hawai'i. The island of Hawai'i, actually. The Big Island. The two peaks sticking up through the clouds are Mauna Kea on the left and Mauna Loa on the right. They are only about six hundred feet different in elevation, Mauna Kea being the higher of the two. That is where the observatories are located that we visited on our cruise to Hawai'i in 2017. Measured from the base, which is on the floor of the ocean, that is the tallest mountain in the world. Not the highest... but tallest from base to peak.

Donna was at the airport, ready to take us up to Kohala Ranch. The estate looks the same... no surprises. The home next door has not been started yet, so they still have that unobstructed view down toward Kona. I did notice that the red truck was gone and a new white Honda crew cab truck was replacing it. And it was in the garahge, which we don't usually see. Both vehicles usually sit under the portico.

Dennis did say he had a couple of jobs that needed done, if I was interested. The old infamous riding mower does not start... again. And the hand-pushed reel-type mower that is his back-up won't start either. There are a couple of outlets in the house that he wants to swap out with the new ones that also have USB outlets to charge phones and such. And the door to the exercise building is swollen and won't shut quite right. So, I'll give them a look-see when I have time. I mean I'm so busy here... LOL.

It has been raining more than usual this year, and everything is very green. It has been a bit chilly for the first week here, but then the sun came out, and there is no wind to speak of. We grumble when the wind blows, but when it doesn't, it gets warm. It is 81° this afternoon, outside, and four degrees higher inside. This home was not laid out with any idea of making air move through it. Few windows open, and the doors that need to be open have no screens on them.

We dropped the Browns off at the airport the second day, and went on into Kona to get groceries. We shopped at the large Safeway Store where we usually shop an we were sadly disappointed in the veggies and the fruit. Hopefully, we will have better luck in Waimea when we shop there Thursday.

The house cleaners were coming this morning, but they were over an hour late. On the way into Waimea we stopped at Anna's Ranch, to check on the clocks and music boxes, but the caretaker was not in today. We'll stop in another day.

We stopped at the ACE hardware to get some sewing items Rosalee needed, then got breakfast/lunch at the burger place. We shopped in the Parker Square shopping center for a couple more pairs of shorts for me, then did our grocery shopping in the Foodland store that we usually go to. Their grapes were GORGEOUS, and wonderful native avocadoes. It seemed like things were moved around as the few things we needed were hard to find. As we were about to check out we ran across Susan Harris, the one that came from Fresno, and I did work on her wall clock. We asked and she said it was not striking. So we followed her to her home to check on it.

Someone had done something to the movement, so that it was not lined up with the gong, and the hammer was bent. We took it down off the wall and set it right. No problem.

We were planning on my driving down to the south end of the island in the morning. I had talked with Sydney, the author that I was going to visit, and he said they were having some earthquakes, and to call before I left as they were having the possibility of road closures. But by the time we got home, I had a message from Syd that tomorrow would not be a good day to visit. At 1030 they had a 5.0 earthquake. Later in the afternoon there was a fissure that opened up in a housing area just half a mile north of where Syd and Soma live. It was spewing lava and ash.

To bring you up to date... The state of Hawai'i has one active volcano currently, named Kilauea. The summit of Kilauea is a caldera several miles wide, and in the bottom of that caldera is a smaller caldera that is called Halemaumau (Haw - lay - maw - oo - maw - oo), that is almost a mile wide itself. That is where we see steam and some lava in most pictures and news stories.

There is, however, what is known as a Rift, or the eastern rift, which runs to the east from the caldera, and comes up to the surface now and again. This rift has a large opening that is referred to as a Vent. It is called Pu'u o'o (Poo - oo - oh - oh) and it looks a lot like a small caldera in its own right, but only about 800 feet wide. Then, the rift continues to the east, toward the ocean. It is in that rift that the lava flow was coming into the Pahoa town several years ago, threatening that town, and threatening to overflow the main road feeding the southern part of the island. The Puna district. This is where our friends, Syd and Soma live. I reported on their 70 acres of Heaven last year when we visited them.

Hawai'i has many earthquakes all year long, most being un-felt. But the lower end of the island has been feeling larger ones for some days now. This is an image taken from the Volcano website.

This is not the volcano caldera, but coming from the Pu'u o'o vent. On May 3, one of the earthquakes caused a collapse in the lake in the vent's caldera, sending this plume of ash and steam skyward. Unusual for this area.

Below is a view of the area around the vent, where the rift has broken up through the surface, burning trees. You can see the rift running from left to right, starting where the steam cloud is. The dark line running from center bottom up to the right side is not the rift. This is also May 3.

At 1030 am on May 3rd there was a 5.0 magnitude earthquake in the area, creating this activity. We did not feel anything where we are staying, in Kohala, which is about 80 miles north of the volcano.  You can see why I got the phone call from Syd to not come down tomorrow.

This was taken May 4th, early morning. This fire is in a housing development that has been evacuated.

This is the road I would take to get to Syd's home. The cracks are part of the rift zone, and the steam and gases are coming up through the cracks from the rift.

At 1033, we felt about a 15 second trembler here in Kohala. At 1133, we felt a much stronger one, and it went nearly a half minute. No damage of course. Then at 1233 (is there a schedule for these things? LOL) we did not feel anything, but got word that in the south they had a 6.9 magnitude earthquake, which is the largest quake they have had in the island since 1979. As of the evening news, two home have been lost.

We have not heard from Sys and Soma, but they are very active in taking care of rescuing animals in the area when they have these kinds of emergencies, so I imagine they are busy. The best I can tell from looking at maps, they are not in danger of lava flow, but the caustic gasses are bad down there.

It is now Sunday morning... the 6th of May. Nothing on the news that is new. No new outbreaks, no new damage that we know of. Still have not heard from Syd or Soma. I suspect they are quite busy. They have a foundation that has been working steadily for several years now, helping care for the many animals that are down in the Puna District, and are threatened by the atmosphere and outbreaks the same as we are. We are pleased to hear from Donna Brown, inviting us to offer shelter to Syd and Soma, if they need it. Thanks, Donna.

Meanwhile, in Kohala, there is something about Hawai'i that works against me. I have a thumb nail that has regrown from the last time I hit it with a hammer (no, don't say it!), and it has not truly been right. But it has given me no trouble... until I got here. It got infected and enflamed and big as a prune. We drove into Waimea to the same Urgent Care facility that saw me last year when I got off the plane in Kona to find my large toe's nail loose and bleeding. ???? Three sweet ladies that took care of me, they gave me a prescription and told me to come back if it does not get better. The meds worked, as the last two nights I was up all night with it throbbing. Last night, no throbbing. But it sure looks ugly. I won't post an image. You are welcome. The doctor said since it is on my left hand and I am "right handed", the injury is on my "Stupid Hand". LOL I'm hoping that it gets well enough that I can tackle those chores that Dennis left for me.

It appears to be breeding season for the wild turkeys in the area. We have seen them grouping along the road to the house. A couple of days ago, I looked out the window and saw a male strutting his stuff in the back yard. By the time I could grab the phone and snap a picture he was just about out of the area. This is what I caught.

These two dogs are so funny. I know that they are very smart... they can read the digital clock on the TV. They generally eat at five. Regardless if Rosalee is on the computer, knitting, reading... or sleeping... they gather at her feet, sitting patiently, not making a sound, but I swear they are thinking "Aren't you going to feee us, Auntie Rosalee?" LOL. I look at the clock and it is ten minutes after five.

This video was taken on May 6th. It is showing the movement of lava through the Leilani Estates housing group. Tonight... May 7th, we are being told that over a dozen homes have been consumed in this area, and that the lava lake in the summit caldera (Halemaumau) is draining, so that lava is probably going out into the eastern rift. The lake has dropped 220 meters from the top, which was overflowing last week.


Here's another video, showing how the ground opens up over the rift, even if there is a paved road in the way. Lava eats pavement. It has a petroleum base.


Wouldn't you know it... I get over here and my mouse decides to croak, so, rather than run all over the island, looking for a mouse and ending up with one I may not like, I just ordered it from Amazon. It came today. We already realized that we left our meat thermometer home, that we were going to bring with us, so... Amazon. We enjoy the meat so much more to fit into our diet, when it is cooked to just the right temperature.

We drove down to Queen's Court today, about twenty minutes south of us, to the Macaroni Grill restaurant that we have frequented in the past. Our closer 'stand-by', Cafe Pesto, who had wonderful salads and great pizza, has closed down. Bummer. There is an ABC store across the mall from the restaurant which we have visited in the past, multiple times. They have cute gadgets that Grandma likes to pick up for Stocking Stuffers next Christmas. They will often have displays that are somewhat interesting photo subjects. In this display, we see a jillion different designs of... bandages. I've never seen so many Band-Aids in one spot before.

It is May 8th, and as the Islanders would say: "Madam Pele is taking a break." Pele is the "goddess" to whom they credit... or blame... the volcanic action on the islands. There have been more than two dozen homes lost to the new lava action, but nothing much to report the last 24 hours. The experts have no idea of what to expect, but none of them are expecting Mdm. Pele to go to sleep anytime soon.

May 10th... my brother's birthday. He would have turned 80 years old today. Not a day goes by without our thinking that we could ask Cody something, 'cause he always knows that kinda stuff. But, we will have to wait for that. He is with mom and dad and our sister Gloria Gayle, living in the harmony we all seek to have some day. Meanwhile, no new news from Pele' today, other than she has been relentless. New lava has flowed over... and that means she has reclaimed all of that land... more than 120 acres of land. This is all in a rather lush area of the island, where nice homes are mixed in with areas of rain forrest. Fifty openings in the ground are now registered as lava outbreaks, and that number seems to continue to increase. The openings are pretty much in line along the old, established east drift, running eastward from Pu'u O'o vent toward the lighthouse. Most of the outbreaks are in the vicinity of highway 130 and the Leilani Estates and another housing district. Thirty five homes are reported as lost. The whole area is pretty much restricted to visitors and residents alike due to the noxious and dangerous fumes.

Hawai'i is made up of nothing but volcanoes, and this one is the only one that is "active". The northern-most "popular" island, Kauai has the oldest volcano in the state of Hawai'i, with each successive island as you travel south being the NEXT oldest hole. The Pacific tectonic plate is shifting in a north-west direction, and as it goes, the hot-spot that it covers burns through the plate and makes a new island, each time seemingly moving further south. The islands are what is moving... with the plate, and the hole that forms the volcanoes... all of them... stays in the same place. As the Pacific Plate moves north, new volcanoes pop through, and if they come through late enough in time, the plate has moved enough that the new volcano does not seem to merge with the previous island, essentially forming a new island. Each island is formed by more than one volcano, in most cases. Hawai'i, the largest and southern-most island has been... is being... formed by five volcanoes... same volcano hot spot but punching through the plate in five locations. Kohala, where we are located, last spewed hot lava some 120,000 years ago. It is not called "Kohala Mountain" because the Hawaiian name "Kohala" means "Mountain", literally.

Next, Mauna Kea, or "White Mountain" due to the annual snow on the peak, last produced lava some 4,000 years ago. It is the world's tallest mountain, when measured from its base, which is on the floor of the Pacific Ocean.  Hualalai, last erupted two hundred years ago, and is considered "active". They expect she will again erupt in the next century. The city of Kailua-Kona rests at the base and partway up her western slope. Next is Mauna Loa, or "Long Mountain", which is considered to be the world's largest volcano, by volume. It is only 120 feet shorter than Mauna Kea, and last erupted in 1984. They anticipate it will erupt for at least half a million more years before the Hawai'i Hot Spot is too far away to feed it.

What always appeared to me as a vent from the side of the Mauna Loa, but is actually a new mountain/volcano in its own right, is the infamous Kilauea, which is currently producing live lava, and this last eruption began about 1983. Pu'u O'o is a vent on the side of Kilauea.

There actually is a new volcano forming south of the island of Hawai'i, called Lo'ihi Seamount, because the peak is still 3,000 feet below the surface of the ocean, and it is about 22 miles south of the island of Hawai'i. They expect it will reach the surface of the ocean in about 10,000 years to 100,000 years. It last erupted in 1996.

Hawaiian volcanoes are known as "Shield" volcanoes, making the more of a "flowing" type than an "explosive" type, which means there is less damage done by the erupctions, and you don't see the huge clouds and flying magma that is seen with some volcanoes.

On the home-front, the dogs are amazingly sharp. The react totally differently with the Browns and the Smiths. The Browns notice the changes when we arrive, and we notice the change in the dogs when the Browns return home. Yes, children do the same thing. But that means these dogs are a bit smarter than most, and possibly smarter than some kids. LOL.

We always encourage them to not bark, but they usually raise a great ruckus when someone drives into the drive or knocks on the door. That is good to know when someone is in the area, but they obviously know it is us when we drive in and they sound like ten dogs when we get out of the car. Today... total silence. Well, almost. We heard one bark and that was is. I looked to see if they were even here, and both were sitting up in the chair in front of the window, next to the door. Ears up, fully attentive, but quite as could be. They got lots of love and treats for that one. LOL.

The dogs do have the rule of the home, and furniture is not off-limits to them. Other than the bed we sleep in, we don't alter that habit, since we are in THEIR home. The Brown's have a different couch in the living room than before, and it has a wider back with cushions, so you know where the dogs want to be most of the time... up on the back of the couch, laying like two Sphinx's in the Nile.


May 11th, and through the marvels of the internet, I am able to bring up our local newspaper that we get at home. This is the front page story, with this picture taking up half the page:



The fears that are being raised are the editors in the California papers, fearing that if they don't keep this story "active", they may have to find more fake news to priint.  Oh, they already did. Now, if you were the average paper reader, you would likely assume from this image that the volcano over here in Hawai'i is going bonkers. Well, that is not entirely true. This IS, in fact, an image taken at Halemaumau, or generally referred to as Kilauea. By the way... we Californians try to turn that into Spanish and pronounce it as  "Kill - ah - way - ah", but native Hawaiians refer to it as "Kee - law - oo - aay - ah". Just so's you'll know. :-)

This was taken May 9th, after dark, and were the sun shining, it would be the normal grey/white cloud of steam normally generated by this vent. This image is taken of the Halemaumau caldera that is three-quarters of a mile wide. A big hole. You can clearly see the hole in this image. What is difficult to understand unless you are standing near here, is that all of the rest of the land you see surrounding the big hole... is the bottom of ANOTHER huge hole. At one time, it was all liquid lava. A lake that is two miles long and two and a half miles wide... you  cannot see the four hundred feet high walls of the larger lake in this image. This lake, as well as the smaller lake, Halemaumau, are actually sink holes. They were not created by blasts of explosive lava and rocks flying out of the ground, but the reservoir of hot magma below ground melting the ground away and the ground caving in.

Last week, had this picture been taken, that smaller hole would have been totally filled and running over with hot lava. At the moment in time this picture was snapped, the lava lake that was there has receeded and it is shining up onto the plume of white steam, making it appear as the steam is itself fire and brimstone. Pretty, scarry, but nothing but a light show.

The newspaper story states: "If Hawai'i's Kilauea volcano blows its top in the coming days or weeks, as experts fear, it could hurl ash and boulders the size of refrigerators miles into the air, shutting down airline traffic and endangering lives in all directions..." Well, no, not quite. Maybe Washington's Mt. St. Helens can do that, but not Kilauea. Hawaiian volcanoes do not "blow their top" like that. They "FLOW" over the brim. The RUN out, they don't blow out. Yes, they do blow steam and it will carry rocks and "lava bombs" that are hot blobs of lava that fly out, but not huge, Vesuvius-type eruptions. These are "shield" volcanoes that are low and flat. They do not form high, volcanic peaks and deep gapping mouths like others do. Even danger from the 'lava bombs' would only endanger people within a mile or two from the caldera, and that is all National Park Service land and people do not live there.

But homes are being burned today. Yes, but that is because lava is OOZING OUT of cracks in the eastern rift zone, where lava has flowed before, and will flow again, and people built homes on top of the rift. Duh!! And they built in the downhill path of the previous lava flows. That is like building a mile down stream from a thousand foot high dam. Especially one built by California Engineers.

The news article also talks about the tragedy of a Geothermal power station being built where it was in harm's way. Well,, you don't build geothermal power plants where there is no geothermal energy source, unless you want to shut it down for lack of an energy source. Those are the risks you take when you attempt to harvest energy from nature. Dams use energy from impounded water but the energy can also break the dam. You Makes Yer Choices, and You Takes Yer Chances.

There is no feeling of despair or panic here in the Islands. Those that are directly involved are dealing with reality and doing what is necessary. There is nothing that can be done, once you made the decision to be where you want to be. If lava flows, where does it flow? Yes... ANYWHERE IT WANTS TO FLOW! There is no way of stopping or altering it. They have tried and either failed miserably or caused other consequences they regretted. Save your house... and it consumes another that would have been spared. You can't pick it up and put it in your pocket.

Tragedy is still tragedy, and people that are losing their homes today obviously were betting on the lava not becoming active, like the people on the rest of the island/islands. EVERYTHING in the entire state of Hawai'i is obviously sitting on old lava flows, since nothing existed before the lava flowed, but it is a safe bet that most of the land is quite stable and inactive as far as lava flows are concerned. Just make wise decisions and know your risks. We know tobacco causes lung cancer and we still smoke. Alcohol destroys the liver and we still drink. Bras destroy  breasts but we still wear them.

OK... back to reading the paper. I'll try to keep quieter (don't count on it. LOL).

It is the fifteenth of May. Yesterday, Gary, a local fellow,  came the second time, to finish working on the Brown's hot tub. The heater needed replaced, and it had a leak in the large pipe coming out of the pump. It took him nearly 8 hours, even with my helping him, to finish. It was a real pain to work on. But it seems to be OK now. He used to sell them and service them. He said this would probably be the last hot tub he works on. LOL.

My thumb is finally getting better so I started to work on the lawn tractor/mower. It has a bunch of "safety" gadgets that won't let you do anything unsafe. Or should we say it won't let you use it. A real pain. Three items must be 'in place' before it will let the starter work. ONE of them... who knows which one... is preventing the starter from working. The factory manual has no wiring diagram, so I researched online and found one that sort of works. What it does NOT do is tell you where to find these safety devices. To get behind the instrument panel, you have to disassemble the body, drain and remove the fuel tank, and remove the mower deck. I am taking the shortcut. I am bypassing all three safety devices. I'm going right to the heart. I am putting in a push button that operates the starter solenoid directly, without any interference. Oh... where IS the starter solenoid... near the starter? Oh, no. Behind the dash? Your guess is as good as mine. I did find it... inside the frame, over the transmission... oh. Of Course! That was after removing the battery and the battery box. And the bagger attachment. And the hitch assembly.

We drove to Kona today to find parts for my new resolution for the mower. Radio Shack is out of business, so it took three stores before we found the stuff. On the way, cars were dodging an animal on the road. Rosalee said it looked like a deer, but there are no wild deer in Hawai'i. We later saw that it was a wild goat. The largest wild animal on the islands... except for some wild boar hogs that roam the island.

Report is that today the Halemaumau crater is spewing heavy ash that is going high enough into the air and traveling south enough to upset some air traffic and causing some cruise ships to bypass the big island for a while, until it settles down. Easy to see why.

I asked Gary, the hot tub guy if he had anyone in the south island. He said he had friends down there. One has lost his barn, but the lava stopped short of his house. He said the heat has melted the plastic wiondow frames though.

Gary told me that ten years ago he looked at a nearly new, 2,300 square foot home, updated appliances, stone countertops, etc., and the price was $250,000. He considered buying it... until he talked to his insurance agent. No one would insure the home. Period. Zero. It was in volcano zone 2. That is where the homes are being burned this week. So, if the insurance people are not even willing to insure these homes, who in their right mind is buying these homes. They know this going in. "Oh, but it won't happen to ME!" You feel badly for these folks losing their homes... until you hear this stuff. What The Heck, Guys?

It has been about fifteen days since Kilauea started 'leaking' to the east, and it has been pretty uneventful. Very little new outbreaks in the rift zone, but the existing 'leaks' are still bubbling up new lava. Some new cracks are showing up on the roads in the Lower Puna area, which has been the area of concern all along, but at the same time, they are getting some of the roads re-opened to some local traffic by using large steel plates to 'bridge' over the cracks.

Media got excited around the world when Halemaumau belched a few days ago. It was "Heap Big Smoke... No Fire". Basically it was steam and ash, which looked ominous but did littlel to no damage anywhere. The steam climbed to 30,000 feet, but hot steam will do that by itself, so it became a hazard for planes, if they were foolish enough to fly around the south siide of the island. The good news is that most of that exuberance was blown off the island, not causing much concern. Some rocks were tossed out of the hole with the steam and ash, but it only affected anyone standing near the volcano.

We have had some rather heavy vog working its way up the coast toward Kohala yesterday and today. The winds came up yesterday, and they pretty well cleared out the vog.

On the homefront, my plan for the lawn mower/tractor worked out well. It is a nice machine that has been here since we first came to visit, and is a 16 horsepower twin cylinder engine tractor that never has any problems cutting this extremely dense "golf course green" grass. Smaller mowers just don't make the grade.

The problem has always been starting the beast. It is an electric-start machine, but so many of the "safety" controls are installed to "protect the innocent", you are really hindered accomplishing what needs to be done. And in this example, those safety switches have constantly caused Dennis problems and prevented him from starting this pony up in the mornings. He does not have trouble-shooting experience, and without a bone-fide wiring schematic to follow, even with experience in this work, I have a problem getting things working again. So... now... that is all bypassed. Hopefully, there will be no more starting problems.

Anothere little project Dennis asked me to look into was changing out a wall receptacle for a newer style that also has two USB outlets for charging small electronic devices. I got that done today, and checked on one that Dennis had done in the old exercise room.

The lawns are starting to look a little dry, so if the winds will die down tonight or tomorrow, I think I will turn on the sprinkler system and get a good watering session in. We have not had much rain in the last few weeks to keep the lawns and plants healthy.

Each time we are here, there has to be one morning set aside for us to get our 'fix'... a Tex Malasada. I've mentioned this before... it is like the old-fashioned raised doughnut that we enjoyed so much as kids... except. It is square... and it has no hole in it. All the more goodie stuff for us. This is what it looks like, just before it's life is spent:

It is about an inch and a quarter thick, and you can see how large it is. I could not stop Rosalee from taking a quick bite before I could take the picture. Can't blame her. We are sitting at the table inside Tex Restaurant... not Tex's... just Tex. No, I don't have a clue as to why. It was raining on us when we were there. Tex is in the town of Honokaa... (Ho - no - kaw - aw), about a half hour from the house. We drive to Waimea and then on through town to the East.

The morsel, itself, is not Hawaiian at all. It is a Portuguese delight. It can come plain, like this one, or they will fill them with several different flavors of crème... Bavarian Crème, Guava, Strawberry, and several others. We have never been there when we did not need to wait a bit to get to the front of the line. They are always busy. And they make these right there, behind glass so you can watch. And they are WARM. Yummy!

My chores are done... the mower is running and lawn is mowed, the sticking door on the exercise room is sanded down and free, the outlets in the house are installed, and all is well. Well, almost all. After a week and a half, we noticed that the hot tub is starting to leak again. After six or seven hours of the fellow and I working on it, it is leaking again. And it has not even run since it was fixed. I think the pump may need tightened up... we found it leaking earlier.

The volcano is pretty much the same... except the lava continues to ooze out of the rift. It has made it to the sea now, and there is just no way of knowing if and when it will ever stop. This volcano started this current 'eruption' in 1983 and has not really slowed down.

The world's media continue to try to sell newspapers and magazines with wild pictures of other volcanoes... this one is not exciting enough to sell the papers I guess. It is doing a deadly impact on Hawaiian tourism, their largest 'industry'. Cruise ships are ignoring the Big Island, and they bring big bucks. Hotels are not getting the booking they usually get, Even the paper here is getting criticism from the public for their ridiculous coverage of the event, and their wild headlines, like "Island Afire"... who wants to vacation there? Oh, yeah... us. LOL.

At the end of this video, hit pause and read the page that describes when/where/what is portrayed. It was taken May 22nd.


The media are finding some interesting videos to publish, but they are not what they seem. You cannot tell by a picture if a plume of smoke and red ash is 10 feet tall or 100 feet tall from the picture. Two thousand people have been directly affected, which certainly is not good. Over 2,000 acres are covered over by new flows. The land that is getting covered is... of course... old flows... so it is a natural occurrence. People just have the idea that if they build there, the lava will go somewhere else next time. It don't work that way, bro. Hot lava follows only one law... the Law of Gravity. If 'B' is lower than 'A', and molten lava is at 'A', you can pretty much bet the farm on where the lava will go... and fairly soon. Speeds are quoted at around a foot a minute... some a lot slower, sometimes a little faster. This video gives you an idea of the speed it is moving when crossing over ground.


There is a large Geothermal Power station located on this rift... which was a logical decision, since it works by tapping the steam off the vent to run steam turbins to generate electricity. Lava reached the ground around the power plant, so they have taken measures... not to stop the lava... they don't have anything that does that... but they moved dangerous gasses that were stored there, and they capped a bunch of wells that would release gasses if lava flowed into them.

About fifty homes have been lost, over 86 structures in all, all built on the fissure. We have still not heard anything from our friends in Puna district... only a few miles south of the flow. E-mails and phone messages have gone unanswered. We pray that they are doing OK.

If you wish to follow the activity, this is probably the more accurate source of information available to you. These are the people that are taking care of the situation, and the source of any real news the media cares to actually print.


I have mentioned before that Dennis has hung a bird feeder next to the house, and we fill it with two large tumblers of bird seed every morning. The local flocks do take advantage of that, cleaning out the seed by noontime. Below the feeder is a cast iron bird bath. More a watering hole than bath I suspect.

Even in the bird world, there is always a gang standing around the water fountain, discussing whatever. These guys we have been seeing in Hawai'i forever. We refer to them as "Tuxedoes", since they look so formal. The other day, I looked out the bathroom window, before I had the chance to go out and fill their feeder, and there were 35 of these furry little critters sitting in a row, on the fence, wondering when breakfast would be served.


Their color does not show up in this image, and I had to blow them up so much they are fuzzy looking, but those two yellow-headed guys are quite rare here. Each year we are here, I see one of them flash across the yard, maybe once, but there is no way I have ever been able to catch them on film. This is a bad capture, but they are here. We have never seen a pair before.

There is another that showed up today... a red Cardinal. Not like the East Coast Cardinal, but these are a little smaller and not quite as brilliant a  red color. We have only seen one here once or twice. I saw him at this feeding, and got the camera. Twenty minutes leter he still had not returned. Well, maybe next year.

We see a lot of these guys. They are called Grey Franklin, and were introduced to Hawai'i in 1958... not sure why. The larger one is a teen-ager and the others are babies. The adult is a little larger than this guy. They have a call that is usually heard early morning. They much think they are roosters.

I have managed to somehow pick up my chest congestion and coughing I had from the last cruise we did. I will likely take it home with me.

The Brown's return tomorrow, and we will fly home the following day. Another wonderful month in 'The Islands".

As we fly out from the islands, we leave the Kona or western side of the Big Island, and head to the north-northeast, and that lets us see off to the port side of the airplane the island of Maui. It is snuggled down under that cloud cover on the bottom of the image, but you can see the really dark protrusion on the left... that would be Maui's Haleakala (Haw - lay - ah' - kah - law') (double accent you notice) which stands proudly just over 10,000 feet above the water. Long dormant... actually pretty much finished with her fireworks before Hawai'i island to the south started forming.

You are going to think "Did Ken get a new camera or something?" LOL. No, just saw some pretty sights that I thought I would share. Hope you enjoy them.

This grabbed my attention as we were leaving Hawai'i behind us... it looked like someone had planted the clouds with a grain drill... old farmer talk. That's the thing you drag behind the tractor that makes the little rows, plants the seeds, and covers them over. The clouds look like they were strung out across the sky.

And after they "grew up", they looked like this... like a small orchard... the treetops from the air.


And as we headed into the distance, headed home to California, I looked back and saw this. Sunset over Hawai'i, from 35,000 feet. Many times I have heard pilots talk about how being at altitude, they often think of God, and of their own lives, and where they are headed. I could easily see how that can happen. This was quite moving an experience. The perfect end to a beautiful time in Paradise.



We returned home and it was still well into the third week of June before we heard anything from Syd and Soma. They contacted me... from Oregon.

They had to move everything they could from their beautiful rain forest land and put what they could in storage in Hilo. They had a couple dozen animals that had to be relocated at friends' homes and find new owners for them. They had to give up. The have moved to Oregon. They bought a small ranch there, and plan to start over. At least they are all OK. He was letting me know that they were going back into Hawai'i to try to rescue what they could of their farming equipment. I asked them this week (July 12th) how it went when they went in. This was his reply:

Our Hawaii properties were not ransacked my any people, only by Pele. Interestingly, some of the grass is very green and growing like crazy, as are the mango trees.  They must like the sulfur, or the acid rain baths. Other trees look dead. The swimming pool is coated on the bottom with a layer of ash. Pele’s hairs are everywhere (thin filaments of volcanic glass). We ventured into the property about 6 times to retrieve our stuff, including heavy equipment like the Bobcat. One time we were loading a tractor mower onto a trailer while a stationary thunderstorm, created by the volcano, flashed and roared around us, flooding the ground up to our ankles. It was a like a scene from a disaster movie. Overhead was the black cloud from the lava flow, with the air smelling like sulfur. 

But despite the ordeal, we managed to get most of what we wanted. We shipped a container and our car, which should arrive around the 20th in Seattle. Next is getting our 2 horses shipped from Kona to LA, which should happen on the 28th. We will have to rent a horse trailer here in Eugene and drive to LA (oy!) and pick up the horses in the middle of the night (the transport service flies only to LA), and drive back taking breaks every couple of hours to let the horses move around. Not looking forward to the process, but we are looking forward to being with our horses.

Syd speaks of how people are not allowed in the lower Puna area, where the volcanic action is happening, yet poachers and riff-raff are coming into the area, living in the homes, looting them, and burning some of the homes, just for the heck or it. Authoritiies don't want to send in officers because of the gasses in the area are harmful, but the thugs don't care I guess. The local business people, sadly, are raising their prices exhorantly, taking advantage of those in need. So much for Aloha spirit.


It sounds like Syd has his good spirit, and is looking forward to becoming a citizen of Oregon. At least, they are safe.

This image was taken of the Eastern Rift Zone. This is basically an opening in the rift or crack that has always been there, but people counted on it not opening up. This is looking toward the east, and the flow of lava is headed to the eastern coast of the island, where it enters the ocean. Syd lived about three miles south (to the right) of this opening. The plume of steam in the far distance is where this lave is entering the water.

This would be beautiful... were it not for the fact that this is in the back yard of a home in a housing district/tract... or at least it used to be.

The following is basically the same area, but a wider view.


To view the latest report, click on the following: