Recent Big Isle News
Want to see some
We all know that Hawaii island has a live volcano that has been producing lava since 1984, more or less, continually. Seeing lava up close really should be on your Big Island bucket list. The biggest problem in realizing this fantasy is accessibility. Most of the time the open flows are far from any paved roads and amateur, off-road exploration is not to be recommended for many safety reasons.
This year, however, we have a spectacular display that is 'only' a 7.5 round-trip hike.
This photo is from the National Park Service website. It shows the latest flow entry site at Kamokuna, a few miles past Kalapana. This gives a good idea what to expect if you get down there. This page also will keep you updated on the most current information on Volcanoes National Park.
Merrie Monarch Hula Festival
Every year in mid-April, those of us on the Big Island get to enjoy a week of Hawaii Cultural Presentations and the Hawaiian Hula Competition. During this event individuals and groups from all over the Hawaiian Islands gather to honor the King who believed the sacred dance of Hula was vital to the preservation of the Hawaiian culture. The Merrie Monarch Festival was begun in 1963 to expand on King Kalakaua's inspiration to preserve and promote Hawaii Culture. Today Hula has become world famous and this Big Island competition is the international venue to share and enjoy Hawaii culture. Our week-long festival features the internationally acclaimed hula competition, an Hawaiian arts fair, an abundance of hula shows of course, as well as a wonderful parade through Hilo.
Here is the Merrie Monarch Festival community organization website which is the only place to buy tickets.
Blizzard Warning in Hawaii !?!?
Yes, snow is not only possible but happens most years... Okay most years we get just a little white on our mountain peaks. This year however, we actually got a blizzard warning! Down here, though, at the OceanFront Legacy it even got a little chilly... quite different from the usual tropical warmth and a nice change for the few days that it lasted.
Here is an article from Hawaii News Now which talks about it in detail.
We just missed being hit by a hurricane. It looked as if it was going to move right over us a few days ago, but we've been spared again, thankfully. Yay! Sure, were getting a little extra rain but nothing to complain about relatively.
While I love 'big weather' in general, the wind whipping through the trees and the monstrous waves rolling in to smash on the rocky cliffs. Exciting! But hurricanes do not, in general, make for great holidays. Nor do they make life easy for inn owners... but our good luck held again, so here on the ground we are not really feeling any particular nasty effects.
Here is a video of Hurricane Iniki which hit Kauai in 1992. I'd much rather watch this than be there. A bit scary I say.
It is actually amazing how many of these huge storms miss us every year. Out here in the middle of the ocean one would think hurricanes would hit us more years than not... not so! The last actual hurricane hitting Hawaii happened in Kauai back in 1992. Here below is an image showing the path a hurricane took in 1959 which is sort of what I have begun to expect from the big ocean storms. Storms often roll along across the wide ocean heading directly for our islands and then at the last minute things shift and the storm changes course to miss Hawaii. While this storm in 1959 did do some damage and later we did get a direct hit with Hurricane Iniki rolling right over the center of Kauai, most of the time the big ones magically drift away before hitting us. Lets hope that such statements don't jinx our luck ;). Check out this graph below from the weather channel.
Big Island Things to Know
Prepare for a few Insects
People are not the only ones who find Hawaii a delightful place. It seems invasive plant species of every sort find "Just what they were looking for" in our island too - what with near every climate on the planet represented somewhere here. But visitors usually mention their insect encounters first.
Despite what some of our reviews imply, we do try quite hard to keep all of them out of the house. Everyone in Hawaii puts effort into minimizing the bugs in their house, if you see one or two, please understand that this is life any place that is so fabulous that everything wants to live there.
The good folks at Maui Bed and Breakfast Guide over on Maui, created a page which just focuses on the irritants; Cockroaches, Mosquitoes, Geckos etc. Maybe you will learn something to make your stay here more wonderful. Even I did.
Meet The Bamboo Orchid
The Orchid Isle?
Hawaii's largest island is known by many names, and while one of those names is "home" to some folks, outsiders clearly know it as something else. 'The Big Island' is also known as 'Hawaii Island' or 'the Orchid Island'. It may seem strange that Orchids were few and hard to find before Captain Cook made his fateful landing some years back. Now, it has become a challenge to find any naturally occurring plants or animals anywhere, which does not imply that there is any kind of barrenness on these islands. Lush, and overflowing to bursting, our Big Island sports nearly every variety of Earth's plants (OK, it seems like it but probably not... ) on these mid-pacific islands these days.
One popular vegetative invader is the 'Bamboo Orchid' which may be where the name of 'Orchid Isle' originated. These beautiful flowers seem to love our "Pahoehoe" fields and scatter themselves everywhere there is a tiny crevice which they can call home. Nearly five feet tall they seem to bloom constantly (like so many of our flowers) entwining with the wild tangling Fern, the delightful purple blooms of our Bamboo Orchid, can be found in nearly any undisturbed place on the wet side of the island. Next time you are out for a walk keep your eyes open for these purple, but not really an orchid, Orchids! As they are nearly everywhere they are worth the knowing. Enjoy.
Actual Goddess Hair?
"Pele's Hair" is virtually unknown on the other islands but up the hill near Volcano, it can actually carpet the ground with fine, black hair which all us Hawaiians know is from the Goddess Pele. Sure, silly scientists claim that it is actually volcanic glass that somehow forms in the air during eruptions. Whichever way you want to think of it though, if you keep your eyes open when you explore the higher elevations near Kilauea, you will probably see some. Looks just like hair that is as fragile as glass.
Here is what Wikipedia has to say about it:
"Pele's hair is a form of lava. It is named after Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes. It can be defined as volcanic glass fibers or thin strands of volcanic glass. The strands are formed through the stretching of molten basaltic glass from lava, usually from lava fountains, lava cascades, and vigorous lava flows.
Pele's hair is extremely light, so the wind often carries the fibers high into the air and to places several kilometers away from the vent. It is common to find fibers of Pele's hair on high places like top of trees, radio antennas, and electric poles.