hawaii chronicles 11/24/08
back again for more of the warm tropic winds, at mangolay, the estate paul and dennis have created from a plot of papaya farms road. well done, open archetecture, no doors inside, all the masks and sculptures from the ridge well placed, steps into the pool (now cool it not being summer) hot tub poised above for action, surrounded by flowers, banana trees, mangos all green with spots of colored orchids in strategic places growing out of crooks in the trees. Eileen and i are ensconced in the guest cottage, inside and outside showers, 3 dogs now playing around and snarling in mock battle. neighbor dogs in a constant barking chorus, singing to each other from across the rain forest. chained up and being very upset about that.
we head out to the end of the road after finding wifi in the parking lot of the pahoa natural food store with the usual gaggle of hippies sitting in front, then to lunch and black sand beach walk at kalapana, the end of the road, a few places spared by the lava flow that came through in 1986, when i first walked on hot lava and peeed into a crack and steam came out. not much beach left, but people have been anticipating it by planting cocos in little rock piles and they have taken hold. The towering steam cloud of lava entering the ocean is miles to the west, we decide to partake at another time.
activities abound, a trip to the hippie beach, nestled in cliffs below the coast road not far away, great waves to play in, people busy hanging out and watching the surf play. a chess game set up on a rock with intent dreadlocks moving ornate wooden pieces. a steep trail down, or a slide down a vine along the face of the cliff, spray bursting from behind rock ledges catching brilliant afternoon sunlight. trim naked bodies all over, taking in the scene, on island time. we time it just right to burst through the smaller waves to mingle off shore with others, delighting in the elevator ride of 6 foot waves. "you should see it with 9 foot waves" paul says. we climb carefully up the trail fulfilled by the fun and motion and people.
the usual kapoho snorkling trip, counting colored fish, looking for turtles, visiting with other tourists, 2 woman rangers from alaska here for a month. next day then a hike to the champagne pool, a mile walk, with 3 turtles to swim with, clear water and a broken/repaired snorkel, needed a new one anyway. the underwater camera works fine until it doesnt work, and i find some water has leaked in. i dry it out and its ok, tg, but i use it again to film a swimming tortise and it is kaput. not another camera down and out, thatll be 3 in three years, oh well.
to the end of the road to the kalapana cafe and great mahi and chips and vanilla milkshakes, and a hot foray to the overlook for the volcano, now plunging into the sea at the east end of the rift, lava covering more of the flow i saw in 1986, with a few new houses dotting the black lava. we wait for the emt to position himself in case we kill ourselves and then a hot walk 1/2 mile to the overlook, still 2 miles down the coast, billowing white clouds up from the shore. pictures for sale show the only way to see the lava is by boat at night, for 150$, so we pass on that one. we pick up a clean-looking hippie woman hitchhiker on her way back from town, and drop her off at the coco commune down the road from mangolay, open the gate, and are greeted again by the dog chorus/greeting committee, happy and excited to have someone to bark at.
back to snooze and kava/wine time and conversation on the deck with dennis and paul. finally now to dinner at the local hot dining
spot, long wait at the bar, we are always late, so we wait. perfect fish, calamari, ono, scallops, balletto pinot a perfect match. great mix of people, natives, tourists, first class service from a friend of paul and dennis' who gives hugs all around.
sunday market is super busy, now covering several acres, we find some nice sarongs and a sarong buckle, which i promptly break, good idea tho. buy some great photos of the eruption with shoots of lava taken from 2 miles away, from the only observation point the cd will let us in on. delightful lady photographer tells of good lenses and many hours sitting with a tripod..to catch the fireworks show.
afternoon we hit the road over the volcano, watching the vog drift towards kona, rounding windswept south point to captain cook and the monaga hotel, old hawaiian style and cheap, great view but the vog is covering everything. we stop at the city of refuge and i dip in for a few minutes to check the fish and coral everywhere while eileen suns on the pahoehoe ledges, looking like they are fluid swirling, frozen in geologic time, here only a few hundred years old.
dinner sorta sucks, but cheep, the wine is awful, but the dining room is busy with all kinds of locals gathered, big tables of big hawaiains, hoeles (us). we see later we shoulda ordered the pork chops, the specialty here. waitresses busily pushing carts of food around and loud conversation everywhere. Morning brings no breakfast place open, so we do macdonalds, and find thier side of eggs quite good and solid , no salt. now to kona boys who clue us in on the kayaking scene at captian cook monument and soon we are on our way down the hill, a double kayak on the roof to the landing, the usual chaotic loading up scene and we are on our way paddling a mile across the bay to the monument, teeming with other kayaks, snorklers and dive cruise boats. The pali looms a thousand feet up on the shore, exposing a layered volcanic stratigraphy the head wall of a monster landslide thousands of years ago that created a tsunami that deposited coral 1000 feet up on dthe tops of adjacent islands. that was a scene, geology in action. and when you look at the bathymetry around the islands, many more areas have had the same treatment, the tsunamis must have reached japan or the us coast. that would be a major disaster today if it hit hilo or any other populated area.
we beach with a host of others, but find a nice pahoehoe ledge to spread out on, fix snorkeling gear and off into the wonderland of fish and coral. this place i have heard is amazing, and it is, with many snorkelers and millions of fish, varieties ive never seen before. i scout the dropoff for a sign of spinner dolphins, who spin as they leap for some unknown reason, maybe ridding themselves of parasites, but to no avail, they are the prize sighting here, but arnt coming out today. we break and snack on smoked ono from the flea market, and ramble the pahoe hoe, finding a forest behind the beach with sandy places for camps if needed. It is hot, with a little breeze but time to snooze, then slide back into the water for more dazzling scenery. i work my way along a long rock ledge,with wolf eels poking their gray fuzzy heads oout of holes and perfect coral mounds spotted with delicate black urchins, careful not to touch, they sting ferociously.
thats it for now, back to the kayak, rig and head on back to the dock surfing the surge, making good time. a big hawaiian helps us out of the boat up a 4' wall and we drag the boat out and on to dock. The big guy tells of railroad tracks in the concrete where they used to bring cattle to the dock, on cars and push them into the water, swimming them out to a boat with a crane to lift them on board.
more help from a young dive guide, very friendly, rigging the boat on top and tying it down, and off up the hill. we pass inspection at kona boys and have a good conversation with them, then to mexican billys restaurant in capn cook for margaritas and big pig sandwich. we battle the headwinds around south point and its cute neat villages and then across the kau desert. eileen notes that the volcano plume is closer and darker, and indeed we see it is in the park, coming from halemaumau crater. arriving at the jagger museum there is a sizable group watching smoke coming out of the crater and a ranger is giving a talk about how this really is an eruption, and we are lucky to see and live through it. he has diagrams and spotting scopes set up. i look at the seismographs in side and they are jiggling away with volcanic tremor. the word is the magma is 300 feet under the surface and coming up. I try to take a picture, but the batteries are shot in my functional camera, so i run back to the car, having my own eruption when i get there. clean up as best i can, and grab the batterys, finding only a couple that work, and back to the gathering dusk, getting a few pictures of the gas cloud before darkness sets in.
back down the hill in time for kava/wine time and the rest of the bbq ono for dinner. now enuf of the blood and guts novels (no country for old men , and a thief of time) starting on the shark dialogs, a saga of an hawaiian family from captain cook, to sleep as the coqui frogs chirp in the background.
the days slip by, now tuesday, a week in hawaii, kicking back, napping, listening to the neighbors dogs barking, the birds calling watching the dog patrol of the property. all is well. we head out finally to the japenese cemetary, it is hot, and beautiful, partially inundated by the 1960 flow, but with some old graves intact. a catchement water system and flowers everywhere, orchids growing out of palms, they are parasites, some planted there in the forks between limbs.
eileen wants to head back,so i icontinue down the governement road,the dirt part, an old road that was used by the king to go from village to village, now party place for the locals with trash everywhere. I find waawaa, the original place paul and dennis were going to build, spectacular waves crashing on black lava cliffs, carls shack still hidden in the woods worshiping the menahunis, he believes they control the land. I have to scramble over 3 heaps of rubble plowed up to deter fisherman entrance, and down to a seat by the sea, major swell and waves erupting all over a miles long landscape. I look for my gps, but it is gone, i hung it from my belt loop , but only half way, and it must have slipped off. i search carefully, retracing my steps to the trail and find it perched in the tall grass, waiting patiently for me.
on down the road, to the subdivision, try to find eileen's place to no avail, then to the internet cafe, a milkshake and major frustration, finding i had somehow replaced this file with one of addresses, shit, i cant do anything right now. return to mangolay to a quick nap and the kava/wine hour, and another great dennis concoction for dinner. to bed to the singing of coqui frogs, getting used to them now, they fade into the background with the barking dogs. mercifully silent now.
lazy morning again wednesday, bkfst on the patio after coffee in bed, papaya and kibbles, slow start, we finally head to town, hit the po for stamps and then down to hpp to the end of the govt road and a hike into the jungles through some fields dotted with orchids. Into the gloaming, wet roots, pahoehoe, rocks, mud, flat trail but not much fun. we find a sign and fence and know we are at the main area for a pocket beach s-beach, owned by local sugar cane magnates, but no obvious place. eileen returns and i forge on along the coast with rolling billows of pahoehoe, and pockets of basalt and coral cobbles which move constantly as i step on them. still no beach ahead as far as i can see so i rest and watch the waves crash at a big native wall. I cut back through the jungle to the govt road, now a narrow path through the jungle floored with rotting palm fronds, roots entwined, think of a set of photos of "Footings" types of problems encountered on hikes and how to deal with footing without falling. a long slog back, constantly watching my feet. a rush behind me alerts for tigers, or something big, but it is a rain squall, very locallized in the jungle startling me that i am not alone. Eileen is at the car andwe head back, snoozing for a few, then more kava/wine time, and another great meal capped off by macademia nut cookies and my video of lava flows set to various acts of music.