20 June 2014

Big Island Adventure, More Pics

Ruins on a Kona Coffee Plantation
Kona Sunset
The tip of Mauna Loa from Mauna Kea Observatory area @ sunset
More from Mauna Kea. That's the top of Maui on the horizon
Sulfur Vents on the shoulder of Kilauea
Jim H and fam hiking across Kilauea Iki Crater
A-Bay Waikoloa: Tidal Pools, Volcano rising in the misty distance
Akaka Falls
Rainbow Falls, Hilo
Anaehoomalu Bay Sunset (aka A-Bay, Waikoloa)

17 June 2014

Big Island Adventure: Mineral

Sulfur crystallizing around a steam vent on Kilauea
Ditto: Close-up
Kilauea Iki, across which we hiked. Big Kilauea erupting in the background
Lava Trees
Black = Lava; White = Bleached Coral @ A-Bay
Mauna Loa from Mauna Kea @ 14,000 ft. @ sunset
Lava field on the shoulder of Mauna Kea. Pahoehoe lava, not A'a lava
Lava Tube through which we hiked
Sea Arch
Mountain above Kailua, Oahu
Embarking on the hike across Kilauea Iki
Iconic Hawaiian vista

16 June 2014

If you don't give my futbol back...

Still my favorite (World Cup) commercial of all time:

"Jose! A casa." Love it! (Beckenbauer notwithstanding. Ha ha ha. Oh.)

09 June 2014

Big Island Adventure: Vegetable

Pix of (mostly) wild flora seen on the Big Island of Hawai'i.
Silver Sword: Endemic to the Big Island, only grows at 10,000 ft. on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa and nowhere else
Found on a Kona coffee plantation 
Wild Orchid!
Tree commanding the main drag, Kailua, Kona 
Silouette found on Kohala coast, "A Bay"
Wild Purple Flower
Similar Wild Purple Flower
Okay, whose thumb is that?
Ohi'a Plant grows only in volcanic soil on mountains of Hawai'i. Kilauea Iki. See the steam rising from main, active Kilauea volcano in the distance?
Lush ferns on Kilauea Iki
I be liking that lichen!
Gorgeous Mystery Wild Flower spotted on hike above Kailua, Oahu
Similar spiky red wild flower
Fallen tree stripped bare by its tides, even
Same clump of trees, different view

07 June 2014

Big Island Adventure: Animal

On our hikes and travels around the Big Island of Hawai'i (also named Hawai'i), we had some interesting fauna spottings and encounters—some of which we managed to capture on "film", that is to say "pixels". [I don't yet have access to the underwater shots and footage which include Tiger Shark [OMFG!], White Tip Shark, Manta Ray [YESSSS!!!], Giant Turtle, and Eagle Ray.]

[As often, click pic to embiggen slide show, mouse over pix for 'secret' message, and (h/t thunder!) right click pic to open in new window.]

Two Chameleons on a coffee plant
Magnificent Golden Bird of some kind. [shot with my f'ing iPhone!][edit: Saffron Finch?]
Cats kept wild
Duck? [edit: Muscovy Duck? h/t thunder in Comments]
While on the abortive 1400' waterfall bushwhack [see previous post], this little guy came at me out of the brush and nuzzled the back of my calf and then hiked with us for about a mile [after Wisdomie gave him a cookie]. I was startled and made a noise when he first hit the back of my leg, thinking it was a wild boar and I'd been tusked. Turns out not so much.
Same hike, heading toward the ocean: Wild Horses
Pheasant? [edit: Kalij Pheasant?]
Mule enjoying the view of ocean and cliffs @ Polulu Valley

06 June 2014

Dr. Glen Stassen, R.I.P.: One of the Good Guys

I've proclaimed my agnosticism on this blog on many occasions. My position stems from the simple (though hardly simplistic) logical proposition that 'belief that x' is no different than 'belief that not-x'. That is to say, both theism and atheism are unsupported beliefs. Both rely on a leap of faith.

That being said, I learned recently of the death (4/26/2014) of one of my most respected and influential divinity school professors: Glen Stassen. Dr. Stassen was the son of Presidential candidate Harold Stassen. He was a professor of Christian Ethics and a grassroots antiwar activist. I took a couple of classes with him back in the '80s. His chief focus was on what he called 'Peacemaking'.

This from his obit in The New York Times.
"Dr. Stassen championed a pragmatic approach to social justice and world peace. In a series of books beginning in 1992, he outlined a program of grass-roots activism to reduce military spending, improve the lives of the disadvantaged and give citizens a voice in international conflict resolution. ... He went on to help mobilize the international disarmament movement that, by some accounts, played a role in removing intermediate range nuclear missiles from Western Europe in the late 1980s and early ’90s."
Peace is not simply the absence of war, and pacifism is not simply a passive resistance to warfare. It takes the hard, transformative work of understanding, rapprochement, seeking common ground, forging community, instituting social justice, compromise, reconciliation, etc. Just Peacemaking, he taught, is precisely the inculcation of truly Christian values. And this lesson applies not just to conflict between nations, but all the way down to the interpersonal, familial, and communal levels. It is a way of approaching life.

If I were to consider myself Christian in any sense, it would be in the sense of the pragmatic ethos of love and justice taught and practiced by Dr. Stassen over his lifetime.

R.I.P. Glen. You were one of the good guys.

05 June 2014

Big Island Adventures

The best traveling can bring surprises and adventures. Some good. Some not so much (see last year's Diver Down series). We've just returned from our annual trip to visit Wisdomie who's completing his education at University of Hawai'i at Manoa in oceanographic sciences. Hawai'i, off the beaten track, is a land of surprises and adventure.

When you venture from the hotels and resorts and commercial areas, which of course have their appeal, you can stumble upon places that overwhelm you with their beauty. Waipi'o Valley on the big island of Hawai'i was one of the places we found this year.

As Wikipedia notes, it is not easy of access: "The road gains 800 vertical feet (243.84 m) in 0.6 miles (0.9 km) at a 25% average grade, with steeper grades in sections. This is a paved public road but it is open only to 4 wheel drive vehicles. It is the steepest road of its length in the United States and possibly the world." Try hiking down then back up that in unbroken 85º afternoon tropical sunshine! [For the record, on the way up I kept up with some other UH students we met, one a former military guy. He was impressed by the old guy. For my part, the way down toasted my thighs; the way up killed my calves and cardio-vascular system!]

But, man! was it worth it. One of the most beautiful places I've ever seen, maybe one of the most beautiful places on earth. Pristine green riverine valley surrounded by precipitous cliffs, waterfalls, deserted black sand beach, blue ocean!

The pix below probably won't do it justice. [As often, click pic to embiggen slide show, mouse over for secret message!]

First of all, it wasn't easy to get to: we had to move a tree that had fallen over the road en route
The view from the top! To give you a sense of scale, there are about a dozen people on the beach
Waterfall with cliffs in the distance
The Waipi'o River and valley from the floor
1400' Waterfall: We bushwhacked for about an hour, fording the waist-high river several times...
...and never got half way to the bottom of the falls before we had to turn back
A perfect, deserted beach with black sand!
How black was the sand? This black!
Deserted beach, black sand, cliffs, waterfall
Is that a beached whale?
Much more to follow!