August 28, 2013

About Anchialine Ponds

Another Big Island favorite: the anchialine fish ponds near the Anaehoomalu Beach Park in Waikoloa. These fish ponds have been excavated from lava. Plants and animals migrate here from below ground, from nearby natural pools. The ponds are managed by the University of Hawaii, and more will be re-created to replace what was destroyed in building the Waikoloa Beach Resort.

Unlike the other fish ponds I've seen, the ponds here are compact, with water so clear, you can see all the activity that goes on under the surface.

These flowers bloom underwater, and when they die, they make their way onto the surface. Beautiful.

I found a tiny hatched egg.

Dead white trees.

Tiny red shrimp called 'Opae'ula, which are indigenous to Hawaii and can only be found in these ponds. They get eaten by larger clear glass shrimp called Opae huna, which are also native to the area.

An ibis patiently stalking its future food.

Plants that Caught My Eye

The beautiful rainbow shower tree is always a welcome sight. It really says something about Hawaii that this tree is simply planted on sidewalks and parking lots. I imagine a Hawaiian flying to Tokyo and being shocked by the lack of natural life, and in certain areas, the endless array of gray buildings.

They also come in yellow.

 Amazingly, these trees are propagated by graft, because they do not produce any seeds!

The noni plant. The fruit apparently smells horrible, but is known for its medicinal effects.

An unexpected little burst of flower.

Naupaka kahakai, a plant native to Hawaii.

I was initially drawn to the unusual half-flowers, and lo, it has its own Hawaiian legend:
"In ancient times, one version goes, there was a beautiful Hawaiian princess known as Naupaka. One day, the villagers noticed that Naupaka looked very sad. They told her parents, who approached Naupaka and asked her what was troubling her.

'I have fallen in love with a man named Kaui,' replied the princess.' But Kaui is not of noble birth—he is a commoner.' According to Hawaiian tradition, it was strictly forbidden for members of royalty to marry people from the common ranks.

Distressed, Naupaka and Kaui traveled long and far, seeking a solution to their dilemma. They climbed up a mountain to see a kahuna who was staying at a heiau (temple). Alas, he had no clear answer for the young lovers. 'There is nothing I can do,' he told them, 'but you should pray. Pray at this heiau.'

So they did. And as they prayed, rain began to fall. Their hearts torn by sorrow, Naupaka and Kaui embraced for a final time. Then Naupaka took a flower from her ear and tore it in half, giving one half to Kaui. 'The gods won’t allow us to be together,' she said. 'You go live down by the water, while I will stay up here in the mountains.'

As the two lovers separated, the naupaka plants that grew nearby saw how sad they were. The very next day, they began to bloom in only half flowers."

Without seeing what the flower looks like in bloom, it's heard to research the name of this plant.

Spotted this tree from the backseat of the car.

Aerial Views of Hawaii

Past Kona International Airport on the Big Island. These uniform strips are not part of the airport, but are the facilities of Cyanotech Corporation, which develops and commercializes natural products from microalgae.

Most likely a volcano on Maui Island.

Kahoʻolawe, the smallest of Hawaii's eight islands. It has no fresh water and the land is quite dry (as you can tell from the glowing burnt sienna color), so it has no permanent residents.

Closing on the densely populated Honolulu, with Diamond Head on the right end.

August 24, 2013

Kona Farmers' Market, Again

Kona Farmer's Market in Kailua Kona is open Wednesdays through Sundays, 7am to 4pm. If you're in the area, it's basically unmissable. It's not very big, but it's a great alternative to the prices at the supermarket. On weekends, the stands expand a bit more, and you can even buy freshly-baked bread.

A lot of the fruit is startlingly cheap, and you often have to haggle for a smaller quantity than they offer you.

Bitter melons were being sold, but so were the leaves.

There is a crafts section, such as these shell chimes...

...and handmade leis.

Shoreline Walk

Hawaii Island has some amazing state parks. Despite being clearly labelled on maps, they seem to be more for locals than visitors. In fact, when I mentioned a park I had looked up beforehand to the hotel concierge, she was shocked that I had even heard of it. Apparently, the locals use these parks for wedding celebrations -- an ocassion where mere tourists would not be welcome. These photos were taken at one of those parks.

A little fish is visible on the right third of the photo. The shallow pools were filled with spiky sea urchins and fish.

It's fairly common to be able to see Hawaiian Green Turtles all around Hawaii Island, though they are still an endangered species. Here, you can see three! (The ones that look like mounds of rock.)

This one was chilling so peacefully on the rock. It was probably asleep.

Perfect little shell.

The long, winding path leading to the beach was full of trees that looked like this. They look like they were ripped from their roots at one point and kept growing on its side.

Maiapilo (Hawaiian caper).

August 21, 2013

Kona Cold Lobsters, Revisited.

Another thing on my list of must-dos every when I visit the Big Island is going to Kona Cold Lobsters. Since it's so close to the airport, if you have a car and are staying someplace with a kitchen, I definitely recommend swinging by and picking up some crabs (or lobsters).

Initially, it feels odd for an individual customer to be walking in here, but it is for everyone. 

I've actually never tried the clams here.

Huge lobsters.

The guys pack up your purchases very carefully, with huge ice packs and moistened newspapers so the crabs don't get too dehydrated.

A scale to weigh purchases, though crabs are sold individually. One roughly 1.75 pound Dungeness Crab is 20 dollars. The price list can be found here.

Found in Kailua.
They knew they were danger, because one tried to drop down the disposer.

Fresh crab meat!