It’s taking me longer than I thought to post all these Hawaii photos. North of Kona there are miles of old lava flows, the most recent of which were in 1801 (from Hualalai, the volcano above Kailua) and 1859 (from Mauna Loa, the second-higest peak on the island). Because the island is right in the middle of the trade winds, and has sizable mountains in the middle, the clouds all bunch up on the eastern side of the island, dropping several hundred inches of rain a year before stopping—rather abruptly—halfway across the island. The west side of the island, especially in North Kona and Kohala, gets closer to 10 inches of rain a year. That’s not far off, climate-wise, from Southern California. It also means that there’s not enough plants to break up a lava field in only 200 years, and large chunks of the coast look like this:

A‘a lava flow in Kohala (with coral graffiti!)
That’s not dirt, that’s rock! You may be wondering about the white bits. They’re a sort of temporary graffiti. All through this area, people have dragged out bits of coral to spell out messages ranging from “Hi Mom” and “Aloha Dolly” to “In Memory Of…” For some reason it’s almost universally good-natured. Katie’s got some interesting pictures. that we’ll be posting later.

Here’s a view of the coast itself. Continue reading