Tag Archives: Hawaii

Hanalei Bay Sunset

Double click for a larger version of the image...
Double click for a larger version of the image…

This is a picture I took a few years back of a sunset, looking westward, at Hanalei Bay on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. Why am I sharing this picture now?  Not because I’m going back there any time soon, but just because this photo whispers peace to me. It was a very gentle evening, warm, but not overly hot, a soft breeze caressed everyone delightfully.

I believe I shared this photo back in the days shortly after I shot it, but I share it again now because perhaps you need some peace in your life. Get lost in the palms, the colors of the sky and sea, and relax. Shaka, bro! Aloha!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1947, U.S. Air Force Captain Chuck Yeager became the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound.

Yeager, born in Myra, West Virginia, in 1923, was a combat fighter during World War II and flew 64 missions over Europe. He shot down 13 German planes and was himself shot down over France, but he escaped capture with the assistance of the French Underground. After the war, he was among several volunteers chosen to test-fly the experimental X-1 rocket plane, built by the Bell Aircraft Company to explore the possibility of supersonic flight.

For years, many aviators believed that man was not meant to fly faster than the speed of sound, theorizing that transonic drag rise would tear any aircraft apart. All that changed on October 14, 1947, when Yeager flew the X-1 over Rogers Dry Lake in Southern California. The X-1 was lifted to an altitude of 25,000 feet by a B-29 aircraft and then released through the bomb bay, rocketing to 40,000 feet and exceeding 662 miles per hour (the sound barrier at that altitude). The rocket plane, nicknamed “Glamorous Glennis,” was designed with thin, unswept wings and a streamlined fuselage modeled after a .50-caliber bullet.

Because of the secrecy of the project, Bell and Yeager’s achievement was not announced until June 1948. Yeager continued to serve as a test pilot, and in 1953 he flew 1,650 miles per hour in an X-1A rocket plane. He retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1975 with the rank of brigadier general.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: When McDonald’s opened in 1986 in Rome, food purists outside the restaurant gave away free spaghetti to remind people of their culinary heritage. (If you ever invite me over for dinner, Italian is my favorite cuisine, hands down!)

Stick in the Mud

Ah, confession time!  I’m experiencing a lack of motivation to shoot pictures now that we’re home…after spending 2 glorious weeks in Hawaii where there are so many spectacular things to photograph, I’m struggling here to find stuff!!!!  But then again, I’ve been  pretty busy since we’ve been back and really haven’t gone looking for anything to shoot.

So, by the wonder of hard disk drive storage, we are going back to Hawaii tonight for today’s picture, but it could have been taken anywhere.  One evening I went down to Hanalei Bay to shoot some pictures and I found this rather large pile of moss-covered logs at the edge of the beach where the Hanalei River flows into the bay.  I thought that they were rather interesting with the moss and surf swirling among them and I took quite a few pictures of it.  Some were including the sky and mountains on the western side of the bay (the mythical Bali Hai from the movie South Pacific) but opted to show this one for the moss.

So, if you would call me a “stick in the mud” for not being more motivated to shoot something around here since returning, well, maybe it’s because I’m thinking about these logs in the sand at sunset on a faraway, tropical beach!


Mossy logs in the surf at Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hawaii

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: In 1964, the youngest person to ever receive a Nobel Prize was notified that they had won the award.  The man’s name: Martin Luther King, Jr.   King didn’t keep the money ($54,000 then – which was a lot of money in 1964) but donated the money from the prize to help promote civil rights in the United States.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: In 1552, Mary Queen of Scots became the first woman to play golf at St. Andrews (where golf is still played to this day!)  It may have had something to do with the fact that she was the club’s founder…and queen!!!!



World of Color

Since it had been nearly 30 years since I’d been to Hawaii, perhaps you’ll forgive me for this days post.  I had forgotten how incredibly colorful the place is!  No matter where you turn, your eyes are assaulted by reds, greens, purples, oranges, yellows…not to mention the blues of the sky and the sea.  One starts to wonder if you truly can believe what your eyes are seeing!

Today’s picture was taken at the Hawaiian Plantation on Maui.  We had just finishing walking around the Iao Valley and taking pictures there and were thirsty so we decided to stop at the gift shop at this plantation to find something to slake our thirst.  Little did we know we’d be treated to such a display of color!  I soon found myself snapping away with my ever-present camera.

I am very grateful that God gave us color vision and invented colors.  I can’t help but wonder what new and incredible kinds of colors may await us in His eternal gardens?


What a wonderful, colorful world!


ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: In 1975, Bill and Hillary Clinton got married in Arkansas.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Gail Borden, Jr. invented condensed milk in the 1850’s, and later also invented the Lazy Susan.  One of his other inventions, though, failed to catch on: meat biscuits.

Amazing Tree

The poet Joyce Kilmer wrote:

“I think that I shall never see, a poem as lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast.

A tree that looks at God all day and lifts its leafy arms to pray.

A tree that in the summer may wear a nest of robins in her hair.

Upon whose bosom snow has lain who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me but only God can make a tree.”

In the old whaling city of Lahaina on Front Street is a park, known as Banyan Tree Park.  It is called that, not because of a great number of banyan trees that located in the park, for there is only one banyan tree there.  But what a tree it is!

The tree was planted in April of 1873 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Christian mission work in the city.  The tree was imported from India and was 8 feet tall at the time it was planted.  Today, the tree is one of the largest Indian banyan trees in the world, reaching a height of over 60 feet and spreading over 200 feet wide, giving shade to 2/3rds of an acre!

Here’s something you may not have known about banyan trees: they send out branches, which in turn send down vines that become more roots and form structures like auxiliary trunks.  You can see those in the picture, even though you can’t see all of the tree because it is so large.  This particular tree has 12 “trunks” plus a huge main core.  Check it out:


An amazing banyan tree in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii


ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: In 1965 in the come strip Peanuts, the Red Baron character first appeared as the archenemy of the defender of good, Snoopy!

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: By the 18th century, apple pie had become such a popular dessert that Yale University served it as dessert for dinner every night…for over 100 years!

Friendly Flipper

Last Thursday, our last full day on Maui, we went out on a wild dolphin watching adventure with the Pacific Whale Foundation out of Lahaina.  We’ve all seen dolphins in aquariums and are fascinated and amused by them.  But seeing them in the wild is another experience entirely!  Talk about fun!  It was fascinating.

Here’s some things I learned from the naturalist on board the ship: dolphins and whales that have a single blow-hole on the top of their head have teeth, and they possess the ability to echo-locate.  They do this by means of a bulbous forehead that is mostly fatty-type tissue, but from that area of their head they emit clicks (sound waves) that help them locate things in the water by bouncing off the object and returning to the dolphin who “hears” the response.  For example, they can form a complete image of how big a boat is, where friends or foes are located, where food is in the water, etc.  That’s why dolphins that “bow ride” on the wake at the leading edge of ships are never hit by propellers – they know precisely how long the ship is and where the prop is.  Such, sadly, is not the case with humpback whales (they have 2 nostrils on top of their heads, therefore they don’t “echo-locate”) who frequently are hit by propellers in the water.  Dolphins have 2 ear slits behind their eyes, but their hearing mostly takes place through their hollow jaw.  The naturalist showed us how this works by having us plug our ears with our fingers and then taking a  tuning fork, she tapped the fork on the railing of the ship and touched the single end of the tuning fork to our jaw.  It was truly amazing how clearly even humans could hear the tone simply from the vibrations reaching the jaw through the tuning fork!

Adults range from a bit over 6 feet to a whopping 13 feet and weigh as much as 1400 pounds.  While some bottlenose dolphins can reach 40 years of age, most succumb before they are 20.  Female dolphins have such a strong mothering instinct that they have been observed holding stillborn babies at the surface to try to get them to breathe.

Bottlenose dolphins can reach speeds of 30 miles an hour and leap as high as 20 feet out of the water.

I shot today’s picture from the bow of the ship we took for our dolphin watching adventure.  You’ll notice that part of the dolphin is still below water, but his head had just broken the surface and he started to “spout” as I shot this picture.


The Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin


ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: In 1872 the first mail order catalog arrived in the mail!  It consisted of a single page and sent out by Mr. Aaron Montgomery, the founder of the Montgomery Ward chain that would become famous.  Now you know who to blame for all the mail order catalogs you get in the mail even today!!!!

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: The best selling Barbie doll ever was the Totally Hair Barbie.  Her hair reached from the top of her head all the way down to her toes.  Bet it hurt if you stepped on it!  Oh, wait – Barbie’s not real!!!!


Iao Valley

In the Iao Valley on the island of Maui is found the Iao Needle.  It is called that because a semi-pointed rock stands up out of the valley reaching a total height of 2250 feet above sea level.  The needle-like spire itself stands straight up about 1200 feet from the valley floor.  Because of the scenic nature of the spire, the Iao Valley has become a popular tourist stop on Maui, and rightly so.  Maui is called “the valley isle” because of the many sheer valleys located on the island.

But there are other reasons that the Iao Valley is special to the native Hawaiians.  In 1790, a great battle took place there between King Kamehemeha and the local king, Kkalanikupule.  Not long before this battle, Kamehemeha had captured a cannon from a sailing vessel and it gave his army great advantages over the rest of the island kings.  The cannon was dragged up the valley to Iao, where the battle was fought.  The slaughter was so great that the bodies of the dead dammed up the river, hence the site of the battle was called Kepaniwai, or “the damming of the waters.”  The river is said to have run red with the blood of the slain.  This was perhaps the most vicious and bloody battle ever fought on Hawaiian soil.  Kamehemeha went on to become king of all the islands – the first king to lay such a claim.

The Iao Needle is in the center of the picture.


Iao Needle, Iao Valley, Maui

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: In 1991, Elizabeth Taylor was married for the 8th time to construction worker Larry Fortensky.  The wedding took place at Michael Jackson’s retreat and led to a media frenzy.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: The reason for growing rice in flooded paddies has nothing to do with the rice which can grow just find in a dry spot.  The purpose of flooding the paddies to to drown out other weeds that might grow up among the rice.



Dragons Foot

A few days back, I posted a shot taken from the boat off the Na Pali coast in Kauai.  I said that, if requested, I’d post at least one more of the place, and there were some requests, so today, through the magic of hard disk drives we are revisiting Na Pali again.

Let me tell you the reasons I like this picture.  First, I like the colors.  Second, I like the rugged wildness of it.  Third, I like the clouds obscuring the tops of the razor-edged ridges.  And fourth (I wouldn’t realize this until after I looked at it after I got back), the roots of the ridges where they enter the surf remind me of the feet/toed claws of an immense dragon.  Can you see it?  If you look closely, you can even imagine the claws coming out of the toes of the fearsome creature!  But fear not…I vanquished the dragon and all is safe and well!!!

Dragons Foot, Na Pali coast, Kauai

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: In 1969, the BBC broadcast the first episode of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”, as show that would go on to claim a huge world-wide cult audience, and which introduced people such as John Cleese to audiences.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: In Breton, Alabama, there is a law on the books banning riding down the main street in a motorboat.  To top that, in Chico, CA, it is against the law to detonate a nuclear device in the city limits.  Go figure!!!!

Trouble in Paradise

Today’s picture isn’t particularly pretty…nor is the subject.  Don’t worry…we are doing just fine.  But when we were on Kauai, we learned about a very sad custom that the ancient Hawaiians practiced.

The picture today is of the remains of a heiau.  Heiau’s were places of worship for the ancient Hawaiians and they built rocky enclosures to mark out the boundaries of these holy places.  Just a short distance off the main north/south road around the eastern side of Kauai is the heiau in today’s picture.  A tour guide had described this practice the day before, and we went back to take some pictures.

In today’s picture, towards the middle bottom of the photo you will see a stone slab.  This slab was used by the queen of the high king to give birth.  The king lived high up in the mountains (probably because of some superstitious belief that he was a god-like character), and when his wife was ready to give birth, she would come down to this particular heiau, lay down on the stone slab and have her baby.

If the child was a daughter, all was fine.  If the child was a boy, however, things could be difficult.  In order to determine if the boy was worthy to be the son of the king and to eventually rule in his father’s place, the umbilical cord of the baby boy would be wrapped in ti leaves and left outside the door of the little hut that used to surround the birth slab.  If, during the night, no rats came and ate the umbilical cord, the baby was considered worthy to follow in his father’s footsteps and to be king.  But, if the rats did come and eat the cord, the child was considered unworthy – and he would be killed.

Here’s the photo of the heiau and the stone birth slab:

Where Kauai's kings were born...and where some boy babies died...

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: In 1957, the first earth satellite, Sputnik I, was launched by the Soviet Union and circled the earth every 95 minutes at a speed of 2000 miles per hour.  It fell from the sky on January 4, 1958.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Some sloths, possums and armadillos spend up to 80% of their lives sleeping.  (I think I know some people who may be part sloth, possum or armadillo!)

House of the Sun

Whoa!  Just when you think you’ve already seen the highlight of your trip, you discover something new!!!

Up to this point, the highlight (as far as scenery goes) was the Na Pali coast on the west end of Kauai.  I posted on that a few days ago, and will probably post another picture or two taken there as well.

This afternoon, we went to Haleakala National Park (we’re on Maui now.)  In case you don’t know about Haleakala, it is a volcano that is the dominant feature of the eastern 2/3rds of the island, stretching up 10,023 feet.  One of the favorite things tourists do here is to drive up to Haleakala to see the sunrise.  That would take a while, because the road up there is very twisty and would be a tricky thing to do in the dark!  Not to mention that I’m NOT a morning person – especially when I’m on vacation!  Besides, our highly recommended tour book for the island (thanks, Tom, for the recommendation!) said it was beautiful in the sunrise, but it was just as beautiful later in the day and there’s not a huge crowd at later times, too.  So, we opted to drive up later in the day.  It’s a good thing we did, because the mountain was socked in by clouds.  The clouds, by the way, are BELOW the 10,000 foot level, so once you get above them you are looking down on the clouds.

The longer we stayed up there, the clearer it got…and the more spectacular.  With the way the clouds/mist would drift up through the crater from time to time, the scenery seemed to always be changing and the colors, too, as the sun hit different parts of the cauldera.

One more thing before the picture.  I said that Haleakala reaches 10,023 feet above sea level.  That’s true…but that’s only part of the story.  There are 19,000+ feet of the mountain below the surface of the ocean.  In fact, the ranger station had a diagram that shows that from the base of the mountain on the ocean floor, the entire height of Haleakala is 675 feet higher than Mt. Everest!

Haleakala, "The House of the Sun", Maui, Hawaii

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation that created Thanksgiving as a national day of thanksgiving for our blessings.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: On the April 4, 1964 Billboard Top Singles chart, the Beatles held the first 5 places.  They are the only band to ever achieve this!

Grand Canyon of the Pacific

Ah!  Connectivity!  I’m glad to be “back in touch!”  Isn’t it strange how dependent we become on technology?  I remember when there were no such things as laptop or notebook PC’s, cell phones, etc., and when you left work at the end of the day, you literally left work behind!!!  Sure, you could do paperwork, but nothing “automated.”  Now, we just can’t get away from it, can we?  And, if as has been the case for me the last couple of days, we are out of touch virtually entirely, we get antsy!  ‘Nuff said.

On Kauai, one of the sights we saw was Waimea Canyon, the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.”  It is located in the heart of the island, way up in the mountains where deluges often take place.  We were so blessed to find a clear (well, mostly clear) day to see it.

Here’s a shot of the canyon – and I think that you’ll be able to understand why they call it the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.  It is a beautiful place – not quite up to par with the real Grand Canyon, but worth a look:

Waimea Canyon, Kauai

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: In 1906, “SOS” was established as the international distress call.  It replaced “CQD”, which meant “all stations – urgent!”

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: The language of Taki, spoken in parts of French Guinea, consists of only 340 words.