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Point Forecast: Kailua Kona HI
19.63N -155.95W (Elev. 1217 ft)
Last Update: 6:57 pm HST Aug 19, 2008
Forecast Valid: 10pm HST Aug 19, 2008-6pm HST Aug 26, 2008
Forecast at a Glance
Tonight

Haze
Haze

Lo 67°F

Wednesday

Isolated Showers Chance for Measurable Precipitation 20%
Isolated
Showers
Hi 83°F
Wednesday
Night

Isolated Showers Chance for Measurable Precipitation 20%
Isolated
Showers
Lo 67°F
Thursday

Isolated Showers Chance for Measurable Precipitation 20%
Isolated
Showers
Hi 83°F
Thursday
Night

Haze
Haze

Lo 67°F

Friday

Scattered Showers Chance for Measurable Precipitation 30%
Scattered
Showers
Hi 84°F
Friday
Night

Haze
Haze

Lo 69°F

Saturday

Scattered Showers Chance for Measurable Precipitation 30%
Scattered
Showers
Hi 84°F
Saturday
Night

Haze
Haze

Lo 69°F

Detailed text forecast
Tonight: Widespread haze. Mostly clear, with a low around 67. East wind around 7 mph.

Wednesday: Isolated showers after noon. Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a high near 83. South wind around 8 mph becoming west. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Wednesday Night: Isolated showers before midnight. Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a low around 67. South wind around 8 mph becoming east. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Thursday: Isolated showers after noon. Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a high near 83. South wind around 8 mph becoming west. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Thursday Night: Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a low around 67. South wind around 7 mph becoming east.

Friday: Scattered showers after noon. Widespread haze. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 84. South wind around 8 mph becoming west. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Friday Night: Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a low around 69. South wind around 8 mph becoming east.

Saturday: Scattered showers. Widespread haze. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 84. East wind around 8 mph becoming west. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Saturday Night: Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a low around 69. East wind around 7 mph.

Sunday: Scattered showers. Widespread haze. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 84. East wind around 8 mph becoming west. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Sunday Night: Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a low around 69. East wind around 8 mph.

Monday: Scattered showers. Widespread haze. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 84. East wind around 8 mph becoming west. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Monday Night: Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a low around 69. East wind around 8 mph.

Tuesday: Scattered showers. Widespread haze. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 84. East wind around 8 mph becoming southwest. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Reprinted from here.

For more information on visiting Hawaii in general, or touring the Big Island in particular, please go to www.tourguidehawaii.com and www.tourguidehawaii.blogspot.com.

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Written and produced by Donald B. MacGowan; videography by Frank Burgess and Donald MacGowan; Narration by Frank Burgess; Original Music by Donnie MacGowan


Nahuku, the Thurston Lava Tube, gives the visitor an opportunity for a close-at-hand inspection of the inner plumbing of a volcano. It also makes for an interesting and unique way to escape the noonday heat or afternoon shower briefly. Lava tubes form when the outer crust of a flowing river of lava begins to cool and crust over, but the lava continues to flow beneath it; when the flow has completely drained away, the lava tube is left behind.

Thurston lava tube is a remarkably large, well-preserved and accessible example of a lava tube-type cave. An easy, 0.3 mile trail (about a 15 minute hike) winds through lush fern forest alive with singing bird and buzzing insects, down into a collapse crater entering the lava tube and slipping about 300 feet through the well-lighted, floored cave, popping up through a skylight in the tube and returning to the parking lot. A very easy walk and certainly a “must see” for any visitor to the park.

When Lorrin Thurston, founder of the Honolulu Advertiser, found the cave in 1913, the roof reportedly was covered with stalactites—it is said that rapacious tourists removed every one in the intervening years.

For more information about visiting Hawaii in general or touring the Big Island in particular, go to tourguidehawaii.com and www.tourguidehawaii.blogspot.com.

Produced by Donald B. MacGowan; videography by Frank Burgess and Donnie MacGowan; original musical score by Donnie MacGowan.

Aloha! I’m Donnie MacGowan, I live on the Big Island of Hawaii where, as luck would have it, we have a number of active and dormant volcanoes. Right now, even as we speak, our Kilauea Volcano, the world’s most active volcano, is erupting in two places simultaneously…if you love volcanoes as much as I do, you know that’s pretty sweet.

In the past few years I’ve made several videos of the eruptions from Pu’u O’o and vents further down the Southeast Rift zone, of lava flowing down the pali and entering the ocean, most recently at Waikupanaha. But today I’d like to take you to the other eruption, the one at the summit of Kilauea within the Halema’uma’u crater. It’s amazing, captivating, awesome. It’s as if the door to the Goddess Pele’s home had been left ajar…

Unlike the fountaining littoral explosions down at Waikupanaha, the eruptive vent at the summit of Kilauea Volcano appears quieter but is certainly no less spectacular. Earlier this August when lava stopped flowing into the ocean in Puna, disappointed tourists were dismayed that this eruption might be their only chance of seeing a live volcano, figuring it might be pretty tame and passive. Ho-ho! Come the night time, Madame Pele puts on a show in her own home that is entrancing, beautiful and inspiring. The eruption at Halema’uma’u may be second best to seeing lava flow into the ocean, but it’s a very, very close second. If this is the only volcanic eruption you ever get to witness in person, it’s a fully awesome, amazingly powerful and spiritual experience. The eruption consists of a huge, roiling plume of gas, steam and ash issuing from hole exploded out of the base of the southeast wall of the crater. The hole and the plume glow wickedly in the dark like the portal to Hades itself.
Earlier in the spring, this vent on Halema’uma’u ejected a great deal of rocks and dust, as if clearing its throat; some bombs and spatter apparently were molten or near-molten at the time of their eruption. Currently, Kilauea is erupting huge amounts of sulfur dioxide and water vapor with very small amounts of ash, prompting the Park Service to close the south part of Kīlauea caldera and Crater Rim Drive to the public and issue occasional air quality alerts for areas adjacent to Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Current eruption updates are available by calling the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Information Hotline at 808.985.6000.

According to recent information from the U.S Geological Survey, the fact that the composition of the gases from Pu`u `Ō `ō and Halema`uma`u appear quite similar may indicate that lava throughout Kīlauea has been recently recharged with new magma from depth.

Further, the USGS suggests that the decrease in hot solid material ejecta concomitant with the steady summit gas emissions may indicate either that magma is receding or that the plumbing and conduits of the vent have become choked off from the surface. This could be due to a mix of rock debris, spatter and ash accumulating in the vent. Molten rock seems to lie just a few hundred feet below the surface of Halema’uma’u crater; however, if the molten rock is in fact retreating, the pool left behind will rapidly cool to a semi-plastic plug.

If the vent plug cools for a substantial amount of time, summit activity will eventually die out and life around Halema’uma’u crater will return to its inter-eruptive, “normal” state. Until the next time fresh, hot magma rises into the volcano, that is.
Man…I could watch this all day, couldn’t you?

This is Donnie MacGowan sending you a warm aloha from the slopes of Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii…


Produced by Donald B. MacGowan; videography by Frank Burgess and Donnie MacGowan; original musical score by Donnie MacGowan.

For more information about visiting Hawaii in general and touring the Big Island in particular, visit www.tourguidehawaii.com and www.tourguidehawaii.blogspot.com

Reprinted from here.

Point Forecast: Kailua Kona HI
19.63N -156W (Elev. 0 ft)
Last Update: 6:55 am HST Jul 29, 2008
Forecast Valid: 9am HST Jul 29, 2008-6pm HST Aug 4, 2008
Forecast at a Glance
Today

Isolated Showers Chance for Measurable Precipitation 20%
Isolated
Showers
Hi 84°F
Tonight

Isolated Showers Chance for Measurable Precipitation 20%
Isolated
Showers
Lo 74°F
Wednesday

Isolated Showers Chance for Measurable Precipitation 20%
Isolated
Showers
Hi 85°F
Wednesday
Night

Haze
Haze

Lo 73°F

Thursday

Isolated Showers Chance for Measurable Precipitation 20%
Isolated
Showers
Hi 84°F
Thursday
Night

Haze
Haze

Lo 73°F

Friday

Isolated Showers Chance for Measurable Precipitation 20%
Isolated
Showers
Hi 85°F
Friday
Night

Haze
Haze

Lo 72°F

Saturday

Isolated Showers Chance for Measurable Precipitation 20%
Isolated
Showers
Hi 85°F
Detailed text forecast
Hazardous weather condition(s):

Today: Isolated showers. Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a high near 84. West wind around 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Tonight: Isolated showers before midnight. Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a low around 74. East wind around 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Wednesday: Isolated showers after noon. Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a high near 85. East wind around 8 mph becoming west. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Wednesday Night: Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a low around 73. East wind around 7 mph.

Thursday: Isolated showers after noon. Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a high near 84. East wind around 7 mph becoming west. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Thursday Night: Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a low around 73. East wind around 6 mph.

Friday: Isolated showers after noon. Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a high near 85. East wind around 7 mph becoming west. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Friday Night: Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a low around 72. East wind around 6 mph.

Saturday: Isolated showers. Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a high near 85. East wind around 7 mph becoming west. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Saturday Night: Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a low around 73. East wind around 8 mph.

Sunday: Isolated showers. Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a high near 85. East wind around 9 mph becoming west. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Sunday Night: Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a low around 73. East wind around 9 mph.

Monday: Isolated showers. Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a high near 85. East wind around 9 mph becoming west. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

For more information on traveling to Hawaii in general or touring the Big Island in particular, go to www.tourguidehawaii.com, or here.

Reprinted from here.

An exciting end to June at Kīlauea

A littoral explosion at dusk. Explosions such as this have been common throughout the last several weeks at the Waikupanaha entry.  June 29, 2008.
A littoral explosion at dusk. Explosions such as this have been common throughout the last several weeks at the Waikupanaha entry. June 29, 2008.

One of the most surprising aspects of the current summit eruption at Kīlauea Volcano, which started in March of this year, is that there has been almost no change in surface deformation trends. Past summit eruptions have been accompanied by rapid inflation prior to the start of an eruption, followed by equally rapid deflation. During the present period, however, the summit of Kīlauea has shown no change from the trend of gradual deflation since July 21, 2007, when the eruption site migrated about 2 km (1.5 miles) downrift from Pu`u `Ō`ō. No change, that is, until just a few weeks ago.

On June 24, tiltmeters at Kīlauea’s summit and at Pu`u `Ō`ō began showing inflation-the first time sustained inflation has occurred at both sites since July 21, 2007.

In addition to the change in ground deformation, other types of monitoring data indicated a shift in the style of eruptive activity. Throughout early and mid-June, the intensity of the glow from the summit vent had decreased, relative to the strong glow seen in April and May. In late June, however, the summit vent began glowing brighter.

The intensity of the glow, in fact, correlates with bursts of seismic tremor that occur every few minutes, with more glow during the tremor bursts and less between bursts. These tremor bursts also increased in magnitude and frequency in late June. The correlation between tremor and glow led HVO scientists to infer that gas bubbles were bursting through a crusted lava surface beneath the Halema`uma`u vent. Increases in the strength of both the glow and tremor bursts may have indicated rising of the lava surface.

Another late June change in activity was the occurrence of surface lava flows from the east rift zone for the first time in several weeks. Lava broke out of the tube system, both on the east rift zone and above the Royal Gardens subdivision. At the same time, enough lava was being transported through the tube system to result in spectacular littoral explosions at the ocean entry during early July. All of these signs point to a lava tube system that was full to the point of overflowing.

Taken together, this evidence suggests that Kīlauea was engorged with magma, starting in late June. Increased magma in the caldera and east rift areas resulted in inflation of the summit and Pu`u `Ō`ō and, possibly, rising of the lava column in the Hamema`uma`u vent. Magma was also being delivered to the eruption site at a greater rate than normal, resulting in the numerous surface lava flows.

What might be the result of such activity? It is conceivable that more magma within Kīlauea’s plumbing system could result in a change in the east rift zone eruption site, much like that which occurred in mid-2007. Lava might even erupt from the Hamema`uma`u vent, forming a lava lake at the summit.

Of course, Pele seems to enjoy keeping us on our toes. On July 1, deformation at Pu`u `Ō`ō stabilized, and the summit began to deflate, suggesting that even more magma was being fed from the summit to the east rift zone eruption site. Lava flow activity on the east rift zone and above Royal Gardens continued to increase. On July 7, a spectacular fountain formed near the TEB (Thanksgiving Eve Breakout) vent, possibly due to partial blocking of the lava tube system. At the summit, however, the intensity of glow from the Halema`uma`u vent has waned, suggesting that, at least for the moment, volcanic activity will focus on the east rift zone.

The weeks since June 24 have been a significant departure from “normal” trends of deformation during the current summit eruption, and also saw the most surface lava flow activity in several months. What caused Kīlauea to suddenly fill with magma and, just as suddenly, begin to drain?

One explanation is that the lava supply to Kīlauea fluctuates on timescales of days to weeks, causing rapid changes in surface deformation and eruptive activity. Although the causes of these fluctuations are not clear, the variations obviously are an important control on the activity we observe at the surface.

HVO will remain vigilant for future changes in the amount of magma coursing through Kīlauea’s veins. Such activity should be easy to detect, given the excellent seismic, deformation, gas, and visual monitoring of the volcano, both at the summit and along the east rift zone. We invite you to follow along by checking HVO’s Webcams, data plots, and daily activity updates available at http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov.

Activity update

Kīlauea Volcano continues to be active. A vent in Halema`uma`u Crater is erupting elevated amounts of sulfur dioxide gas and very small amounts of ash. Resulting high concentrations of sulfur dioxide in downwind air have closed the south part of Kīlauea caldera and produced occasional air quality alerts in more distant areas, such as Pahala and communities adjacent to Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, during kona wind periods.

Pu`u `Ō`ō continues to produce sulfur dioxide at even higher rates than the vent in Halema`uma`u Crater. Trade winds tend to pool these emissions along the West Hawai`i coast. Kona winds blow these emissions into communities to the north, such as Mountain View, Volcano and Hilo. As of this writing (July 10), the gas vent below the east rim of Pu`u `Ō`ō was spattering weakly, with some spatter reaching the crater rim. At least two other vents within the Pu`u `Ō`ō crater were also spattering. The one near the western end of the crater was spattering vigorously and sporadically, feeding a small lava pond on the crater floor.

Lava continues to erupt from fissure D of the July 21, 2007, eruption and is supplying several breakouts along the 2007 Thanksgiving Eve Breakout (TEB) tube system above the pali and near the top of Royal Gardens. Activity was quite vigorous early in the week, feeding multiple breakouts, including a 10-15-m-high lava fountain. By July 10, activity had diminished, with only sparse surface flows observed.

Lava also continues to flow through what remains of Royal Gardens and across the coastal plain to the ocean in a well-established lava tube active now for several months. When the surface activity intensified upslope early in the week, the Waikupanaha ocean entry diminished significantly and appeared nearly inactive. Full vigor had returned by July 10, with small explosions and a large plume.

Be aware that lava deltas could collapse at any time, potentially generating large explosions. This may be especially true during times of rapidly changing lava supply conditions, as have been seen lately. Do not venture onto the lava deltas. Even the intervening beaches are susceptible to large waves generated during delta collapse; avoid these beaches. In addition, steam plumes rising from ocean entries are highly acidic and laced with glass particles. Check Civil Defense Web site (http://www.lavainfo.us) or call 961-8093 for viewing hours.

Mauna Loa is not erupting. Two earthquakes were located beneath the summit this past week. Continuing extension between locations spanning the summit indicates slow inflation of the volcano.

Four earthquakes beneath Hawai`i Island were reported felt within the past week; all occurred on Tuesday, July 8, 2008. A magnitude-2.7 earthquake occurred at 00:06 a.m., H.s.t., and was located 2 km (1 mile) southwest of Kīlauea summit at a depth of 1 km (1 mile). A magnitude-3.2 earthquake occurred at 00:38 a.m. and was located 3 km (2 miles) southwest of Kīlauea summit at a depth of 400 m (0.2 miles). A magnitude-2.8 earthquake occurred at 7:36 a.m. and was located 5 km (3 miles) northwest of Pa`auilo at a depth of 9 km (5 miles). A magnitude-1.8 earthquake occurred at 10:09 p.m. and was located 3 km (2 miles) southeast of Captain Cook at a depth of 8 km (5 miles).

Visit our Web site (http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov) for daily Kīlauea eruption updates, a summary of volcanic events over the past year, and nearly real-time Hawai`i earthquake information. Kīlauea daily update summaries are also available by phone at (808) 967-8862. Questions can be emailed to askHVO@usgs.gov.


For more information on touring Hawaii in general, or visiting the Big Island in particular, go to www.tourguidehawaii.com and here. skip past bottom navigational bar

For nearly a thousand years sites around the Keauhou Historic District served as the political, cultural and religious centers for the people of the Hawaiian Islands. Many of the most important, best preserved and certainly the most interesting historical, pre-historical and cultural sites lie within the Keauhou Historic District, which stretches from Kahalu’u Beach Park south to Kuamo’o Bay. There are more than a dozen fascinating archeological features and sites that are easy to walk to, well maintained and quite interesting. Starting on Ali’i Drive just north of Kahalu’u Beach, let’s work our way south through this incredibly rich region.

Ku’emanu Heiau is located just south of Ali’i Drive mile marker 4.5 and just north of Kahalu’u. It is perhaps the only ancient temple in the world dedicated solely to the sport of surfing. This was a luakini heiau(a temple where human sacrifice was practiced) and on the north side of the site is a laupa’u, or bone pit where the remains of the sacrificed were discarded. The temple is still sacred to native Hawai’ians so remember to be especially respectful of this unique site. Do not disturb, nor take as souvenirs, offerings left upon the lele platform. Remember: take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints; Ku’emanu Heiau is a particularly striking place to photograph the sunset.

Those vine covered ruins across the street from Kahalu’u Beach are the remains of Old Helani Church, built by the Rev. John D. Paris in 1861. The church, however, was erected on a the grounds of the ‘Ohi’a-Mukumuku Heiau; a powerful and holy religious temple around which swirls some of the darkest folklore and ghosts stories told around the Hawai’ian Islands.

Held in Hawai’ian folktales to have been built by the gods, ‘Ohi’a-Mukumuku Heiau was re-dedicated to the war god, Kuka’ilimoku, by the Hawai’i Ali’i Lonoikamakakahiki so that he might vanquish his foe, the Ali’i of the Maui, Kamalalawalu, during their 16th century battles. It is said of these battles that when the Maui attacked the Hawai’i, the numbers of warriors was so vast that just as the first of the Maui war canoes were landing on Hawai’i, the last of their canoes were still leaving Maui. Ultimately victorious over the Maui, Lonoikamakakahiki took Kamalalawalu over to the nearby Ke’eku Heiau and sacrificed him alive to celebrate his great victory. Local ghost tales tell of Kamalalawalu and his war dogs still haunting both Ohi’a-Mukumuku and Ke’eku Heiaus.

Paokamenehune Seawall, is partly a natural and partly man-made feature enclosing the southern end of Kahalu’u Bay. Paokamenehune predates the 15th century temple complexes in the area and is held in legend to have been built by the menehune (sort of the Hawai’ian equivalent to leprechauns). However, building was actually initiated by Hawaiian leaders to enclose the bay as a large fishpond. Whether the work became beyond the powers of the Ali’i at the time to administer or the surfing faction won-out in the battle over use of Kahalu’u Bay is not known, but the breakwater was already in disrepair and disarray at the time of European contact in the 18th century.

Kapua Noni Heiau, located on a small point of land between the Outrigger Keauhou Beach Hotel’s pool and the sea, was built by the Ali’i Kalanio’pu’u. This walled enclosure was dedicated to ensuring the abundance of fish. Just north of the Heiau is a canoe landing and the sacred bathing pool, Poho’okapo. Po’o Hawaii Pond, a few dozen meters to the east, is a rare freshwater spring that was strictly reserved for the use of the Ali’i as a fish and bathing pond. Near the pond is the homesite of King Kalakaua. The original Hale Kahakai O Kalakaua, or seashore home of King Kalakaua, was built here in the 1880s; King Kalakaua built his own house and an exact replica for his friend the Court Jester. Both were destroyed in 1950; this replica was erected in 1980, about a century after the original had been built.

Between the canoe landing and the Po’o Hawai’i Pond (King’s Pond) are two sacred ku’ula stones. Carved or natural, large or small, stones used to attract fish are referred to as pohaku ku’ula. These two ku’ula are named Kanaio and Ulupalakua and were brought by voyaging canoe from Maui in 1751.

Look at the larger stone to see the images of a turtle, a fishhook and shark represented on it, using a combination of the natural lines of the stone and engraving. The round hole near the top indicates that this was also a “luakini” stone, or stone for human sacrifice. A loop of rope was passed through the hole, around the victim’s neck, and tightened until strangulation was complete. It is not known if human sacrifice at this stone was used as punishment, to propitiate the gods for good fishing, to dispatch enemy combatants for ritual cannibalism, or some combination of these.

On opposite sides of the Outrigger Keauhou Beach Hotel Tennis Courts lie the homesite of the legendary Mo’o Twins and Punawai Spring. The fertility pit at Punawai Spring is an example of the rare freshwater springs in this area which were the only source of drinking water and were the only reasons villages could survive in Kona. In modern times, the Hotel has promoted wedding ceremonies in the glade around Punawai springs, a Western reflection of the ancient practice of Hawai’ian girls bathing in them to insure fertile child-bearing years. Legend tells us that the Mo’o Twins were prophetesses of the lizard goddess who, through time, became goddesses in their own right. Learned in medicine, storytelling and song, the Mo’o Twins were revered and beloved of the local population they served.

The reconstructed Hapaiali’i Heiau (Temple for Elevating Chiefs), a temple associated with ceremonies involving changes in rank of Ali’i and as a calendric and astronomical observatory, lies on the grounds of the Outrigger Keauhou Beach Resort, across the narrow tidal inlet from Ke’eku Heiau. Not much is known about this Heiau; some traditions hold that it predates Ke’eku Heiau, others maintain it was built around 1812 by Kamehameha the Great. Rebuilt in 2007 and rededicated on the Winter Solstice of 2007, Hapaiali’i Heiau today is perhaps the best standing example of ancient Hawai’ian temple architecture

Immediately south of the grounds of the Keauhou Beach Hotel are the remains of a heiau that served as both a luakini heiau (place of human sacrifice) and pu’uhonua (place of refuge). Built by the Hawai’ian Ali’i Lonoikamakakahiki in the 16th century, Ke’eku Heiau is one of the most famous religious sites in the State of Hawai’i because of its veneration in folk tales involving the 16th century wars between the Hawai’i and the Maui. Ke’eku is where the victorious Hawaii Ali’i, Lonoikamakakahiki, is said to have sacrificed the defeated Maui Ali’i, Kamalalawalu, in celebration of the great victory. The Heiau has walls an impressive 6 to 11 feet thick, and measures 150 by 100 feet in area and is currently undergoing restoration.

Carved into the rock in the inter-tidal region in front of Ke’eku Heiau is an impressive set of ki’i pohaku (petroglyphs). Due to geological subsidence of the island over the past several hundred years, these petroglyphs are visible only at low tide; be wary of the rocks when wet—they are extremely slippery. There is one large anthropomorphic petroglyph in particular that is said to represent the sacrificed Maui Ali’i, Kamalalawalu.

Lonoikamakakahiki Homesite, on the grounds of the Kona Surf and Racquet Club, is a good example of the ravaging of archaeological heritage in West Hawai’i, and the disrespectful and wasteful way in which we deal with these important resources.

Here at Lonoikamakakahiki Residence is a king’s palace, 500 years old, and built by one of Hawai’i’s greatest kings, Umi. This site was later inhabited by at least two other important kings (Lonoikamakakahiki and Kalanio’pu’u) as well as Kamehameha the Great. In any other state this would be an archaeological treasure, a park or preserve, but certainly showcased and cared for. In this case, in Hawai’i, a few remnant walls were grudgingly reprieved from the bulldozer’s blade when the Kona Surf and Racquet Club was built by the Bishop Estate (Kamehameha Schools); the rest of this historical treasure was bulldozed into oblivion for all time. It is not even generally available for causal viewing, locked away behind the Kona Surf and Racquet Club’s iron gates where only paying Club guests and pedestrian visitors can see it. Of course, there is no available (legal) parking nearby.

The history of the temple and palace precincts of Lonoikamakakahiki Residence is deeply intertwined with some of the greatest events in the history of the Island. During the 16th Century, when Hawai’i was threatened by the attack of the Maui, Chief Lonoikamakakahiki was in residence here. Historic events again overtook this location late in the 17th Century when Captain Cook was killed at Kealakekua. Kalanio’pu’u, who was then Chief of all the Island of Hawai’i, fled here to hide from British sailors bent on vengeance. Kalanio’pu’u survived the days of battle and revenge and became a figurehead elder statesman, helping to shape his fellow Hawai’ians attitudes towards the newcomers, their incredible wealth and their new religion. Kalanio’pu’u was fond of hula and built the sacred hula grounds here which today lie under the tennis courts. Here, Kalanio’pu’u passed his latter years and divided his lands between his son, Kiwalao and his nephew, Kamehameha, passing his political power on to Kiwalao and his control of the warriors, along with the war god, Kuka’ilimoku, to Kamehameha.

After years of warfare and ruling his island kingdom, the elderly Kamehameha the Great moved his Royal Court from O’ahu to Kailua in the second decade of the 19th Century. He passed a year here at Lonoikamakakahiki Residence while his palace and temples at ‘Ahu’ena Heiau were re-built and re-dedicated. The royal residence has been uninhabited since Kamehameha moved to ‘Ahu’ena Heiau.

Anybody wishing to view these important and impressive archeological ruins must park at the Outrigger Keauhou Beach Resort or Kahalu’u County Beach Park and walk more than half a mile south along Ali’i drive to the “Public Shoreline Access” at the Surf and Racquet Club.

The scenic pullout on the Kamehameha III Highway at Ohi’a Lava Caves overlooks the Kona Coastline from Keauhou Bay north past Kailua Bay to Keahole Point. This is one of the best places to watch sunset in all of Kona and is also a grand spot for spotting whale spouts, watching sunsets and canoe races.

Directly below the scenic overlook is the Ohi’a Lava Tube cave complex. These caves were used at various times as general living quarters, shade during the blazing summers and cover from infrequent storms; springs deep with in the caves also augmented scarce supplies of fresh water for Kona residents. The caves also served as places for sacred ritual and burial of important Ali’i.

Today, exploration of the caves is unsafe and most of the accessible entrances are gated or sealed; visitors are asked to refrain from entering the caves to preserve the sanctity of native burials.

A lovely natural harbor backed by volley ball courts, canoe halau and lawn, the County Park and pier at Keauhou Bay is a lovely place to spend a few moments in quiet contemplation, eat a picnic lunch, or dive into the invitingly cool waters at the end of a hot day.

Along the cliffs fronting the bay is a nature trail planted with native Hawai’ian healing plants with explanatory signs which runs to the birthplace of Kalani Kauikeaouli, who later became King Kamehameha III when his older brother Liholiho (Kamehameha II) died of measles in England. Legend has it that Kalani was still born, but the kahuna attending the royal birth immediately immersed him in the cold waters of a nearby spring, where he was at once revived. There are not many places in America where one can easily walk to the exact birthplace of a King, and this pleasant spot is one such, not to be missed.

In ancient times, the Ali’i competed with each other in the sport of Holua, or sledding. A long, steep, track way paved with stones would be constructed down slope and then covered with tamped dirt and topped with dried grass. The Ali’i would race down these tracks on wooden sleds, or “holua” as competition. These races were very dangerous and only the Ali’i were allowed to compete. This particular holua is unique because, not only is it the largest and longest and best preserved in Hawai’i, but also because when constructed it went all the way into the sea at Keauhou Bay. Despite this important archeological site being a National Historic Landmark, much of it was bulldozed by developers building resorts and a golf course. The nearby village of Holualoa is named after this sled way; “holua” meaning “sled” and “loa” meaning “long”.

The Historic Landmark is best viewed from Ali’i Drive, directly across from the Kona Country Club parking lot.

Melancholy, lonely, desolate; this lava bench cut into the fresh scar of an a’a flow by the relentless ocean marks the place where the Hawai’ian gods died at the battle of Kuamo’o. In 1819, the year before the Christian missionaries arrived in Hawai’i, forces loyal to Kamehameha II and Queen Ka’ahumanu fought to overturn the kapu system and the pagan Hawai’ian religion in favor of Christianity. Kahuna Kekuaokalani led the last supporters of the old ways and the old gods and fought a desperate battle here to preserve their ancient way of life, and lost. Their graves, numbering in the several hundreds despite the official-looking marker at the site, are under the numerous, large stone altars erected by the victors over the very spots the warriors fell.

A walk along the dirt road that bisects the battlefield is ineffably sad and a little creepy. However, the road soon climbs into dry land forest along the lava ocean cliffs and provides some memorable hiking and sunset views.

For more information on visiting Hawaii in general, and the Big Island in particular, go to www.tourguidehawaii.com, and here.

Snorkeling Etiquette on Kahalu’u Beach

By Donald MacGowan

Loll in sand and sun under swaying palms, watch humpback whales dance in an exotic Kona sunset, snorkel among rainbow-colored fish on a protected reef or ride surf where the Kings of Hawai’i defined the sport a thousand years ago.

Kahalu’u Beach is the most popular snorkeling beach on the Island of Hawai’i with good reason; protected from the open ocean by a seawall, the reef is also protected against commercial aquarium fishing. The snorkeling is in calm, shallow water; there is an abundance of fish of an enormous variety…perhaps the best display on the island. Dozens of Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles call this bay home, eating the limu and thrilling the snorkelers. Numerous freshwater springs and shallow water bathers make the near-shore snorkeling unpleasantly cloudy, but about 100 feet offshore the water turns crystal clear and the display of coral is nothing short of amazing.

Outside the seawall is an excellent surf break that is for intermediate or better surfers and boogie boarders. There is a fair current north out of the bay and along the coast…swimmers caught in this current should relax and swim with the current, angling towards land.

Adjacent to Kahalu’u Beach is St. Peter’s Church, locally know as “The Little Blue Church”; it is the most photographed church in the State of Hawai’i. The history the St. Peter’s is fascinating and takes longer to tell than a tour of its Spartan interior and dozen pews. Originally built in 1880 on the site of La Aloa (Magic Sands) beach, the church was dismantled and hand carried piece by piece to its current location at Ku’emanu Heiau in 1912. In 1938, Father Benno of St. Michael’s added the belfry and the porch. Twice since it was situated here, St.Peters has been moved off its foundations by tsunami, but due to its small size and sturdy construction, has survived long in a harsh environment.

The Hawai’ian word Kahalu’u can be translated as “the place where people go into the water”; in ancient, as well as modern times, Kahalu’u was a place of recreation, relaxation and restoration. There are numerous sites of historic importance around the park, such as the breakwater, Paokamenehune, which predates the 15th century temple complexes in the area and is widely said to have been built by the menehune (sort of the Hawai’ian equivalent to leprechauns), but building was actually initiated to enclose the bay as a fishpond. Whether the work became beyond the powers of the Ali’i at the time to administrate or the surfing faction won-out in the battle over use of Kahalu’u Bay is not known, but the breakwater was already in disarray at the time of European contact in the 18th century. The springs on the northern edge of the park, at Ku’emanu Heiau, Waikui Punawai, where luakini sacrifices were ritually cleansed and today surfers rinse ocean water off themselves after surfing. Between St. Peters and the northern restroom is the Awa pae Wai O Keawaiki canoe landing which figured prominently in the Maui-Hawaii wars of the 16th Century. The large pond between the northern restrooms and the small pavilion, Wai Kua’a’la loko, was the private bathing pond of Hawai’ian Ali’i in residence at Kahalu’u.

Between the two pavilions is another ancient canoe landing and even into historic times, a halau wa’a, or canoe storage house, was situated here. An important heiau and royal residence, Mokuahi’ole, stood where the large pavilion is today. It was at this site that the great queen and wife of Kamehameha the Great, Ka’ahumanu, and her cousin Kuakini (later Territorial Governor) were raised.

Most days there is a food wagon selling sandwiches, burgers, shave ice and cold drinks at reasonable prices and a vendor renting snorkeling gear and boogie boards.

Since Kahalu’u Beach is where most people go to snorkel, let’s take a moment to talk about reef etiquette and the animals which inhabit the coral reefs. Please do not feed the fish, it disrupts their natural feeding habits and you may be injured. Reef fish do occasionally “nip”, so do not chase, harass or touch them (this includes octopi). The oils on your fingers will injure their skin and they may carry diseases which they can pass to you on your hands.

No discussion of Kahalu’u would be complete without a word about Hawaii’s Green Sea Turtles. Called Honu by Hawaii’s natives, the Hawaiian Green Sea turtle is beautiful, serene and seeming wise. Though they have swum the oceans for over 200 million years, peacefully feeding on algae and invertebrates, this highly successful product of amphibian evolution is in grave danger. Loss of habitat, hunting and molestation by humans has conspired to push the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle to the very verge of extinction. Protected now by state and federal law, the population of once millions of individuals has been decimated to just a few hundred thousand; although they are making a comeback, Hawaii’s honu are still very much endangered. Honu may grow up to 45 inches and weigh as much as 400 pounds at maturity, reached at 25 years of age.

Hawaiian Green sea turtles can easily be differentiated from the other near shore sea turtle in Hawaii, the much less common Hawksbill turtle, by counting the scales between the eyes. Hawksbills have four scales between the eyes and Hawaiian Green Sea turtles have two. Lady honu crawl on shore to lay their eggs, generally after migration to the quieter shores of the French Frigate Shoals, 800 miles northwest of Hawaii, or the black sand beaches on the south end of the Big Island of Hawaii.

Do not approach basking turtles closely, never touch or pick them up. Harassing turtles carries a stiff fine and in any case, touching the turtle is a good way to get a raging salmonella infection. If honu are swimming near where you are, do not approach or chase them; always swim to the side of them, never above (as a predatory shark would) nor below them (so they won’t feel that their soft belly is at risk).

Anyone who observes their beauty and grace underwater easily understands why the Hawai’ians base their word for “peace”, “honua”, on their name for the green sea turtle, “honu”.

Snorkeling etiquette calls for protecting not only the reef fish, but also the fragile corals growing on the reef. Corals, actually colonies of very small animals, take hundreds of years to form the structures visible today; they feed, shelter and provide habitats for other reef animals. Coral reefs also protect the lagoons and shoreline from waves and sand erosion. Corals are at the very root of Hawai’ian history and culture; the Hawaiian creation chant places the origin of life at the sea, beginning with a coral polyp.

Simply touching corals to see what they feel like can cause the death of an entire colony. Oils from your skin can disturb the delicate mucous membranes which protect the animals from disease. Please don’t walk upon or stand on coral, as this can kill the living coral polyps which, as the builders of the entire reef structure, are the very foundation of the reef ecosystem. Sunscreen washing off your body can kill coral; wear a t-shirt and a swim cap for UV protection.

For more information on visiting Hawaii in general and touring the Big Island in particualar, go to www.tourguidehawaii.com as well as here.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Chain of Craters Road

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is one of the great natural wonders, as well the most studied volcanoes, on earth. Few places can the visitor get as many diverse climates, flora, fauna and geologic dreamlands as inside the park’s boundaries.

Continuing down the Chain of Craters Road, there are numerous turnouts with panoramas that stretch the imagination. Tour Guide adds to the excitement with all the information about what is being seen. Take a quick stop at Alanui Kahiko. The words in Hawaiian mean old road. Here you will see portions of the old Chain of Craters Road, some 12 miles worth above and below this lookout, buried under 300 feet of lava by the 1972 eruptions. This spectacle alone is testament to the awesome destructive powers of Madam Pele, the volcano’s Fire Goddess.

A few miles further down the mountain is the Pu’u Loa Petroglyph field. It can be found along the side of the Ka’u-Puna Trail, a trail used by ancient Hawaiians. This is believed to be the largest petroglyph field in Polynesia, containing more that 15,000 carvings. The path to the petroglyphs is marked from the parking lot by cairns. Tour Guide will show you where to park and explain some of the carving’s meanings at this phenomenal spot.

At about the 19 mile marker is the current End of the Road, the location where the lava cut off the road in 1983. A year ago, you could park here and trek across the barren fields to where the lava was entering the ocean. Now, however, the lava has changed course and is sometimes entering from the Puna side of the park. There is still a ranger’s station here and many placards telling about the flows and safety precautions for hiking in the desolate area. Restrooms are available.

Walking down to the ocean at the End of the Road are some beautiful formations, most notably, the Holei Sea Arch. Tour Guide will tell you how arches and stacks are formed when the waves pound against the sea cliffs and chisel into the various lava densities. The cliff around this arch is some ninety feet, so use caution as you photograph this amazing sight.

Looking back up the mountain gives one the perspective of the destruction, yet the immaculate life giving beauty, of the fire goddess Pele who is in constant battle her sister, the ocean. Each takes life, and gives it. We as humans can stand in awe at the majesty and wonder of these two great forces, respecting each on its own terms.

As you travel back up the Chain of Craters Road, don’t forget to stop at some of the vista points and take photos and videos of the landscape, the memories and the people that are like nowhere else on earth, the Island of Hawaii.

For more information on touring Hawaii in general and the Big Island in particular, go here and here.

A place of both dramatic historic events and unparalleled scenery, beautiful and now peaceful Kealekekua Bay (Pathway of the Gods) opens beneath steep, beetling cliffs on the ancient surfing beach along the shoreline of Napo’opo’o Village. The site of arguably the most important event in the history of Polynesia, home to pods of frolicking dolphins, hosting the greatest density of hammerhead sharks anywhere in the Pacific Ocean and providing some truly breathtaking snorkeling, Kealekekua Bay is one of the most truly magical spots in the State of Hawai’i.

Across the bay from Napo’opo’o stands the solitary white obelisk that marks the lonely Captain Cook Monument rising among the ruins of Ka’awaloa Village. High along the cliff walls can be seen numerous burial caves of the iwi (bones) of Ali’i, and in the late afternoon light, a greyish streak is visible on the northwest wall. Local legend has it that a canon-ball fired by Cook to impress the Hawai’ians left this streak as it smeared and bounced along the cliff. Close in along the beach, historic Hikiau (Moving Current) Heiau stands through the ages, witness to the tsunami of enormous changes that swept through Hawai’i with the coming of Cook and the Europeans, which began right here at Kealekekua Bay.

Perhaps the most sought-after snorkeling area in Hawai’i, visitors frequently kayak from Napo’opo’o to the monument to enjoy the Class Triple-A waters and abundant sea life. However, the monument is also accessible by hiking a trail down from the highway; this hike takes 4-6 hours round trip and drinking water is not available anywhere along the journey.

Written, filmed, directed and produced by Donald B. MacGowan.

For more information on visiting and exploring the Big Island of Hawaii, visit here and

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Chain of Craters Road

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is one of the great natural wonders, as well the most studied volcanoes, on earth. Few places can the visitor get as many diverse climates, flora, fauna and geologic dreamlands as inside the park’s boundaries.

Continuing down the Chain of Craters Road, there are numerous turnouts with panoramas that stretch the imagination. Tour Guide adds to the excitement with all the information about what is being seen. Take a quick stop at Alanui Kahiko. The words in Hawaiian mean old road. Here you will see portions of the old Chain of Craters Road, some 12 miles worth above and below this lookout, buried under 300 feet of lava by the 1972 eruptions. This spectacle alone is testament to the awesome destructive powers of Madam Pele, the volcano’s Fire Goddess.

A few miles further down the mountain is the Pu’u Loa Petroglyph field. It can be found along the side of the Ka’u-Puna Trail, a trail used by ancient Hawaiians. This is believed to be the largest petroglyph field in Polynesia, containing more that 15,000 carvings. The path to the petroglyphs is marked from the parking lot by cairns. Tour Guide will show you where to park and explain some of the carving’s meanings at this phenomenal spot.

At about the 19 mile marker is the current End of the Road, the location where the lava cut off the road in 1983. A year ago, you could park here and trek across the barren fields to where the lava was entering the ocean. Now, however, the lava has changed course and is sometimes entering from the Puna side of the park. There is still a ranger’s station here and many placards telling about the flows and safety precautions for hiking in the desolate area. Restrooms are available.

Walking down to the ocean at the End of the Road are some beautiful formations, most notably, the Holei Sea Arch. Tour Guide will tell you how arches and stacks are formed when the waves pound against the sea cliffs and chisel into the various lava densities. The cliff around this arch is some ninety feet, so use caution as you photograph this amazing sight.

Looking back up the mountain gives one the perspective of the destruction, yet the immaculate life giving beauty, of the fire goddess Pele who is in constant battle her sister, the ocean. Each takes life, and gives it. We as humans can stand in awe at the majesty and wonder of these two great forces, respecting each on its own terms.

As you travel back up the Chain of Craters Road, don’t forget to stop at some of the vista points and take photos and videos of the landscape, the memories and the people that are like nowhere else on earth, the Island of Hawaii.

For more information on visiting Hawaii in general and touring the Big Island in particular, go here and here. Tour Guide…for Hawaii fun and Big Island Adventure!