2022 in Photos

With recent history having been a bit bumpy, looking back on 2022 is not too bad in out little part of the world. More than a few good memories.

  • Kailua Bay
  • PBR's with Asparagopsis taxiformis
  • Harvesting Atax
  • Raceway pond
  • Waimea Canyon
  • Kīlauea lighthouse
  • Kōloa sugar mill
  • An air compressor rusts in the abandoned Kōloa sugar mill
  • Sunset over Lawaʻi Beach
  • Charter Boat
  • Ben halibut fishing in Yakutat Bay
  • King Salmon
  • Icebergs on Harlequin Lake
  • A six inch gun emplacement
  • Total Lunar Eclipse
  • Equator
  • Masaka Road
  • Line for the ferry at Nakiwogo, Uganda
  • Kids at Kazinga
  • An older male lion (Panthera leo) in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda
  • Tour vans arrive to see the lion
  • Pied Kingfisher
  • Rüppells starling
  • Marabou Stork
  • Elephant
  • The Elephant's Eye
  • Toyota Land Cruiser
  • Mauna Loa eruption at dawn
  • The 2022 eruption of Mauna Loa on the second day
  • The 2022 eruption of Mauna Loa on the second day
  • Sunset over Lawaʻi Beach

2023

As usual we rang in the new year staying quietly at home. Quietly? We may have been quiet, the neighborhood was not. I have always considered the amount of fireworks the neighborhood launches to be a rough economic indicator. Apparently this last year ws not too bad, the quantity of explosives launched over Waikoloa was impressive.

While Waikoloa was impressive, Honolulu was insane…

Our celebration? Testing a little telescope and enjoying a cup of cocoa at midnight.

With celebrations complete we shall have to see what this new year brings. There is some optimism and no complete disasters looming, which after the last few years is all I am going to ask for.

Playing Tourist

The dentist’s office is just behind the historic Moku‘aikaua Church, and just a block from Ali‘i drive and Kailua Bay. With an appointment at 9am on a Saturday morning this leads to the question… What do I do after the teeth thing? Deb is off teaching a class at the local sewing store, thus I am on my own.

Hulihe‘e Palace
Hulihe‘e Palace on the waterfront of Kailua Bay

Leaving the car in the office parking garage I decide to walk that block from the office to the bay, just walk about and play tourist for the morning.

It is a rough surf day, not bad, but a decent swell is sending water spashing over the seawall showering the occasional tourist.

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Is it over already?

The question of the week… Is it over?

The 2022 eruption of Mauna Loa on the second day
The 2022 eruption of Mauna Loa on the second day

Eruptive activity began to wane at the end of last week,with the lava fountains diminishing, then disappearing over the weekend. Views in the webcams showed a steady decrease in activity at fissure 3 over the course of several days.

At this point no lava appears to be emerging onto the surface, with only a few dribbles left in the lava flow to be seen as minor glows across the flank of the mauna.

Oddly Kilauea, after erupting continuously for over a year seems also to have paused. There is no longer any visible lava or even a glow within the Halemauʻmauʻu crater.

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Mauna Loa Awakens

On the way home in the eve the red glow dominates the horizon. Going to work the next morning it is the plume on the skyline. The eruption is ever present.

The 2022 eruption of Mauna Loa on the second day
The 2022 eruption of Mauna Loa on the second day

When moving to the island fifteen years ago I had looked at the mauna and thought to myself… One day you will erupt, will it be during my time on the island? This though has occured to me many times in the intervening years… When hiking the lava flows in the saddle, when driving up and down Mauna Kea to work looking across at the many flows streaking the flanks of Mauna Loa. How many times have I looked up and wondered when? One day.

That day was Sunday, November 27th, 2022.

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The Impacts of Sugar

The impact of the sugar industry in these islands simply cannot be overstated. For over a century sugar was the dominant industry in the islands consuming land, water, and people. These islands were shaped by sugar, physically and culturally.

An abandoned truck sits outside the Kōloa sugar mill
An abandoned truck sits outside the Kōloa sugar mill

So much of what you see today is a direct resut of sugar, many people and cultures that now call these islands home are descended from the immigrant laborers who came to work the plantations. These immigrants brought with them thier languages and so much more. So many traditions, foods, and words, blended with the Native Hawaiian culture to create the island culture we enjoy.

While this legacy is seen on almost all of the islands it seems most visible on the southern shore of Kauai, perhaps as these plantations were some of the last to shut down, and very little has replaced or re-developed in the area. Plantation towns sit in the shadow of rusting mills that loom over the landscape.

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Yet Another Volcano Run

Once was not enough, I had to do it again. The allure of lava too much I planned yet another run across island in the middle of the night to see the lava at Kilauea.

The western vent spilling lava into the lake at Halemaʻumaʻu
The western vent spilling lava into the lake at Halemaʻumaʻu

This time Deb would come along, mistakenly agreeing to to 0130 alarm clock and possibly regretting it as she climbed out of bed. Thus we drove through the night passing through the park gates a little before 4am.

A larger crowd greeted us this time. The parking lot was lamost half full and there were more folks passing us on the walk out to the viewpoint.

This trip would feature a bit of moonlight over the caldera rather than the dark skies of two weeks ago, a quarter moon in the eastern sky. I had hoped for a few thin moonlit clouds to use in the compositions, but this did not happen. The morning was completely cloud free over the caldera, and nearly calm, the plume rising striaght up from the lava.

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Monk Seals

Somehow I had gone fifteen years in Hawaii without seeing a monk seal in the wild. How I had managed this I will never know, perhaps just bad luck.

A pair of A Hawaiian monk seals (Monachus schauinslandi) slumber in the sand at Mahaiʻula beach
A pair of A Hawaiian monk seals (Monachus schauinslandi) slumber in the sand at Mahaiʻula beach

Been there, done that.

Not just one monk seal, but three. And a great view, watching as the seals played in the water then pulled up on the beach to rest for the day.

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Magnitude 6.2

Well? That was the strongest shake we have had in a while. Magnitude 6.2 well offshore of the south end of the island.

The whole house rattled for a while, then a few sharp bangs, then it rumbled on for a while longer. Nothing knocked off shelves, just a steady rattle of plates and photos on the wall. The 3D printer took no notice, happily plotting along.

The cats did take notice, Electra disappearing under the bed, not to re-appear for a while. Ras was all perky-eared and vigilant.

For this quake I guessed not only the distance correctly, but the magnitude to within 0.3, (guessed 6.5, USGS revised 6.2). We have plenty of experience with big island shakes at this point. I felt both the S and P waves arrive, that gave me distance. What surprised me is the depth, 21 miles down, that is below the crust, into the mantle.

Magnitude 6.1 Down South
USGS plot of a magnitude 6.1 earthquake off the south end of the island with aftershocks, Oct. 10, 2021

A Month for Disaster

There is a meme running around that relates all too well at the moment…

Smoke Over Waikoloa
Smoke from an approaching wildfire stains the skies over Waikoloa

Worst month ever!
What do you mean this is only the 1st?

Anonymous social media meme

This month is only four days old and we are quite ready to agree with whomever coined that meme.

Sunday, August first started out peaceful enough. I was looking forward to a relaxing day with a few chores about the house. The only nagging worry was keeping tabs on the large brushfire raging towards Waimea, though it was many miles away. As the winds picked up this worry also intensified, to where I had to the local emergency radio feed streaming on the computer speakers.

When the fragmentary radio chatter from the fire units indicated that the fire had jumped Highway 130 I knew what was coming next… An evacuation of Waikoloa Village.

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