A Brilliant Day

It was a rainbow sort of day.

Colorful Commute
A rainbow on the mist over the summit access road
I am not really the rainbow and unicorns sort of guy, I am a bit more prosaic than that. That does not mean I do not notice the beauty of the world around me. Even on this beautiful island there are days that stand out.

After a spell of Kona weather the trades were back with a vengeance, blowing hard. This moved the Waimea mist wall halfway to Waikoloa. The result? Rainbows around every corner.

The first in sunrise light over the Kohala, the second in the mist as the sunlight pierced the low clouds near the airport, more of a fogbow actually. Another in the mist at Puhakuloa along Saddle Road, another on the summit road where heavier raindrops produced a brilliant bow. That was just the morning drive to work, the afternoon produced another set of rainbows for a total of seven, not counting the one I saw twice I as I drove into and out of Waimea.

Yeah, it was a rainbow sort of day.

Rainbow Wheel

As I have mentioned previously, Waimea has rainbows.  Not just a few rainbows either, but multiple rainbows through the day.  Add a few cloud bows, and moon-bows into the schedule and you get the idea of how common rainbows are in this town.  The last couple weeks have been above average, with rainbows even us jaded rainbow viewers have stopped and taken notice of.

I stopped for this rainbow as is looked like a good photo op,  I was just on my way home from work and had plenty of time to play with a camera.  To my surprise I noted that some cloud shadows were cutting the south end of the bow, creating a wheel, something I had never seen before.

Rainbow Wheel
A rainbow and cloud shadows produce a rainbow wheel

Keck at the End of the Rainbow

Waimea could honestly use the tagline “Place of Rainbows”. I see more rainbows here than anywhere else I know of. The trades blow the wet tropical air into the saddle between Mauna Kea and the Kohala. This creates a bank of clouds that dissipates right over the town. Clouds and rain on one side of town, clear skies on the other side, add low morning or afternoon sunlight and the rainbows appear. Sometimes they appear in convenient locations…

Keck at The End of the Rainbow
A brilliant rainbow ends at the headquarters of the W. M. Keck Observatory in Waimea

Postcard from Hawaii – Waimea Rainbow

This morning I was one of six cars traveling in a group towards Waimea. Then the rainbow appeared, nothing odd about that, rainbows are common here. This rainbow was a little more intense than usual, worth a second look. I slowed to allow the jeep in front of me to pull over, no surprise… An obvious tourist in a rental car and a pretty rainbow, he was going to pull over.

As we proceeded toward town the rainbow just got brighter. The next car pulled over, this time a local in an older vehicle. Then the next car, and the next, there is plenty of room to park along the Mamalahoa Highway south of Waimea.

I was now one of two vehicles from the original six… Why not?

I pull over to take photos of the rainbow.

Rainbows are not just common in Waimea, they are nearly an everyday occurrence. With the trade-winds blowing you can see a rainbow every morning and evening near the Waimea airport. Moonbows are also common in the blowing mist conditions that are prevalent here. It takes a truly spectacular rainbow to draw much comment.

A rainbow that has five out of six cars pull over?

Waimea Rainbow
An intense rainbow outside Waimea with a faint double.

Postcard from the Summit – Red Bow

Waimea is a place of rainbows. So common are they here it is a rare day that goes by without at least one rainbow.

But what does a rainbow look like at sunset? When the Sun’s light is reddened by passage through so much air and haze. The bow will begin to lose all color except for red, this creates a red bow…

Red Bow above Mauna Kea
A snow covered Mauna Kea at sunset as seen from Wiamea, with a bit of a red sunset bow above the western slope