Sunday, November 26, 2006

More on HI

After my mom went home, I had another 2.5 weeks in Hawaii visiting the Hawaii Volcano Observatory. It was a nice visit, I had a lot of time to chat with the scientists there and with the volunteers. HVO would grind to a halt I suspect if it weren't for the volunteers, most of whom seem to be recent college grads and who work for free. I think they should at least be called interns and given minimum wage, it feels like the government is exploiting them. The volunteers were so happy when I gave them my leftover food and one of them said he would pick up the recycling at my house so he could get the deposits! Moreover, I think HVO's reliance on volunteers is a big reason why they don't have a lot of grad students hanging around; I would have thought the place would have at least a couple grad students from UH working there. Grad students would stick around for a couple years and publish papers with HVO scientists, which would be good for the Observatory. Anyway, enough of that.

During my stay abby and nick came to visit. I went back to the Lae'puki lava entry with them and this time we hiked out as far as the rope barrier that the park service put up. As you can see by comparing the photo below with the one from the previous post, we were quite a bit closer.

It started to sprinkle while we were out there, so nick suggested we head back. I thought it would pass, but within 20 minutes we were in the middle of a huge downpour. Then the thunder and lightening started. The lava rock was so black it was impossible to see any definition outside the range of our headlamps, then there would be a flash of lightening that would blind us for a second. It was so easy to take a mistep that it was like playing freeze when I was little; when the lightening struck I would just stop, midstep or whatever. Luckily none of us were struck by lightening, but we were soaked down to our socks. The next morning, the backseat in A and N's rental car was still wet where I had sat during the ride back home. I hope there wasn't a butt shaped mold spot when they returned it.

The next day you would never have known it had been rainy, we had beautiful weather for our hike out to a green sand beach.

The sand is green because it is made of olivine fragments. When the surrounding lava rocks are eroded to form sand, the lighter basalt is carried away by wave action and the heavier olivine crystals are left behind, creating an almost all olivine beach. abmatic has more pics on her site.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Kick ass haul

Well I didn't go to Rhinebeck and I was in blog embargoed HI, so couldn't participate in kweaver's "didn't go to Rhinebeck". But here are some pics of my Mountain Hardwear sample sale haul.

I didn't find out that this was sample sale weekend until Saturday afternoon, which was the afternoon of my sister's baby shower, so I really couldn't drop everything and run over there. On Sunday, I arrived only an hour before it was all over, which is pretty foolish since most of the good stuff is likely to be gone, but on the other hand, some things were marked down even further. The T-shirts were all 2 for 1 at the sale price, so they were $5 each and my roommate got a tent for $50 that was being sold for $100 on Sat. (retail ~$230, I googled it). I'm not sure which find I'm most excited about, the $25 fleece or the $15 Men's hiking Kilt. The kilt kind of rocks, but its an XS and I probably could use a S.
What did you get at the sample sale/warehouse sale?

btw, there will be some knitting on this blog sometime. I recently gave my sister the baby blanket I knit for my nieceephew without getting a picture of it first. I was up too late trying to finish it before the baby shower to think about photographing it. But it turned out really nicely, so I will try to get a picture soon.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Lazarus the plant

I wish I'd taken a picture of this plant when I first returned, but I thought it was a complete goner. It was totally flat; all the little stems were flopped over the pot. Now its starting to come back.

I suspect the leaves that look blackish are really gone, but I'll continue to keep track of its recovery.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Back from blog embargoed Hawaii

Oh the hopefulness of my last entry! Little did I know I would be under a blog embargo for my entire trip. I had only work internet access, and work has decided that blogs (including my own) aren't appropriate for their employees! But now I'm back and I can tell you all about it.

My trip started with a week's vacation with my Mom. We had three days in the Hilo area, where we stayed in a rental house. The first day we didn't do too much, but went to see some waterfalls near Hilo and swimming a Richardson's Beach. A woman lent my mom her snorkel gear and she got to see a sea turtle! I was pretty surprised since Richardson's Beach is really close to town, we drove right by where the cruise ships dock in order to get there. The next day, it was looking really rainy (not just usual rainy) so we went up to Volcanoes NP and drove around the caldera where we got some great views of the fog. In the evening we hiked a little bit out to see the lava ocean entry (Lae'puki). It was clear out there, so we had a good view.

Can you see it?

The next day had better weather and we went out to snorkel at the Kapoho tidepools (actually Wai O'Pae).

Then it was on to the Kona side which is much more touristy. In fact it was kind of a shock to go from sleepy Hilo to Hard-rock-cafe-bubba-gumps-cruisin-by-the-beach-loud-music-whistlin-at-girls Kailua. But when in tourist heaven, do tourist things. We went on a snorkeling trip out to Honaunau and another spot which was not Kealakekua. The recent earthquake triggered a landslide at Kealakekua and the hillside is still considered unstable, so it was off limits. I don't know what I missed, but the snorkeling where we went was amazing anyway. I think you could jump off the side of a boat anywhere on the Kona side and see some pretty amazing things. I don't have any pics, because I wasn't taking my cool new camera anywhere near a splashy boat ride. I took some with a waterproof camera, but I will have to wait for those to get developed. We also went to a luau at the Shearton Keauhou, which was pretty good. The food was very good; they served poke and poi as well as pork and prime rib. The show was ok. My mom liked it a lot, but I'm a fan of more traditional Hawaiian dance, which is much more fierce than what you usually get in shows (and I mean that in both the literal and the Tyra Banks way).

Note the old people in the background, I wasn't the youngest person there, but everyone else my age was also there with their parents.

After that I was ready to get a break from vacationing and do a little work. Some guys from UH were putting in some GPS monuments in the Kona area, in response to the recent Kiholo Bay earthquake. I tagged along and helped them a bit, which was a lot of fun and a really good way to see the island.

This is what the monuments look like. One of them was sited on the estate of the man that invented the pacemaker! He was very cool and interested in having science happen on his property. If only everyone were as excited to help us.

The next day my mom went home and went up to Volcano for the work portion of my trip. But that will have to be saved for the next post.