Thursday, January 12, 2006

Living on Mauna Loa

I have a few days off right now, I won't have my next real busy spell 'til March/April. So I'll get away from quite as much dive talk.

If you'd have asked me a decade ago if I'd consider living on the side of an "active" volcano, I'd have chuckled... yet here I am. My wife and I came here on a trip back in '97 and by day two she's saying "Wouldn't this be an interesting place to live for a while?"... 16 months later we were here.

We live down south in the Captain Cook area. It's a nice green and comfortable area to live. I am continuously amazed at the number of people I meet who come to the Big Island and say it's nothing but a big lava field. They've obviously stayed up at the resorts in South Kohala and not traveled around - there's lots of varied terrain and climates here, even on the west side. So if you are ever visiting Kona, do take a trip to Kealakekua Bay or the Place of Refuge and check out the green part of Kona.

In our area the mountain comes up pretty much to the water, this ensures a fair amount of afternoon rain on the hills during the warmer months. Living here is like living in a botanical paradise. I have roughly 50 pounds of ripe apple bananas (better than the grocery variety - have a sweet green apple aftertaste) outside my back door right now. Also very common in the area are papayas, mangos, pineapple (including white pineapple which are non-acid pineapple and completely delicious), avocados, all sort of citrus, plus oddballs like jaboticaba (looks like a laurel with concord grapes growing off the bark), lilikoi passion fruit, jackfruit and some things I can't even pronounce.

Anyway, it all could be gone in a day or two if Madam Pele (basically the Hawaiian volcano goddess) decides it to be so. Our particular plot of land hasn't had a flow in hundreds, maybe a thousand years or more, however there is a flow a half mile to mile from here that occured within the lifetimes of people I know living in the area. You tend not to think of the possibilities, but you never know. We had another earthquake felt at the house two days ago. I was also in the water for that one but didn't notice anything. Pat was here and said it was just a bump and a shake. She looked it up and it was a small one centered about a mile from our place. Here's a great link to see recent quakes on the Big Island... We get quakes on the island all the time but generally only feel them in Kona a couple times a year, if that.

I did do a dive yesterday just for fun. I was playing with the video function on my digital camera, and it's not that bad. I nearly killed my computer trying to download a program to try to get the video to where I could blog it. I'll try something else when I have some free time and maybe one day I'll be able to throw some quick video clips on here. Here's a pair of Redstripe Pipefish from a year or so ago. Lucky shot on my part to get both of them in the frame. They were back in a dark hole and I sort of just stuck my hand with camera in and started shooting.

Take care,


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