Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Life in Hawaii

Part of exploring new locations in the world is to experience life. Travel is certainly a entertaining way to pass the time. But ultimately it is the life experiences that happen when you see and touch new places that make that indelible imprint on your frontal lobe.

This week has been no exception.

Hawaii is a great example of how life and destruction coexist to form some type of harmony.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, Monday night we made our trek to see the manta rays. Though not a normal event in nature, the mantas have adapted to participate in the human interaction by the coaxing of local tour guides.

Over the years, local operators have suspended large halogen lights either pointed from the surface or from the bottom to form a cone of light that attracts plankton. These microscopic life forms form a swarm in the light stream that the mantas enjoy by making one circle after another as they devour the small food particles.

We on the other hand get to watch the show. From our snorkel pose the 7 to 14 foot creatures fly by within inches -- even occasionally batting you with a smooth fin.

It's an amazing experience and the kids enjoyed the proximity and the beauty of these animals. One female was entangled in a fish hook and float which was removed by one of the guides with a pair of scissors.

Now compare this with the other side of the Big Island. Though only a couple hours drive away along Highway 19, it seems like its a different planet. The green landscape in contrast to the Mars-like lava flow of Kona is abruptly interrupted by the 13,000 foot Mauna Loa volcano.

Still active and belching smoke, though no lava this trip from the report of Kristen and Will's 2-mile hike to find it.

Sulfur infused air, the warm earth, the steam vents, the devastation placed on the roads and houses defines the enormous power of our earth. Processes that clearly we don't completely understand.

But in this black graveyard of molten rock and glass you still find life.

There are plants and animals that somehow manage to carve out an new existence in the wake of this volcano And even people rebuild their houses, albeit in a different environment from months before.

They first must carve a road to their final property line, rebuild the house or structure, and learn to live without running water or electricity. From hauling in water to large cisterns to windmills to harvest the constant southerly breeze, they manage to reform their lives.

So whether it's several miles below the surface of the water or several miles above, Hawaii and the Big Island define the coexistence of life and death. And somehow what is created is both magical and beautiful.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Big Island, Hawaii

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