22. Island Hopping Memories – Kauai

22. Island Hopping Memories – Kauai

spouting hornSummer of 1966, and unsure where we would be after the instructor I was replacing returned, we went island hopping to get pictures and memories to share of special places.  There are a lot of things to see and enjoy, so I can only hit the high spots.

June 2: Up early, we were off by jet to Lihue, the major city on Kauai, the northern most island.  Kauai is called the Garden Island, but we call it the island of beautiful beaches.

After lunch we headed south of town in our rented car, and stopped at Spouting Horn.  According to legend, a giant sea lizard got his horns caught under the lava, and to this day is snorting and moaning under there.  The water shoots up and into another hole where the water is squashed through with a fantastic sound – sorta like a plumber’s helper working in a toilet only louder.

Poipu beach
A short way down the coast was our first “beautiful beach,”  Poipu, a small crescent of sand with one end protected by rocks, so we swam a little, and got a little sun-burned.

k-26-hanapepe-lookout-web-lNext morning, after a breakfast of Macadamia Nut pancakes at the Tip Top Cafe, we headed again on the southern route to go to the end of the road.  We stopped at a lookout to view Hanapepe Valley. Legend says when a young Hawaiian woman seemed to be barren she was sent to this valley to live and almost always got pregnant while there.

Nineteen miles uphill was Waimea Canyon lookout, our main destination.  What a view!  It’s called the “Little Grand Waimea canyon 2Canyon” and it sure is.  On the side of the canyon we spotted some wild goats – gray ones and one black & white.  With pleasure I noticed that we stayed longer at places than the tour groups – four came and went while we enjoyed the view.

A short drive up at the end of the road was Kalalau Lookout – a beautiful deep slash of a canyon open only to the sea, and inaccessible by land.  We ate our box lunch, then went back to Waimea to catch the late afternoon shadows and color.  Clouds moved in, so we drove back down to the beach near Hanappepe and went swimming near ancient salt pans.  The sun sank, and we hightailed it for Lihue.

Next: the northern route of Kauai  where the movie South Pacific was filmed.

21. The Volcano is Erupting!

21.  The Volcano is Erupting!

Sunday, November 5, 1967 — we were awakened at 6:30 a.m. when the phone rang.  A friend’s voice said,  “The Volcano is Erupting!”  It didn’t take us long to get going!  We jumped in the car and drove the 30 miles up the mountain to see “our” volcano, — the world’s only “drive-in” volcano.

At the park entrance I stopped the car in surprise to take a picture of a small hand-written sign in the middle of the road with an arrow — TO Eruption —–>  The eruption was in the biggest of the craters, Halemaumau, home of Madam Pele, the goddess of the Volcano.  The crater was 1/2 mile in diameter and 500 feet deep when the eruption started.

We parked and hurried to the viewing stand on the rim of the crater.  The wooden platform was jammed with people, but Betty was able to wiggle to the front to take pictures.

What a sight!  The bright orange molten lava was bubbling 50 to 100 feet high in several long streams of beautiful fountains.  The whole crater had filled up with 80 feet of lava lake with a black crust that swirled as new fountains burst through.  The sulfur smoke was almost overpowering when the wind blew at us.  There was a constant hiss and powerful roar; like the breaking of waves on the beach.  The roar was almost lost in the wind, but it increased our sense of awe at this fantastic show of Nature’s incredible power and beauty–almost indescribable.volcano day

And wind!  We hadn’t expected the wind!  Rock melts at 2,000 degrees, and the tremendous heat which we could feel blowing on our faces created a thermal area with wind was circling the crater at gusts up to 50 miles an hour.  Sprinkle that liberally with ash, cinders, and smoke, so it was obvious why the rangers were wearing face masks and goggles.

A ranger with a bullhorn delighted us by announcing “Good morning, The Department of Interior is pleased to bring you this eruption this morning.”  HA!

The ranger alerted us to wind devils (whirlwinds) coming and advised leaving.  Betty and I were already started when a gust of wind blew us flat — Betty on the bottom so I had a soft landing. 🙂   I looked up to see a crowd of people running toward us on the path with coats over their heads.  We were about to be trampled! God saved us by having the leader men in the crowd scoop us up and carry us to the parking lot.  Whew!

One night we went up at midnight to miss the crowd — ha, about 100 other people had the same idea. The volcano erupting at night was incredibly beautiful with the same hypnotic magnetism as staring into a fire at dancing flames — but with the flame of molten lava fountaining on a constantly changing dance floor of black lava crust, spider webbed with flowing strands of fiery orange liquid rock.  What a magnificent experience!

Back then, there were no barriers around the crater rim, and people were going right up to the edge to look down at the flames. When we left at 3:30 a.m. there were still crowds of people and camera tripods silhouetted against the bright orange light from the crater.