For the most part, it was a rainy weekend in Kona. This afforded me the opportunity to do some gardening in the rain, including the removal of a venerable banana tree. When I explained to Sandra that gardening in the rain reminded me of what I used to do in Seattle, she replied, "like cutting down banana trees?" Suffice it to say,it was a rhetorical question.
|A Dramatic November Sunset|
How did the banana tree get to be so old? It bore its single bunch of bananas over a year ago, while we were in Vancouver doing Trick or Treat with Colsen and Reid. By the time we got back in November there was so much else to do that the old brute was forgotten. Which doesn't mean it stopped growing. By the time I tackled it on Saturday morning the trunk was eight inches in diameter and the leaves reached twenty feet skyward.
I had offered Vernon Yoder, a harvester of trees par excellence, the opportunity to cut down the tree, but Kathy was adamant; they are not coming to Hawaii this winter, banana tree or no banana tree. I'm including a picture of Vernon and, his father with the family log truck circa 1960. And I ask you, "Do you think he could handle a measly banana tree?
In addition to the Yoders, this winter we will not see any of our friends from British Columbia. Under current Canadian policy, anyone who leaves the country loses their health insurance. Lonely us.
|Vernon and his Father ca 1960. |
The sky full of clouds yielded some wonderful sunsets, but it wasn't raining all the time. On Sunday afternoon the sun came out and we took a drive, looking at the throngs of tourists at White Sands beach and Kahalu'u. Just past K Bay, Sandra was astounded as she looked at the still barricaded grounds of what was the Keahou Beach Hotel. She exclaimed, "They've turned it into a golf course!"
You long time followers of the comings and goings in Kailua Kona will recall that the hotel closed its doors in October of 2012. We were told at the time that it would be turned into a cultural center. Over the next five years, the owners of the property, which turns out to be Kamehameha Schools, demolished the building. That's right. It took five years! Talk about Hawaiian time. For the last two years we have been looking at a vacant lot. Just a few days ago we spotted a flowing lawn with a few picnic tables. No shelter whatsoever. Is this Kamehameha Schools idea of a cultural center?
|The Kahalu'u Cultural Center, photo SKG|
while I headed for the beach. The water is getting cooler, it is a little cloudy and there are definitely tourists swimming in the bay. But what the heck, Hawaii is getting back to normal, virus or no virus.
On this outing I did not see any new fish or critters, but I took the opportunity to work on my movie making skills. Out of six efforts, four are fit for human consumption. Or close enough. Obviously there are countless moving pictures of Hawaiian fish, shot in focus and in clear blue water. These clips give you a chance to see what was up on a cloudy fall day at Kahalu'u.
The fist clip shows a palenose parrotfish, one of our prettiest fish. Back in the day, we were told that parrotfish ate coral and what came out the other end was made the sandy beaches. As you can see here, the parrotfish now graze on what is growing on the bare rocks.
The next video shows a Rockmover. These amusing wrasses aren't found just anywhere. For some reason Kahalu'u is the best spot on the Big island. This is a nice crisp video which shows off the fish nicely. Unfortunately I didn't catch it turning over a rock. Larger yellowtail coris, also found at K Bay, also turn over rocks looking for comestible invertebrates. Perhaps we will find one of those next time.
The third video is quick shot of a saddleback butterflyfish. This is another of our very attractive fish. That alone justifies my including this quick clip that seems to have been shot too close. The saddle back is bigger than most other butterflies and I suppose that accounts for this fish filling the frame to excess.
The last little video (this blog site limits us to twenty second clips) is of everybody's favorite fish, the Yellow Tang. These guys are herbivores and will clean the green stuff of almost anything, from a rock to a turtle. Here you will also see a bunch of Lavender Tangs and a few other fish. Identifying them should be good practice for you.
When I got ashore, Sandra greeted me with the news that the place was crawling with flipper walking Japanese tourists. Things change daily, but as far as I knew, it is difficult, if not impossible, for a Japanese tourist (currently) to come to Hawaii and then return to Japan. Never the less, there was a plethora of Asian tourists in the shelter and they were speaking to each other in an inscrutable (to my ear) oriental tongue.
|A family from Oakland gets ready to hit the beach. photo SKG|
fu manchu beard. Although my ears were full of water, there was no mistaking that he spoke in highly accented English. After explaining the ins and outs of snorkeling at Kahalu'u, I took a chance and asked him where he was from. To which he replied, "San Francisco." I took another chance and asked where they were staying. "At the Marriott.." he replied. He wasn't sure if that was the King Kamehameha Hotel, but the next nearest Marriott is at Waikoloa, an hour away.
After I got changed, Schmoopie and I looked around. There were at least four of these Chinese American families, with no fewer than six members in each family unit. Mothers were giving stern instructions on water safety to their children in Mandarin.
One chubby little girl plopped down near us. Having no boundaries whatsoever, I asked where she was from. She looked up at me like a panda in the headlights, but when her father encouraged her, she blurted out, "Oakland." Sandra couldn't help herself. She told the father that our nephew had just purchased a home in Oakland for a tidy sum, to which he replied, "Ahh, Very expensive. Ha ha."
We love having our tourists back. It makes everything seem normal even if it quadruples our risk of getting the plague. Meanwhile, you can join me for the dim sum special at the Billfish Bar and Grille. Sammy Fong is picking up the tab.
My mother was a singer, not a famous one, but she loved to sing the hits from her favorite shows. I can sing One Hundred Million Miracles in my sleep.That's Jackie Fong embracing Mei Li. Earlier in the movie, Mei Li sings my mother's favorite song while she keeps rhythm on a small drum.