Today was my first official day on the island because last night barely counts as being in Hawaii. The only important environmental thing I saw was the little sign that asked us to please reuse our towels to conserve water (but those are everywhere). My post can really start with what I saw today in Kona. While it is a large city, they seem to make use of the natural resources. The streets were lined with walls of the island’s natural lava rocks. This gave a purpose to all of the lava that the island has in abundance. Another great thing I saw was a natural energy lab beside Route 19. There were lots of solar panels on the vast lava fields that can provide clean energy to the people of Kona.
In the city, I couldn’t help but notice some concerning things as well. Because Kona is a city and a huge tourist attraction, there was a lot of artificial landscaping that required lots of sprinklers to maintain. Also, there were lots of rain grates along the roads. With the grates so close to the water, I was curious about what kind of pollution was going to be put into the water. Speaking of the water, I noticed that there were breakwaters to stop the waves from slamming into the shore and washing it away at Kahalu’u Beach Park. A breakwater is something that lots of people that live on the water can consider because it helps to stop the erosion.
I also got a lot of information on the environment and ecology on the Big Island. The huge volcanoes on the island give off something called vog, a volcanic fog. This was something I found interesting because it is a natural form of smog. Also, the lava fields were amazing to see. Because the lava takes thousands of years to break down, there are few to no plants growing and miles and miles of hardened lava cover the earth. Eventually, things will grow like they do closer to the coast where the water helped to break down the lava.
Finally, I had some questions that I hope to have answered soon. I am interested to see how the island seems to combat pollution of the water? The Chesapeake Bay was once filtered by oysters, but I was wondering how the waters of Hawaii stay so crystal clear even in the small bays and ports.
Overall, I had a great time exploring Kona today. I got to stick my feet in the water at Kahalu’u Beach Park and A-Bay*. I saw a turtle and a hunting bird at A-Bay and was surprised there was not more fauna. The addition of a new beach club may be the answer, or it could simply be that the surf was too rough today. Anyway, we visited lots of cute little shops and art galleries on the shore. After looking at all of the paintings of whales, I can’t wait to actually see one. After my long day, I got to sit on a lanai and watch a gorgeous sunset. For the third graders following the blog, I did not get to see the big volcano today, but I will definitely post a picture when I do!
The breakwater at Kahalu’u Beach Park
The water is so clear and the sand is small pieces of lava at Kahalu’u
The lava fields with a dormant volcano in the background
Some litter left at an overlook of the Pacific
A piece of brain coral at A-Bay
Can you spot the lone turtle? Talk about camouflage!
A little crab hanging out at A-Bay
Me on a tree at A-Bay
A nice way to end the day
*A-Bay is actually named Anaeho’omalu Bay, but A-Bay is much easier to pronounce!