Hawaii

The Hawaiian Scenery page contains 33 images of Black Sand Beaches and Lava Flows,
Kilauea, the Puna Coast, Waianuenue Falls, Pu'uhonua o Honaunau and Liliuokalani Gardens.

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Pu'uhonua o Honaunau

Pu'uhonua o Honaunau is a historic place of refuge on the Kona coast at the royal grounds of Honaunau, on
the Big Island of Hawai’i. For over 700 years, it was a sanctuary for those who had violated kapu (sacred law),
at the time punishable by death. It is the site of two ancient heiau (sacred structures) and Hale o Keawe Heiau,
the royal mausoleum which housed the remains of 23 deified high chieftains and sanctified the place of refuge.

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Great Wall Pu'uhonua o Honaunau X0318

The Great Wall at Pu'uhonua o Honaunau, the Place of Refuge on the South Kona Coast.
The Great Wall is 12 feet tall, 18 feet wide and 965 feet long, protecting the east and south
sides of Pu'uhonua o Honaunau. The unmodified stone was laid without mortar (c. 1500),
using two distinct techniques to fill the interior wall: the pa’o (caverned) method, in which
lava slabs were laid atop upright columns, is unique in the Hawaiian archipelago; in the
haka haka (vacant spaces) method, stone rubble was used to fill the interior cavities.
The Great Wall separated the royal grounds of Honaunau from the Pu’uhonua refuge.

Pu'uhonua o Honaunau is a ceremonial site where those who had broken kapu (sacred law)
sought refuge and forgiveness. Defeated warriors and non-combatants could find refuge during
times of war, knowing that they would be safe and that they could return home unmolested when
the battles had ceased, regardless of the outcome. The ruler of a kingdom could declare certain
lands or heiau (temple or sacred site) as pu’uhonua (places of refuge). There were numerous
 pu’uhonua in ancient Hawai’i. The one on Honaunau Bay is the best preserved and contains a
reconstruction of the Hale o Keawe (House of Keawe) Heiau, an important royal mausoleum.

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Hale o Keawe Heiau HS7340

The Hale o Keawe Heiau is a reconstructed temple. The original heiau was built c. 1700 by Kanuha,
a son of Keawe II (the great-grandfather of Kamehameha I, who united the Islands by 1810), to honor
Keawe II (Keawe 'ikekahiali 'iokamoku), who ruled much of the Big Island in the late 1600s. In ancient
times it served as a royal mausoleum, housing the remains of deified high chiefs. The powerful mana
(divine power) associated with these remains sanctified the Pu’uhonua o Honaunau. When the kapu
system was abolished by Kamehameha II (1819), most heiau were destroyed, but the Hale o Keawe
survived due to its function as a royal mausoleum. In 1829, Queen Ka’ahumanu ordered the removal
of the sacred bones and the deconstruction of the temple. The platform itself was destroyed in two
tsunamis of 1868 and 1877, and it was rebuilt (using an incorrect plan of four terraces) in 1902.
Later archaeological excavation in 1966-67 and historical accounts indicated that the platform
was not terraced. The 1967 restoration rebuilt it in its authentic form and rebuilt the thatched
hale, wooden palisade and Ki’i (wooden figures). The hale and ki’i have been rebuilt twice.

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Ki'i Guardians Hale o Keawe Heiau X0315

Ki’i are wooden images carved by kahuna kalai. Kahuna were experts in any profession,
such as priests, sorcerers and magicians, crafts such as carving (in this case), healing, etc.
There were more than forty different types of kahuna, including ten types of sorcery kahuna.
Ki’i stood around Hale o Keawe to warn visitors against defying the kapu (sacred law).

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Ki'i Guardian Hale o Keawe Heiau HS7314

The ki’i guarding the entrance to the Pu’uhonua.

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Ki'i Guardians Hale o Keawe Heiau X0313

Detail of ki’i standing outside Hale o Keawe.

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Ki'i Guardians Hale o Keawe Heiau HS7316

Ki’i (wooden guardian figures) standing outside Hale o Keawe (House of Keawe), the reconstructed
royal mausoleum housing the bones of chiefs whose mana (divine power) sanctified the place of refuge.

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Sunset Pu'uhonua o Honaunau HS7358

Sunset at Pu’uhonua o Honaunau, the historic place of refuge at the lava fields of
the royal grounds of Honaunau, on the south Kona Coast of the Big Island of Hawai’i.

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Kaimu Beach Sprouted Coconuts at Sunrise X0326

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Kaimu Beach Lava Field at Sunrise X0328

Sprouted coconuts and newly planted palm trees next to the pahoehoe lava from the Kilauea eruption
of 1990 which covered the town of Kaimu and its famous black sand beach under 50 feet of smooth lava.
Kaimu Black Sand Beach, near the village of Kalapana in the Puna District of the Big Island, was completely
buried underneath the lava. The new beach is on land that did not exist 20 years ago, and in an effort to bring
Kaimu, one of the most famous black sand beaches in the world, back to its former glory, palm trees are
being planted on the new land by visitors and residents. The old beach is near the road, and 1/4 mile
of pahoehoe lava extends to the new shoreline, where the crashing waves are creating new sand.

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Kaimu Beach Ropy Pahoehoe at Sunrise X0330

Ropy Pahoehoe lava reflecting the rising sun at Kaimu Beach near Kalapana on the Puna Coast.

Pahoehoe lava is smooth, unbroken basaltic lava with a billowy, undulating or ropy surface. It is
caused by movement of a fluid lava under a congealing surface crust. Pahoehoe forms lava tubes
which retain the heat and keep the viscosity of the molten rock low, allowing it to flow long distances.

The pahoehoe lava erupted from the Kupa’ianaha vent of Pu’u O’o, a cinder and spatter cone on the
eastern rift of the Kilauea volcano. Pu’u O’o was erupting spectacularly in fountains of lava for years
in the mid-1980s, eventually forming the Kupa’ianaha vent in 1986 two miles from the rift. The lava
lake which had formed over the years escaped from the vent, forming lava tubes which retained
the heat and allowed the lava to remain fluid and flow long distances. The lava eventually turned
to the east in 1990 and covered the villages of Kalapana and Kaimu in 50-75 feet of pahoehoe.

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Kaimu Beach Pahoehoe Lava at Sunrise X0332

Pahoehoe lava on Kaimu Beach, showing the typical billowy lobes and ropy textures of smooth lava.

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Kaimu Beach Pahoehoe Lava at Sunrise X0333

The sculpted surface of a Pahoehoe lava shield in front of newly planted palm trees on Kaimu Beach.

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Kaimu Beach at Sunrise X0335

A pahoehoe lava extrusion next to newly planted palm trees at the edge of the black sand beach
at Kaimu, near Kalapana on the Puna Coast of the Big Island, in the golden light just after sunrise.

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Kaimu Beach Lava Flow X0337

Fractured blocks of pahoehoe lava at the edge of the new black sand beach at Kaimu, just after sunrise.

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Kaimu Beach Ropy Pahoehoe X0343

The ropy texture and undulating surface of a pahoehoe lava flow from the 1990 eruption of the Kupa’ianaha vent
from the Pu’u O’o cinder cone of Kilauea volcano, at Kaimu Beach on the Puna Coast of the Big Island of Hawai’i.

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Makolea Black Sand Beach 0115

Makolea Beach is the only black sand beach on the Kona Coast. It is a secluded beach, practically
unknown to most visitors, and requires either a four wheel drive vehicle or a careful hike to approach.
Most of the beaches around Kona are white sand beaches. Makolea Beach was formed by lava from
 the 1801 eruption of Hualalai volcano (see the 3rd image). 40 feet deep, it is surrounded by A’a lava.

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Makolea Black Sand Beach 0116

Another shot of Makolea Beach, taken with small waves approaching the beach. Beyond the beach
can be seen an A’a lava wall. A’a lava, seen in close detail below, is rough stony basaltic lava that can
eat shoes rapidly, The sharp surface is composed of broken blocks called clinker, which are carried on
the surface of a higher viscosity, gassy or high effusion rate eruption. If the effusion rate or gas levels are
low, Pahoehoe lava tends to form, although Pahoehoe can turn to A’a lava if it becomes turbulent around
an impediment or when encountering a steep slope. A’a flows can move large distances in a short time,
lose gas during the rolling motion of the flow, and form crystals not generally seen in pahoehoe flows.

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Makolea Black Sand Beach 0119

Hualalai volcano overlooking Makolea beach and rough, blocky formations of Aa lava on the Kona Coast.

A’a lava is the most common appearance of lava, with a dense core and spiny clinkers formed by shearing
and twisting of the flowing lava. The clinkers formed in front of the flow are buried beneath the flow, and those
carried on top of the flow remain as a surface when the core solidifies, forming the sharp spiny A’a exterior.

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Puna Coast at Dawn X0288

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Puna Coast at Dawn X0290

A’a lava and the Puna Coast at dawn. Above are the two available dawn shots showing different wave positions.
I took three shots each as the light hit the coast at sunrise and when the sky had cleared 45 minutes later, again
showing different wave action. One of each of these shots are shown below. The Puna Coast is on the eastern
tip of the Big Island to the south of Hilo. It is dominated by volcanic flows from Kilauea and nearby Mauna Loa,
and is densely forested. The rugged shoreline of the Puna Coast is east of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.

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Puna Coast at Sunrise X0302

One of three available shots of the Puna Coast at sunrise showing different wave action. This area is
about 5 miles to the northeast of Kaimu Black Sand Beach (which was shown at the top of the page).

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Puna Coast X0311

One of three available shots taken about 45 minutes after sunrise (showing different wave action).

The rough, blocky lava in the foreground is A’a lava. In the distance, the cliffs were formed when lava met
the ocean. Note that the forested area nearly reaches the cliffs, and distant foliage overgrows the cliff edge.

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Halema'uma'u Crater Kilauea X0465

Halemau’mau is a half mile diameter pit crater in the summit caldera of Kilauea volcano. The ledge which
can be seen about halfway up the crater wall marks the high point of the lava lake from the 1967-68 eruption.

In the Hawai’ian mythology, Halemau’mau is the home of Pele, the goddess fire and volcanoes. It is a sacred
place to Hawai’ians, who sometimes leave offerings on the rim of the crater. According to legend, the Kilauea
caldera was formed during an epic battle between Pele and her sister Hi’iaka. Pele had sent Hi’iaka to fetch
her lover from Kauai. When she returned, she found that Pele had broken her promise and burned Hi’iaka’s
favorite forests, so Hi’iaka retaliated by making love to Pele’s lover at the summit of the volcano, in full view
of Pele. Pele then buried her lover Lohi’au in a flood of lava. Hi’iaka dug frantically to recover the body, but
her brother stopped her from digging so she would not reach water and put out Pele’s fire. Colorful story.

Vulcanologists have a different story. In the late 1400s, great outflows of magma from the Kilauea lake
emptied the magma reservoir, and with its internal support withdrawn, the surface collapsed forming the
caldera, accompanied by explosive eruptions. This is a far more unlikely possibility than Pele and Hi’iaka.

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Waihonu Pond Liliuokalani Gardens 0090

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Gazebo Waihonu Pond Liliuokalani Gardens X0372

Liliuokalani Gardens in Hilo on the Big Island were named for Queen Liliuokalani, the last reigning monarch,
who gave the site to the city. Much of the park consists of Edo-style Japanese gardens, said to be the largest
outside of Japan, built in the early 1900s. These pictures show Waihonu Pond and its bridges and lanterns.

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Waihonu Pond Liliuokalani Gardens 0087

The gazebo over the stone bridge and the stone Taiko Bashi (drum bridge) at Waihonu Pond in
Liliuokalani Gardens in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Queen Liliuokalani was the last monarch
and only reigning queen of Hawai’i, unfortunately deposed when American business interests who
were opposed to Liliuokalani’s attempts to establish a new constitution sent in the Marines and
deposed her in a coup d’etat, imprisoning her in the Iolani Palace. President Cleveland spoke
against the action, and prevented immediate annexation, but the business interests won out
(especially Sanford Dole, an enemy of the Hawai’ian monarchy who later became the first
territorial governor in 1900). The wealthy elitists had already eliminated voting rights for
all but the most wealthy residents, and when Liliuokalani heeded the requests of her
people and attempted to restore their constitutional rights, she was overthrown by
the same wealthy business owners who had earlier disenfranchised the people.

Liliuokalani donated the land upon which the park and gardens were created.
Built to memorialize Japanese immigrants who came to work at local sugar
plantations, it is the largest Japanese ornamental park built outside Japan.

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Wailuku River Waianuenue Falls X0405

The Wailuku River is the longest river in Hawai’i at 28 miles, and flows between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea
volcanoes. It originates on the eastern slope of Mauna Kea and flows eastward, along the border between the
lava flows from the two volcanoes, entering the Pacific Ocean at Hilo. The name means River of Destruction.

The Wailuku River flows over Peepee Falls (actually pe’epe’e, but the signs leave out the punctuation and
cause a lot of laughter and speculation from younger tourists) into the Boiling Pots about 1.5 miles upstream
from the area which is shown above, and then over an 80 foot precipice at Waianuenue Falls (Rainbow Falls).

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Waianuenue Falls X0423

Waianuenue Falls (Rainbow Falls) tumbles 80 feet into a blue-green pool a few miles above downtown Hilo.
The falls flow over a natural lava cave, the mythological home of Hina, the Hawai’ian goddess of the Moon.
Hina is the oldest of the goddesses, and is known all over the Pacific Islands, having many other aspects.

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Waianuenue Falls X0421

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Waianuenue Falls X0433

You may notice the difference in character of the water in these images. 421 was taken at 1/8 second,
423 at 1/250 sec., 426 at 1/200, 433 at 1/15 sec., 447 at 1/80 sec., and 461 at 1/20 second. At slower
shutter speeds, the water flow is smoother and more ethereal looking, and some people prefer one look
over the other. Portraits with slower speeds are next to images with faster shutter speeds for comparison.
There are also two 4:5 aspect ratio images available: 434 is like 433 but cropped 4:5, and 446 is like 447.

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Waianuenue Falls X0426

On sunny mornings, rainbows can be seen in the mist surrounding the waterfall. Apparently, a sunny morning
is a rare occurrence in the Hilo area, and in most shots here the clouds block the sun. The gorge surrounding
the pool is blanketed by lush tropical rainforest vegetation, and wild ginger grows around the edge of the pool.

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Waianuenue Falls X0447

The sun peeked out long enough for a small rainbow to form in the mist below the falls, seen in this higher speed image.

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Waianuenue Falls X0461

Wainuenue (Rainbow) Falls above downtown Hilo, in a slow speed image (1/20 second vs. 1/80 second at left).

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