Since my plane didn't leave until ten thirty, I had time to stroll on Waikiki Beach, examine and sketch an outrigger canoe, visit the Queen Kapiolani Park right across the street, and do some birding before catching the airport shuttle. There are some picturesque open-air trams that run through Waikiki, and next visit I would love to ride on one of those.
I love the banyan trees in Waikiki, with their multiple trunks and great, umbrella canopies. What treasures! I never did get a good photo of one.
The flight to The Big Island went off without a hitch. So far, beautiful, sunny weather. But coming into Hilo I saw the sunshine wasn't necessarily going to last. Well, Hilo is on the windward side of the island, and there's a REASON it's so green, lush, and jungley! As soon as I disembarked, I called for my car rental pick-up -- the rental cars based at the airport are handier, and you could drive right off in one, but you pay for that privilege -- and my agency arrived within minutes to take me to my car-for-the-week, so it wasn't an issue.
As soon as I had gotten my car and checked in with Emma, with whom I planned to stay the night, I took off down the highway to the south-eastern corner of the island to explore. I kept noticing wonderful scrubby trees with brilliant red bottle-brush flowers -- they were EVERYwhere. Later I discovered this is the tree favored by the fabled Hawai'ian honeycreepers, the ohia lehua (oh-HEE-uh LEH-hoo-uh). I found ohias throughout the big island, mostly small, but sometimes up to 80' or so. I love the name -- it rolls off your tongue like syrup.
I also noticed vigorous vines with huge leaves which reminded me of houseplants. Sure enough, they turned out to be monstera, commonly found in pots in office buildings here on the mainland. They really know how to climb a tree!
I was headed for Kapoha Tidepools, where lava meets the sea and makes some interesting snorkeling (which I didn't plan to do this trip). Nearing the tidepools I was amazed to see trees with huge orange tulips on their branch tips. I stopped to take a photo and pick up some spent blossoms to sketch later, and got into BIG trouble (see the journal page with the orange "tulip" flower on it.) Here's a photo of the tree branch... The flowers are a good 4" long!
It rained off and on all afternoon, but only when I didn't plan to be out in it (except once when I stopped for lunch and needed the help of a woman with an umbrella to make it back to my car without getting soaked). I don't mind a little rain, and I was fully expecting to get wet -- brought along a little plastic poncho for just-in-case.
Okay now, to keep from getting confused, read the right-hand page with the yellow noni-fruit on it before reading the left hand page with the business card from KALANI on it. This was a page spread that didn't go quite as planned.....
After my adventure with the tulip tree, I took my rescuer's advice and headed off southwest down the coast to 1. try to find the retreat center where I might be able to hold my Journal Sketching Workshops and 2. see where the lava flow buried the road.
On the way, I drove along a magical tunnel of a road with trees meeting and tangling overhead. I did find the Kalani Oceanside Retreat(YES!) and after leaving off my business brochure and description of my workshop (as I'll be teaching it in Costa Rica in February -- hey, come join us!), I emerged into the open where the sea once steamed great clouds as lava rushed into it.
I did find the sudden end of the road, but it's demise was years in the past, and there's not much to see. But you can sure get some great ice cream in the little store at the end of the pavement.
Then I high-tailed it back to Hilo to meet Emma so she could guide me to her wonderful house in the jungle for the night. I ate my first dinner on The Big Island accompanied by good conversation, sketched all evening as we talked, and was later lulled to sleep by the "Bo PEEP?" call of the coqui frogs ( from Puerto Rico, but they still sound nice). Wonderful day! Warm thanks to Emma, Manny and Ophelia for a perfect evening.