To join me on a virtual sketching trip, download a travel sketch-journal here.
I add tutorials to them so you can learn the techniques and details you see in the sketchbooks.

My former workshop students asked me to upload my workshop workbooks to make them available to everyone. So you can also download a workbook and give yourself a workshop! Enjoy!

Monday, January 7, 2008

My Hawaii Nature Journal ~ Day 6 (a.m.) ~ 12/23/2007

The difficult thing about keeping a journal on a trip is that, as a rule, you can't record an event while it is happening. I mean, if you're recording it, it stops or changes since you aren't experiencing it so much as drawing or writing about it. That means that my entries about a morning, for instance, may get made at some convenient stopping place in the afternoon, over lunch, or maybe even that evening or the next day. So the dates and times get all screwed up.....I'll have to put some of the journal pages out of order to keep things even halfway linear.

On the 23rd of December I planned a trip up the Kohala shore along the highway that skirts the northwestern coast of The Big Island. This leads past some fine sandy beaches and Lapakahi State Historical Park, an ancient Hawai'ian settlement that is being excavated, and ends at Hawi and the Pololū Valley on the north shore.

I guess I'm just not much of a beach bunny. At Hapuna Beach (considered one of the best there is) there were people playing in the water, surfing, and making sand castles, but I just wanted to photograph the neat plants and shoreline. Check out the lovely spiral forms of the flowerlets on this beach plant!

So while I didn't get much of a tan at Hapuna Beach, I did think it was lovely and I stayed awhile to watch the kids play in the surf. Somewhere along that coast, I also watched some kayakers heading off to explore the shoreline, which looked like a neat way to spend a morning.

The surf was really gentle compared to what pounds the Oregon coast -- that really surprised me, since I previously had the impression that Hawai'i was mainly pounded by giant surfing curls. Funny how we get misled by tales of the spectacular, huh?

My next stop, Lapakahi State Historical Park, was a much more fascinating experience. Lava rock enclosures surround where thatched houses once stood, the rock foundations stabilizing the roof posts and providing protection against the wind. There are also a couple of reconstructed houses with grass roofs, and the visitor center has some very interesting aerial photo/reconstructions of the way it was/is.
I monopolized the docent shamelessly, and he showed me how the kukui nuts and pandanus fruits were utilized (see the journal page).

One thing that really fascinated me was the coral beach -- not coral sand, but HUGE chunks of coral, some as big as a grapefruit, washed up over the seasons (I presume). Many of the Hawaiian beaches I've seen have occasional coral chunks on them, but this one has coral boulders, which are protected from being carried away by the Park designation, I suppose. In the beach picture above, all the white stuff is coral chunks. I wonder if all Hawaiian beaches used to look like this? In the coral close-up picture, the coral with the "fingers" is about five inches across.

I'm not sure why people in Hawai'i today don't still live in these carefree (and "free") thatch-roofed houses. In this forgiving climate, with food on the doorstep (beachstep?) and clan gathered around, what more could we humans need? Am I missing something?

I'm a little short on time today, so I'm going to end before that day's lunch. My little Instant Hawaaian book says the pronunciation of the "w" following an "a" (or beginning a word) may be either "w" or "v." So depending on your preference, I had lunch either at Hawi or Havi. It's spelled Hawi. And lunch consisted in part of a wonderful little fruit, called a rambutan, that looks something like a tentacled red sea urchin. Rambutan is NOT a Hawaiian word, and in fact it sounds rather Indian to me. Nevertheless, it was delightful, and I'll tell you about it in the next blog, so keep tuned.

p.s. according to that little book, my Hawai'ian name would be Ailina, AH-ee-LEE-nuh, with the Ah and ee slurred together.

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