Friday, May 30, 2008


We were in Kauai (the garden island) for about 10 days. We went west first. Punihale beach. Off road. Stuck in the sand. Amazing beach. Hawaiian monk seals on the beach.
Hawaiian monk seal (actually Hengjia looks like that when he's sleeping...) 

We look happy here, but we were actually quite lost on the Naulolo Valley trail. Didn't even get back to our car until past dark. 

Then up to Kole'e State park for 2 nights. 10 mile hike to see the south side of the Na Pail coast line. Then, we met my friend from Gainesville-- Elisha. He was in a really nice bohemian town called Kapa'a. He took us to a nice campsite in pine groves, and we had a great BBQ. Then Mario and I went to a 3 day ethnobotany field course in Kauai. We camped outside by the small clean (!!) river. About 500 meters from the beach. Then we hiked the Na Pali trail. 22 miles round trip. Amazing trail!! Completely along the ocean cliffs, and stunning!! We walked the first leg (11 miles) in one day easy, and were hardly prepared for it. No water filter, so we drank out of waterfalls.
Lobster - Mario traded an apple and a couple of granola bars to a hippie for a few lobsters. 

Hands down most beautiful mountains I'd ever seen

Mario is like me, so we had a great adventure doing everything that we wanted to do in Hawaii: forests, waterfalls, waves, beach, hiking, camping, eating great food, exploring... Every day here was a great day for us. Mario left today for New Zealand. We will meet again in another country this year. Indonesia? Thailand? Malaysia? We will see...

I must admit that one month of transient living in a tent is quite enough for me, and I am ready to be back in my house with my dogs, garden, kitchen and hot shower. I'm leaving tonight for North Carolina for an Society for Economic Botany conference...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Big Island

Mario and I have spent the past 10 days exploring the Big Island. This is my second time around the island. But the first time was more planned and I stayed in the public camping places, which required permits. Since Mario and I didn't plan much we played it by ear and went slow. Very nice! We would hunt out a nice spot and then hang out until evening and then set up our casinha! Our little house spots were much nicer than the dirty public parks were were open to everyone to use. We started in Kona. Mario has friends there and we organized our things and they so kindly lent us a beautiful 4wd Toyota. We took good care of her and she took good care of us. Then we went clockwise around the island. 2 nights in Palolu-- we climbed up and down that big cliff to our camp site everyday for more supplied (water!). Hiking to the top of the neighboring ridges. Eating liliquoi and little guava. One night in Waipio valley-- camping on the burial site. Bathing in the Lepto water fall. Crossing the unpredictable river. Climbing the ridge. One night in the middle before Hilo: sneaky camping on the outlook. Wine and cheese during the sunset. Next day Takaka falls. Then to stay with Mike in Puna Valley for three nights. Volcano at night. Boys surfing. Mike's interpretive dance of Pele. Snorkling in the reefs. Volcano Natl Park. Sulfur fumes. Rainbows. Punalu'u camping. Dirty public park. Black sand beach. Then back to Kona.

Tired of camping on top of little pine cones, Mario was delighted to find a patch of soft grass.  

Waterfall where we were apparently invisible to all other tourists - we were ignored for over an hour by all the tourist groups!  

Meeting up with crazy Mike from UF. And our very cool truck- our fast pass for being locals.  

We were such locals, in fact, that we accidentally made a BBQ on top of an ancient burial site (see Mario arranging the grave stones to balance our grill), and the passing tourists just assumed that we knew what we were doing.

 On the lava

Cooking out on the lava. Mike also convinced us to cross all of the "danger" barriers to explore the freshly hardened lava. All of the smoke coming out of the cracks convinced us it was a bad sign.  

 Mario surfing. 

 Active volcano.

 Black sand beach. 

Canoe mooring holes.  

Green sand beach