april 6

Casita Chronicles

THE 50th STATE

April  6  2015

Hawaii’s history has so much to teach us.  The Kapu system was a stone age small brain animal belief system. For example:  The rooster crows and the sun comes up making him believe the sun came up because he crowed.  The Kapu system was the flip side.  The constant cataclysmic events of earthquake, eruption, typhoon, tsunami you name it was believed to be the act of Gods in punishment for something men did.  Through the course of time it was determined what displeased the Gods (or what they thought displeased the Gods)  When the cataclysmic events continued to happen someone must have violated the rules or an additional rule was imposed.  Violation of the Kapu was usually death for endangering the people.  Unless you made it to the place of refuge where absolution was administered.  The list of rules was oppressive and long.  When education came with the advent of contact with Cook people began to question this system.  Komehemeha 2 with the influence and support of his stepmother decided to end it.  When the huge system of priests who had tremendous comfort, control and power realized it would end for them they assembled an army of devotees and a civil war ensued.  We visited the Gettysburg of that civil war in which the forces of K-2 came out victorious.  It was a bloodbath but the superior weapons that K-1 had seen and gotten by trade and used to easily unify the islands made it possible.  Today when natural events take place no one is killed or sacrificed.  Also evidenced is the need to maintain technological superiority over those that would take freedom away.  Since we are still evolving from stone age small brain animal  thought processes.  An excellent example of this is the simple lever device that changed a single shot rifle to a repeating rifle know as the Spencer.  This small innovation saved 50 fearless men, most of the Lincoln County men when they were attacked by 500 Cheyenne braves at Beecher Island Colorado.  We went to the battlefield where the combatants where buried almost where they fell, the heavily charged SOM long since returning to balance with the universe.  It is alway again however good to remember so we learn and not repeat things.

The afternoon took us to what was supposedly a little used beach in some state park. On a monday it must of had 1,000 people.  The O’s just turned around and back up the road pulled out and followed a faint trail over the ridge and down to the sea where we found an amazing coral/lava sand beach complete with shade trees, tidal pools  and NO ONE!  We named it Uriah Beach —Yeah, we lost the laundry and prepared for fun.   However a young couple ventured into the area but seeing the nakedness they also dropped their clothes.  I think most people enjoy being naked especially children.  They just need permission.  But there is this thing about Adam and Eve feeling shame when they knew they were naked?  KAPU.  We christened the beach and headed for home.  Tomorrow is a big day, we intend to find Captain Cook.

april 5

Casita Chronicles

THE 50th STATE

April 5  2015

Our last Sunday on “the big island”  and its easter.   We did not go to church and in fact we did not go to passover either.  For Rajni and I these religious beliefs and ceremony are dear to us filled with memories of our youth. but at the same time since our beliefs have changed and the imperative need to attend seems to be fading with the years.  Instead we went to the famous 2 step point considered to be one of the best locations to snorkel and swim with the dolphins.  We did both and enjoyed it immensely.  I was so proud of Rajni swimming far out into the deep blue sea to commune with the dolphins.  Next door is the aiekoiappieoopupu National Park or something like that.  It contains replica’s of the old Heai’s what was curious about it was the sign at the front- No swimming or Snorkeling ??? Thats kind of like putting up a sign at Rocky Mountain National Park No hiking or backpacking hmmmm.  Government land I guess.  We stopped at the north end of Captain Cook Bay.  You can see the monument in the far distant side of the bay.  The only access is swimming, kayaking or hiking in from the north.  It will be our mission to find that trail.  In the meantime the location you can observe it where we were at  is the county park and the old Heai where they most likely cut him to pieces and distributed them to various people to eat and sacrifice.

april 4

Casita Chronicles

THE 50th STATE

April  4 2015

saturday, the sabbath, the day of rest.  This is history day for the O’s  We first visited the residence of Komehemea the great or the 1st.  now a 5 star hotel.  His heiau has been reproduced however next to the small beach full of pasty white americans.  We ventured over to the oldest church and also oldest masonry building with mortar in the state.  It was of course a church. The mortar made from the oil of ku kui nuts crushed coral and sand has withstood the years, actually much better than conventional mortar!!  The beams all mortice and tenon where cured in ocean water and have not been attacked by termites curiously enough.   In the museum we learned so many things I will try and condense.  The polynesians were without a doubt amazing explorers and navigators and in some ways dwarfing the courage of Columbus.  Life however was a bitter pill.  The stratified caste system was oppressive especially for women.  They could only eat what men gave them and nothing from a tree and never were allowed to eat with a man.  The rules of Kapu went on and on.  Death was always at the door either from other tribes or as human sacrifice and as if that was not enough it is estimated over a third of the infants born were buried alive for one reason or another.   Then out of nowhere comes Captain James Cook.  Despite their belief that he was a God he denied it.  These were stone age people and the things he possessed particularly steel and weapons were amazing.  One of his guests who spent the night on his ship was the young Komehemeha.  i am sure he began to scheme how to use such power to control others  (why is this always the case??)   In the end he did exactly that.  When his son came to power his favorite step mother convinced him to do away with the Kapu system.  They ate a meal together and the Gods did not strike them dead!!!  The priests summoned an army to punish him and restore Kapu but using his fathers arsenal of weapons komehemeha 2 was victorious.  It was the Gettysburg of Hawaii also near this spot where we are staying.  All this unknown in the States it was decided to send some missionaries with the good news of Jesus.  The year is 1820.  They came and the vacuum left by abandonment of the Kapu system was filled not just with the love of Christ but education such that in 30 years hawaii had the highest literacy in the world!!  Under Komehemeha 3 land was free to be sold or given away to foreigners (it had not been in the past).  The rest is history.   Time for a dip in the hot swimming pool.

I am realizing how we have become out of touch lately.  That is to say with the world.  We do not watch TV or read the Newspaper or listen to the Radio.  The internet seems to be our only connection.  If something important happened we would not know.  I guess nothing important happens.  Rajni awoke last nite and felt a tremor.  Life on “the big Island”  is actually very tenuous with lave flows, tsunami’s and earthquakes a given, when is the question.

Rajni also woke me up to see the full eclipse of the moon.  A life changing experience, I went back to sleep.

april 1,2

Casita Chronicles

THE 50th STATE

April 1,2  2015

1

We made our way to the south end of “the big island”  Our stop was the prim-ere black sand beach.  There seems to be few places or beaches in total and the Green turtles have chosen this one as a resting place.   I felt a little bad for them trying to sleep with tourists taking pictures and talking excitedly.   It is a different feel especially when the sun is out——Hot!!   you can swim with these amazing animals but the surf is rough.   We  will spend the next two nights at the town of Na’Alehu  the most remote and depressed area of the state.   It is a splendid little town with the hi way being the main street.  Once a thriving place it is slowly dying.  The grocery store has now closed along with the theatre and much more.  Our landlord sadly told us the story having grown up here.   This was a sugar cane town but when Clinton signed the NAFTA agreement things went south.  Being highly regulated and paying good wages they could not compete with the imports from other countries.  The company asked the union to reduce their wages so they could continue but the Union of course would not.  Conclusion, the company folded and everyone lost their jobs.  I wonder if the Union had the chance to vote again if they would have voted differently?   In any case those that persisted some eak out a living fishing or in the tourist industry but the town is becoming a ghost town.  We went to the most southern bar in the United States and had a brew and some fish and chips.  There we met Carl Jones at the bar.   He is from Alaska.  When I congratulated him as a fellow welshman he said he was not.  He was a war orphan from Germany and adopted by a military man.  His father was a one star General who took back Corrigidor from the Japs.   He told us many interesting stories.  Life in these United States.

2

This entire day was spent in a very relaxed mode going to the famous Green sand beach.  This anomaly is the result of a vein of olovine near the ocean that has slowly broken down into small green crystals which lighter than the other rock consolidated into an amazing sparkling green beach.  In route you pass the most southern point on the United States.   It is a shear 25’ cliff into a deep clear water hole.  For those who wish to jump off an old rickety ladder has been provided so you can climb back out.  Mrs O forbade me to make the jump so I will have to leave it to another Lincoln county man in the future.  The area here is windswept grassland and very few trees.  It is posted Government land  instead of public land?????   The only access is a very rough 3 mile 4wd road or should I say roads since the use of them creates erosion and another route is made.  The locals have a thriving business of shuttling tourist from the end of the pavement to the beach despite people like ourselves that are willing to make the 6 mile return trip by foot.  The O’s tend to look for places that are remote and less frequented to get away from the crowd so when the book said this was the case we were delighted.  NOT!!  I felt like i was back in New Zealand on the tourist circuit.  It was a line of people all day coming and going and of course enjoying this wonder, apparently they all wanted the same thing.   The beach was small but the water was great including visitation by turtles.  We could not even find a place to sneak away for some?/    We meet so many wonderful people however.  We stopped in a family owned coffee and macadamian nut plantation and bought their products which meant for gifts will never make it to the mainland yummmy.   In the evening we went to a local drumming circle for Kava.  This drink that tastes like chalk is the opposite of Java and meant to make you mellow and social.  It has a required ceremony before consumption.  My tongue got numb and i came out of my normally painfully shy disposition.  I intend to run around this very quaint town in the morning and then its off to our last phase and the reason we came to Hawaii — to find the place where our hero Captain Cook met his unfortunate demise at the hands of the heathen.

mar 31

Casita Chronicles

THE 50th STATE

Mar  31  2015

Today we decided to go to the top of the highest mountain in Hawaii 13,700 feet  Mani kea .  This massive ancient Volcano has on its summit some 20 different observatories from countries around the world that due to its location on the earth and clarity have contributed greatly to our understanding of the universe.  Currently a new and more sophisticated telescope is being planned.  There is a point where 8 miles from the top the pavement ends and it becomes a dirt road.  Here we found native hawaiians protesting the new telescope?  I did not even bother to converse with them.  They claim the mountain is a “sacred” place and it should not be allowed.  First of all there are observatories on top already, whats one more?  Second,  native Hawaiians prior to the advent of “non native” probably never even made it to the top.  I won’t go any further with this its not worth wasting time on.  The thing that really irked me was the cautions and attempts to stop people from venturing up to the summit.  They tell everyone they need a 4WD and even then it is soo dangerous fear fear fear.  Having come from Colorado where this is a second rate mountain it was appalling.  We went anyway in our rental 2WD car.  Unfortunately the trouble we had was the car overheated after the first 2 miles and it was not even steep nor was the road anything but wide and smooth.  How else do you get cement mixers and equipment up there?  A wonderful couple our age Bruno and Marie from Switzerland picked us up and took us in their car to the top.  Guess what, the last 4 miles to the top were newly paved!! All that BS, mis information and fear mongering.  It was a wondrous sight despite the clouds below us obstructing our view of the sea.  Going from sea level where we have been living for almost 3 months to almost 14,000 feet in a matter of an hour left me a little dizzy.  When we got back to our vehicle on the road it had cooled down and started right up.  We went past the discontents and found a grove of trees to stop and have a picnic.  Here on the slopes it is fine grassland and the trees were coniferous.  Mullen was growing and the scent of sage came from somewhere.  I lay in the sun and for a moment I was home again.  We came across some wild goats and Rajni when walking towards them flushed a pheasant.  It was a very wonderful day.  Tomorrow we leave for our next digs a small town near the south point of the island and the count down to returning to Colorado.

mar 29,30

Casita Chronicles

THE 50th STATE

Mar  29,30  2015

Sunday,  yoga day,  the day of Lord.   We spent it snorkeling the famed tidal ponds not far from our place.  We also went to Champaign bay which has hot water vents into the small end of the bay.  I like that one the best, plenty of fish and the waves of hot fresh water attempting to mix with the sea water.  Got some sun finally, baking on the black lava rocks.

30

Today I decided to attempt what no other Lincoln County Man has done.  To run across the  Ka’u    Desert.  This sun baked tortured landscape of nothing but ow ow rock and black pumice chips is a life less place.  Literally.  The trail of almost 9 miles across is by rock cairn so don’t get lost!!  It does however have a cool breeze blowing off of the second highest mountain on the island on its flanks of 13,600 feet and you can see snow fields.  Along the way I checked out 3 humungus holes, one with a cinder cone around it.  I could not see the bottom!! and when I threw in a rock I never heard it hit.  There is also fossilized footprints from around 1790, I will attach the story.  In any case I stripped down to my shorts and since I was traveling light did not take the camera but only a bottle of water and the phone.  I planned to fill my mouth of with water and then after the 9 mile run across the desert to spit it out.  That, did not happen.  It is also my mothers birthday so I made the epic journey in her honor and it was Fing awesome!!!!!!!  Rajni let me off and drove to the other side of the desert and picked me up.  To date this was the funnest thing I have done yet in Hawaii.

As the story goes:

In 1782, Kalaniopuʻu, Aliʻi Nui of Hawaiʻi, died. In accordance with his wishes, his son, Kiwalaʻo became heir of Hawaiʻi Island. Kamehameha, the nephew of Kalaniopuʻu, had hoped to be named his successor. When he was not, Kamehameha became upset and launched a campaign to overthrow his cousin Kiwalaʻo. In July 1782, Kamehameha defeated Kiwalaʻo at the Battle of Mokuohai. Unbeknownst to Kamehameha, some of Kiwalaʻo’s family members escaped the battle. Keoua, Kiwalaʻo’s half-brother, was one of the warriors who survived. Keoua returned to his home district of Kaʻu. Keoua’s uncle, Keawemauhili, was able to escape as well and he returned to his home district of Hilo.

For some time, these three leaders kept to themselves not wanting to accept one or the other as paramount chief. Keawemauhili finally decided that he was going to accept Kamehameha as his aliʻi nui and sent his own sons to assist Kamehameha in his efforts to gain control of the islands. This decision enraged Keoua. He decided to take action and thus attacked Hilo, killing his uncle. The death of Keawemauhili, however, was not enough. Keoua drove Kamehameha’s army to Hamakua ravaging the lands in his wake.

Kamehameha quickly counterattacked and drove Keoua back to Hilo. The battle in Hilo not being decisive, both armies retreated, with Keoua heading back to his home district of Kaʻu. The route to Kaʻu that Keoua and his troops chose was by way of Kīlauea Volcano. Keoua and his army started their march to Kaʻu and on the first night camped on Kīlauea near a heiau dedicated to Pele, the fire goddess. This was a period of volcanic activity at Kīlauea caldera. Fearing they had somehow angered Pele, Keoua decided to remain there for several days to bestow offerings in an attempt to appease her. Upon leaving Kīlauea summit, Keoua split his army into three different companies that left the crater at different intervals.

The first company had not gone far when the earth started to tremble violently. Volcanic ash and hot gas exploded out of the caldera. Then, a huge, dense cloud of ash, sand and rocks was ejected out of the crater and rained down for miles around. Unable to escape, all of the individuals in the second party died. One lone pig is said to have survived.

Not far behind, the rear-company by chance survived the catastrophe because they were not in the path of the hot ash. Picking themselves up, they continued on their journey determined to get to Kaʻu. They were startled when they came upon members of the second company lying down across the desert floor. When to their surprise, the second company was not resting but in fact lay dead. Discovering this, it is believed that the rear-company choose to move on, not staying to mourn the deaths of their fellow compatriots.

The ash, which settled across the desert floor, provided an excellent medium in which footprints have been fossilized. It has been suggested that the footprints are what remains of Keoua’s fallen warriors. This suggestion was first made by Thomas Jaggar in 1921, but it was purely speculation. Recent archeological and geologic research in the area indicates that the history of the Kaʻu desert may be much more complex and that the footprints may not be from the 1790 eruption but rather may be evidence of everyday life activities in this area.

mar 28

Casita Chronicles

THE 50th STATE

Mar  28  2015

So very tired today after a wonderful drive to the northern extreme of the island.  We started out with the Saturday farmers market in Hilo.  Rajni has become addicted to avocado’s having eaten them off the tree every meal for the last 2.5 months.  It was a busy scene.  We drove north along the coast with its waterfalls and magnificent eucaliptist Forrest.   Then we came to the jewel of the state of Hawaii  the town and region around Waimea.  This high plateau off of the highest mountain is like being back on the high plains in spring.  Cool crisp air and green grass that would make any rancher’s socks go up and down.  Indeed it is Ranch country and the town has a western feel.  If there was any place I would move to in Hawaii it would be Waimea.  Indeed it is cow country.  King Kamehameha the great was gifted some texas long horn cattle way back in the early 1800’s.  He let them loose and they became wild and by the reign of his grandson had taken over a large part of “the big island”  The Hawaiians were afraid of them so he brought in some Vaquero’s from Mexico who taught the hawaiians to ride rope and capture the herds along with of course being incredibly cruel to animals.  The result was a thriving grass fed cattle industry in some of the most panoramic spaces in the world.   I ate at Burger King with the gift certificate my sister gave me for my birthday (comfort food).   Then it was to the end of the island.  Here I wanted to visit the birth place of Komehemeha.  Interestingly enough it was not signed and access was nearly impossible.  Mrs O and I had to trespass across a private ranch to get to it.  The palace of his birth is a couple of stones throw away from the temple where 10’s of thousands of people were sacrificed, flayed and eaten.  The SOM heavily charged with the anxiety, panic, and fear of this human experience has long since been balanced and today is but a windswept area.  Few come here but it is a reminder of the danger of obedience to an unseen divinity to which someone professes its will.  We saw some whales off the shore and then it was a long drive home.