Hello Friends and Family,

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Wai`anapanapa State Park

Continuing down the road to Hana, most visitors just rush by the beautiful little Wai`anapanapa State Park (and heavenly Hana for that matter) to get to the Seven Pools. And oh what a treat they miss.

I recall the first time I visited Wai`anapanapa — I was hungry when I arrived and parked in the seaside parking lot to eat my box lunch that I had brought. As I took in the fantastic vistas, I noticed a couple walking out on the lava bed, bending over and looking at something at their feet — or so I thought. Unexpectedly to them (and to me) a geyser exploded with water climbing 15 or 20 feet into the air. This was our mutual introduction to the blowhole at Wai`anapanapa. They were drenched — fortunately, I was dry.

On this trip, the waves were huge but apparently, the angles were such that the blowhole was only producing a column of water a couple feet high. Sorry, no photo — you'll have to picture it in your imagination.

Wai`anapanapa has hiking trails that take you to views like this.

And this.

Incidentally, I mentioned last week that my first trip to Hana included a short stay at the Hotel Hana Maui. Wai`anapanapa State Park offers more reasonably priced cabins and campsites if you would like to experience a one-day visit here. I would highly recommend it. (For additional details, go to the Hawai`i State Parks website by clicking here.)

The huge waves continued to crash on the lava shoreline to spectacular effect. This shot just screamed out to be converted to black and white. The contrast of the black lava rocks and the white spray — awesome!

My hike brought me to the bay that is home to Honokalani Black Sand Beach. The lava islands which occupy the center of the bay probably dampen down the waves a bit, but swimming here still requires caution.

And just beyond is the beach itself.

Most people know of the black sand beaches on the Big Island and are not aware of those on Maui. If you look carefully, you will find that the sand is not as fine as that on most of the white sand beaches — not enough time for the ocean to break the lava into tiny pieces. Also notice the intimidating wave braking onto the beach — and the little girl to the left of the vertical rock who appears to be quite intimidated by the wave.

Part of the park is tropical rainforest. You may recall that the Hana area receives quite a bit of rain — some 83 inches per year. Lush and beautiful.

"Wai`anapanapa" is Hawai`ian for "glistening waters" and probably refers to the waters in the caves here. A sign at the park explains the legend of the caves.

"Once upon a time, a Hawai`ian princess named Popoalaea fled from her cruel husband, Chief Kakae. She hid on a ledge just inside the underwater entrance to this cave. A faithful serving maid sat across from her fanning the princess with a feather kahili, symbol of royalty. Noticing the reflection of the kahili in the water, Chief Kakae discovered Popoalaea's hiding place and killed her. At certain times of the year, tiny red shrimp appear in the pool, turning the water red. Some say it is a reminder of the blood of the slain princess."

And where there is moisture and shade, can moss be far behind?

Oh look! A mongoose. You see these creatures frequently but they are so elusive that it is generally a quick sighting. I was lucky to get a photo.

In case you don't know, mongooses were introduced into Hawai`i hoping to tackle the rat problem (a previous invasive species introduced into Hawai`i). Unfortunately, mongooses and rats work different shifts so the plan did not work out very well. In fact, mongooses eat almost anything (during their shift) and have devastated native Hawai`in fauna.

I hope you do not suffer from arachnophobia — here is a cane or banana spider (they are closely related and I am not sure which type this one is). They are generally harmless — unless you fear such creatures.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com