Sunday, April 25, 2010

El Palmar

In the hills of the Estado de Mexico.

Malinalco 2010 V

Malinalco 2010 IV

Malinalco 2010 III

Malinalco 2010 II

Malinalco 2010 I

Mexico 2010

A guard tower at the Palacio de Lecumberri; once Mexico City's most important prison, it now houses the National Archive.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Underwater II


We were mostly traveling on a budget, but went on one boat tour and it was well worth it. We took a disposable underwater camera. As always, such pictures don't turn out too well, but you can get some idea of how great the snorkeling was. This is from Captain Cook's bay, where Cook was killed. It's difficult to get a sense of the depth, but the reef structure just disappeared into the murk...maybe 50 feet down? Maybe more?

We then traveled south a bit to Honaunau, where the water was even clearer.

There were spinner dolphins in Honaunau, resting and playing in the bay (they're technically nocturnal animals). I spent several minutes swimming in the deep water, looking around for fins where I could see them and swimming in their direction. Eventually I was surrounded by groups of dolphins, who must be pretty used to snorkelers in this area and didn't seem to care about my presence one way or the other.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pololu Valley

If I could go back to the Big Island, I would love to spend a week hiking around the backcountry of Pololu Valley on the northern coast. It's a remarkable intersection of forest, wetlands, seacliffs, and beach. I'm told that the opening scenes of Jurassic Park were filmed here. It also produces really smooth stones - great for skipping and building cairns. They look hard to build--but we had a little contest and in five minutes we were able to build piles of 15 or 16 stones without trouble. Someone else did this one, though.

Photos by Nicole.

Punalu'u Black Sand Beach

On the way back from Volcanoes, we stopped at a black sand beach. In a large tidepool there, we found two sea turtles resting and eating algae. By law, you are supposed to give them space, but camera zoom can create the illusion of intimacy. This one breathed at me.

Volcanoes National Park II

Another part of the park was pure rainforest. And, indeed, it was raining while we were there and not very photogenic at a distance.

Volcanoes National Park

On day three, we drove to the other side of the island to Volcanoes National Park. There was no lava flow while we were there, but the general trend is for the island to be growing. (There's one underwater volcano which will eventually emerge and join with the Big Island.)

In one section of the park near to the coast, there are petroglyphs preserved in the lava rock.


Recently, I had the opportunity to train a laser death ray on my last remaining proletarian credentials and take a vacation in Hawai'i. And it was a lot of fun! Thanks to everyone who made it possible and entertaining. As per my usual blog policies, to respect the privacy of others I don't post names or pictures of people except to give photo credits.

We were staying on the "Big Island" of Hawai'i. It has an enormous number of microclimates. Guidebook-level information would have it that there are 13 biomes on the planet, and that eleven of them occur of the Big Island alone (all save the Saharan and Antarctic climates). Parts of the island look like the Amazon, parts like Sonoma, parts like Ireland. The center-west region is dominated by lava flows and scrub. You see mountain goats along the road. The beaches, where they occur, are great, but it mostly looks like part of Nevada or New Mexico. The Ironman Triathlon takes place in this part of the Big Island.

A bit to the south, there's a coffee-producing region. We stopped for a tour of a small coffee plantation, and Nicole took this picture of a gecko on a banana tree.