Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pele, or She Who Shapes The Sacred Land, is the Hawaiian Goddess of fire, lightning and volcanoes. Though she is believed to reside in the Halema'uma'u crater of Kilauea, her sphere of influence includes all volcanic activity on the Big Island of Hawaii, and she is fiercely protective of her island home.

Pele is the daughter of the female spirit Haumea, a direct descendant of Earth Mother and Wakea, Sky Father. According to legend, Pele fled Tahiti by canoe, pursued by her enraged sister Na-maka-o-kaha'i, Goddess of the sea, after seducing Na-maka-o-kaha'i's husband. Each time Pele tried to dig a home in the earth, Na-maka-o-kaha'i would flood her fires. Pele first landed on Kaua'i, then down the chain of Hawaiian islands in order of their geological formation until eventually she made her home on Mauna Loa, a mountain too tall for Na-maka-o-kaha'i's waves.

Pele is believed to be passionate, impulsive and explosive, particularly when jealous or betrayed. A shape-shifter, Pele has appeared as a beautiful young woman to seduce mortal chiefs, then burned them into distorted rock statues, trapped eternally in the lava fields when she tired of them. Her face has mysteriously appeared in photographs of fiery eruptions, and she has appeared as a weak old woman, begging for food, drink or a ride. Those who offer her assistance are rewarded; those who deny her are punished. It is said that any tourist who takes lava rocks or volcanic ash off the island will be cursed with bad luck.

The Pele Defense Fund (PDF) is a grass-roots organization created in the 1980's to protect Hawaiian land and native Hawaiian gathering rights, specifically in Wao Kele O Puna, the largest remaining lowland rainforest just 15 miles south of Hilo along the east rift zone of Kilauea. Large sections of Wao Kele O Puna were scheduled to be bulldozed as part of a $4 billion federally-funded geothermal energy development, an alternative energy method which derives power by tapping a live volcano and harnessing heat from the earth's interior. The Puna project intended to dig over 200 wells and build 5 power plants, clearing miles of forest land for roads, pipelines and cooling towers.

At 27,785 acres, the trees and plants of Wao Kele O Puna act as a natural filter for volcanic gases, assisting with regeneration after lava flows burn through. The forest abounds with medicinal plants, as well as maile and ohi'a lehua used by hula halau's. Approximately 95% of the plants, birds and insects of Wao Kele O
Puna cannot be found anywhere else on earth, and scientists continue to learn from its ecosystem.

After two decades of fighting to preserve the land, the Hawaii State Supreme Court in 2006 ruled in favor of the PDF. The Trust for Public Land purchased Wao Kele O Puna in 2007, then transferred title to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife is now entrusted to manage and care for the land, and the State Legislature allocated $2 million in 2009 to fill the two existing geothermal wells with sand and concrete.

On January 3, 1983, soon after the east rift zone of Mauna Loa was being tapped for the first geothermal wells, Pele exploded! The eruption flooded more than 10,000 acres of the original dig site and has continued for more than 20 years, destroying hundreds of man-built structures and creating over 70 acres of land along the southeastern coastline. Most people who live here in Hawaii, regardless of their religious beliefs and practices, speak respectfully of Pele and her awe-inspiring power. She continues to remind us all that we are caregivers of the island and its resources. We here at Holualoa Inn work together to care for our home and to enhance our land. So as you plan your romantic Hawaiian vacation, explore all the adventure the Big Island has to offer, your Holualoa Inn ohana will be here to remind you - don't take any lava rocks home lest you incur Pele's wrath.

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

Thursday, January 13, 2011

January is Volcano Awareness Month

Sponsored by the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), the goal of Volcano Awareness Month is to educate visitors and kama'aina about the history and power of the volcanoes that have formed our island home.  HVO believes this awareness is crucial, particularly when it comes to the safe exploration and enjoyment of Kilauea, the world's most active volcano, and Mauna Loa, the earth's most massive volcano.

In partnership with Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the University of Hawai'i at Hilo and the County of Hawaii's Civil Defense Agency, HVO has organized a month full of activities, including guided hikes, educational talks with volcanologists, movies, living history performances, interactive displays, even workshops for elementary and junior high school teachers.

HVO scientists use potential-field geophysics, gas geochemistry, basic geologic and satellite monitoring to track and assess volcanic activity.  Mounted webcams and time-lapse cameras provide daily images from the summits of Kilauea and Mauna Loa, while  "remote sensing" or satellite monitoring can detect thermal anomalies, frequently the earliest warnings of an eruption.  These methods not only provide scientists with valuable information about the 70 million years of activity that created our island, but enable them to more accurately predict the severity and location of eruptions before they occur. Once they determine the area that might be affected, they relay that information to the Civil Defense Agency to organize life-saving evacuations.

In March 2008, a new vent erupted from the Halema'uma'u crater at Kilauea. This vent, now more than 430 feet wide, continues to explode and emit gas and ash. Just one week ago, lava flows from this eruption reached the ocean along the Kalapana coastline, and destroyed two homes in the process. Your Holualoa Inn ohana invite you to explore our Big Island. Plan your romantic Hawaii vacation at our Kona bed and breakfast and let us assist you in arranging your island activities. Before you explore volcano, be safe and check the daily volcanic activity.

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

Friday, January 7, 2011

Resolve to Enjoy the New Year

We can attribute the origin of New Year's Resolutions to the Roman mythical king Janus of 153 B.C.  Janus was depicted with two faces, one facing forward and one facing back.  Situated at the head of the calendar, Janus was thought to simultaneously evaluate the events of the past year while exploring the promise of the future.  Each year at New Years, like Janus many of us assess the prior year and promise ourselves, "This year will be different."  This is the year we will eat right, commit to exercise, lose weight or drop a bad habit.  Whatever your particular vow, research shows less than 50% of these resolutions last the first six months of the year. Approximately 25% don't even last the first week.

So here we are, one week into 2011, and already some of us are feeling the pressure, struggling to maintain the enthusiasm and dedication to our New Year's promise to ourselves.  Here are some tips we've discovered to help:

First, try re-wording your resolution to be more specific.  For example, rather than vowing to lose weight, undertake to lose just a pound or half-pound a week, making your goal more manageable and more easily attainable. 

Second, tell a friend.  Making your resolution public may help to keep you accountable, and having the support of friends and family can only help.

Third, keep yourself excited about your resolution by building in some adventure.  If you want to eat better, promise to try a new recipe each week or new restaurant each month.  Resolved to exercise? Try a new yoga class or a new sport.  Hoe he'e nalu, Hawaiian stand up paddle surfing, is a great way to enjoy the ocean while strengthening your core.

Finally, reward yourself.  Buy a new pair of jeans, take a cooking class, book a romantic Hawaiian vacation at Holualoa Inn, our Kona bed and breakfast and explore the many adventures the Big Island has to offer.  Your ohana at Holualoa Inn wish you great success in the new year.

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn