Coke & Som Smith Photography & Travelogue

Hawaii


Since I don't know the real name, I'll just call them "Jurassic Park Falls"!

 

For several years, I had the luxury of my Dad living in the Hawaiian Islands!  So naturally I used this as an excuse to regularly explore these beautiful islands and hang out with pop.  I am glad he did live there as I most likely would have never traveled to Hawaii otherwise, as there were many other destinations I wanted to see first (or instead!), and I would have missed out on a pretty special pile of rocks in the middle of the Pacific.

During the several trips I took to these remote islands, I had opportunities to visit all of the major islands with the exception of Molokai.  Each had its own unique nature and scenery.  I would be hard pressed to come up with a favorite island as they all had so many endearing features.

 

Be sure to visit our Photo Galleries for more spectacular images of our travels! (Pbase Galleries)

 

The images below provide a sample of the many places we explored during our trips to the Hawaiian Islands!

 

 

 

My dad's apartment was in Waikiki and can actually be seen here in one of the buildings in the foreground of this image.  The location was great for killer Japanese food!

 

 

Being in Hawaii is like visiting Japan! The Japanese culture is old in the islands. This Byoudoin temple is a replica of the one in Kyoto, Japan.


 

 

 

This Anole lizard is just one of the many introduced species that are raping the island chain of its biodiversity.  Imports like this one have decimated the endemic species that were once more numerous on the Hawaiian Islands than virtually anyplace on earth.

 

 

Kauai's Na Pali coast seen from a helicopter during a ride I took around the island.  There is no better way to see the islands than from this aerial perspective!


 

 

Maui's Haleakala Crator National Park is stunning.  The geology, scenery and flora is unparalleled.

 

 

The Haleakala Silversword Plant is one of Maui's many endemic and endangered plants.  These were the main reason I went up this extinct volcano.  The unbeatable scenery was a bonus!

 



 

 

Maui evidently provides an outstanding climate for Protea plants as many plantations of these strange South African natives are found on the island.  I would have to wait almost 20 years to finally see one of these King Protea in the wild.  But the great thing about this was that I was able to share this experience with Som and my son, Cokie.

 

 

The terrain of Kauai is unbeatable!  Waimea Canyon is a spectacularly eroded canyon on Kauai's leeward side.  Lien and I trekked the trails of this spectacular canyon on one of our trips to the island.


 

 

The diversity of habitats on Kauai is equally impressive.  The rainforested slopes of Iao Valley is home to many rare and endangered plants and animals.  We spent a long hot day trekking in to the back country here.

 

 

 

Waipio Canyon on the big island of Hawaii is a great spot for a scenic hike!

 


 

 

The place I visited more than any other in Hawaii was Volcanoes National Park.  Lien and I explored this park often and even made it one year for a spectacular lava flow.  Seeing the lava hit the sea was unbelievable.  We waited until night and watched the lava cascading over the distant bluffs and eventually in to the sea.  Wow!

 

 

There is a famous legend that states those who take stones from the mountain here will experience bad luck.  Consequently the park receives literally tons of rocks returned in the mail yearly from unlucky thieves!  Well, I did not take this seriously, so I helped myself to a lava rock one day.  That night, Lien and I got in to the biggest fight of our marriage.  I immediately tossed the rocks back on the ground near where I found them....and the fight magically resolved itself.  The rest of the evening was just fine!  Hmmm...


 

 

Desolation Walk in Volcanoe's National Park.

 

 

 

I guess I should feel lucky to have seen the famous black-sand beaches of the Big Island.  A few years later, the lava flows changed direction and basically covered them completely!


 

 

A spectacular view of the expansive lava flows of Volcanoes National Park!

 

 

The vista from atop Mauna Kea.  In this image we are witnessing the classic rainshadow effect.  Wet rainforest on one side and the dry Kau Desert on the other.  Stargazing on this mountain (the world's tallest!) is amazing.  And it's cold!


 

 

A spectacular Mauna Kea sunset!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ecologist in me was thrilled to see the pioneer species action of these Naupaka Kai (Scaevola taccada) colonizing the fresh lava beds on the Big Island.

 


 

 

 

Potholes Waterfalls on Kauai as seen from my heli ride!

 

 

Another great hiking spot, Pololo Valley is a great place to spend a sweaty afternoon!

 


 

 

While not exactly a native plant, this Lady Slipper Orchid was one of many in the spectacular orchid gardens that are common on the Big Island.

 

 

 

Ohia Lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha) is a common endemic plant found on most of the islands.  This is a great plant to search for the endemic Honey Creepers!

 


 

 

The great Kau Desert provides an amazing contrast to the wet rainforests of the windward side of the Big Island.

 

 

Although I cannot remember the name of this Heiau, it was definitely one of the more spectacular ones we had the pleasure of visiting.  This one was located an hour or so down the Kona Coast.


 

 

The African Flame Tree is yet another spectacular import thriving in the forests of Hawaii.  Too bad it's so beautiful!

 

 

 

Near an cliff edge on Kauai, we came across these nesting Wedge-tailed Shearwaters (Puffinus pacificus).

 


 

The Honeycreepers like this Iiwi (Vestiaria coccinea) is a prize sighting for the birders who flock to Hawaii!  This one was seen near Waimea Canyon on Kauai.

 

 

 

 

This Akikiki or Kauai Creeper (Oreomystis bairdi) was seen near the Iiwi above.  What a day!

 


 

 

The Nene is one of the rarest goose species on the planet.  While trekking the Kau Desert, we came across several strolling the desert.  They showed no fear at all!

 

 

This example of dry forest near Volcanoes National Park is an increasingly rare example of the native forests.


Be sure to visit our Photo Galleries for more spectacular images of our travels! (Pbase Galleries)