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Tuesday
Sep162014

Aloha from Hawaii

Aloha from Hawaii!

I apologize for not writing as soon as I arrived.  The battery died on my computer, and the wifi at my hotel has been non-existent.  I am sitting in a Starbucks in downtown Hilo writing these entries.

After travelling for almost 16 hours from Boston to LA, LA to Honolulu, and then Honolulu to Hilo needless to say I was exhausted.  Also, it took almost two full days to overcome the jet lag and the 6 hour time difference, but I am so excited to be here.

I am staying in Hilo Bay, on the Eastern side of the big Island of Hawaii.  I was interested to learn that Hilo is the wettest city in the US, so it rains here often.  Usually the rain comes and goes so there is plenty of time to go outside and enjoy the warm temperature.

Besides the climate, the most obvious difference between Hilo and Boston is the flora and fauna. Hawaii is in a subtropic climate and with the abundant rainfall it seems as if there is no limit to the size the vegetation can grow.  The palm trees line the coast, while a small journey inland you will find the jungle. The hotel I am staying in is on Banyan Drive, which is line with these enormous Banyan trees, nothing like this grows back home.

 

Additionally, the wildlife here is much different.  The birds are plentiful and very colorful, salamanders and other lizards can be seen everywhere, and the coqui frogs serenade you at night.  I was also very suprised to learn that many of the common animals on Hawaii are invasive species.  The coqui frogscame from Puerto Rico, the Mynah birds are from Asia, and the Indian Mongoose (looks like a squirrel/ferret hybrid) are all from other locations across the globe.

Over the first weekend here I had time to do some sightseeing and visited two breathtaking waterfalls.Akaka Falls is 422 feet high, and when the sun is shining a constant rainbow can be seen in the water spray at the base.  

 

 

Rainbow falls is 80 feet high and almost 100 feet in diameter and flows over a natural lava cave.  After hiking up over the falls, there was a large natural pool of water with steep cliffs surrounding it.  I noticed several local Hawaiians cliff diving, and decided to join them.  I jumped off a cliff approximately 30 feet high, and it was one of the scariest yet exciting moments of my life. Carpe Diem!

Well, now its off to conduct some scientific research at the Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea Observatories.

Mahalo

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