IT'S NICE OUT
It's Always Nice Out. It's Hawaii.
Endless summer. Relatively mild summer. 70F-80F, all year round. Record high, 95F, which is rare. Trade winds keep us cool, almost always. 60F-70F, at night. Record low: 52F, except up in the mountains.
Mauna Kea, on the Big Island of Hawaii, gets a bit of snow this time of year. Not much. It's the highest mountain in the world, higher than Everest, if you measure from the sea bed, the bottom of the Pacific Ocean; instead of sea level, the top of the ocean, which is CHEATING!.
That, and the fact that it's over two thousand miles from any major land mass, or island chain, is why there are lots of observatories on top of it. No light pollution, clear, clean air. And a little snowboarding. No ski lifts, and the road up there sucks. But it's the road to the stars. If we ever contact ET, it may happen up there, on Mauna Kea.
We do get a bit of vog, volcanic smog, from Mount Kilauea, on Hawaii, the Big Island (about five times the size of Oahu, with only 100,000 people). It's nasty, but it's infrequent, except on the Big Island itself. Kilauea is an active volcano, in slow, steady eruption for most of the last twenty years now.
It's one of the few active volcanoes in the world that a turista can walk right up to, and watch the lava extrude slowly into the ocean. Or, shoot out, in a rush, sometimes. Nice view from the air, or the ocean, especially at night, with the hot lava glowing in the darkness as it hits the ocean in a burst of steam. Not so nice if you had a house, in its' path.
It's also one of the few places in the world where new real estate is being manufactured. Of course, it's a black plain of hot glass, and needle-like rocks. But, with a little top soil, and a lot of patience, it's home sweet home. Unless the lava flow changes direction, again.
The Big Island's not too touristy yet, except maybe Kona, on the dry side. Hilo is a funky, perpetually rainy place, not for tourists. Not much to do but relax and enjoy the ocean, the mountains, and the volcano. Maybe smoke some crack.
Another island is coming up, south of Hawaii: Loihi. It'll take thousands of years to surface. But, hey, it's the tropics. We're on Hawaiian time. Right now, only a newly-discovered life form lives down there. Something not quite plant or animal, that can live in boiling, sulphurous waters, under tremendous pressure at the bottom of the deep blue sea. We can only hope they come in peace.
The rest of the island chain, 1,600 miles long from north to south, is pretty well settled. There are earthquakes on the ocean floor from time to time, but we rarely feel them here on Oahu, the Gathering Isle for Hawaiians for thousands of years, where most people in the State now live, 900,000+.
It's all the City and County of Honolulu, not much different from Oakland or San Diego, California; but Polynesian, and Oriental. Only about 140 miles all the way around the outside edge of the island, counting bays, and points, etc; less than fifty miles at its widest.
If you want the old Hawaii, the Hawaiian Hawaii, you'd have to go to Niihau, but you can't. That's the Forbidden Isle: Hawaiians only, pretty much. Not many people there. It's small. Molokai and Lanai are a little bigger, and a little less Hawaiian, but not too touristy. Bit small, flat and dull, though, compared to the other, more mountainous islands.
To get back to nature in a bigger way, try Kauai, the Friendly Isle. Hey, I don't make these nicknames up. Kauai is the least populous of the larger islands: It's a little smaller than Oahu, but it only has 60,000 people. Great place for romantic getaways, and retreats of the rich & famous. Got a fabulous canyon over there, too: Waimea.
Then there's Maui, the Garden Isle, home of Maui Wowie. Lots of water sports (not THAT kind!) and good, clean fun over there, too. The island is a little bigger than Oahu, but it has only 100,000 people. Oahu is flat in the middle, with mountains along the west coast (Leeward side, Wai'anae), and the east coast (Windward side, Ko'olau).
The other islands are more mountainous in the middle, with most people living along the edges, by the ocean, and some in upland valleys. Join the crowds for the sunrise atop Mount Haleakala, home of the gods, and bicycle down. Or not. Maui is nice, but there's not much shopping, or night life. And it's getting a little too touristy.
Oahu has the hotels, the shops, the malls, the restaurants, the nightclubs, the gay bars, the discos, the strip joints, the hookers, the drugs, the crime. It's pretty tame, though, compared to most big cities on the Mainland. Unless you're a surfer. Then there's the North Shore, still only one hotel, somewhat laid back, home to all the famous surfing beaches, Waimea, Pipeline, Sunset Beach.
50-foot waves in the winter, when the big storms come in from the North Pacific. That's our rainy season, November to March. But it's been kind of dry, the last few years. And when it rains now, it pours, which is unusual for here. Most people still don't even own an umbrella. There's no Weather Channel here.
I'll give you the forecast for the next ten years: Tradewinds 5-15mph, 70-80 degrees, chance of showers, Windward and Mauka (upland). Some chance of hot, humid, smoggy Kona winds next week, but we're out of hurricane season, pretty much, until late Spring. Listen for tsunami warnings. You never know. Hilo has been wiped out twice in the last sixty years.
So there you have it. I'm actually talking about the weather. And there isn't any, here. Aloha, and all that hauoli kukae lio, you pupule haole lolos!
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