Saturday, January 24, 2009


Big Island, Hawaii

Breakfast on the beach at Kona with Dick & Karen Sherman and Carole. How often do we have a breakfast picnic? How cool is that? In December? At the Beach? That’s my bowl on the left by Carole. I need one of those vanity poles. I would attach that little camera and hold it out so I could be in the picture with my friends and the scenery I want.

We visited D & K at their home for a few days at the front end of our Hawaii trip. We made friends with their geckos and learned about Dick’s art with beautiful designs stained into large gourds and ate Karen’s great food. Our friends made their home in Kona over 8 years ago after leaving Ohio. From my survey of their setting and lifestyle, their research yielded great results. Community activities and consistent climate serve up abundant options. I was afraid they might have become bored. After all you probably don’t want to snorkel every day. The photo over the rail is the view from their house. Even with a little vog, it’s a great view. Vog? It’s a volcanic version of fog.

As an amateur, I am still a dilettante in astronomy. Even so, it was a major attraction to go up Mauna Kea to see the colony of telescopes. Nearly 14,000 feet through the atmosphere helps cut the distortion. Above the marine layer, the viewing is fine. The twin Keck Observatories on the crater rim are two of many observatories including the non-optical, radio arrays. At the visitors’ center we learned about the discoveries and ambitions for the future of terrestrial-based space exploration. Advances are extending scopes functions in ways new to me. Back home, I’ve been sorting out an 8” cassegrain telescope someone donated to the Reserve where I volunteer. Quite tiny compared to everything at Mauna Kea. But it does now find and track celestial objects. Fun! Next month I am hoping we’ll see the 32” scope come on line as part of the LCOGT project ( _in_the_dark) which should be up and viewing at Sedgwick Reserve!

Kona coffee is precious! Our plantation tour explained the growth, processing and history of coffee in the Kona hills. How can it get to Santa Ynez and sell for 1/5 as much is a miracle in market force I suppose. Later we saw replicas of ancient Hawaiian board games (Papamu for Konane: /ss/ puuhonua_2.htm) and achingly beautiful outrigger canoes.

All this is just the backdrop for a great visit with good friends from the distant past. Though we talked the whole time, we left with the conversation still to continue probably in Santa Barbara, on the beach, at a picnic?