This summer we visited the island of Kauai in Hawaii, where we enjoyed Kauai‘s high cliffs, deep valleys, and water. For six million years, “high annual rainfall has eroded deep valleys in the central mountains, carving out canyons with many scenic waterfalls.”

Above is a sunrise from our condo, where the rising sun paints the beach and trees with a red glow.

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ISO Honu and Stars

On Hawaii’s Big Island, we searched for honu (the Hawaiian name for the green sea turtle) and stars. The Big Island has high mountains, and I wanted to photograph the Milky Way from there.

Shown above, a father and son fish at Kiholo Bay, where we looked for honu. We asked a Hilo family camping at the beach, but they hadn’t seen any either. Days later, they emailed us that their auntie saw honu when walking the other way from the parking lot.

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Big Island Food

We ate our way through Hawaii’s Big Island, feasting on local specialties. The Big Island is big enough so you don’t want to backtrack much, so we planned our drives for both sights and food.

After landing in Hilo, we drove downtown for poke and papayas. We bought this ahi poke bowl from Suisan Fish Market and ate it next door. Pieces of raw tuna with seaweed and green onions on rice, it was excellent. Leaving Hilo, we stopped again to pick up another bowl for dinner near Volcano.

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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

From Honolulu we flew to Hawaii’s Big Island (also called Hawaii) to visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Hawaiian Islands were formed by lava flowing from a hot spot under the Pacific Ocean, and the Park preserves and guides you to volcanic eruptions and lava flows.

Shown above, a plume of volcanic gases rises from Halemaumau Crater within the much larger Kilauea crater. Halemaumau Crater is about a half-mile (800 m) wide with a lava lake inside.

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Honolulu Food

Food in Hawaii reflects a multicultural blend of people and their food — Hawaiian, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, and Korean. “From 1778-1872, the overall population on the islands dropped from 300,000 to 50,000, due to a series of epidemics.” Plantation owners needed workers so they imported Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, and Koreans in successive waves.

Driving into Honolulu from the airport, we ate lunch at small grill in an industrial area. Shown above, we had fried chicken, miso soup, loco moco, saimin, oxtail in saimin, and seared ahi. Miso soup is Japanese, a broth with fermented soy bean curd. Loco moco is a recent island dish of rice, hamburger patty, brown gravy, and fried egg. Saimin is a long-time local dish with thin (Chinese) noodles in a (Japanese) fish-based broth. Seared ahi is seared Japanese tuna sashimi.

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