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You've Got To Go With The Flow

When you've got an erupting volcano in your backyard, things can get a little dicey.

     Good morning and greetings, severe weather fans. I’m still blown away by the power and destruction of the recent tornadoes, which wreaked havoc, death and destruction throughout the south and midwest. This has been the deadliest year for twisters since 1936, or back when the Republican party stood for something moral and decent.

     So while nature’s most violent storms were leveling small towns while lifting homes and people’s lives off their foundations, another kind of destruction was going in our nation, but in a much more tropical setting. And in this scenario, it was more than tears that were flowing in the aftermath of this freaky Friday.

     The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported last Sunday that a lava flow destroyed the last home in the Big Island’s Puna district. The neighborhood’s last resident, Jack Thompson, left his home about an hour before the river of molten rock plowed down a hill and burned his house to the ground, which was not a great way to celebrate the end of the work week. Personally, whenever I see a river of volcanic ash headed in my direction, I always like to get at least a two-hour head start on my dash to higher ground.

     “I got as much stuff out of there as was practical, and everything else, had to leave it,” Thompson said. The lava was “pretty much coming in the back as we were going out the front.” Call me inhospitable, but I always hate it when old friends or lava drop by uninvited.

     “I’ve been on this mountain about 40 years, and this is the second house I’ve had in this subdivision,” Thompson said. “I don’t think anybody will be living up here anymore.” Just to play it safe, if Thompson changes his mind and returns to the neighborhood, he might want to consider renting.

     Mount Kilauea has been continuously erupting since 1983 and like my weight gains, has shown no signs of stopping. Scientists warned several weeks ago that the lava was becoming more active. Over the years, it has destroyed homes, cut off roads and put a damper on neighborhood luaus.

     “I’ve been preparing for this for years. You’re hoping for the best, but in time expect the inevitable,” Thompson said. “It could have gone somewhere else just as easily, but this time I was in the way.” In the words of the Rolling Stones, “Time and lava waits for no one.”

     So what do we know about the most dangerous volcano in the United States? Mount Kilauea is located on the Big Island in Volcanoes National Park,which grows around 42 acres every year thanks to Kilauea’s eruptions and the Mauna Loa Nut Factory. Locals continue to worship and pay homage to the goddess Pele, who lives inside the volcano, making offerings of fruit, flowers, fish and fatburgers to soothe her fury and to thank her for her generosity in expanding the great land of Hawaii with her perennial eruptions and sponsorship of surf contests.

     Kīlauea means “spewing, “much spreading, or holy crap, that’s hot” in Hawaiian. Thirty-five eruptions have taken place since 1952, the year my parents hit the jackpot. The volume of erupted material is large enough to pave a road around the world three times, not including toll plazas, vista points or Denny’s, a good place to sit and eat.

     After Ted’s Bakery on the north shore of Oahu, home to the original chocolate haupia pie, Kilauea is the most visited attraction in Hawaii. The image of black rock, orange fire, volcanic fog, smoldering sea waves, smoke on the water and fire in the sky is a must-see for anyone who visits the Big Island. At least that’s what the people from www.exinarticles.com tell me. Like LeBron James, it’s one natural wonder you shouldn’t miss.

     I’ve been to Volcanoes National Park and it was spectacularly eerie. Lava flows, steam rising out of the earth and craters the size of football fields made for an amazing adventure while on my honeymoon. The excursion there was just like my wedding night, except I didn’t develop a cramp.

     But before we leave the South Pacific, here’s an aloha update. Last week, Hawaii Governor Steve McGarrett declared Oahu and Kauai disaster areas after three days of relentless rain and rainbows which caused mudslides, never before seen hail, water spouts, eensey, weensy spiders, a tornado, severe flooding, dangerous surf and a rerun of the new ‘Hawaii Five-O.’

     It was a nightmare on the north shore of the Garden Isle as vacationers were paddle boarding through strip mall parking lots. So far, four feet of rain have fallen in a week with more storms on the way and no let up in sight. Sounds like it’s been a tad soggy for sun-loving vacationers. But like the slogan says, come get lei-ed, but if it’s in March, you might want to pack an umbrella.

     Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of Volcanoes National Park, as I hadn’t yet begun my digital journey. However, today I’m showcasing the beauty of our 50th state, starting in Kauai with a shot of Waimea Canyon, the island that was created by the collapse of a volcano approximately four million years and a week ago.

     We then get into the flow of water with four spectacular beaches, starting with a double shot of Sunset Beach on the North Shore of Oahu. We then move on to the loveliness of Waimea Bay, before moving back to Kauai and Hanalei Bay, the location for the recent George Clooney drama, ‘The Descendents.’ We finish up at the golden sands of Lumahai Beach, where Mitzi Gaynor “washed that man right out of her hair” in ‘South Pacific’ before rinsing with a coconut oil hair conditioner.

     To check out these photos, click on http://www.SunriseSantaCruz.com/blog

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