Sunday, April 2, 2017

Fun fun fun 'til the scary yellow centipedes.

We arrived in Hilo on a Big White Boat, and  the view over the side suggested that the  most in-demand car on the Big Island was Mustang convertible. You could have it in any colour, as long as the colour was black, red, or silver.

Why? Retired baby-boomers? 

Roof down, SPF 100 for when Panama hat blows off.

The Big White Boat eco-tour that took us to the Lava Trees also took us to the Pohoiki Hot Pond. This is a place where proximity to sea-bound magma heats the water and you can flop around like udon in a swimming pool-sized hot tub if the surf isn't crashing over the edge, which on this day it was. The surf was unusually high because of an approaching hurricane. No swimming today.  No matter,  No one wanted to swim. Everyone wanted to watch the waves.

There were other sight-seeing vans there.  All the sight-seeing leaders, themselves surfers, were agog--and disappointed. This surf was their dream, and here they were, driving around another load of tourists.

Surf raging through dead branches.  Not far away, red-hot magma is plunging into the sea, an explosive boil.  Heaven and hell. When it comes to OMG, Hawaii sets the bar pretty high.

Surfers gotta surf.  Many were there, more were arriving.  Look.  Real Hawaiians don't drive Mustang convertibles.

The waves were sprinkled with dots of hope and courage. The lineup.

Taking off.  I wistfully imagined these seconds.  All the way to Hawaii on the Big White Boat I had been reading William Finnegan's Barbarian Days. A Surfer's Life, trying to understand from his words what surfing must be like.  Well here it was.  Woo! (Wistful woo.)

Off to the side, newcomers were heading out from a wave-swamped bay.

Even with motorized assistance, it was a challenge.

Motorized assistance in the air,

Varying degrees of success were hailed by unheard cheers as the waves grew and washed farther up the shore, foaming among the black lava rocks were we stood, which had the unexpected effect of ...

Waking the centipedes!

A biblical number of scolopendromorphs was sloshed from its sleep.  The individual in the picture may not look very big.  Truth:  It was scary big, as were its friends. They bite mean, and hang on. William Finnegan never mentioned them.

They scuttled among startled flop-flopped surf-watchers, who shouted creative expressions during the scramble to safety.

Backed-up a bit, out of the centipede zone, surf-watching resumed.  Reluctantly, our group boarded the tour van and were on our way.  

(Saw no Mustangs.)

Here is the Big White Boat: 

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