Saturday, December 11, 2010

Snowy Sunrise over Mauna Loa's Caldera

Last nights storm brought us some snow on our high peaks. Here is a still from the USGS webcam, overlooking Mokuaweoweo, Mauna Loa's Caldera. Aloha!

Photo: USGS

Monday, November 15, 2010

Gas venting within Pu'u O'o

An aerial view of Pu'u O'o looking to the southwest. Image shows distinct venting coming from the east wall. Location; Kilauea volcano, on the island of Hawaii.

Photo: USGS

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Humuhumuhi'ukole Pinktail Triggerfish Melichthys vidua

The Humuhumuhi'ukole is a member of the Triggerfish family, and a relative of Hawaii's state fish, the Humuhumunukunukuapua'a. Locally known to Hawaii fisherman as, "hagi", Humuhumu are good to eat, but cleaning them requires special technique. Because of the difficulty of cleaning, many fisherman throw them back when caught. Take some time to learn how to clean hagi, and you will be surprised how good they taste!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Introducing Michael Mancini

"Hey Warren, you ever been 'tazed' before"? That's not the usual pre - tour small talk that I am used to, but coming from Michael Mancini, Federal Law Enforcement Officer, Stand Up Comedian, and winner of the title of "World's Funniest Cop", three years in a row, I knew that I was in for a good day. I had the honor of taking Michael and his lovely wife and daughter on a tour of Kilauea Volcano recently and we had a great time exploring and and learning about the volcano. Here is a link to Michaels website
Check it out, he will make you laugh!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Kalapana Lava Flow Saturday, July 17, 2010

Aloha Everybody! This past Saturday, my family and I woke early in the a.m. to go out to view the lava flow near to Kalapana. We got there before the sun came up and were surprised to see a fast moving, surface flow crossing Highway 130. This was certainly one of the fastest moving flows I have seen in some time. The image above is of a lobe of inflated pahoehoe lava oozing through an old fence. The dark lava beneath the glowing lobe is from the 1990's.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Gas Plume at Kilauea Volcano

Here is an image taken near the summit of Kilauea Volcano. The view is looking South, on Highway 11, near to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The big, white cloud in the middle of the image is the gas plume coming from Halemaumau crater, located within the caldera of Kilauea. I modified the image to accentuate the gas plume and the moon.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Reflecting on Wailoa Pond

Aloha Everyone, Here is an image that I took in Hilo, at the Wailoa Pond.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory Geologist Sampling Lava

Geologists at Hawaiian Volcanoes Obseratory, (HVO), collect samples of lava from active flows to get information on temperature, gas content, and chemical composition of the lava. In this photo, a geologist braves extreme radiant heat to collect a sample from an 'a'a  flow. The photo on the bottom is a thermal image that shows the temperature gradient of the lava. The interior of the flow exceeds 1000 degrees celsius, (1800 degrees fahrenheit).
Photo: Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory

Thursday, June 3, 2010

High Lava Stand Within Halemaumau Vent

Here is a rare view into the eruptive vent on the floor of Halemaumau crater. This shot was taken during a, "high lava stand", that is, the lava has risen to a higher point than what is considered normal, or baseline. In this photo, the lava surface is within about 330 feet of the floor of Halemaumau, and the crustal plates on the surface of the lava lake are clearly visible. Note also, that the emissions from the vent are wispy and thin. Emission levels drop during high lava stands, then increase as the lava recedes.
Photo: USGS

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mauna Loa Lava Ball

During a volcanic eruption, magma migrates to the surface. This magma, now called lava, is preceded by a mixture of magmatic gasses, which can cause explosive events. In this photo, taken on the slopes of Mauna Loa volcano, on the island of Hawaii, large rocks were blown out of an eruptive vent. These rocks were then coated by some rather fluid lava, creating a rounded appearance.
Photo: Warren Costa

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Native Guide Hawaii

Here is a short video about my tours done by videographer Layne Luna for a local television show.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Essential music out of New Zealand: Fat Freddy's Drop - The Nod

Aloha All, Up to now, my Blog has pretty much been about all things Hawaii, but I would like to share this video with you all, because, well, it's awesome! The band is called Fat Freddy's Drop. They are out of New Zealand, and they have a really unique sound - very inspiring music. Enjoy! Warren

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Pacific Golden Plover or Kolea (Pluvialis fulva)

The Pacific Golden Plover, or Kolea, (Pluvialis fulva), is a migratory shorebird that arrives here in Hawaii sometime in August, then returns to its breeding grounds on the Alaskan, or Siberian tundra in late April.

The migration of the Kolea is most dramatic; a distance of about 3,000 miles in 50 or 60 hours! The Kolea fly at an elevation of about 20,000 feet probably navigating by the sun and stars.

A Hawaiian poetical saying states; Ai no ke kolea a momona hoi i Kahiki. The plover eats until fat, then returns to the land in which it came. This was said of foreigners who came to Hawaii, made money, then departed to their homeland to enjoy their wealth. Unlike greedy foreigners, however, the Kolea returns after its breeding season with gifts of seeds and spores stuck to its feathers and in its digestive track. These seeds are then sown here in Hawaii to evolve into unique Hawaiian species.

Photos: Warren Costa

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Ae. Polypodium pellucidum.

Ae, or Polypodium pellucidum is an endemic fern of Hawaii. Ae is an early colonizer of lava fields, and is often found growing with Ohia, Metrosideros polymorpha, and Ohelo, Vaccinium reticulatum.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Black - crowned Night - Heron. 'Auku'u. Nycticorax nycticorax hoactli.

The Black - crowned Night - Heron, or 'Auku'u is an indigenous waterbird of Hawaii. Unlike it's continental relatives, the Hawaii 'Auku'u is diurnal, that is, it comes out during the day. The 'Auku'u is often seen foraging, or waiting patiently to ambush prey in shallow wetlands.
The image of the 'Auku'u, seen above, was captured by Heather Pickard, during a recent outing with me on my Hilo Birdwatching Adventure.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Legend of Hina and Mo'o Kuna. Conclusion.

Aloha Friends, here is the exciting conclusion of the Legend of Hina and Mo'o Kuna.

Wasting no time, Mo'o Kuna headed down the stream with Maui in hot pursuit. Often, the dragon tried to hide himself in some sheltered caves and rocks, but Maui gave him no rest. He speared him out of every cave that he entered. Soon, he dived into some of the deep pools in the river. Mo'o Kuna hoped that he at last was safely hidden. Maui was not to be thus easily fooled. He could see the ugly body far below the surface of the gloomy water. Mo'o Kuna was cornered.

High above the pool, Maui stood with his face lifted upwards toward Halemaumau. He called upon the goddess Pele to send him hot stones and molten lava. Pele heard him. She sent fiery rocks down the stream. Maui cast these into Kuna's retreat. It sent a huge column of steam far above the rim of the gorge, and also caused other nearby pools to boil. These are the Boiling Pots of today. They are sometimes found bubbling, especially when it rains.

Because Mo'o Kuna's body was covered with a tough hide, he somehow managed to crawl and drag himself out of the boiling pool. The monster was nearly exhausted, but didn't stop his flight. With a horrible shriek, he once again made his escape. Maui sent torrents of boiling water after him, scalding at last the life from his ugly body.

Then Maui, proud of his work, rolled the huge carcass down the river to a point below Rainbow Falls, within sight of his mother's home. And there the form of the dragon lies to this day, a long, black, rock island known as Mo'o Kuna. Every freshet, every heavy rain beats upon it as an everlasting punishment for plotting the death of Hawaii's goddess, Hina.

Story originally edited by Eliza K. Osorio. Photography and artwork by Warren Costa 
To visit the places mentioned in this story, take a tour with Native Guide Hawaii.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Legend of Hina and Mo'o Kuna. Part 2.

Aloha friends, last time in our story, the evil dragon, Mo'o Kuna, was up to his wicked ways. He threw a boulder into the Wailuku river, stopping the flow of water, and causing the waters to rise, and threaten the life of the goddess Hina, whom was fast asleep in her cozy cave behind the waters of the Rainbow Falls. We continue now with the Legend of Hina and Mo'o Kuna...
Through the darkness, Maui could see the warning cloud. With his Mother's cries ringing in his ears, he dashed to the seashore. He got into his canoe and with two sweeps of his magic paddle, he landed at the mouth of the Wailuku River. Today, we may see a long, narrow rock at the foot of the rapids, below the Mauka Bridge, where he grounded his canoe. This spot is called, "Ka Waa o Maui".

Seizing his magic club, he rushed to the scene of danger. He was greatly startled when he saw what had happened. The mouth of the Wailuku River was dry. Far ahead, the water was rising furiously. The could hear the shrill voices, calling for help. Maui wasted no time. He knew that his Mother was in great distress. With one long stride he approached the boulder. Heated with anger, he struck the rock. It broke in two with a thundering roar. The water rushed out. Hina and her friends were saved.

When Mo'o Kuna heard the crash made by Maui's club, he realized that his attempt upon the life of Hina had again failed. So, he fled to one of his hiding places up the river. He knew how great had been his folly and he trembled at the thought of capture by the demi - god, Maui.
After Maui had greeted his mother and left her safely in a new cave, he began his hunt for Mo'o Kuna, the dragon. He vowed that he would never rest until he had killed him. Since Maui was a demi - god, he sensed the dragon's whereabouts. So, putting his strength together again, he started his search.
Mo'o Kuna did not wait long in his lair, before he heard Maui's thundering command to come out. The earth shook with the heavy steps of Maui approaching. The nearby plants withered as he passed. Maui found the ugly monsters cave. He gave a deafening yell, poised his magic spear, and with one sweep of his mighty arm, hurled it into the depths of Mo'o Kuna's hiding place. The dragon was sly. He slipped out in time to save himself.
Even today, you can see the long hole, "Puka o Maui", which the demi - god's spear made through the lava. The present water intake of the city of Hilo is at this spot.
Next time; the fate of Mo'o Kuna!
Photo and drawing: Warren Costa. Maui drawing by Sierra Washburn.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Legend of Hina and Mo'o Kuna. Part One.

Aloha friends, the stories that follow come from a collection of well known Hawaiian legends and stories, edited by Lorna J. Desha, probably in the early 1940's. The stories were written for fourth and fifth graders of the Central Hawaii District schools to supplement their Social Studies texts. The first story that I shall present is the Legend of Hina and Mo'o Kuna.
A long time ago, There lived far above Rainbow Falls, a powerful dragon. He was called Mo'o Kuna. He had a body of a lizard. He was large, slippery and ugly to look at. He hated men and women who spent their time doing kind deeds. One of these was Maui, the demi-god.
One day, Mo'o Kuna learned that Maui had left his mother, Hina, in her rocky cave behind Rainbow Falls. So he made plans to destroy her and her women. He sent floods carrying logs and boulders down the stream.
Maui's kind hearted mother, Hina, was always watchful. Her cave home was hidden by a misty cloud. This cloud had saved her several times from Mo'o Kuna's threats. This made the dragon very angry. Hina did not mind this, for if any danger should come to her, Maui would know about it. She had a servant cloud called "Ao-Opua" that guarded her abode. If Hina was in trouble, this cloud would rise high above the falls showing different kind of shapes. When Maui saw this warning cloud, he would hurry home to his mother.
One night, while Maui was on the Island of Maui, where he had gone to snare the sun, a great storm arose. The angry waters roared and rushed about the mouth of Hina's cave. They hissed and tossed, but Hina's slumbers were not disturbed by their loud roars.
Mo'o Kuna saw that Hina was not troubled. He then called upon several of his powers to help him lift a huge boutlder and hurl it over the cliffs. It fitted perfectly where it fell, between the walls of the gorge and blocked the rush of the hurrying torrent.
Laughing loudly because of his success, Mo'o Kuna called to Hina. He warned her of her plight, but Hina slept on until the cold waters entered her cave. They rose higher and higher until they reached her sleeping quarters.
Hina sprang to her feet calling for help. Her cries of panic were heard in the distant hills. Soon they grew louder and louder until they reached the Island of Maui, where her son was.
Next time; Maui to the rescue!
Drawing and Photo: Warren Costa

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mai pa'a i ka leo, he 'ole ka hea mai.

Do not withold the voice and not call out a welcome.

From a password chant used in hula schools. It was often used by one who would like a friendly invitation to come into another's home. Photo: Warren Costa

Friday, February 12, 2010

Oia la he koa no kea ano ahiahi; oia nei no ke ano kakahiaka.

He is a warrior of the evening hours; but this person here is of the morning hours.

That person has had his day and is no longer as active as before; but this person is strong, brave, and ready to show his prowess. Photo: Warren Costa

Sunday, February 7, 2010

'A'a lava flow in Royal Gardens Subdivision

Lava burns through the forest within the Royal Gardens Subdivision. This is the viscous, 'a'a - type lava. Photo: USGS

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Hawaiian Lava Tree

As lava flows out of an eruptive vent and through a forest, lava cools around the tree trunks to form vertical columns of lava within the flow field. As the surface of the lava flow cools, it hardens into a crust. Molten rock beneath this crust, can often drain away rapidly, causing subsidence of the crust. This subsidence exposes the vertically cooled columns of lava creating curiously shaped "lava trees" like the ones pictured above and below. Photo: Warren Costa
You can see lava trees in person on my Volcano Adventure! Photo: Warren Costa

Monday, February 1, 2010

Drip Stalagmite

As a lava tube cools down, gasses within the walls expand and extrude liquid material, (lava), into the cave passage. This material can accumulate on the floor of the lava tube to form drip stalagmites, pictured above, or drip from the ceiling to form long, tubular stalactites. Native Guide Hawaii, offers several tours that feature lava tube exploration. Photo: Warren Costa

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mauna Kea from Mauna Loa's upper Northeast Rift Zone

A view of Mauna Kea from Mauna Loa's upper Northeast Rift Zone. The haze in the saddle area, between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea are caused by emissions from Kilauea Volcano. These emissions, known as Vog, are the result of volcanic gasses, primarily sulpher dioxide, mixing with moisture and dust in the atmosphere. Notice that the summits of both mountains are clear of haze, this is due to an inversion layer with an average height of about 6,000 feet, (2,000m). The result is a dry and stable atmosphere above the inversion layer. Photo: USGS

Friday, January 29, 2010

Li'ili'i nioi hiohio ka waha

Li'ili'i nioi hiohio ka waha. Small pepper makes the mouth blow. Said of one who is small but potent. A Hawaiian proverb, (Olelo Noeau). Photo: Warren Costa

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

'Ua'u Kani (Puffinus pacificus) Wedge Tailed Shearwater

On a recent trip to the Island of O'ahu, we made a visit to Kaena Point to do some birding. It was a gorgeous day, and we were fortunate enough to see a variety of native Hawaiian birds, including this Wedge Tailed Shearwater resting near its nest. The Wedge Tailed Shearwater nests on the ground in compact, little burrows, dug into the sand. Be careful if you visit the area; some of the nests are on the trail, and you could step on them, if you are not careful!
Kaena Point, the westernmost point on the Island of O'ahu, was designated a Natural Area Reserve in 1983 to protect  valuable and fragile natural and cultural resources. Photo: Warren Costa

Sunday, January 24, 2010


'Onipa'a. Stand firm. Motto of Queen Lili'uokalani, last reigning monarch of Hawaii. Photo: Warren Costa

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Nene: Hawaii's endangered state bird.

The Nene or Hawaiian Goose, (Branta sandvicensis), is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. At the time of Captain James Cook's arrival in 1778, it was estimated that there were about 2,500 birds in Hawaii. By the mid 1940's, the Nene population on the island of Hawaii was drastically reduced to only 50 individual birds. This reduction in the population was largely due to over hunting, the introduction of predators, such as the mongoose, cats, and dogs, loss of habitat due to agricultural activities, and disturbance by foraging animals, such as the feral pig, sheep, cattle, and goats.
Today, the Nene is a federally listed endangered species, with about 400 individuals on the island of Hawaii, 125 birds on the island of Maui, and a small population on the island of Kauai. Photo: Warren Costa

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pua Kala

Pua Kala, (Argemone glauca),  is an endemic Hawaiian poppy. While most endemic Hawaiian plants are notably devoid of thorns and poisons, Pua Kala is covered with sharp, thorny prickles on its leaves, stems, and seed pods, and the sap contains poisonous alkaloids. The poisonous sap of the Pua Kala was used in Hawaiian medicine to treat toothaches, ulcers, and other ailments. You can see Pua Kala on my Volcano Adventure, and my Hilo Birdwatching Adventure! Photo: Warren Costa

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The sun above, the smooth lava below.

O ka la ko luna, o ka pahoehoe ko lalo. The sun above, the smooth lava below. Said of a journey in which the traveler suffers the heat of the sun above and the reflected heat from the lava bed below. A Hawaiian proverb. Photo: Bandler Ohana.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Moss Sporophyte

The fruiting body of mosses, or sporophytes, are spore - filled stalks that bend and release spores when mature. The spores then grow into new plants. Photo: Warren Costa

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Old sugar plantation house

On a drive back to Hilo from Kona, I turned off Highway 19 onto the Old Mamalahoa Highway. I came across this old plantation home. The yard was overgrown with weeds, and the house was showing signs of decades of neglect. I sat for awhile and tried to imagine the house when it was in it's youth, smelling of pine sap and new paint. One day, the bulldozers will come to wipe the slate clean, making way for a new beginning. Photo: Warren Costa

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Beyond the Rim: Hiking Volcanoes National Park with a guide.

A few months ago, I had the privilege of taking Kim Steutermann Rogers on a tour of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Kim is a writer for . Here is the article that she wrote; Beyond the Rim: Hiking Volcanoes National Park with a guide. Thank you Kim for a great article!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Benchmark on the rim of Kilauea Caldera.

Benchmark on the rim of Kilauea caldera. For more information on benchmarks and benchmark hunting check out this site. This benchmark can be seen on my Volcano Adventure Tour. Happy hunting! Photo: Warren Costa

Friday, January 8, 2010

Lava visible within Halemaumau's collapse pit!

Spectacular eruptive activity has been occuring within the collapse pit in Halemaumau crater at Kilauea's summit. In this photo taken by the Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory, a lava stream is clearly visible within the pit. Also visible, are the walls of the pit, which are usually obscured by fumes. This is a great time to visit Kilauea volcano! Make the most of your visit with a tour by Native Guide Hawaii, or send me an email for more information.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010