Posted by: Anna Webb | December 29, 2009

Recycle Through Freecycle™

In this materialistic, disposable world in which we live, we find ourselves inundated at times with “stuff”. Electronic, automotive, household, construction and clothing items, for example, take a lot of energy to manage. And, when we decide to upgrade, remodel or simply clean the house or garage we discover many extra items we no longer need.

One option is to have a yard sale. This requires planning, organizing and advertising not to mention a lot of work the day of the sale. It can be a fun way of at least making a bit of money back on these items. Online sale venues such as EBay or Craigslist is another option to make money back on these items.

Another practical venue that has grown in popularity not only in the U.S. but in other countries as well, is Freecycle™. Freecycle™ began as a Yahoo!™ group and was created to keep these items out of the local landfills. There are some rules and regs associated with Freecycle in that the item has to be given freely with no strings attached and there are no trades allowed. In addition, services are not allowed to be posted. But when you’ve exhausted your avenues for trying to make money from these items, rather than load up the trunk and pitch them in the local dump or bag them up for the weekly trash pick-up, post them on Freecycle™ and give the item to someone who can use it! The main idea is to keep it out of the landfills.

Here in Hawaii our “real estate” is limited, therefore, our landfills are also limited. The landfill here on the Big Island is estimated to reach its limit by 2012. Then what? *Will we send barges of trash out into the ocean looking for another state or country to take it off our hand?  In my opinion, this fact alone makes it much more imperative to be cognizant of what we are tossing into our trash.

You’d be surprised to know the happiness that can come from one man’s trash given to another in need. We may perceive our computer printer to be an antiquated piece of junk as we gladly install a new one, but someone without one would be glad to take it off your hands!

Freecycle Yahoo!™ groups have sprung up all over and you are likely to find one in your immediate city or town. All you have to do is go to the link listed below and go to the “Find a Yahoo Group” box and enter Freecycle™ and your town. It’s easy to join and you will enjoy posting your items knowing you will be passing on your favorite, but wornout, drill or toaster to someone who can use it!

And, the next time you and your husband or wife are discussing how nice it would be to get your kids a swing set for the backyard, give Freecycle™ a try. You can post a WANTED: Swing set – Your Town, and just might be surprised when someone replies that their kids have outgrown theirs and it is just sitting in their backyard waiting for you to pick it up! It might even be a neighbor of yours just around the block and you could discover new friends in the process.

Check it out! I was a member of the one in Ohio for two years before I moved here and easily found this one when I arrived.

Search this link for the local group in your area:

Freecycle Big Island link: (Special thanks to Sonia for founding and operating this group on the Big Island)

*I wrote this draft back in the Summer waiting to find the logo. When editing it for posting, I realized since that time, my question, unfortunately, was answered.

Regarding Hawaii shipping off its trash. 8/26/09 “Oahu trash to be shipped to Washington State”

And, from 12/22/09 – “Tons of Hawaii Trash Piles Up Awaiting Shipment”

Recycle folks!!

Posted by: Anna Webb | December 28, 2009

Lava Flow on the Pali

Current glow on the clouds from Kalapana

I just returned from a hike out toward the new lava flow at Kalapana and it’s quite impressive. Most of the activity for the past few months has been underground. This new flow is above ground. I saw the glow on the clouds when returning home this evening and couldn’t resist going down to check  it out. There were many people there with the same idea, as well.

It was a good night for it as there was adequate moonlight even through the clouds. There were multiple breakouts coming down the pali and a steady stream below the breakouts.

Current glow with lava on the pali

According to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory daily report, there is “lots of surface flow on the pali and lava streams entering the ocean are producing 50 ft. explosions”. I observed the explosions boiling up as the lava hit the ocean even from where I stood about a mile or so away. I spoke with a couple who had hiked for an hour out toward the lava stream and never reached it. Remember, it always looks closer than it is. They said it was like a “river” coming down. Another person I spoke to said she hiked out long enough to “feel the heat”, likely standing on a skylight over a previous, recent flow since the current one is above ground, and she turned around and hiked back.

Current glow with lava stream on the pali

Usually the flow will harden and produce a tube to flow faster into the ocean. Hopefully it will stay on the surface long enough to light up the clouds for a few more nights.

I remind my readers that the lava flow area at Kalapana is to be respected. A weak wind was blowing from a southeasterly direction tonight so it was blowing fumes away. Never venture in that area if the winds are coming from the west or northwest as the fumes are toxic. A good rule of thumb is that you should feel the wind on your back when walking from the parking area toward the viewing area/flow.

In addition, you never know where the lava might be flowing underneath where you are hiking so be cautious. This is the reason the county sets up a safe viewing area. Lava viewing hours in this area are from 5pm to 8pm daily. They close this area at 10pm. Wear good shoes, bring a flashlight and drinking water and be prepared to be “wowed”!

In addition, Halema’uma’u crater in Volcanoes National Park is putting on a show. Here is an excerpt from the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) Kilauea update posted today:

A very active, sloshing lava surface has been visible via webcam within a single opening at the bottom of a deep pit inset within the floor of Halema`uma`u Crater; overnight, the surface continued to rise out of the opening and cover the pit bottom before falling back into the opening; the lava surface reached the highest lava levels in the pit in the last several days. The strongest glow since the end of June, 2009, was visible from the Jaggar Museum Overlook and in the Halema`uma`u webcam overnight.

You can read the daily updates on the Kilauea lava flows at this link:

New webcam article on HVO:

Link to all five HVO webcams including the one for the above mentioned crater:

All comments are appreciated and I will update as possible.

Posted by: Anna Webb | December 23, 2009

Mele Kalikimaka!

(the above is wall decor at the Montessori Country School, Pahoa, Hawaii)

From my shack to yours, have a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season!

Bright blessings to you and yours for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2010.

Anna Webb

Posted by: Anna Webb | September 11, 2009

The Voice of Nature©

Lower Puna District Coastline

Lower Puna District Coastline

For the most part, the elements – Earth, Air, Fire and Water – are silent. Earth provides a still, solid foundation. Air, in the form of wind, moves silently toward the Earth. Fire, in the form of sunlight, shines its rays calmly yet directly on all and water, flowing freely without noise, is rarely satisfied with a destination.

It all exists in meditative silence only finding a voice when they merge. Wind blows in silence. Ponder that for a moment. It seems quite loud when a storm rages and the wind howls around us. We close up our windows and stay sheltered until it passes. However, the wind only howls when it moves around stationary objects attached to the Earth.

What else gives the wind its voice? I’ve noticed on my morning walks that the trees give air a variety of tones. The ironwoods allow the wind to whisper, the palm fronds give the wind it’s clacking chatter, a large rainbow bark tree nearby gives the wind a crackling voice, and wide leafed plants provide us with a lulling song.

I’ve written in the past that the lava tubes give air a most unusual outlet to express itself. Similar to the wind’s howl during a storm, a lava tube gives the wind its howling whistle. Earth is air’s larynx.

Water, in its ninja-like movement, flows silently as it moves. When it collides with Earth, it releases its energy in the form of sound. It’s voice can come as a soothing soprano when a trickling stream moves over the earth or a booming bass as it clashes suddenly against a rocky cliff. The spray created from the clash is carried by the wind in a light, harmonic tone, like cymbals in a symphony orchestra.

Fire is more subtle with its creative force. Sunlight, in silent beauty, paints each raindrop brilliant colors as it forms a rainbow. It crackles the earth as it burns branches and trees in a forest fire. It has its place there, creating necessary nourishment for Earth to regenerate. Fire is a catalyst as it heats and converts water to air creating storms. Fire drives the ocean with the Sun’s heat, giving it power of movement. Pure sunlight reminds us there is beauty, strength and wisdom in silence.

Earth’s own voice is created by its movement, its growth. Lava, or inner earth, moves and flows silently creating new land. Its plates collide, creating great electromagnetic fields which sound like a boom as it is emitted from Earths’ crevices and openings. It shakes the four corners of earth with its power as it shifts. It spreads out and touches the air. The air reacts by rearranging into weather systems. And air, in the form of a weather system, speaks to the earth in conversation as it showers its water upon it. Earth responds with movement and so the dance of the elements continues.

Elemental conversations exist, yet we don’t hear. Most times, we don’t see either and we shrug it off as: Nature is a force to be reckoned with. I believe that nature is a teacher, a friend, a lover. One can’t deny the lessons learned from it. One can’t deny its friendly feel; be it a breezy, sunny day or a gentle rain. One can’t deny the beauty of its interactive dance. It can teach us how to live and how to love. Wind, like Spirit, moves silently through us. We can learn to feel it. And, the best way to learn to feel it and appreciate it is in silent observation.

Anna Webb

©Copyright 2009

Posted by: Anna Webb | August 12, 2009

Tropical Storm Maka Reaches Out and Touches Felicia

Tropical Storm Maka reaches around Kauai to connect to Felicia remnant low

Tropical Storm Maka reaches around Kauai to connect to Felicia remnant low

I observed an interesting occurrence yesterday. As the weather patterns surrounding the Hawaiian islands shifted from an easterly flow to a westerly flow, newly formed tropical storm Maka reached up around Kauai and hooked up with the tail end of tropical depression Felicia still lying to the north.

Fortunately it seems that Maka has enough momentum so as not to make a u-turn into the islands. The west/southwest change of Hawaii’s weather system flow, however, has brought moderate to heavy vog back to the eastside of Hawaii’s Big Island’s, including the lower Puna District.

The good news is that we don’t seem to be affected by either storm and escaped severe weather. Many were hoping for a good rain to fill their catchment tanks but it looks like we will be waiting for a while. Or will we?

Current satellite shot of Hawaii and what appears to be a bit of energized Felicia North of Maui/Big Island

Current satellite shot of Hawaii and what appears to be a bit of energized Felicia North of Maui/Big Island

Maka has been downgraded to a tropical depression and is moving off to the west/northwest. It appears this morning that part of Felicia still remains and is sharing some rain with the islands. Did Maka give Felicia a little shot of energy? Or is it a small, newly developed low? It’s certainly not boring around here!

Posted by: Anna Webb | August 12, 2009

Perseid Meteor “Show” Not Over Yet

Perseus constellation map

Perseus constellation map

According to the experts, tonight may actually be an even better show than last night. Here on the southeast coast of Hawaii’s Big Island, it was clouded over and “voggy”. Unfortunately, none of it could be seen.

We have high hopes for tonight, however, for clear skies and a star-filled night sky.

To view the meteor shower, go outside between 9pm-midnight this evening and look toward the northeast sky. The earlier you go out, the lower toward the horizon they will be. The shower peaks between midnight and 5am but moonlight may obscure some of the smaller “shooters”.

How to locate the radiant point (central shower location) for the Perseid meteor shower

About Perseids

Perseid update on

Posted by: Anna Webb | August 11, 2009

Felicia, Maka and the Perseid Meteor Shower

Downgraded to a tropical depression, Felicia sits northeast of the Hawaiian Islands while tropical storm Maka develops southwest of the Islands

Downgraded to a tropical depression, Felicia sits northeast of the Hawaiian Islands while tropical storm Maka develops southwest of the Islands

Felicia has been downgraded to a tropical depression. If we’re lucky Felicia will move westward, north of the Hawaiian Islands, and the newly developed tropical storm Maka, stationed to the southwest of the islands, will move on to the west/northwest. They both seem to be in “queue” in their respective locations, with the Hawaiian Islands sandwiched in the middle.

Regardless, the next couple of days should still prove interesting as far as the weather is concerned. “The foxes are circling the hen house”, so to speak, and with El Nino (warmer Pacific Ocean temperatures) it’s anyone’s and everyone’s game.

Meanwhile, if we are fortunate enough to enjoy clear skies tonight and tomorrow night the Perseid meteor shower should put on an impressive show. The best viewing will be between midnight and 5am (no matter where you live in any time zone) but the night sky after dark should sport some “shooting stars” prior to moonrise around midnight. Go outside and look toward the northeast sky between 9pm and 11pm for the good views prior to moonlight washing out the smaller ones. Try to get a view as Perseid area will rise from the horizon as night time falls.

Getting back to tropical depression Felicia…storm tracking still projects her to cross paths with Maui, although the time of arrival has been delayed until 8pm tonight. Personally, when I look at the satellite, I’m doubtful that she will cross paths with the Hawaiian islands at all.

Tropical depression Maka southwest of the islands has now been upgraded to a tropical storm and looks like it’s being drawn up to the northeast. Luckily it developed once nearly PAST the islands and not before. Stay tuned for updates as appropriate. Otherwise remember, “surf’s up” and be safe out there.

Perseid Meteor Shower article on

Central Pacific Hurricane Center advisory for Tropical Storm Maka heading northwest

Central Pacific Hurricane Center track projection for Tropical Storm Maka

CPHC 5am 8/11/09 track projection and advisory for Tropical Depression Felicia

Posted by: Anna Webb | August 11, 2009

Surfing “Felicia” at Pohoiki

A surfer catches a wave at Pohoiki Monday afternoon 8/11/09

A surfer catches a wave at Pohoiki Monday afternoon 8/10/09

The only indication that a tropical storm looms to the distant east/northeast was the great wave action down at Pohoiki today. While coastal Big Island parks remain closed today from Ka’u to Laupahoehoe, it didn’t stop surfers and photographers from flocking to lower Puna District.

One of many photographers set up along the coast

One of many photographers set up along the coast

We were curious to see how the ocean was affected by tropical storm Felicia, so we ventured down Red Road in search of an answer. Along the drive, we noticed larger than usual swells on the southeast side of the island but the splash made along the cliffs wasn’t any more impressive than any other windy day. Then we arrived at Pohoiki.

A surfer enters the water at Pohoiki

A surfer enters the water at Pohoiki

Same surfer heads out on his board

Same surfer heads out on his board

Mothers pushed their children in strollers along the road and the parking lots were full. It was easy to see where people headed on this gorgeous Big Island day in lower Puna. And then we saw the crowds gathered alongside of the road and spilling over into it. We looked to our right and discovered why. There were no less than 15-20 surfers out in the water and two jet skis to retrieve them after their rides on white capped 6-8 foot waves. We guesstimated a couple of 10 footers while there, however. Perfect timing!

Surfing the curl at Pohoiki

Surfing the curl at Pohoiki

In the distance you could see Felicia’s dark gray presence but inland the weather was fine. More than fine – no ka oi (the best). Interestingly the wind was blowing more from the north/northeast rather than east/northeast. It was cool though because as a set of waves began to break, the wind would blow the spray back over it. And the surfers were lovin’ it!

So were the fishermen. There were an equal number of folks out catching fish on this fine day. We watched a man pull his net out of the water; the traditional Hawaiian way to fish here off the coast.

A fisherman (between the trees) pulls his net out of the water

A fisherman (between the trees) pulls his net out of the water

Now that it looks like Felicia isn’t visiting the Big Island at all, we can thank her for bringing nice waves our way.

Pohoiki Surf

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Posted by: Anna Webb | August 10, 2009

Hilo Bay: Before – UPDATE – During/After

Hilo Bay Sunday evening 8.9.09

Hilo Bay Sunday evening 8.9.09

I was visiting my friends today who live on a farm above Hilo in the Pu’ueo Farm Lots area at about 1200 feet elevation. While it was rainy up there which obscured the view most of the day, it cleared off late in the afternoon and I decided to snap a “before” photo of Hilo and Hilo Bay.

My friend agreed to snap “during” and “after” shots for me which I will post, if possible, with storm blog updates. It will be interesting to see the difference as the next couple of days unfold.

Hilo Bay and Hilo International Airport 8.9.09

Hilo Bay and Hilo International Airport 8.9.09

They live alongside one of five gulches that run down from Mauna Kea with two 70′ waterfalls so it will be interesting to see how heavy the flow gets in the gulch down toward Hilo, as well.

As of now, I’m already hearing “stronger than ususal” surf crash upon the cliffs nearby my home.

Stay tuned!

Part of Felicia over Hilo Bay

Part of Felicia over Hilo Bay

Here is a better late than never photo of part of Felicia over Hilo Bay. The next photos show the lovely rainbow created by the portion of a weather pattern created by Felicia that came onto Big Island as she went north over Maui and Kauai.

The left side of a full arc double rainbow created by remnants of Felicia

The left side of a full arc double rainbow created by remnants of Felicia


Felicia passes over and up toward Mauna Kea and dissipates but a remnant rainbow remains.

Remnant rainbow over Hilo and Hilo Bay from Felicia

Remnant rainbow over Hilo and Hilo Bay from Felicia

Posted by: Anna Webb | August 9, 2009

Update: Tropical Storm Felicia and Ridin’ the Storm Out

Current satellite image of Tropical Storm Felicia

Current satellite image of Tropical Storm Felicia

Today was an interesting day in regard to what was once Hurricane Felicia. She lost quite a bit of steam, structure and stamina then seem to regroup a bit and forge on.

A bit higher north than anticipated, it looks like the Big Island will miss a direct hit but likely other islands won’t be so lucky. Maui and Oahu stand to take the brunt of it, however, by the time she arrives she should only be packing winds between 25-40mph sustained. As anyone who’s lived here a while knows, that’s no big deal. The bigger issue will be torrential rains.

A good portion of the Big Island is composed of lava rock and drains the water well. More developed areas don’t drain so well. I feel it’s good to remind readers of a few tips regarding flooded roadways. First, do not drive your car into or through flooded areas. You cannot be sure how deep it is and a car can be swept away in a hurry. In alot of neighborhoods, sudden heavy rains can cause flash floods and what may begin as a small flow through a yard or on the side of the street can, without warning, become a small river. Avoid coastal roads and be aware waves can wash over them. And as tempting as it may be to surfers, do your family and friends a favor and don’t try to surf the “big one”, ’nuff said.

It’s best to do whatever you have to do early tomorrow then settle in for the afternoon and night. The effects are supposed to last into Wednesday. Even though the storm may go north of Big Island, it’s large and 100 miles or so in diameter so we’re likely to experience winds, storm surge and torrential rainfall.

Check out these satellite photos of Tropical Storm Felicia today. I couldn’t help but see a battle between Pele and Felicia just as she transitioned from a Hurricane to a tropical storm and lost her steam.

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