Thursday, January 17, 2013

Day 15 - Sunny Side Up Please - A New Island Called Kauai

Another beautiful sunny day in the island chain known as Hawaii. Sorry all - I hear a foot of snow in the next few days in West Michigan.

Maui to Oahu to Kauai was our two flights this morning.

Above Molokai as we fly to Oahu
Waikiki beach and Diamond Head in Honolulu

Kauai is one of the oldest islands in the chain and has had substantial erosional periods. The landscape is stunning on this little island and not as often visited by tourists to the islands. It is off the beaten path you might say, but is worth every second as you will see over the next few days - the geology and geography of Kauai is hardly to be believed!

View Larger Map

After arriving we headed for lunch and then for some geology!

Drew and Bill each gave a devotional as we overlooked a deep water bay on the southeast coast of Kauai. While there Professor Van Kooten discussed a variety of geological features we had seen on other islands and then challenged students to consider how similar and different types of features and processes were at work here on Kauai.

Then to the Spouting Horn Park! This fun place features a blowhole that uses ocean water within an old lava tube with a hole for water to escape when air pressure builds. Here is a picture and video.

Spouting high!

At the park, Hayleigh and Drew both gave talks. Hayleigh educated us well on the demographics and political traditions within Hawaii. Drew gave an excellent talk on Pineapples, where once the Dole company used Hawaii for much of the pineapple production, it has since moved off island to places like Costa Rica.

Hayleigh teaching us well!
Drew had some passer's-by stop to listen in
(like the couple behind him who were trying to be sneaky - but I saw them the whole time)
Then we were treated to a wonderful display of geology on the Sunny South Coast, as it is known here in Kauai.

Thalassinoides, or shrimps that burrow into sand while underwater have been preserved on one of the southern beach areas and off we went to see them. You wouldn't think that shrimp burrows would be that exciting, but I was so surprised at how fascinating these little things were! Professor Van Kooten thought this crop are the finest example he had ever seen.

Due to erosion the beautiful shrimp burrows were left for us to see
Shrimps burrowed down and made these tunnels. Do you see the remains?

Here is a great example. See the upside down 'Y' at the bottom? Yep a shrimp burrow

Can you follow the burrowed tunnels? (see the foot in the lower left for scale)
Then Professor Van Kooten posed some wonderful questions for us all around how to understand the landscape and what was happening on Kauai. It was a thought-provoking question for us to consider.

While looking around for evidence of past geological history, we found this big guy swimming in the waters next to our cliff. Do you see the cool turtle in the water?
When you really start looking, you never know what you might find.
Some of us had ideas about the geology and geomorphology here and Brianna and Tyler, shown here pointing, had the best working theories. We were standing on a former sand dune that was now rock
The cliff we walked on with significant water undercuts

Do you see the stratigraphy in rock?
Magnificent southern coast of Kauai

Only about 40 feet down

Sediment on the sandstone with dunes on the sediment layer. Love the vegetation on the dunes. Are these dunes moving or fairly stationary? Why?

Clouds rolling in on paradise

Calvin Students engaged in fun and investigation
Once we spent a couple of hours here looking at the history and unfolding it with the help of Professor Van Kooten we headed for our accommodations here on the island. They are a bit nicer than we have been used to but a bit cheaper than when we were in Maui.

The grounds outside one of our rooms at the Kauai Coast Resort in the town of Kapaa
Tomorrow we head up to the Canyon. I can't wait!!!

Miles Hiked today and yesterday 0.5
Miles Hiked in Hawaii: 44.9 miles
Miles on the car: 1201 miles
Number of U-Turns: 20
Number of wild chickens on Kauai: I think maybe too many to count

This handsome wild rooster takes a drink

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