Tuesday, 12 October 2010

The Garden of the Gods

Today I have the urge to go on a little photographic exploration of the island and have procured the services of a local driver and his jeep. He's promised to take me to all the photogenic hotspots and if we're lucky we might see some turtles. A couple of the others think this is a fine idea and grab their Nikons and join me.
We start off with a visit to and the history of Lana'i City. A place with an astonishing number of churches considering the population. And not used now though, a curious tiny 'open-air' jail. It's great to have the benefit of a true native who can regale us endlessly (and I mean endlessly) with local colour.

One of the quirkiest places which I have visited is Dis 'n' Dat, it's a plantation house literally full to the rafters of knick-knacks, pineapple themed jewellery and the obligatory 'slippah' pendants. But if that wasn't enough there are countless wind chimes suspended from the ceiling and dozens of fans to not only to give a pleasant breeze as you browse but to ensure every wind chime is tinkling furiously. It's truly an experience!

Next we head off for the improbably Martian-like landscape of Garden of the Gods or Keahikawelo. It could be considered Hawaii’s ultimate "rock garden" that's shrouded in mystery as to its creation.

Geology says that these dramatic red boulder formations are the result of thousands of years of erosion that carved out this canyon area but the local stories say there are others explanations.

One Island legend tells us that the rocks and boulders were dropped from the sky by the gods tending their gardens. Another ancient tale explains that the rocks house the spirits of ancient Hawaiian warriors.

And still another legend says that the artistic gods enjoyed creating sculptures and they summoned powerful winds to literally sculpt each rock formation (perhaps explaining why there is no vegetation in the Garden of the Gods). I can vouch for the windiness, my photography trip in a sun dress was perhaps ill-advised!

Turtle spotting on the beach leaves my camera roll full of near misses. I have smooth sea with a merest protuberance of turtle but not enough to distinguish it from a coconut or some such flotsam or perhaps just the ripples leaving a shadow of where a genuine turtle was - but emphasis on 'was'.

I give up and just capture the golden beach, the turquoise sea and Maui beyond. Clearly the gods don't want me to snap turtles today, but at least I got to shoot their garden.

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