“…The regrettable human error, or plain stupidity, will be part of the Hawaiian history. The wrong button was pushed; in reality, double clicked by a suboptimal employee abusing a computer mouse at times when the contest on who had the ‘much bigger nuclear button that works’ was in the news. And more than one real war has been triggered in the past by a surreal, confusing event…”
by Guillermo Paz-y-Miño-C
I was in Oahu on Saturday, January 13, when the false alert of a missile threat to Hawaii was issued on TV and also reached cellphones in the entire archipelago “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” We (my research collaborator and co-traveler around the world, Avelina Espinosa) knew there was something wrong with the broadcast. First the message came out early in the morning, when test alarms usually take place (like the weekend before when we were already in Hawaii). Second, the sirens did not go off, which was puzzling (they were supposed to join in loud and shock every city, town or rural area in case of an imminent catastrophe). Third, no additional alarms followed, but the city of Honolulu became quiet for a few minutes. We had the windows opened at a 26th-floor apartment and the usual traffic noise, construction workers, service trucks and even people talking in the streets became silent, just like in the middle of the night. And that was surprising.
Although our rational minds were telling us that the alarm did not make sense, adrenaline was inevitably circulating. Conditioned fear is such a peculiar sensation. Freeze, fight or fly responses emerged together, at the same time that rationality gradually suppressed them. Our education was, in the end, the victorious opponent to the illogical. Soon we found ourselves finishing our Kona Coffee and looking at the majestic Diamond Head Crater in front of us. Honolulu continued to be awaken and warmed up while the sun brushed in yellow the slopes of the Koolau mountains. After 20 minutes, no nuclear blast occurred; it was 5 minutes overdue. At minute 38 an anti-alarm was sent “There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii. Repeat. False Alarm.”
The regrettable human error, or plain stupidity, will be part of the Hawaiian history. The wrong button was pushed; in reality, double clicked by a suboptimal employee abusing a computer mouse at times when the contest on who had the “much bigger nuclear button that works” was in the news. Hawaii might not have the biggest, but for sure now has the wrongest red switch. And more than one real war has been triggered in the past by a surreal, confusing event.
I have visited Oahu three times (2014, 2016 and 2018) and Hawaii on six occasions (Big Island 2012 and 2013, Oahu and Kauai 2014, Maui 2015, and Oahu 2016 and 2018), and written about it in Mauna Kea Telescopes to Sink in the Pacific, EvoLiteracy Update from Hawaii, and The Elegant Feral Chickens of Hawaii – Moa. This post is about my latest trip to the island of Oahu (first two weeks of January 2018), where the capital of Hawaii, Honolulu, is located. Readers might find similarities between previous posts and this one, particularly images of places I have visited before and reported about, but much of the material below is new.
Together with Avelina, we drove 801 miles (or 1282 kilometers) across Oahu (click on map to enlarge). This time, we concentrated on less driving and more on in situ hiking, landscape watching, bird watching, plant/wildflowers watching, coral-reef watching, visiting (historic monuments, museums, the University of Hawaii), and exploring (towns, cities, streets, particularly the non-touristic areas). We do not take vacations, but we travel with an academic mind to as many destinations as possible… to Explore Our Planet. We like islands and have reported for EvoLiteracy from the Galapagos (A, B) and Jamaica (C) in the past few years. Often, our cargo is heavy, this last time 200+ pounds of equipment (scuba, photography, books and field guides).
Enjoy the images, they speak for themselves (click on them for higher resolution); no particular order, except for the obvious beginning and end of the trip, Aloha.
Above: On our way to Hawaii. Frozen River, Minnesota – A cold beginning to a warm end… 2017-2018 – it will be tropical.
Above: ONE of OUR LAST VIEWS of EARTH during 2017- day 365 – the Rocky Mountains (between Montana and Idaho) on Dec 31st, from 36,000 feet (11,000 m) elevation.
Above: Even the airport has the Spirit of Aloha, Honolulu.
Above: The legendary Waikiki (btw, there are many “Waikikis” in Honolulu).
Above: Diamond Head Crater as seen from the Kapiolani Park.
Above: Diamond Head Crater as seen from within (spot the Zebra Doves).
Above: At least five species of coral-reef fishes. Manybar Goatfish, Moorish Idol, Convict Tangs (the common ones) and a couple of Acanthuridae.
Above: The many rainbows of Hawaii.
Above: Sketching Honolulu, local time 6:35 PM.
Above: Iconic Honolulu, National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.
Above: We rescued this cute creature (a Jackson’s Chameleon) from the middle of the road, nearby Hawaii Kai, and released it back to a tree, still disoriented.
Above: Students’ outdoor art at the University of Hawaii Manoa, what a gorgeous campus; rich in nature and human diversity.
Above: If you ever find a sea cucumber drifting, you may gently place it in the bottom of the sea. Near the Aukai Beach Park.
Above: Water falling on glass, looks like oil on canvas, Honolulu.
Above: Manana Island (left) and Kaohikaipu Island (right), Oahu.
Above: Sky, Island, Ocean, Sand… Ka’ena Point State Park (Northwest Oahu).
Above: One with the ocean…
Above: the Koko Crater.
Above: Textures of nature (a Beaucarnea), Koko Crater Botanical Garden.
Above: Majestic Fever Tree (Acacia) at the Koko Crater Botanical Garden.
Above: Golden Barrel Cactus, look like they are rolling somewhere.
Above: Spiny bloom of the Golden Barrel Cactus.
Above: Palms and Sun W&B at the Huilua Fishpond.
Above: The Bernice P. Bishop Museum.
Above: A leviathan, main exhibit, Bernice P. Bishop Museum.
Above: Milionia moths, Bernice P. Bishop Museum.
Above: Polymita snails (originally from Cuba) at the Bernice P. Bishop Museum.
Above: Achatinella snails, endemic to Hawaii, Bernice P. Bishop Museum.
Above: “CLASSIFICATION” by Pax Jakupa (Papua New Guinea) at the Bernice P. Bishop Museum.
Above: Kumulipo Ke Ao – The Day, at the Bernice P. Bishop Museum.
Above: All sorts of coffee…
Above: Coffee beans being dried in the open, Waialua.
Above: Close up of coffee beans being dried in the open, Waialua.
Above: Coffee Beans… world quality.
Above: Feral, it feeds on local endangered birds et al. Encounter at the Koko Crater.
Above: Frightening Forest… where the non-existing ghosts roam.
Above: Encephalartos at the Koko Crater Botanical Garden.
Above: Euphorbia at the Koko Crater Botanical Garden.
Above: Spot the humans… Koko Crater.
Above: Kamaka ukulele (right). Good sound and projection, simple varnishing and polishing; thus, aiming at looking classic. The strings were weird, some tightened in the opposite direction (never seen that before), Honolulu.
Above: Antidote to when kids don’t want to go to school, Waimanalo.
Above: A peculiar Soap Factory in Waialua.
Above: Honolulu awakening; in the background the Diamond Head Crater.
Above: Honolulu, the evening after the false-alarm missile attack – a historic mistake to be remembered forever.
Above: The evening after the false-alarm missile attack – a historic mistake to be remembered forever.
Above: Tunnel to The Sky, Honolulu.
Above: Japanese Light Tank, 1940s, Hawaii Army Museum.
Above: United States Light Tank, cf. 1940s, Hawaii Army Museum.
Above: Cute ukuleles of tourists quality.
Above: Statues at the Mall, Honolulu.
Above: Udon Noodles… among the best in the world, Honolulu.
Above: The gorgeous campus of the University of Hawaii Manoa.
Above: The gorgeous campus of the University of Hawaii Manoa, George Hall.
Above: The Hamilton Library (at the University of Hawaii Manoa) now has a copy of “Measuring the Evolution Controversy.”
Above: More of the gorgeous campus of the University of Hawaii Manoa.
Above: Oahu’s wilderness as seen from the Ahupua’a ‘O Kahana State Park.
Above: Rock (volcanic), wildflowers and ocean… Ka’ena Point State Park.
Above: Sand and symmetry, near Punaluu.
Above: The Iolani Palace, Honolulu, spot the tern.
Above: The Throne Room at the Iolani Palace.
Above: Dress ornaments made of PEACOCK FEATHERS, on display at the Throne Room, Iolani Palace.
Above: The Dining Room at the Iolani Palace.
Above: Quilt made by Queen Liliʻuokalani while under house arrest in the 1890s, Iolani Palace.
Above: Upstairs the Iolani Palace.
Above: Coronation Pavilion, Iolani Palace.
Above: The Many Gods, Honolulu.
Above: “…The only Gods the people ever saw with their eyes were the images of wood and stone…” David Malo 1835-36 (historian and later minister himself), Bernice P. Bishop Museum.
Above: Ficus, a tree that can be a vine that can be a root that can be an epiphyte, Honolulu.
Above: Ukuleles of fine quality.
Above: Honolulu’s night life.
Above: Noodles, a moment of Chi — the right portion is in the hand; it feels correct; the small bowl is there to verify it, not for the server, but for the customer.
Above: This was our first B&W of 2018 at the Kapiolani Park, Honolulu.
Above: Ocean and wildflowers, Ka’ena Point State Park.
Above: Spot the glider at the Ka’ena Point State Park.
Above: A yellow close up at the Ka’ena Point State Park.
Above: Signs of a Satellite Tracking Station, Northwest Oahu (Ka’ena Point State Park).
Above: A purple close up at the Ka’ena Point State Park.
Above: Ka’ena Point State Park.
Above: Oahu’s landscape as seen from the Huilua Fishpond.
Above: More Textures of Nature, Huilua.
Above: Fury after the false alert missile inbound.
Above: The day after the missile threat false alert.
Above: Waiting for Sunset, Honolulu.
Above: Distasteful snacks, sardine-packing comfort… photo looks better than reality.
Above: Welcome return at the airport, Dallas, Texas, across the AA arrival gate. They knew exactly how the plane service was.