Taro Festival, Hana
On the last weekend of April, we headed toward Hana to car camp and volunteer at the annual Taro Festival; perhaps the best cultural event on Hawaii. Along the way, a cattle drive near Ulupalakua forced a 20 minute or so road closure. This is a side of Maui not many get to see...
|Incredible Campsite on the Pacific|
(Unless you're scared of Tsunamis)
|Looking southwest from our campsite|
Huge breaks along the distant cliffs
|The tree was a lifesaver from the sun, but the temps|
were no more than 80 degrees.
|Just before the 9AM opening|
A Local Favorite with the Keikis
|Making Cloth from Bark|
|No Explanation Needed|
Star took the following short video of Hawaiians performing traditional chants at the festival. There was also traditional dance, hula, and music, and some not so traditional music.
|It's good to make friends with local fishermen. This is Ono...yum!|
Heli Ops on Haleakala
There is nothing glamorous about this job. Once we land at a cabin, we have 20 minutes to remove gear, open the cabin and storage areas, and grab the dolly. The loads arrive about every 20 minutes with between 300 and 500 lbs. in each load. We are then ferried to the next cabin and start again. It's extremely fast paced and physically taxing to unload a net at high altitude; especially for this 55 year old. I would take some photos of the ground operation, but there's just no extra time.
Since no commercial flights are allowed over the crater, I realize I'm getting to do and see something that few people have experienced. Mostly, I am fortunate to work with a dedicated, professional and fun loving crew. We are a close knit group both during and after work, but the fun and jokes cease as soon as the sling loads start getting prepped. The lead up to flight reminds me of our pre-game football rituals way back in high school as fist bumps, handshakes, helmet slaps, and words of encouragement are exchanged, and final checklists are covered.
When the chopper arrived to ferry my partner and me into the crater this time, one of the crew members got in my face and yelled, "Ben, you ready brah? You ready?" I nodded my head and approached the Hughes 500, knowing upon my return, I would be sore and aching for the next 3 or so days. Still, I grinned from ear to ear.
|Entering the Crater|
|Halemau'u Trail Switchbacks out of the Crater|