La ‘akea

We visited La’Akea, a small, egalitarian, intentional, permaculture community in the Puna region of the Big Island. There are a few families who reside here, with ownership and expenses shared along with all of the matters involved in managing a small community that is entirely off the grid and largely self-sustaining.

The community has developed in the last ten years on land that was intentionally designed as a permaculture demonstration site by previous owners. Those owners gained their wealth from lumber harvested in the Black Forest. It’s an interesting example of action motivated by a desire for redemption.

Here are a few pictures.

The initial permaculture master plan for the property

The community kitchen/dining space–what a blessing to be able to use this year round!

The electrical storage/distribution hut for solar-generated electricity. The batteries are enclosed in the chest beneath the basket

3-head outdoor shower base

The shower is on the middle. Towels hanging in the shelter. Note the solar water heaters to the left.

Solar food dehydrater

Composting toilet

A tree loaded with sweet fruit not unlike grapes. A type of kava I think. The branches were lined with the ripe fruit. Very cool.

Sheep

Guinea pigs (cuy)

Rabbits

Chickens

Gardens

Native material construction

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Hawaii: The World’s Extinction Capital

We came to Hawaii because of its highly touted biodiversity, it’s highly favorable climate, and its many permaculture farming and communal experiments. What a surprise to learn that Hawaii is the site of the greatest number of flora and fauna extinctions on the planet. Rather than regurgitate statistics here, I’ll just suggest an internet search on the matter.

In our ignorance, Hawaii seemed remote enough and isolated enough to have avoided the devastation of anthropomorphic climate change. Not so. The Maui Ocean Center and their good work opened our eyes. Walks in local preserves deepened appreciation for the unique species that remain. And we look forward to seeing the many permaculture sites on the Big Island assisting in the holy work of preservation, reclamation, and sustainability.

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Native Wisdom in Maui

While visiting Haleakala National Park (the major volcano peak on Maui) over the past few days, we were pleased to receive copies of an interpretive piece “created by native Hawaiians…to ensure that through generational knowledge, natural and cultural resources are cared for with appropriate respect and behavior by all who enter Haleakala National Park.”

Here is some of the text: ” Unlike western land and ocean use practices, the ‘Aha Moku system is based on observational knowledge that provides a management system of proper stewardship of both land and ocean resources…(It) is the foundation which provides kanaka maoli (native Hawaiians) a lifetime reference for self-sustainability… The National Park Service – Haleakala National Park partners with kanaka maoli for guidance and support in efforts to educate residents and visitors alike regarding a sense of place.”

Love of and care for place is integral to the genius of every place we have visited.

Here we are at the peak of Haleakala. Mid 50s at over 10,000 ft. 89 at the beach.

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Hawaiian History

Our luau last evening  (Luau Kalamaku in Lihue, Kauai) was excellent food-wise and spectacular program–wise. The story enacted in dance, dramatic narration, and movement the history of Hawaii’s settlement by people from Polynesia. Here are a few pictures.

The last two below are of Waimea Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Beautiful.

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Kauai – Fauna

While recovering from colds we have still enjoyed the island. Anyone who comes here immediately notices the chickens that are everywhere. They arrived with the Polynesians and when the 1992 hurricane struck, coops were destroyed, releasing many into the wild. With no natural predators they are taking over. We’re somewhat surprised that they aren’t a regular source of protein for humans.

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Denali

Here’s Denali. She peeked (peaked?) through the clouds on our way back to Anchorage.

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Three Days and No Denali

The weather at Talkeetna and at Denali has been excellent–high 60s-low 70s. Perfect for hiking. And though mostly clear, the cloud cover over the main peak remained. Still, great animal sightings.

This grizzly ambled along the full length of our bus about 20 feet away without any apparent notice. We saw several bears, some quite close like this–and a couple of cubs.

This, one of many caribou we saw, posed well.

And today, this moose cow and her twins were just a few feet from the car. Very cool.

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