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Active volcanoes, lava fields and the world's most powerful telescopes: a trip to the island of Hawaii

Welcome to the southernmost point of the United States of America! And do not let you know that she is in Florida. Key West Florida is the southernmost point of the continental United States. The southernmost point of the United States is here - on the Big Island, in Hawaii, reports "Voice of America".

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

It all started with that. Lava flowing from the fault at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, gradually, layer by layer, built this island, the most massive and the youngest of the 137 islands of the Hawaiian archipelago. They call it that: Big Island, or the island of Hawaii.

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

On this island, not only the weather, but also the landscape is constantly changing. For example, in this place recently there was a natural pool of Akhalanui surrounded by palm trees, with water, heated by a hot spring. The roads that led to the beach now run into a dead end - against a wall of frozen lava that completely covered the pool. But then a new black sand beach appeared nearby, which during our visit was not in any guidebook.

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

The eruption of Kilauea, the most active volcano in the world, began in 1983 and lasted for three decades. The last massive eruption was here in the spring of 2018. A lava flow destroyed over 700 homes.

“We were 15 meters from the stream as he walked,” says the survivor. - Everyone said that it was necessary to get out. You could throw a stone and get so close we were. There were branches, trees, cars in the stream. ”

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

The consequences of the eruption are unpredictable. After the eruption of 2018, part of the crater just sank inside, and with it part of the roads of the Volcanoes National Park.

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

From May to August 2018, more than 80 thousand earthquakes were recorded in this area. Halemaumau Crater is about 400 meters deeper. If you look closely, the road that used to go along the edge of the crater ends up nowhere. And where it is preserved, you will not go far. At first it’s not at all clear that this is a volcano. Kilauea Crater - 4 kilometers in diameter. Once upon a time there was a raging lake of fire Lau, which hit Mark Twain in the 19th century. Now, from some crevices, haze rises in some places and draws with sulfur.

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Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

They say that it is under this crater that the goddess Pele lives. When she is in a bad mood, an eruption begins. But, apparently, her mood has recently improved, which is very frustrating for visitors to the Volcanoes National Park.

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

“We don’t know when the next eruption will occur,” says Jessica Ferracaine, a public relations specialist for the National Park. “It can happen on Kilauea, on Maunalua, on one of two active volcanoes.” But this does not mean that there is nothing to see. We have a whole history of eruptions that took place over a hundred-plus years. "

Some visitors collect volcanic pebbles as souvenirs.

“There is such a belief that the goddess Pele curses the stones that are here. This is an absolute lie. First of all, you can’t take anything from the national park - neither stones, nor twigs, nor animals, because you take part of the story for future generations, ”Ferrackain says. “You do not come to visit, do not open the refrigerator there and do not take what you want.” Do not do this in the national park. Some people send stones back from superstition, but we are trying to convince them not to take them initially. ”

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

It is most surprising to discover how fragile the lava is. When the lava flows from the crater, its upper layer solidifies quite quickly, forming tubes or tunnels through which the lava continues to flow. When the source runs out, these tubes remain hollow and can easily collapse. But on the Big Island, people continue to build houses, including directly on the frozen lava. If necessary - on stilts.

Just as Eskimos have dozens of names for different types of snow, Hawaiians have names for different types of lava. Smooth lava, similar to black-whipped whipped sugar, is called "pahoyha." But much less picturesque lava with sharp edges is called "aa". One guide joked that the name came up with the person who tried to go barefoot first on it.

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

It’s rare where a person can boast that he is older than the land on which he walks. There are many such places on the Big Island. Ferns are the first to grow on volcanic soil and the ohea tree is an unpretentious plant that does not need soil. A beautiful local legend is associated with this tree. It is said that the goddess Pele once met a handsome young hunter named Ohea. She offered him a hand and a heart, and when she was rejected, because he was in love with another girl named Lehua, she hastily turned him into an ugly tree. And his girlfriend Lehua cried so much that the gods took pity and turned her into a red flower that blooms on this tree.

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

According to local legend, if you pick a flower from this tree, it will certainly rain on that day, because heaven will mourn the separation of two lovers.

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

Another unique phenomenon of the Hawaiian flora is giant banyan trees. In order to hold onto the ground, this tree releases hundreds, if not thousands, of giant roots that grow directly from the branches. It turns out such a tree grove. A whole street of banyan trees is named after the celebrities who planted them: one tree was planted in 1934 by 32 U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the other by King George V. Here there are trees of former President Richard Nixon and the famous aviator Amelia Earhart.

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

To avoid confusion: the youngest state of America is also called Hawaii, but its capital is located on another island of the archipelago, Oahu. There is the infamous Pearl Harbor Bay, which was attacked by the Japanese Air Force, forcing the United States to enter World War II. But on the Big Island, aka the island of Hawaii, was the first capital of Kameamea the Great. Associated with this is a legend suspiciously reminiscent of the story of King Arthur. In the center of Hilo there is a volcanic cobblestone weighing more than 3 tons. It was believed that one who manages to turn this stone over will be able to unite the Hawaiian Islands. And supposedly the future king of the Hawaiian Islands Kameamea turned this stone over when he was only 14 years old.

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

And in 1810, Kameamea united the seven inhabited islands into one kingdom with strict laws. The list of bans was impressive: for example, men and women could not eat together. Women were not allowed to eat bananas and pork. A terrible crime was to get your shadow inadvertently falling into the shadow of a representative of the local aristocracy. There was a special shelter where the violator of the sacred kapu prohibitions could ask the clergyman for forgiveness of sins and escape from the persecutors. True, for this it was necessary to cross the bay teeming with sharks. Today it is the national historical park Puuhonua o Honaunau.

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One of the reasons for the destruction of the kapu system in Hawaii was the arrival of Cook. It is believed that Captain James Cook was the first European to arrive on these islands. In 1778, he arrived on the island of Kauai. He did not expect to discover these islands at all: he was looking for the northern route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. But when he didn’t find it, a year later he returned to this archipelago, which he called the Sandwich Islands, and landed already here on the Big Island. A misunderstanding complicated by the lack of a common language led to Cook's death. Local residents stole a boat from the team due to metal nails.

“It was a misunderstanding,” says Larry Kimura, a professor at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. “He died because of metal, because the locals then had the hardest material to be solidified lava.” And one of the small leaders decided to seize the boat and take it apart. Then Cook went ashore to take the leader of this island hostage, and such things are not done. "

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

Cook tried to take the local ruler hostage in the hope of getting the boat back. As a result of a brawl, Cook and 4 sailors from the ship were killed. Now the Cook Memorial, erected at the place of his death, is considered an excellent sign for a diving site.

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

If you felt sorry for the unlucky Cook: as a result of infections introduced by Europeans, from which the locals did not have immunity, by the end of the 18th century, about 300 people remained from the 000 population. When sugar cane was grown here and workers needed hands, in the mid-30th century foreign workers began to come to the islands: Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, Koreans. Today, Hawaii is the only US state with a predominantly Asian population.

In August 1959, Hawaii became the 50th state of America. True, there are still activists of the sovereignty of the Hawaiian Islands. Moreover, not all supporters of the revival of the monarchy are indigenous Hawaiians. Among them are, for example, Woodstock veterans. But some Hawaiian families believe that Hawaii could exist as an independent state.

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

By the way, only the indigenous people of the archipelago are called Hawaiians. Even if you were born here, you are simply “kamaina” - local (“child of the earth”). Now you can become kamaain in 10-15 years. Indigenous Hawaiians call themselves "kanaka" - this means "people."

Hawaiian Islands are located in the center of the Pacific Volcanic Ring of Fire. Over 200 years, four dozen tsunamis struck Hawaii, almost everywhere you can stumble upon signs warning of evacuation zones. Hilo is called the world capital of the tsunami. But the southwestern region of the island, sunny Kona, is more protected from natural disasters. Ocean waves here are the main source of entertainment.

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

Surf in English is a wave of surf. And they invented surfing here in Hawaii. Only kings of royal blood could ride a surf in Kahala, while women were not allowed to ride. But over the years, knowledge has been passed down from generation to generation and now surfing is available to everyone. They begin to teach children from 3 years old, and in families of surfers - from 8-9 months. But, as the founder of the surf school, Captain Rick Green, says, not everyone who comes to Hawaii to realize their dreams and start their own small business does succeed. Most leave after 3 years, go bankrupt and lose everything. This is a beautiful place, but the complexity of doing business, the cost of transportation is expensive. Many have to work 2-3 jobs, just to survive.

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

In Hawaii, there is a talk, trying to copy which, you can become a joke. Here it is called "little brother is trying." But you are clearly not condemned for trying to show a “shack” gesture. This is about showing the thumbs up, but the Hawaiians add a little on their own. So we can say “wave”, “aloha”, “thank you” - this is all positive.

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

On the Big Island, there are 10 of the 15 known climatic zones on earth - from tropical heat to frost. The coldest thing on top of the White Mountain. They say that the snow goddess Poliahu lives there. And also, if you count from the base at the bottom of the ocean, this is the highest mountain in the world, above Everest. At the top is the largest astronomical observatory with 13 impressive telescopes, which scientists from 11 countries work with. The total power of these telescopes is 60 times the power of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

Among them are the largest optical infrared telescopes in the world and the largest submillimeter telescope in the world. At sunset, telescopes unfold and open for night work.

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

Using Hawaiian telescopes, unknown moons of Jupiter and Saturn and galaxies that were not previously visible were discovered. From here, a search is being made for exoplanets and asteroids that could put Earth at risk.

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

One of the major astronomical discoveries with the participation of Hawaiian telescopes occurred in 2019, when scientists first managed to capture a black hole. She was even called the Hawaiian name Powehi - "a decorated bottomless source of endless creation."

The Hawaiian language, in the alphabet of which only 12 letters, is one of the most melodic in the world.

Luau - Hawaiian party
Lanai - porch
Mahalo - thanks
Aloha - greeting

“Aloha is love. But there’s much more, says a local flower saleswoman. - This is what you share, what you give. This is the joy that you give. This is humility in relationships with other people. ”

“For me, it's empathy,” says Professor Kimura. - The ability to understand situations through empathy. See not with your eyes, but feel them. This is called Aloha. You can say it in a bad situation or, conversely, in a very good one. It may mean “what a nightmare”, but in the tourism industry is more often used as “welcome”.

Real Hawaii is unthinkable without blasphemy - this traditional dance will be shown at any self-respecting resort hotel. But real hula dancing is not accompanied by a ukulele, but to the rhythm of percussion instruments from a dried pumpkin. Hula is almost like sign language: every movement in the dance is a symbol.

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

In Hawaii, they love flowers very much, everyone knows the famous lei flower necklaces. You can buy them, like bouquets of flowers, for a birthday, for an anniversary, simply as a sign that you are glad to see a person. The right way to part with everything that was given is to bring it back to the earth. Do not throw lei into the trash. Some people put them on a special place in the yard, as an offering.

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

Yellow Hibiscus is a flower in the state of Hawaii. In fact, flowers in Hawaii are also cultural codes. The flower behind your left ear - something like a ring on your finger, means that you have a soul mate. Behind the right ear means that you are free.

Even if you have never been to Hawaii, you must have tried poke. Basic poke is diced pieces of raw fish in marinade and seaweed. “Poke” means “diced”, it is not necessarily about fish, it can be anything. This inconspicuous at first glance institution Da Poke Shack in 2014 was awarded the title of the best restaurant in the United States according to the recommendations of Yelp users. It was in this restaurant that the poke bowl so popular today was invented, which turned poke from a snack into a full-fledged dish with the addition of a base from rice.

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

To get to one of the most beautiful valleys in the world - Waipio - you have to go along a steep slope. It's scary to go, but it's worth it - in the valley there is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Hawaii and a lot of secret corners where only locals can take. This valley is called the Valley of the Kings. In ancient times, leaders met here when it was necessary to make important decisions. Once upon a time, tens of thousands of people lived in this valley. in 1946, after the devastating tsunami, Waipio was empty. Now about 50 people live here.

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

What would you take with you to a desert island? The Polynesians, who arrived here about one and a half thousand years ago from the Marquesas Islands, brought pigs, dogs and taro root. Prior to this, a lot of beautiful, but not edible, had grown on the islands. This root crop is also called the tropic potato or elephant ears for the specific shape of the leaves. Beef, fish or sweet potatoes are wrapped in leaves and steamed - it turns lau-lau. And from the tubers a viscous sweetish mass is prepared, which is eaten as a side dish or dessert.

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

For 150 years, sugarcane plantations have been the main source of income on the Big Island. The last reed processing factory closed in 1996. Now Hawaii earn money on tourism, develop the state budget thanks to military facilities and export macadamia nuts, pineapples and coffee. Hawaii is the only US state where coffee is grown commercially. Kona coffee is considered one of the best and most expensive varieties in the world. There are still coffee trees planted over 100 years ago.

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

The Hawaiian Islands are the peaks of a massive underwater ridge that emerged to the surface, which was formed due to lava from a hot spot in the mantle of the earth's crust. Puu Loa - a mountain of long life - a sacred place for the inhabitants of Hawaii. People came here to put icons on basalt plates: people, animals, canoes, circles, spirals.

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

Over 23 thousand images were discovered on the frozen lava here. These petroglyphs tell about birth, about death, about important events in human life. And since the Pacific plate continues to move, in the distant future, the volcanoes of this island will go out and it will turn into an atoll, and then completely go under water.

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

But just south of the Big Island in the Pacific Ocean at a depth of about a kilometer, a new island of the Hawaiian archipelago - Luhi is already growing. And it will come to the surface in just some 100 thousand years.

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