Ken's Voyages Around the Sun

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It's a jungle out there. I noted that fact so often that Shelley got sick of it. But it's true!

Well, it's true for southern Maui, and for parts of Big Island, but only for parts. Hawai'i has something like 14 of 16 environments, so it certainly has plenty to offer the botany lover in all of us, and within a very small area to boot.

We visited tropical plantations where we learned how to properly husk a coconut and then extract coconut milk (and meat) from the inside part. I put the new knowledge to use during one of our hikes, first husking the things on guardrails, then opening up for the milk with my Leatherman, and finally deftly cracking open the core for the meat.

We also tourned coffee- and chocolate-producing establishments, bought a fair amount of their products, and learned even more about where the good stuff comes from.

Hawai'i abounds in flowering trees, wildflowers, and many other kinds of blossom-producing entities that spread across the spectrum, and appear in many interesting shapes and sizes. I've included below just a few of the numerous flower photos I took.

Not all the plants and trees bloom, of course. We met some of the most amazing banyon trees on our hikes, and as I mentioned, an entire forest of bamboo reaching to the sky. Gorgeous tree ferns, coconut palms, cacti (!), fields of pineapple, mango, and macademia nut are just a few of the others that caught our attention.

Eating-wise, we had some great stuff: fresh pinapples, wasabi macademia nuts, wonderful goat cheese, garlic macademia nuts, purple taro bread, manzanos (apple bananas), coconut juice direct from nut, and we brought back some Volcano Blush and Macademia Nut Honey Wine from a vinyard there.

It IS a jungle out there!

Bamboo forest. Very cool.

Nice lacy patterns from towering monkey trees.

Fallen tree flowers.

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