Monthly Archives: January 2013

Where the lava I’ll be living on comes from.

The USGS maintains a website of useful information on the Big Island, with particular reference to (guess what?) volcanoes. I’ve been fascinated by volcanoes since I wrote a paper on them for a junior high school science class, so I guess it’s not too odd that I’m going to  be living on the flanks of one.

Volcanic and Seismic Hazards on the Island of Hawaii: Table of Contents.

volcano usgs_adip_1_3_12_471

That science class, by the way, must have been in the very early 60s. What I remember most clearly about it was arguing with the scary teacher about whether the indent of Africa and the bump of South America had something to do with each other. He told me I was a brainless girl. Years later, when plate tectonics became an accepted theory, I wanted to find him and laugh — but found that I was still scared of him! He paddled the boys and looked down the fronts of the girls’ blouses, and was all together a bad, bad man.


Introducing the four-legged family

Poppy is the dog, Jack’s the cat. They’re going to live with me on the lava, but getting them there is a real challenge.

No rabies in Hawai’i – none, and the authorities want to keep it that way. You can’t blame them: after a few centuries of introduced catastrophes (everything from illness to mongoose) they are wary. Used to be they tossed your pet in quarantine for 120 days, quarantine being a cage in a kennel, but things have become a bit more enlightened since then, and instead the pet owner has to go through a complicated and precisely timed gavotte: the pet has to have had a still-active rabies vaccination, then within x days of the most recent vaccination blood is drawn and sent to a specific lab in Kansas where a titer test is performed; the results are communicated to Hawai’i Quarentine, then 120 days after the Kansas lab receives the blood you are allowed to bring the pet in if you can produce a current certificate of health and the pet is free of fleas and ticks. Flying the pet to the island is another issue (here’s where cats lord it over dogs, because Jack’s carrier can fit beneath my seat during take-off and landing, but poor Poppy has to travel in the pressurized baggage hold). Then there’s the vet waiting at Kona Airport to check the animal over and provide a second bill of health, and then, only then, are your pets free to call themselves Hawai’ian.

It’s  an expensive process. There are fees to the vet on the mainland and fees to the Kansas lab, and the cost of suitable approved pet carriers, and government fees, the cost of airfare, and the Hawai’i vet’s fee – I figure it’s going to cost at least a thousand bucks to bring my furry four-legged family over. But I can’t imagine doing any of this without them. A diet consisting of the Hawai’ian equivalent of beans is worth it.

The Adventure Begins

Hi! I’m Marta Randall, a writer, teacher, and paralegal, moving to the Big Island of Hawaii in mid-February. I’m making this move alone, which is not quite what had been planned but adventures are like that, or they wouldn’t be adventures, would they?

I have heard Ocean View,  where I’ll be living, compared to the Wild West: a drive through its rigorously straight streets reinforces the image. Not the streets per se, but the fact that people are living on these one-acre lots in everything from impressive mansions with manicured grounds, to collections of decrepit school buses and lava tubes. Most of Ocean View is laid out over lava flows from the 1907 eruption, but the island is inexorably moving away from the hot spot that created the entire chain and so I rest in the (probably deluded) conviction that the eruptions will continue east and north of me, and I will not have to tuck the dog under one arm and the cat under the other, and hot-foot it down to the Belt Road.

I have some family nearby (my tremendous sister and her stalwart partner) and am looking forward to the rest of my life with  considerable eagerness. Come share the adventure as I learn how to garden on rock, fix my own catchment tank and septic system, and figure out how to make the lights outside the garage work. At the very least we should have a tremendously funny time.