Monday, March 31, 2008

Bye bye car, bye bye rooster...

Our days are winding down, Ambiana helps out around the land. The rooster was attacked by a small foo-foo dog and we thought he was dead but while we were mourning him he popped up and hopped off slightly dazed. He came back the next day only to be attacked by a mongoose and we have not seen him since.

Friday play group went to the kids beach we have tried unsuccessfully tofind 3 times before. This time we found it by following those who knew where it was. Ambiana has come along far and now can float while resting her arms on the bottom with her little bottom floating in the air!

We sold our car on Sunday and are now back on the bikes full time.

Ambiana says bye-bye car with a kiss :)

Today 3 dogs showed up on the far side of the rock wall. A momma dog and 2 puppies all wearing collars but very hungry. We think someone abandoned them down the road towards the coast last night :( They have been hanging out all day (because Colleen fed them) and now we are their home (until we have them carted off to the Humane Society) Ambiana loves them to say the least.

Local News Affecting us

Kilauea Volcano Erupts Explosively And Vents Noxious Gas

ScienceDaily (Mar. 29, 2008) — Explosive eruptions and noxious gas emissions at Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii this week have prompted scientists to work around the clock to understand what will happen next and how to keep the public out of harm's way.

Scientists are monitoring gas emissions and seismic activity at Kilauea, which on March 19, 2008 experienced its first explosive eruption since 1924. The volcano is also emitting sulfur dioxide at toxic levels.

At 2:58 a.m. H.s.t on Wednesday, March 19, 2008, a small explosion occurred at Halema‘uma‘u Crater at the summit of Kilauea Volcano in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. This event was erroneously reported as an earthquake earlier this morning. The explosion scattered debris over an area of about 75 acres (30 hectares), covering a portion of Crater Rim Drive and damaging the Halema‘uma‘u overlook. No lava was erupted as part of the explosion, suggesting that the activity was driven by hydrothermal or gas sources.

In addition to damaging the overlook, explosive debris covers the trail to the overlook, the Halema‘uma‘u parking area, and the portion of Crater Rim Drive adjacent to the parking area. On Crater Rim Drive the debris was up to 2 centimeters in size, with the size and thickness of debris increasing toward the overlook. The largest observed block ejected during the explosion was about 1 cubic meter (35 cubic feet) and must have been propelled from the vent located more than 70 m (230 feet) below the crater rim. Small impact craters from 30 cm (1 foot) blocks are abundant in the Halema‘uma‘u overlook area. Rock debris also extends halfway across the floor of Halema‘uma‘u Crater. The debris is composed of rock fragments that were derived from the walls of Halema‘uma‘u Crater. No fresh lava was observed on the floor of Halema‘uma‘u or in the ejected debris.

At 2:55 am, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory recorded a series of seismic events that may have been shallow, high-frequency earthquakes or minor explosions. The main explosion at 2:58 was associated with long period seismicity. Low frequency sound waves were also detected by the University of Hawai`i infrasound laboratory, operated by Dr. Milton Garces. These signals have persisted through this morning indicating continuing energetic release of gas from the vent in Halema‘uma‘u Crater.

The explosion produced a small crater along the east wall of Halema‘uma‘u that is about 20-30 meters (65-100 feet) in diameter. The crater occupies the area in which incandescence had been observed during the previous week. Sulfur dioxide emissions from the new explosion crater are still elevated, and sounds of rock breaking are frequent.

This is the first explosion in Halema`uma`u crater since 1924 and the first eruption of any kind in Kilauea caldera since September 1982.

Future explosive activity is possible and the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory continues to monitor the activity.

Sulfur dioxide emissions at the volcano's summit have increased to a rate that is likely to be hazardous for areas downwind of Halema'uma'u crater. Future explosions from Halema'uma'u Crater are possible.

"This historic activity has created new hazards that did not exist before -- explosive eruptions as well as toxic sulfur dioxide emissions -- in the middle of a national park," said U.S. Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program Coordinator John Eichelberger.

Adapted from materials provided by United States Geological Survey.

Kilauea Volcano Emissions Update

HALEMAUMAU (KHNL) -- The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has reported that emissions of sulfur dioxide and ash from Halemaumau at the Kilauea summit have shown a heavy increase over the past two weeks. Sulfur dioxide levels are elevated in areas south of Halemaumau crater.

Due to the events at Halemaumau, the following public safety advisories and recommendations are made:

- There are no evacuation advisories at this time.

- Ash emissions have reached as far as Na'alehu.

- Higher than normal levels of vog are reported in West Hawai'i.

Temporary and slightly elevated levels of sulfur dioxide have been recorded in Pahala during the past two weeks. Children and persons with existing respiratory conditions should refrain from outdoor exertion and keep medications at hand. Just be aware and take precautions.

A southerly shift in winds may cause residential areas in upper Puna up to fifteen miles downwind from Halema'uma'u to be affected by sulfur dioxide and ash.

As a precautionary measure, families should create family emergency plans so they will be prepared in the event winds carry hazardous levels of sulfur dioxide, ash, and/or heavy vog into your neighborhood.

Family emergency plans should include the following:

- A plan to leave the area.

- A plan to secure your home, business and property.

- An evacuation kit should be prepared.

- Plans for the care of your pets.

We have seen the plume when driving over the volcano to and from Hilo and there is a definite haze in our area. We went to a potluck on Saturday and people were talking of the news of the toxicity in the area being suppressed because tourism has spiked due to lots of people wanting to see the plume and the lava. Our neighbors have complained about the VOG (Volcanic fog) but not till today did we notice it. We are not too concerned has we are leaving in a week...

or were until ALOHA AIRLINES went bankrupt and shut down today. Our tickets to Kauai and from Kauai to California were both on ALOHA so as of now we have no way off the island.

Aloha Airlines calling it quits, blames 'unfair' competition from Mesa Air

Aloha Airlines will stop flying Monday after serving Hawaii travelers for 61 years.

The airline announced Sunday it will shut down after flying its inter-island routes Monday but will not fly its routes to California and Nevada after Sunday. By Monday night, Aloha will have flown its last passenger.

United Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines said they would honor Aloha's tickets and would try to accommodate Aloha passengers with existing reservations. Hawaiian Airlines said it would fly extra flights early in the morning and late at night to meet inter-island demand. Meanwhile go! airlines, a subsidiary of Phoenix-based Mesa Air Group Inc. (Nasdaq:MESA) said it would beef up its schedule by 40 flights a week.

In a news release Sunday, airline president and chief executive officer David Banmiller said the company did everything it could to find a buyer or financing, but ran out of time. "This is an incredibly dark day for Hawaii," he said.

The move will affect about 1,900 of its 3,400 employees, most of them in Hawaii. Honolulu-based Aloha was the state's 10th largest private employer in 2007, according to Pacific Business News research.

Aloha will continue cargo operations and aviation services while the U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeks buyers for those assets.

Aloha filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy March 20, the second time in three years. Aloha blamed what it termed unfair competition from go! airlines, and Banmiller stood by that on Sunday.

"Aloha Airlines was founded in 1946 to give Hawaii's people a choice in inter-island air transportation," he said. "Unfortunately, unfair competition has succeeded in driving us out of business, bringing to an end a 61-year-old company with a proud legacy of serving millions of travelers in the true spirit of Aloha."

On Oct. 20, a federal bankruptcy judge in Honolulu awarded Hawaiian Airlines $86.9 million in damages, costs and legal fees in a case involving Mesa's misuse of Hawaiian's financial information. Mesa CEO said at the time, the sanctions went too far and Hawaiian's motive in filing suit was to stifle competition.

In 2006, Aloha filed a similar lawsuit against Mesa, saying it obtained confidential information about Aloha when it considered buying the airline. That case is still pending.

Founded as Trans-Pacific Airlines, Aloha started with a war-surplus DC-3 that offered charter flights from Honolulu to Maui and Hilo. Nicknamed "the Aloha Airline," Trans-Pacific officially changed its name to Aloha Airlines in 1958.

The airline was started out of frustration by Honolulu businessman Ruddy Tongg, a Chinese-American who was tired of seeing Hawaii residents treated as second-class citizens while tourists -- mostly white -- were given favored status. Tongg made a point to hire local residents and to promote it as the friendliest for inter-island travel.

Banmiller thanked employees, but said the airline had to face reality that no buyer would come to its rescue. Aloha's owners, who pulled the airline out of its last bankruptcy in 2004, have lost an estimated $200 million and the company has been losing about $5 million a month for the past year.

"Despite the groundswell of support from the community and our elected officials, we simply ran out of time to find a qualified buyer or secure continued financing for our passenger business. We had no choice but to take this action," Banmiller said.

Following Aloha's announcement Sunday, Mark Dunkerley, president and CEO of Hawaiian, said the company was "deeply saddened" by the news.

"We have a contingency plan in place and we are putting it into action," which includes adding 6,000 seats to its daily flight schedule and adding staff to its ticket counters to assist Aloha passengers.

Aloha, go! and Hawaiian have engaged in an intense competition since go! entered the local market in June 2006 and began charging fares well below prevailing ticket prices.

Aloha and Hawaiian were often forced to match go!'s one-way inter-island fares, which have averaged $39 but have also listed for as low $1.

The fare war has come as the cost of jet fuel has jumped 69 percent in the past year, eating away the meager profits reported by airlines.

Jim Kelly is the editor of Pacific Business News, a sister publication.