Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Kona winds on the high seas

The weather doesn't change much here. The Kona, or southwest winds, are fairly uncommon, as the typical winds, the trades, blow from the east probably 300 days of the year. So, when I rode my bike to work yesterday morning, it was quite surprising to have a tail wind pushing me up the hill. Welcome, Kona winds!

Now, on the leeward side of the island, where we reside, the winds were around 15mph. But yesterday, my lab mate and I had to go out collecting on the windward side. One would think that the east side of the island would be protected from the winds coming from the west since there is a huge mountain range in between. Not so. Our little vessel was tossed back and forth on the open seas as 30mph wind gusts tossed waves over our bow, water spouts surged from all sides, and our poor little precious copepods were jostled to death by the swaying of the boat. I thought poor Agnes was either going to get sea sick or fall off the boat every time she had to pull in a tow. We finally called it a day, with few copepods and even fewer spots of dryness on our sea- and rain- soaked bodies. Fritz, our boat driver, calls the rain a "fresh water rinse". I like that euphemism a lot.

The good news? Kona winds bring volcano smoke from the Big Island. Actually, this tends to cause allergies in people, but it makes for beautiful sunsets. So, today I plan on going down and enjoying the weather after work. If you would like to read more about the winds, or see pictures of the "devastation" look here.

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