Friday, September 3, 2010

Laupahoehoe Point, Big Island, Hawaii


Lighthouses are symbols of safety for some.  It is built to help pilots navigate the sea and to mark dangerous coastlines and safe entries to harbors.  The Laupahoehoe Lighthouse once stood on this spot.

April Fool's Day is commonly known by Westerners as a day when practical jokes and hoaxes are tolerated. However, it was not a day of jokes for the small community of Laupahoehoe on April 1, 1946, when three successive tsunami waves unfortunately killed students, teachers and residents around 7:00 in the morning.

Weakened by the tsunami of 1946 and further damaged by a storm the next summer in 1947, the remnants of the lighthouse remain at the site.  It is located on the right lower section of the above photo.

Here is another shot of the area taken from a distance. 
Here is a close up of some of the remains of the lighthouse.

Laupahoehoe is a rocky beach, and the locals know where the safe swimming spots are.  This is not one of them.  You can see more of the remnants of the lighthouse on the shore in this photo.

This is a safe swimming spot.  The tide was low at the time I took this photo, and it was more of a wading spot rather than a swimming spot.

My father harvested "opihi," the Hawaiian limpet, in this area, and he loved to go fishing beyond the rocks.  He even caught a baby octopus once.  That was exciting!  My father loved the sea and fishing, and he loved this beach.


Scanning to the right of the safe swimming spot, this is the view from the beach.  No good swimming spots here, but some good fishing spots if you can read the tides.


Scanning the landscape and moving further to the right, this is the scene of the rocky ocean. 


Can you imagine what the Laupahoehoe residents saw in 1949 when the water receded and left gifts on the empty ocean floor?  The curious and unsuspecting ran toward the empty ocean bed and watched the fishes and sea creatures dance and struggle without water.  Some islanders took the time to gather the fishes.  When the last wave receded and forcefully rushed to shore at around 50 feet high, it was too late to run to safety.

A monument was built in memory of the 20 students and four teachers who lost their lives during the tsunami. 

Lighthouses--symbols, monuments--memoriams, history--lessons . . . all of life's interpretations, experiences, and lessons, the good and not so good, inform who we are, how we live, how we choose . . . it always shows up in our artwork in some form or color.  Create from the inside out . . . only you can express what's inside.  When you put it on paper, on film, on a canvas, in your art quilt . . . you share your heart with the world.  

Your work becomes a form of a lighthouse.  It is infused with your memories and life's lessons and perceptions.  It bears your essence and is a visual form of your heart's emotions for all of us to enjoy.


Enjoy the weekend.

5 comments:

Lisa M Griffin said...

thoughtful post Fannie and gorgeous photos. I will never look at a lighthouse the same way... love the connection you made here and tying it into an artists heart/emotions. Have a great weekend.

WoolenSails said...

Wonderful post and I do love the sea. I come from a long line of "men of the sea". I did see a program on that event and it was very sad to watch.

Debbie

Stephanie Pettengell said...

Beautiful and thought provoking words, and a trip down memory lane for you. A riveting post, thanks Fannie

Jacq said...

Wonderful pictures and thoughts. I imagine your mother still has memories of this day.

quiltcrazygaljennalouise said...

Thanks for sharing such a lovely and inspiring post.