From Waimea I observed at the Keck telescope. Waimea is definitely not a tourist resort, the explorations during the day were not very interesting, I just walked on asphalt. But then I noticed something interesting: The vegetation zones changed very quickly. This can be seen clearly in the panorama picture of this blog entry. The foreground is totally dry, the slopes on the left are a bit greener and rainforest is growing on the slopes on the right. You can also tell from the clouds where it is probably a little wetter. These clouds were always in a similar place. Where the north-easterly wind makes landfall, the humid air has to rise and cools down. Drops and clouds form, which then rain down. However, as soon as the air is above the mountains, it can sink again and warms up in the process. As a result, the remaining clouds dissolve again, behind (or from my location: in front of) the mountains it rains very rarely. In a one hour walk one can get from very dry land to rainforest, this big change would be totally strange in Europe.
The journey here was also interesting. I only met an experienced fellow observer at the airport, he had rented the car to go to Waimea. Before that we only had email contact, I never saw him and I didn’t have a working cell phone either. And yet everything went perfectly. I can no longer imagine this kind of inexperienced travel today, I totally rely on the fact that I can inform people via smartphone if there is a problem. Of course, this change in feeling could also come from the fact that I’m 12 years older. How is your experience with this kind of change?