Monday, March 26, 2007

New Weblog Address

Hey, this is Wayne,
Just notifying to our viewers that the Whittier ASOF students have created a new Weblog. It is at this address

New Weblog

We used the application iWeb to create the new blog. We also had a .mac account to act as our domain. Unfortunately, last week, we tried to publish the website, but their were publish errors occurring. Today, I called GCI School Access to see what was the problem. They had to switch us to a different server. GCI's tech support had to switch us to a different server because the current server wouldn't allow us to work with Apple's .mac accounts. Along with that, they did some small tweaks. Anyways, everything is working fine, and we can finally publish our weblog using iWeb.

Look forward for more updates on the new weblog. Enjoy the new site!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Day Seven Last Day

March 11, 2007, Sunday

Oh no! I can’t believe it is our last day in Hawaii! We never expected it to go by so quickly. One minute ago, we were just getting off the airplane. Next thing you notice, you’re heading for the airport.

On our last day, we tried our best to absorb as much Hawaii as we could. With that, we went to Hapuna Beach to relax on our day seven. Over at the sandy beach, we hanged out with the waves and boogied on Kai’s, a teacher’s son, boogie board. The sun was shining hard and the waves were strong. If we weren’t in the water, the group was making sand sculptures. Well, actually, the students buried Wayne in the sand. In addition, we sculpted Wayne into a mermaid in the sand. However, our backs were burning in the bright sun. Sadly, our skin was sun burned.

Later in the afternoon, we drove to a beach resort where we could go snorkeling. Here, we saw another sea turtle (Picture courtesy from Walker) slowly swimming in the shallow water. Everyone at the beach immediately gathered around the sea turtle and took pictures of it. They are sure loved and respected by the tourists.

Before heading to the airport, the group went to a small market. We were able to do our final shopping for Hawaiian souvenirs. The day darkened and we said our farewells to Alan and his family. When we finally were on the airplane, we all just fell into a deep slumber. With sunburn all over our bodies, we weren’t ready to say this to Hawaii, but it was time to do it. Aloha Hawaii!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Day Six

March 10, 2007, Saturday

Whoa! I still feel a bit sore from the midnight hike at Volcano National Park. Anyways, today, we went on hikes that were far way easier compared to yesterday.

First, we walked on a boardwalk into the sulfur banks. The smoke crept through the yellow holes to stench the clear air. Now, if you don’t know what sulfur smells like, it smells like rotten eggs. Not a pleasant smell.

Here in the sulfur banks, there is hot lava beneath the ground causing all the commotions above. The yellow stuff that surrounds the sulfur vents is sulfuric crystals. With our pH probe at hand, we tested the pH level of the sulfur crystals. We snatched a spoonful of sulfur and mixed it with water. Then we checked the pH level the nasty yellow solution. It was between two to three on the pH scale. Now that’s acidic!

As a side study, we asked ourselves, “I wonder hot that steam is?” We grabbed are temperature probe and tested the burning steam. It was around 170 to 190 degrees in Fahrenheit. And yes, that’s why you don’t overexpose your skin right next to the sulfur banks.

Next, we took a leisure hike into the old lava flow. Instead of hiking on top of one, ASOF and local students hiked beneath one. The ancient molten lava that once went through carved these perfect tunnels submerged in the ground. Luckily, the underground passageways made it easier for us to hike down the trail. If you’re wondering what these tunnels are named, they’re some of the many lava tubes on the Hawaiian Islands.

Some of the lava tubes can go on for miles, while others are quite short in distance. Not all of the lava tubes allowed us young men, Wayne and Walker, to continue on with the whole journey. Apparently, some of them can get so small that you would have to start crawling. Instead of creeping through the tight spaces, we just stopped, took a picture, and headed back up above the ground.

With some science expeditions, we also went on our first water voyage. Not out on a boat! Instead, it was in the reefs of Hawaii. Yes, Walker and myself went on our first snorkeling expedition. It was quite scary the first couple minutes because we weren’t familiar to this type of surroundings. No later, our fears faded into the bubbles, which were made by the splashes of our fins.

The reef was filled with colorful corals of all sizes. There were corals that were purple, blue, yellow, and green. Swimming next to the corals were flashing fishes from clown to trumpet fishes. In the open reef, a prehistoric sea turtle passed beneath our bellies. With its scarred fins, it zoomed back into the clear ocean. Are eyes were amazed by such beauty that we never seen underneath those scurvy waves. Our explanation can’t be compared to the magnificence of the reef. Basically, you have to see it instead of hearing it.

And surprisingly, this week has gone by fast! We can’t believe tomorrow will be our last day in Hawaii.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Day Five

March 9, 2007, Friday

Back in Whittier, our most famous waterfall is the Horsetail Falls. Here in Hawaii, we visited the Akaka Falls. It seemed like it was twice as tall as Horsetail Falls back at home. At the bottom, there was actually a large cloud of mist floating about. At the viewing spot, the group used the ASOF probes to analyze the area’s conditions. The more practice we get, the better we get at using the equipments.

When we arrived in Hilo, we finally got our perfect chance to get some spiffy souvenirs. We stopped at a store and bought various gifts. Some of us bought the legendary 100 percent Kona coffee beans, and pearls from oysters. For myself, Wayne, I was slightly lucky to get two pink pearls in one oyster. Plus, I only paid nine dollars to get those precious jewels.

Later in the night, our group and the local students hiked through the lava field. Don’t worry; we didn’t walk on top of hot lava. However, It was not easy to hike at night, especially if there was one flashlight for every two or three people. It was dark, somewhat hot, the trail was dangerous, and some people were getting dehydrated. I believe everyone at least fell two or three times during the five-hour roundtrip. When you fall, you don’t only impact against the ground, but you also scratch up your skin. There was sweat and blood dripping down the bare skin.

We started hiking in Lava National Park around 6:00pm or 7:00pm. Our bodies made it back at 12:30am. Yes, the hike was long and difficult. From all my experience, this was the toughest hike I ever been. It was dark and hot! The trail had rocks that had small, sharp edges. No one made it out with a scrape.

However, at the end of the trail, we got to see a slow-moving lava flow. The bright orange glowed throughout the night. The cooling stage crackled, while flowing in and out of our ears. When you get within 10 feet of the lava flow, you could feel the increase of temperature. It was only possible for us to get as close as three feet. Anyways, the lava flow was somewhat disappointing, but I could brag, “I saw molten lava!”

I’m really tired and scratched up from the intense hike. We’re here in KMC, which is a military camp. It’s not like the boot camp barracks. In fact, it’s a pretty nice place. Alright, good night.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Day Four

March 8, 2007, Thursday

Most likely, if you live in the outdoors (or Alaska), you would probably think camping is living the outdoors with a sleeping bag and a tent. For us in Hawaii, it’s a whole different idea. Instead of sleeping in a tent, we slept in a cabin at Pu’u Wa’a Wa’a. There’s running water, kitchen, nice porch, and it’s two stories high.

At once in the morning, our ASOF group and the local students joined us for a hike on a nearby grassy hill. Since there were so many ranch animals (cows, sheep), we met a lot of their waste. About every 10 feet, there were way too many fresh cow patties lying inside the path. It was disgusting! We were cautious about not stepping into the large manure.

While dodging, the ASOF group brought along probes to analyze different conditions (temperature, UV level, oxygen level). The whole group finally got a chance to successfully use the ASOF probes. As for myself, Wayne, I worked along with Ryne (pronounced the same as Ryan) to study the temperature and oxygen level. We studied the oxygen level at the bottom and peak of the hill. We also analyzed the temperature of the road and the side of the road. The temperature was studied at the bottom of the hill, a couple times throughout the hike, and at the peak of hill. It was a great opportunity for us to practice probe use and dodging droppings.

The local high school students were surveying the different native plants and trees around the trail. Every time they saw a native specie, they would take data of type of plant, any damage done to it, size, status, and location of the plant (elevation, longitude, latitude). I thought it was interesting what they were doing.

After the hike, we headed back to the cabins. When we got there, some locals wanted us to be able to make some Hawaiian food. We go the chance to prepare our own local food. Basically, we placed different type of local meat (steak, chicken, pork, butter fish) into tightly wrapped large leaves. After it was done cooking, the food was delicious and everything was edible (including the leaves).

The whole day was exhausting, but we were glad to be able to actually start using the ASOF probes. Alan also taught the students the basic use of iWeb. We’ll be using the software to help us create our blog sites. Hopefully, we’ll get enough practice to be able to teach the students back in Alaska.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Day Three

March 7, 2007, Wednesday

Today was quite different from our Hawaiian experiences. Instead of mostly working outside, we worked inside. We worked in a classroom that Bill works at, which is Hawaii Preparatory Academy (HPA). The high school campus was enormous! They had an inside gym complex, football field, baseball field, soccer field, performance arts center, several dorm buildings, and classrooms. Basically, the campus had everything!

When we arrived at HPA, the group immediately started working on their blogs. We also received a tutorial from Bill on a new type of blog. We used the server at HPA to help us set up the new blog. Learning about editing and tweaking around with the new blog was frustrating, tough, and confusing. However, everyone stuck with it and never gave up. In conclusion, the students (and even the teachers) learned more about behind the scenes of a blog.

Except, in the end, the teachers decided that the students should start using iWeb to build ANOTHER blog. The good thing is that the iWeb application is more user friendly! Yes! Hopefully, Alan, who is a scientist working with the ASOF students, will give us an iWeb tutorial.

After working at HPA from 8:00 in the morning to 4:00 in the afternoon, we headed into Pu’u Wa’a Wa’a. The area was and is still used for ranching. There was so many cows, horses, quails, sheep, and goats in the area. All these animals remind me of food.

For dinner, we had locals generously cook Hawaiian (and a bit of Japanese style) food. We all enjoyed the salmon and steak! Yum! Also, during dinner, some local high school students joined us. With some frustration, education, good food, and relaxing time, life is going well here in Hawaii.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Day Two

March 6, 2007, Tuesday

We are so glad we finally got some rest last night at the Kamuela Inn. Being in Hawaii is a little bit stressful, but we always try to find some fun time. Before the whole group left for the beach, we made a stop at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA). At NELHA, we toured around the facility and received a brief history of their technology. The technology was so innovative and eco-friendly.

The facility is experimenting with a newly discovered energy. NELHA pumps surface water into their facility and the ammonia is vaporized. The expanding vapor turns the turbine that drives an electrical generator. Then water, which is at a depth of 3,000 feet, is pumped up. Except, the water has been traveling for 3,000 years from Greenland. This cold deep water condenses the vapor back to a fluid and the whole process starts all over again.

Afterwards, we finally arrived at a beach in Hawaii that we could actually swim in! Everyone was so excited that they immediately just jumped into the water. With all that patience, we were able to release our excitement at the beach. Then a couple humpback whales entertained us about a mile away from shore. They hopped out of the water and twirled in the bare air. The show was wonderful! We Alaskans barely see such exquisite moves by the humpbacks in our home state. Sadly, the sun was slowly making its way down the horizon.

Tonight, we ate dinner at Bill’s, one of the scientists, house. The food was great and the Alaskan students were able to chat with the people who gave us the grant for ASOF. We also got the chance to socialize with some of Hawaiian students. It was nice to talk to some people who were around the same age as us ASOF students.

Overall, the day went well and we finally got to drench our feet in the sand and water.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Day One

March 5, 2007, Monday

Wow! Yesterday and today were busy days. Last night, we arrived in Hawaii late. Then we checked in King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel. Today, we had a very early start because the whole group needed to meet the scientists that we were working with. After meeting up with the scientists at 9:00 am, we continued to make our way to the Mauna Loa Facility. With a little help from Bill, one of the scientists, we were able to make it to the site. Surprisingly, the elevation was 11,000 feet high! At the facility, there was a probe that measured the carbon dioxide in the air since 1958. When we looked across the valley, we saw a couple white specks on top of the mountain. The whole group decided to take a closer look at the far away objects…

Crossing the vast land, we made it to the famous Keck Observatory. The elevation was over 13,000 feet! Since we were so high, we were lacking oxygen to our head. During our light-headedness time, we toured around the observatory. It was humongous! We could not believe our own eyes. Yet, what goes up must come down.

Slowly, the group drove down the mountain to a lower elevation. And here we are now in Kamuela Inn. Time for a long sleep!

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Hawaii Begins

March 4, 2007, Sunday

Before we took off from the ground, the towbar broke! The officials were afraid the plane was damaged because of the incident. Inspectors checked for any damage to the airplane. Fortunately, the plane was not harmed, but the flight was delayed for one and a half hours long. For the passengers, we had to stay buckled in the airplane. Sadly, we had to endure the pain of waiting. After all the inspections and paper work, the plane finally took off from the ground. After all this painstaking drama, we managed to land in Kona after 7 1/2 hours of plane time. Here are te pictures of us (Wayne and Walker) and the whole Hawaii Camp Group. If you notice the Hawaiian leis, they are homemade by our own instructor's wife.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Before Leaving...

We are VERY excited for our trip to Hawaii! However, before we leave, we would like to leave a video for our viewers to watch. The video includes a little bit information about Whittier Community School and the town. Hope you enjoy the video!