Thursday, January 19, 2017

Pearls

All over the Hawaiian islands we saw jewelry stores advertising pearl oysters. For only $15.95 you could select an oyster. It would be opened, and you would get the pearl. The oysters most likely come from China, and the origin of the pearl is debatable. It could be that the pearls are fresh water pearls that are inserted into the oyster, which closes as a result of a chemical, and is then preserved, or possibly they truly are cultured pearls from that oyster.

The ship had a pearl in the oyster deal as well. They had a nifty chart showing how cultured pearls are created. A round bead made from a mollusk shell is inserted into an oyster, along with a piece of mantle from another mollusk that stimulates the oyster to produce mother of pearl. This coats the bead and it grows in size with layer after layer of "pearl".

Mr. Dreamy found a Koa wood ring on the ship that he wanted to buy. Koa wood is an Hawaiian wood. The ship had a special deal. Oh... such a deal! If you bought a piece of jewelry above a certain price, then you could pick an oyster and get a pearl. Mr. Dreamy let me pick the oyster. We had to perform some mumbo-jumbo as part of the ritual of "birthing a pearl". Then, the oyster shell was opened.


The oyster was poked and prodded to give up its pearl. 


The pearl is rubbed in salt to clean it, and dried off.


My pearl was blue. I want to think it is special, but in reality, it probably was cultured by a fresh water oyster, influenced by some sort of chemical. But, that's OK. I like my blue pearl. 



So, what is one to do with a pearl? 
Well, buy a setting for it, naturally!
I chose a sea turtle pendant that encases the pearl.


And, since I bought a piece of jewelry over a certain price,
guess what?
I get to pick another oyster!!

This time I "birthed" twins.
I have always wanted pearl earrings....
(The pearls are stabilized after being drilled and glued on a post on the earrings.
The tape was removed the next day.)
And, since I bought a piece of jewelry over a certain price....
guess what?
I get to pick another oyster!!

This could go on all night! 
I did pick an oyster and birthed a pink pearl.
It is sitting in a little plastic bag.
Enough is enough, said Dreaming!



Monday, January 16, 2017

La La Lava

Our cruise took us to the "Big Island" (Hawaii) where we planned to take a helicopter ride to see the lava flowing from Kilauea. It was raining and our flight was cancelled. Flights later in the day were "iffy". So, we did the next best thing; we rented a car and drove up to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. We stopped and had lunch on the rim of the volcano. This was the view from our table. The size of the caldera, the crater area that looks like a barren plain, is 2-3 miles in diameter. Inside the caldera is an active area called the lava lake.


This picture (borrowed from the Park Service site)
shows the lava lake from the Jaggar Museum.
To give you an idea of the size, the lava is spewing up 10 - 12 meters.

At some point in the future, the lava lake may look like this rippled lava found at the Craters of the Moon National Preserve in Idaho. We Dreamers stopped there on a trip in 2013, and unbelievably I never put up a post about the visit. 


The name of the park is apt. The scenery does look like something out of this world. It is estimated that lava last flowed here 2000 years ago. Whoa... it obviously takes a long time for vegetation to get going again. 


Both sites had a lot of information about lava. Lava isn't all the same. The form it takes is determined by what the magma, the molten lava, is doing and how it is cooled. Here are just a few examples:

Spatter
Molten lava that cools when it is ejected.
It looks like bubbles.

Pele's Hair 
Pele is the fire goddess. She is the creator of fire, lightning, wind and volcanoes.
Fine strands of glass that are created when lava is thrown into the air

Pele's Tears
Small droplets of lava

Cinders
Frothy pieces of lava rock

As lava flows the top begins to cool and ripples solidify.

A lava tube forms as the exterior solidifies and the interior continues to flow.

One the tube is formed, lava from later eruptions may find its way through the tube. The line on the wall of the tube shows the height of a later flow.

Kilauea's lava erupted from a vent in May, 2016 and slowly made its way to the ocean, 16 miles away. The lava began to enter the ocean in late July. Lava tubes have formed in some areas and molten lava can be seen through "skylights", as seen here. 
Photo courtesy of atlantic.com "The Atlantic Photo" site
This is a shot I took with my cell phone as the cruise ship went by Kamokuna, showing the lava and the cloud of water vapor mixed with sulfur dioxide and hydrochloric acid. 

This photo from the Atlantic.com "The Atlantic Photo" site shows the lava coming over the cliff to the ocean as seen from a tour boat.

The lava has covered sections of the road that used to run along this side of the island. Visitors may hike to Kamokuna to see the lava fields, however we Dreamers didn't have the time. To be honest, we likely would not have had the energy to make the trek. The hike is almost 8 miles over rough lava each way. But, oh, to see it up close. It certainly would be truly awesome!
Another photo courtesy of atlantic.com "The Atlantic Photo" site
For more pictures and information about the volcano visit:

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Olé, Olé

While we were on our cruise around Hawaii we Dreamers attended a class on ribbon lei making. I was enamored with the ribbon lei* that many of the crew members wore, and enjoyed learning how to make the simplest version.

Lei were introduced to Hawaiians by early Polynesians, who adorned themselves with necklaces of flowers, seeds, shells or bones. The lei soon came to signify peace among opposing chiefs.With the advent of tourism, lei became a symbol of welcome. I received a flower lei as I boarded the ship. Each night the cabin steward would adorn the towel creation with my wilting lei.



The instructor of our class explained that lei are given to friends and are proffered for special occasions. She told a story about engaging fellow airplane passengers in making ribbon lei on a trip to the east coast to attend her daughter's graduation. Passengers round her helped and by the time she landed she had ribbon lei in school colors for all of the graduates.

This is the first lei that I made.


After learning how to make lei I decided I wanted to make more. When we docked in Hilo the next day we made a quick stop at a craft shop. I was amazed by the ribbon aisle. I'm used to seeing a variety of ribbons, usually on spools that are 3 to 4 inches in diameter. The craft stores at home have a long aisle of ribbons in great variety of widths, colors, fabrics and styles. This craft store had that aisle, then it had another with nothing but large spools of 3/8" grosgrain ribbon in many colors, all on 7" spools, each spool holding 100 yards of ribbon! I guess that says something about how popular ribbon lei are in Hawaii!

For the next few days, until we met the rest of the family, I experimented with making lei in different color combinations and with slight variations to how I folded the ribbon. I incorporated silver ribbon and a gauzy ribbon. By the time we caught up with the family, I had more than enough for everyone.


The ship also had classes in making lei using Kukui nuts. I didn't have the opportunity to take the class, but I purchased several different styles of nuts and shells. We Dreamers made a few lei with the nuts. Here the little one reluctantly wears a Kukui nut lei with her grass skirt.


Items made from Kukui nuts have spiritual significance. Kukia nuts are said to "enlighten" the wearer. The nuts from Hawaii's State tree, also called the candlenut tree, have dense oil that was once used for lamps. The original oil lights consisted of the Kukui nut meats themselves. A number of nut meats were pushed down on small wood spindle forming a candle. The top most nut would be lit afire. As the nut was slowly consumed by fire, the next nut would catch fire.

Samples of lei displayed on the ship

It is said that if you toss your lei in the water, you are guaranteed to return to the islands. This is the other grandmother's lei.

I didn't toss mine. When my lei had met its end I didn't think about the legend. Perhaps if one's lei is buried in a landfill in Hawaii, the same can be said?!



* There is no plural form of words in Hawaii. Therefore, "lei" could be singular or plural.