Rescue Palm Tree

In December of 2010, after Christmas, I went to the tide pools at Wai'opae, at Kapoho, on Puna of the Big Island. While walking on the shore around sunset, we found a bunch of about 10 coconuts which had fallen to the black gravel exposed by low tide on the shore. The bunch of coconuts sat below a small grove of coconut trees, one of many which then overhung south Kapoho Bay.

The coconuts were fresh, and it was time for dinner. We will take them with us, I decided, for eating.

We did not eat all ten even that first week, however. After leaving the bunch along the side of the front door of the rented house on Spring Street in Hilo, we soon noted that, by the time we got to the last couple of coconuts, one had sprouted as a baby coconut tree! I decided to put the sprouting coconut out to grow in a large pot we had used for petunias.

A year later, after we'd moved to our current house in 2012, we noted that the front garden bed along the street needed a lot of care. It had become a mixture of newer, invasive shrubs and older, gnarled and bug-bitten azaleas. As part of a renwed border, I decided to plant the yearling coconut near the corner of the lot.

Now, the coconut tree has grown into an adolescent palm tree of about 4 meters height. But what of its ancestors at Kapoho Bay? Those centuries-old groves lie buried, just as of this month, under new lava, as is all of Kapoho Bay! The beautiful tide pools of Wai'opae are gone.

One still stands. Here is the old grove, gone now, and the rescued scion.

New tidepool and beach at Kapoho.

The volcano creates as well as destroys. The Kapoho lighthouse tower is to the north in the background of the photo. Credits: Ikaika Marzo ...