The View Up Here

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Posted by Tom Benedict on 11/04/2011

One of the real advantages of kite aerial photography is that it offers immediate feedback:  A KAPer can walk up to a subject, have a camera airborne, photograph the subject, pack, and leave, all within the span of a few minutes.  This is one of the reasons KAP has so much appeal to archaeologists, who often use aerial photography from years or even decades previous. KAP offers an inexpensive alternative to renting an airplane and hiring a pilot.

This immediacy has utility outside of archaeology as well.  In the middle of March, 2011, I went to Seattle with some guys from work to use the water tunnel facility at the University of Washington.  That’s a story in its own right, which I’ll save for another day.  While I was there, a massive earthquake occurred off the coast of Japan.  The resulting tsunami devastated Japan, and also reached my home of Hawaii.  I got what information I could at the time, but it was another week before I flew home and saw the damage for myself.  Considering what happened in Japan, the damage in Hawaii was minimal.  And thanks to KAP, I can show you this:

Waikoloa Resorts and Anaehoomalu Bay - Post 2011 Tsunami
One week after I got back, we all went to Anaehoomalu Bay, to the beach across from the resorts.  The back side of the beach is a fish pond with a long history of its own.  The front side of the beach is the Pacific Ocean, where the tsunami came from.  In the photo above you can see the damage to the beach and to the fish pond retaining wall.
Tsunami Breakthrough

The damage is more visible from directly above.  The wave took out the sand berm all along the beach, and broke through the retaining wall for the fish pond at the back.  Numerous coconut trees are down in the water, with only a few in the broken section still standing.  The fishpond is open to tidal flow now, and there is free exchange of fish, honu, and other wildlife between the two bodies of water.  Stones from the retaining wall are scattered throughout the channel, which is now marked with hazard signs.

I don’t know what the resort is planning to do with the beach in the future.  Put it back the way it was?  Landscape it the way it is?  No matter what, I know I can photograph it as it happens.  It’s one of the things KAP is best at.

– Tom

8 Responses to “Tsunami”

  1. Robin said

    Thank you so much for this excellent article and photos.
    I have the same questions and have been searching for information and updates. All I could find out was that a private company owns the beach and no one could give me information about restoration. Many of us have booked vacations and are return visitors to this beautiful location. Look forward to your updates.

    • Tom Benedict said

      I heard a rumor they’re trying to restore the beach, but rumor is all that is. I’ll keep flying there and try to keep you posted.

  2. avto said

    Thanks – where is article source?

    • Tom Benedict said

      I don’t have any sources for this article since it’s all from personal experience. The photographs were made by me. If you click on the photograph it should take you to the photo’s page on Flickr, where I typically post more information about my photography. In the case of the two panoramas in this article, both are stitched from multiple digital images. The originals were made using a Canon A650IS camera in a modified Brooxes BBKK kite aerial photography rig. The rig was flown from a Didakites RGB Rokkaku.

  3. Robin said

    I hope they will start at least the temporary work soon.

    • Tom Benedict said

      I don’t know what the status is on the beach restoration. I’m planning to stop by there over the next week to do some more aerials. Here’s hoping!

  4. Tom Benedict said

    I went down to Anaehoomalu Bay last Saturday, and the gap had been filled in! Unfortunately I didn’t have enough wind to fly a kite, or I would’ve taken pictures. I spoke with two of the maintenance workers at the resort, who told me the work had been done about two weeks ago. The seaward side of the new sand is giant sand bags, so there’s no beach where the gap used to be. I don’t know if they’re planning to sculpt it back into a more beachy shape in the future. But work has begun.

  5. Автогород…

    […]Tsunami « The View Up Here[…]…

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