Everett called and said he'd heard that the lava flow over the coast at Fox's Landing is now the most spectacular it's been in 20 years. So we decided to hike out yesterday afternoon with some of Nikko's ashes to deposit into the flowing lava as he had requested. Tuko and Craig, Neil and Chuck joined us in the late afternoon for the two and a half mile hike out to what used to be the beach out beyond Kalapana. Fox's landing was always a deliriously beautiful oasis in the miles of rugged coastline, but now it is a steaming mass of black lava with burnt palm trees and hau thicket laying over it. The slopes behind the beach are lushly forested in palm trees, but they have been singed at the bases by brush fires.
The active lava flows were out beyond where we could easily or safely get to, so we decided not to risk our necks to place the ashes there. Instead we returned in the twilight to where the Hawaiian families have planted hundreds of tiny palm trees in the black rock and sand on the new beach at Kaimu. There we had a group hug after Everett gently placed ashes under several lucky palm keiki.
The Keli'iho'omalu family was hosting a huge luau for a couple of high school graduates, one of which is an amazingly handsome young man named Ikaika, whom I've watched growing up from when he was a kid in my studio art classes, the son of our Hawaiian language teacher Lei Ilae. So we heaped plates with raw crab, poke, opihi, squid luau, lomi salmon, kalua pig, and other delicacies, and joined the merry party which was the biggest gathering of people I've ever seen other than perhaps our Punahou High School reunion luaus. Those Kalapana families really know how to party.