Oahu was very different than I expected. I thought the whole island would look like it does on ‘Lost’ which is filmed there. Instead there are dozens of tiny micro climates. The mountains get 160″ of rain a year. The rainfall drops 10″ for every mile you head away from the mountains. So there were tropical rain forests all the way to desert climates. Temperature is between 70’F-80F year round and day length only slightly varies.
I spent most of my time there hiking and most of my hiking was done in botanical gardens. About half of the plants I saw are plants common to Houston. It’s just the ones in Houston are about half as large as the ones in Hawaii.
Ficus trees are amazing. I’d only seen them indoors and what a difference outside. They are huge, some of the canopies were more than 100′ across. The roots drop down from all parts of the tree. When you get into a cluster of them you can believe you are in a Grimm brother’s fairy tale.
I was happy to note that they too grow their plants on sand, clay or some mix of the two. So I still have high hopes of turning my yard into a tropical jungle.
There was far less wildlife than I expected. No squirrels, instead they have mongooses. They slither by and you can hear them catch some poor unsuspecting bird. They were brought in to control mice and rats, but the mice and rats are nocturnal and the mongooses are not.
The birds we saw and heard the most were wild roosters and chickens. They are quite pretty and make the most amazing collection of sounds. Not at all like their tame cousins.
Almost all the wildlife is black, grey, white and bright red.
There are lots of notes with the plant photos, many of the plants you’ll recognize, many were truly strange.