There is life in the rain

The official rain gauge I follow is at Kainaliu, about a mile away. From October 2020 through September 2021, where about half those months the volcano was not active, we had about 70 inches of rain. By the end of July 2021 the cumulative inches were at 57.5 inches. The rainy season last year did feel very rainy. People were complaining. But it was apparently like the old days, pre-1980’s before the volcano started its decades-long activity.

This rain year, starting October 2021, with the volcano active the whole time, at the end of July 2022 we were at 35.7 inches, about 12 inches less than the same point the year before. July 2021 brought 7 inches, contrasting with 2.5 for July 2022. Even though there isn’t as much rain as last year, we’re still getting the rainy season mildew inside the house.

What’s nice about our elevation (1400 ft) is the climate. We don’t need heat or air conditioning. We have reliable breezes that keep us comfortable. I frequently feel a mild discomfort returning home after being in the car with air conditioning. At first home feels warm and muggy. But it’s just the difference after getting accustomed to the low humidity, air conditioned car climate.

But without air conditioning in the home, managing moisture is a challenge, especially in the rainy season, when it is also warmer. Baskets and things in closets start to smell funky. Some materials mildew, while others are fine. The wall near the fridge starts to mildew, the undersides of shelves grow powdery mildew. We had guests that put a bag in their closet that they had carried frozen items in. When they removed it at the end of their trip, it was moldy inside.

So we use DampRid in almost every closet. It starts as dry crystals and as they absorb moisture in the air, it gradually becomes liquid brine. I don’t know how much it helps, but it’s something. During the rainy season we have to throw out more water and add more crystals than in the dry season, replacing the 11 oz container’s crystals maybe every 4-6 weeks (vs. 2-3 months). And there’s a storage area in our house where we run a dehumidifier all the time and have to regularly (weekly) throw out the water it collects.

Most of you readers are likely visitors to Hawai’i, as opposed to residents, and probably had no idea of these little details of living in the Kona Coffee Belt. If you stay near the beach where it’s hot, you probably enjoyed A/C, and the beach areas don’t get as much rain anyway.

Rain, clouds, and the ocean make for amazing Kona sunsets, though. I especially love the way the sky reflects onto the ocean. And it’s fun to sometimes see the curtain of rain on the ocean.

Every day is different. Even a shades-of-grey sunset can be pretty.

Surprisingly, sunrise can appear similar to sunset, beautiful as the sun comes up from behind us, peeking over Hualalai. The colors are very short-lasting, unlike sunset which can be enjoyed for quite a while after the sun has gone below the horizon.

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