426-427

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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp426-427 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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CITIES, TOWNS, AND PORTS, HAWAII.

Hilo.—Hilo, or Byron Bay, on the northeast side of Hawaii, is the only anchorage on the northeast coast; the bay is about 71/2 miles wide and 3 miles deep. It is fully exposed to the northeast, trade wind.

The scene which the island presents, as viewed from the anchorage in Hilo Bay, is novel and beautiful; the shores are shielded with extensive groves of cocoanut and bread fruit trees, interspersed with plantations of sugar cane, through which numerous streams are seen hurrying to the ocean. To this belt succeeds a region some miles in width, free from woods, but clothed in verdure, while beyond is a wider belt of forest, whose trees, as they rise higher and higher from the sea, change their character from the vegetation of the tropics to that of the polar regions. Above all tower the snow-capped summits of the mountains.*

On the coast of the bay near Cocoanut Island lie the creek and village of Whyeatea, where landing may be effected in all weathers. There are two piers to the northward of the entrance of the creek, alongside the northernmost of which ships drawing 15 feet of water can lie. The shore then turns westward along a sandy beach for nearly 1 mile to the bottom of the bay, where the town of Hilo is situated.

Hilo is the principal town in Hawaii, and ranks next to Honolulu in importance and population. The town may be easily recognized from the seaward by the tall white square towers of the Roman Catholic church and the pointed white spire of the Protestant church. There are also several other large buildings, both public and private, such as a court-house, schools, governor's house, stores, etc.

There are several sugar plantations in the vicinity of Hilo on which the town is mainly dependent for prosperity.

Besides sugar and molasses, Hilo exports hides, tallow, goatskins, arrowroot, rice, and a small amount of coffee.

As before stated, the rainfall here is very great, and accounts for the luxuriant verdure of the district.

The Hawaiian Government steam vessels communicate with Hilo from Honolulu once a week, and schooners ply constantly between the two ports. (See Communications and Appendix i.)

Supplies.—Supplies of nearly all descriptions can be obtained: Beef, 10 cents per pound; bread, about 9 cents, and vegetables at 6 cents.

A small pier has been built in front of the town, but in 1888 the sand had washed up and closed it as a landing place. The only landing place is at Whyeatea.

Close to the west of the town is Waterfall Creek, the mouth of Wailuku River, and about 2 miles from the entrance is Cocoanut Point. There is a good watering place up this creek which is generally easy of access, except when the wind is blowing hard from seaward; on such occasions the surf is high, and the rocky bar at the entrance becomes dangerous for boats to pass. The water is excellent and abundant.

Hilo Bay is a safe anchorage, and next to Honolulu may be considered the best in the Hawaiian Islands. With a strong trade wind there is a slight sea, unpleasant enough for boats but not sufficient to endanger the safety of a ship. The westerly wind, which is felt most, seldom blows strongly. A well-sheltered anchorage can be picked up anywhere under the lee of Blonde Reef in from 5 to 7 fathoms. A vessel drawing 15 feet or


*Pacific Islands, Vol. II, Hydrographic Office. Admiralty.

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less may anchor so as to be quite under the lee of Cocoanut Island and Keo Kea Point.

Mahukona.—A small village with anchorage off it about 6 miles south of Upolu Point. The place is becoming important, through the energy of a Mr. Wilder, who has made a most convenient landing place, and constructed a railway 15 miles long to bring sugar from the Kohala district round the north end of the island.

The cargo boats lay along the side of the pier and are laden and cleared very quickly by means of a steam "Crab "which works a truck up and down the incline.

There is no water in the place. All the fresh water has to be brought from Kohala by train. An attempt to obtain artesian water failed.

The anchorage is indifferent, and with winds to the westward of north or south would be untenable. Freight is disembarked and shipped at night, during the greater part of the year.

The soil along the shore is barren for 3 or 4 miles inland owing to the want of rain. The face of the country is regular, ascending gradally from the coast to the summit of the high land.

Kawaihae village is situated in a grove of cocoanut trees, just behind a sandy point near the center of the bay of the same name. The village consists (1891) of a general store, 2 or 3 houses, and several huts along the shore. In front of the village is a pier for boats.

So much of the soil of this district as lies along the coast, though rich, is badly watered; 7 or 8 miles inland from Kawaihae Bay it becomes exceedingly rocky and barren.

The climate is upon the whole unpleasant, especially at Waimea, about 9 miles eastward of Kawaihae, in consequence of the exceedingly strong trade wind, which brings with it a mist toward sunset. This wind rushes furiously down between the mountains which bound the valley of Waimea and becomes very dangerous to the shipping in the bay. It is called by the natives mumuku, and is foretold by an illuminated streak seen far inland, believed to be caused by the reflection of the twilight on the mist that always accompanies the mumuku.

The principal exports of the district are hides, tallow, and beef.

On approaching the anchorage a good landmark is a conspicuous mound situated a short distance south of the village. Another conspicuous landmark is a white tomb in the form of a pyramid.

There is a coral reef in front of the village, but a boat passage exists around the north end and close to the shore, where landing is easy.

With strong westerly winds the anchorage would be very exposed and unsafe. The sea breeze from the westward lasts all day, and the northeast trade or land breeze sometimes blows strong all night.

Supplies.—Beef may be obtained here at 6 cents a pound; potatoes are abundant, and plenty of fish may be caught with the seine.

The watering place, which is in a small sandy bay, is only a pool of rain water collected in a hole, and would require 500 feet of hose to pump into a boat. In the summer the water becomes somewhat stagnant and unfit for drinking; in winter more rain falls, and it then becomes a stream.

Settlement—Kailua Bay.—The bay affords a good anchorage at most seasons of the year. (In 1841 the residence of the governor of Hawaii Island was established here, and great advances were being made in the civilized arts and industries.) There is a most convenient landing place on a sandy beach on the west side of the bay, formed by the jutting out of two points, between which is a small cove protected from the surf by rocks.


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