Big Island Wake
The Big Island photographed from the space shuttle. To the left is Maui and at top is the Northwest coast including Hilo. The Pacific Trade Winds travel from East to West. The shadow to the left, poking above the clouds with a clear view of Space, is Mauna Kea. Another reason this is such a good observing site is because the air arrives "clean" without turbulence from another land mass.
Clouds pile up along the coast like waves against a ship's prow, then part to leave an island wake. Hilo is the wettest city in the US, with over 100 inches per year. It is a gardenlike setting surrounded by streams and waterfalls. As seen earlier, Kilauea Volcano is surrounded by rain forests. They compete with lava fields as Pele battles her sister Namaka. The lee side of the island, where most of the resorts are located, is nearly dry. The Big Island has over 20 different biomes, everything you could want from jungle to desert.