There are lots of guides to the flora and fauna of Hawai‘i. Bird guides. Fish guides. Flower guides. Tree guides. Wildlife guides. Guides of all sorts, really. It seems that the individual guides are the vast majority of what is available, and for the person interested in the broader natural history &nature in general in Hawai‘i, options are limited, with most being out-of-print.
Thankfully, “Wind, Winds, and Waves: A Hawai‘i Nature Guide,” by Rick Soehren, helps fill to in the void.
While not a “field guide” per se, “Wind, Wings, &Waves” does a great job in covering many of the sought-after flora and fauna to be found in the island, featuring them with vivid color pictures along with generous descriptions.
However, what makes this book not a field guide is perhaps one of its even more interesting aspects. In place of a comprehensive encyclopedic picture reference, we instead get treated to a fascinating look into the history of what makes Hawai‘i the place we know it today. How did the islands come to exist? How did the birds settle here? What in the world are these enormous African snails doing all over the place?
Soehren’s writing style is immediately engaging, as if you were having an interesting conversation with someone. He tackles the wide-ranging subject that is Hawai‘i’s environment and climate, including all the life that lives in and around the islands. Even places like Hanapepe Salt Ponds and the Makauwahi Cave Reserve get fair and respectful mentions in his book.
“Wind, Waves, and Waves” functions as nature guide, tour guide, and history book, all in one. Whether one is an eco-traveler looking for a good reference, or a resident who wants to delve more into the place they call home, Soehren has it covered for every reader.
Ed Justus is the owner of Talk Story Bookstore in Hanapepe. Yuriko and Ed Justus are Kalaheo residents. Talk Story Bookstore is open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and until 9 p.m. Fridays.