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THE ANYWHERE ALOHA STORY RETURNS TO MIAMI

Tati Suarez and Kamea Hadar

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  • September 26, 2016

    Kohola – Hawaii’s Humpback Whales

    Have you ever heard a whale’s song? Eerie and haunting, the song of kohola (the humpback whale) is a stellar sound. In Hawaii, the whale return is not looked upon as a visit, but rather a homecoming. The humpbacks are considered “Kama'aina” or native born.

    If you have long had a desire to witness firsthand the passage of whales on their annual migration to warmer waters to give birth to their young, the Hawaiian Islands are an ideal place to do so. Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. where kohola mate, calve, and nurse their young. With temperatures averaging from 75-to-80 degrees Fahrenheit, the whales are drawn to the islands' balmy waters.

    “Gentle giants of the sea,” humpbacks devote the winter months to “bulking up,” building up fat reserves by filter-feeding on tiny crustaceans and schools of small fish such as krill and herring. One of the largest species of baleen whales, kohola are impressive in size: adult males reach up to 50 feet or more and weigh up to 45 tons, and the females can reach over 60 feet in length and up to 60 tons in weight. Native Hawaiians believe kohola are 'aumakua (family guardians) or gentle giants to be treated with Aloha and great respect.

    Surprisingly agile for their size, humpback whales are graceful acrobats, delighting spectators with their frolicking and playful antics. It is an unforgettable sight to see a humpback whale “breach,” catapulting to project more than 50 percent of its body out of the water to land on its side with a massive splash.

    If you would like to visit the islands to view this spectacular odyssey, the best time to plan your trip is from December to May when weather conditions are sunny and clear. During the fall, Northern Pacific Humpback whales depart the frigid waters of the Gulf of Alaska, swimming non-stop for up to eight weeks on their journey to their winter home in the waters surrounding Hawaii. Here they mate, have their young, and care for their calves. One of the many miracles of nature, the 6,000-mile yearly migration of the Northern Pacific Humpback whale is one of the longest migration journeys of any mammal.

    Hawaii’s Whaling Era

    As evidenced by petroglyphs, artifacts, myths, and legends, the kohola has long played an important role in the island’s rich historical heritage. The history of whaling in Hawaii began in 1819 when two ships from New England dropped anchor in Hawaiian waters. With the discovery of rich whaling grounds between Hawaii and Japan, hundreds of whaling ships from around the world sailed into the Hawaiian waters.

    At that point in time, whale products were in high demand; whale oil was used for heating, lamps and maintaining industrial machinery; whalebone was used in corsets, skirt hoops, umbrellas and buggy whips.

    Due to its Central Pacific location, equidistant from Japan and the United States, Hawaii was important in resupplying the ships with supplies from the fertile lands.

    Not excited by the typical Hawaiian diet of fish and poi, the sailors wanted fresh fruit, vegetables, beef, sugar and white potatoes. To satisfy the whaling trade demand, Hawaiians began to cultivate new crops, changing the agricultural use of the land. For Hawaii, whaling was the mainstay of the economy for more than 40 years. By 1846, there were 763 whaling ships that docked in Hawaii ports.

    When oil was discovered in Titusville, Pennsylvania in 1859, petroleum products soon came to replace whale oil for heating, lighting, and other uses, spelling the end of the whaling industry. Unfortunately, due to over-fishing, by that time the whale population was decimated, with an estimated population of fewer than 6,000 humpback whales worldwide.

    The Endangered Species Act, passed in 1973, listed the humpback as endangered, providing the needed protection and ecological habitat for long-term recovery. Protection efforts have proved successful. As of September 2016, the North Pacific Humpback Whale is removed from the endangered species list, once again frolicking in Hawaii water’s to the delight of residents and visitors alike. Today, more than 11,500 kohola make the annual migration to Hawaii.

  • September 23, 2016

    Five Things To Do in Waikiki from Kahala to Kewalo Basin

    ©istockphoto/delamofoto

    Waikiki is Honolulu's famous resort neighborhood. Arguably Hawaii's most well known neighborhood, there are still plenty of hidden gems to go along with the neighborhood's more famous locations. Here are the top 5 things to do in Waikiki:

    A Golden Hour Drink At The Mai Tai Bar At The Royal Hawaiian Hotel

    The Pink Palace is a beautiful building, constructed on the sand in 1927, when a voyage to Hawaii on The Lurline and a week or two holiday in the sun was one of the most exotic, romantic vacations available on earth.

    Step off Kalakaua Avenue, leave the 21st Century behind, walk under the banyan tree and through the hotel to the Mai Tai Bar, which has a prime angle on Waikiki and Diamond Head. Order a Mai Tai as the sun sets and Golden Hour lights up the waves and the people and you will understand why Waikiki is still one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. It’s just a little bit magic.

    Go Surfing 

    Waikiki is like a box of chocolates: A lot of variety, and it’s all pretty sweet.

    Whether you are a first-time beginning surfer or an experienced pro, Waikiki has something to satisfy you. The spots directly in front of Waikiki are Canoes and Queens, which are great beginner spots, but also fun for longboarders and shortboarders. Rent a board from any of the beach services vendors and get away from the shady turf and into the sunny surf. Standup paddlers like Pops and Paradise and Threes, shortboarders pull into tight little barrels at Kaisers, and Ala Moana Bowls is a heavy, challenging wave when the swell is pumping.

    Surf Waikiki and you are surrounded by beauty, and history.

    Climb Diamond Head

    The Diamond Head trail is a bit of a hike, but it’s worth it.

    You can take the bus to Diamond Head State Park. The bus is $2.50 each way and $1 to walk in, while it costs $5 to drive in.

    The trail was built in 1908 as part of Oahu’s coastal defense system. It takes .8 of a mile to ascend 560 feet. The first part is a concrete walkway which ascends the first two-tenths of a mile, and then you’re on a natural “tuff” surface along switchbacks, then steep stairs and a pass through a lighted, 225-foot tunnel which spits out you into the Fire Control Station - which was built in 1911. At the summit there are military bunkers, a navigational lighthouse and a spectacular, 360-degree view of all of Waikiki off to the west side, and then around the east side to Koko Head and beyond. Planes, ships and in the winter, humpback whales.

    HANG OUT AT ALA MOANA BEACH PARK 

    Just to the west of Waikiki, Ala Moana Beach Park is a short walk over the Ala Wai Canal and to the left you will find a groomed, 3000-foot strip of sand. Ala Moana Beach Park has it all: Swim, snorkel, standup-paddle, do SUP yoga, fish and surf in the ocean.

    Or run, ride bikes, walk your dog, fall asleep under a tree or hang out and talk story with all the locals who frequent this park, and fill it up every weekend with tents and music and barbecues.

    Every Friday night, the Hilton Hawaiian Village has a free fireworks show at around 7:45. Watch it from Magic Island.

    VISIT SHANGRI LA

    In 1936 did Doris Duke a stately pleasure dome decree. Duke inherited a fortune from her father at 13 years old, in 1925. In 1935 she went on a prolonged honeymoon and visited the Middle East, India and Pakistan, then wound up in Hawaii - and found she loved the Hawaiian Islands, and the ocean and surfing, and became friends with the Kahanamoku brothers.

    Doris Duke liked Hawaii so much, she bought land in Kahala beach for $100,000 and built a house for $1.4 million - that would be times 17 in modern money.

    She began construction of her pleasure palace in 1936, and filled it with a priceless collection of Islamic art and architecture from Morocco, India, Pakistan, Iran and other places she visited on her travels.

    It’s fun to think of Duke Kahanamoku and his brothers and friends surfing Waikiki all day, then hanging out at Shangri La - playing ukulele and having a good old time. Shangri La is something else. Sign up at the Honolulu Museum of Art, take the bus ride there, and be astounded by a masterpiece.

  • September 21, 2016

    Surf’s Up – Sage Water Safety Advice

    The Hawaiian Islands have more than 750-miles of some of the most beautiful beaches in the world with waters and beach conditions as unique as the islands themselves. However, due to powerful surf, strong currents, and rocky shores, they are also among the most dangerous.

    Hawaii’s multi-colored beaches and stellar blue ocean waters attract visitors from all over the world. While some beaches are perfectly safe for persons of all ages and water skill levels, a large number of beaches pose considerable risk to inexperienced swimmers.

    Choose A Beach That Matches Your Ability

    Visit HawaiiBeachSafety.com to explore all the beaches of the Hawaiian Islands. Select a beach destination that matches your skill and experience level. Ask any paramedic or emergency first responder in Hawaii about respect for the power of the ocean: an over-confident attitude can get your hurt, or worse.

    Never Turn Your Back On The Ocean

    The beguiling azure waters beckon with warm water temperatures of 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. The tranquil looking beautiful blue sea can mask dangerous and powerful riptides. Although the ocean may appear flat and calm when you wade into the waters, you could likely face a crushing set of waves. Water safety can never be over-emphasized: never turn your back on the ocean. Stay watchful for what’s coming your way, and never swim alone. Even when all you see are small waves, a big one may be rolling in.

    Should you encounter a massive breaking wave, do not try to out-swim the wave or ride it to shore. The best option is to duck or dive under the wave. But be aware, another one is likely to be behind it. If you are weak swimmer or unexperienced in ocean waters, do not play and frolic in high, rolling waves.

    Pay Attention To Posted Beach Hazard Advisories

    Always check the weather and current surf conditions before heading for the beach. Check in with the lifeguard on duty to find out about any updates and pay attention to all caution and hazard warnings posted.

    Watch Where You Walk

    Avoid going barefoot on coral reefs or in tide pools where jellyfish, sea urchins or eels are prevalent. Coral cuts are quite painful and can easily become infected. Wearing beach shoes is a great way to protect your feet from these hazards.

    Shark Attacks

    Although sharks do frequent the balmy waters of Hawaii, they prefer fish to people. Shark attacks happen, but they are infrequent. If you do see a shark, move away calmly, without thrashing or making frantic movements. Get out of the water and report the sighting to a lifeguard.

    Please Practice Beach Etiquette

    Do not view the sea from wet rocks. It is safest to view the impressive crashing waves and surfers well back from the action if you are not well versed in surfer etiquette or the variables of the unpredictable ocean.  Not knowing what you are doing, it is easy to be the cause of an accident in the water.

    Practice Aloha When Snorkeling

    When snorkeling, it can be a big temptation to remove some of the ocean’s spectacular gifts and for some folks it is hard to resist. The ocean is not Mother Nature’s Gift Shop. Anything you remove is hard to replace. Be respectful of the wonder of the underwater world, do not remove anything, but rather leave it there for others to enjoy.

     

  • September 21, 2016

    Anywhere Aloha Pop Up Shops: Southern Series

    Aloha Alabama!

    We’re heading to Birmingham for the fourth and final stop of our #AnywhereAloha Pop-Up Shops: Southern Series! Alabama Outdoors Pop-Up Shop 

    We will be set up this Friday through Sunday, October 28-30 at Alabama Outdoors! Come shop exclusive styles that will be available ONLY this weekend. All OluKai purchases over the weekend will receive a premium OluKai gift with purchase. 

    Stop by Friday night for complimentary Pint Night with Good People Brewing Company and receive an exclusive OluKai pint cup!

    Get your weekend rolling on Saturday morning with complimentary locally roasted coffee from Seeds Coffee Co., and then stick around for our leather workshop. From 3-5pm you'll be able to create a custom leather piece and talk story on the craftsmanship that goes into each pair of OluKai sandals, shoes, and boots.

    Sunday will be sweet, as our friends from Seeds Coffee Co. will be serving up the best in fresh coffee all morning! 

    Alabama Pop-Up

    Can't make it down? Follow us on Instagram @OluKai to catch all the action!

    OluKai Leather Shop Designing a custom leather piece

    OluKai Leather Shop Working on the custom leather pieces

    Pop_Up Shop Inside the OluKai Pop-Up Shop
  • September 19, 2016

    Hilo – City Of Rainbows

    ©istockphoto/pikappa ©istockphoto/pikappa

    Known as the “City of Rainbows”, Hilo Town lies on the lush windward coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. Approximately 47,500 people live in the quiet community surrounding north-facing Hilo Bay. Hilo’s more than 130 inches annual rainfall nourish the gorgeous tropical greenery of the rainforest. Although the former plantation town receives most of its moisture at night, expect passing showers throughout the day.

    Visitors are encouraged not to let to let the occasional shower discourage them from enjoying Hilo’s many offerings. The morning mists and gentle afternoon showers keep things cool and provide the idea climate for cultivating the diverse array of flowers for which the city is famous. Hilo boasts a 20 million dollar anthurium/orchid floral industry.

    The indomitable city by the bay has survived two devastating tsunami events, multiple earthquakes, and half a dozen close calls from advancing lava flows. Local residents laugh and dance in the Hilo rain, not letting a little moisture detract from their day. Neither should you.

    When visiting Hilo, be sure to follow the drive circling the Waiakea Events Peninsula, located near Hilo International Airport. Back in 1933, the Park’s Commissioner decided it would be a splendid idea to have visiting international celebrities each plant a banyan tree sapling along the drive in recognition of their visit. In 1934, in preparation for a visit from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the original drive crafted of crushed lava rock was constructed. The majority of the banyan trees survived the tidal waves that ravaged the bay. Today, towering banyan trees, planted along the lava road, form a thick green canopy that offers a lovely place to take a relaxing stroll.

    Look for trees planted by Amelia Earhart, President Richard Nixon, Pat Nixon, Babe Ruth, Cecil B. De Mille, and a host of other Hollywood stars. The massive trees, which still bear the names of the planters, honor sports heroes, movie stars, religious leaders, rock stars, political leaders, famous authors, music legends, adventurers, and local Hawaiians.

    Banyan Tree Walk is located in the 30-acre Liliʻuokalani Gardens near the footbridge leading to the healing Isle of Moku Ola, also known as Coconut Island. Native Hawaiians refer to this place as the “healing island” attributing healing properties to the waters of underground springs that flow up from under the little island. Legend says that if the ill and infirmed can manage to swim out around the island and back to the shore, they will be healed from their illness and find relief from their pain.

    Named after Hawaii’s deposed queen, Liliuokalani Gardens features a lovely exhibit of Japanese motifs in its miniature pavilions, stone pagodas, and a footbridge over a reflecting pond, and a charming teahouse. Built in the early 1900s, the manicured Japanese garden provides a peaceful retreat for rest and relaxation.

    When exploring Hilo, be sure to visit Waiakea Pond, home of an ancient Hawaiian fishpond. In 1946 and again in 1960 giant tidal waves from Hilo Bay attacked the area with deadly force, destroying the homes overlooking the pond. The area has been restored, replanted and made into a tsunami buffer zone. Nearby Waiola Center showcases a photographic display of the devastation and rebirth of the city.

    Rainbow Falls and Boiling Pots are two of Hilo’s main scenic attractions. At Rainbow Falls State Park the Wailuku River plummets more than 200-feet to fern-banked pool below. After a heavy rain, the water cascades down the mountain face with such velocity it crashes on the rocks below, sending up enveloping clouds of silver mist that when caught in the sunlight, creates the beautiful rainbows that mark it’s name.

    Located just another mile and a half down the road, Pe’epe Falls State Park is home to a small stream that makes its way over a series of lava pools known as Boiling Pots. According to ancient myth, the body of the mo’o dragon Kuna still slithers along the bottom of the stream, stirring up the waters. Despite cautionary warnings of the danger, locals and visitors following a windy and slippery descent to swim in the agitated, swirling pools during low-water periods.

    If you venture forth to explore the ponds, be very aware of upstream flooding. Wailuku falls means “waters of destruction” and dangerous flooding conditions can occur without warning.

  • September 16, 2016

    Waimea Canyon – The Grand Canyon Of The Pacific

    ©istockphoto/Waimea Canyon State Park ©istockphoto/Waimea Canyon State Park

    The largest canyon in the Pacific, Waimea Canyon, on the Garden Island of Kauai, captures the eye of the beholder. Impressed by the magnitude of the “glorious gulch”, Mark Twain dubbed the remarkable natural wonder the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” The colorful canyon is ten miles long, a mile wide, and 3,500 feet deep: admittedly smaller than the Grand Canyon, but nonetheless magnificent.

    The history of the canyon inscribed in the red walls can be viewed as visitors explore the more than 45 miles of hiking trails. There are trails for novice trekkers and challenging jaunts for seasoned climbers and cavers. For the less adventurous, there are multiple overlooks that provide stellar views of the spectacular scenery. IIiau Nature Trail is a short .3-mile loop through native vegetation that leads to a lovely waterfall.

    A drive around the canyon is unmatched for visual interest. Waimea Canyon offers countless breath-taking vistas along the 12-mile cleft carved into the island’s left flank. Higher up Koke rests in a cool, misty setting with awesome overlooks into the Na Pali Coast. The canyon’s geology is unique, formed not only by a continual process of erosion but also by a massive internal catastrophic collapse of the volcano that created the Island of Kauai.

    The majority of the extraordinary scenery lies between 3,000 and 4,000 feet. Early morning is one of the best times to view the canyon. Swirling silver clouds tend to gather as the day goes on, wrapping the landscape in a gray shroud that hinders visibility. Early morning visitors are frequently treated to a view of multiple rainbows that form over the canyon as the sun lifts the morning dew.

    Enjoy the view from three designated overview points along the Koke’e Road. Waimea Canyon Overlook, 11-miles into the canyon and located at an elevation of 3,120 feet, is the first of three viewing spots and offers the most open and dramatic frontal view of the main canyon and its three tributaries. Cloud banks drift in and out of the canyon, adding swirls of white in stark contrast to the deep green foliage and canyon walls streaked with red, yellow and brown.

    The second overlook is located at Pua Ka Pele. The site provides a pleasant picnic area with picnic tables and covered shelter and a stunning side view of the canyon. At Puu Hinahina another spacious overlook provides a jaw-dropping coastal vista out to Niihau.

    On a visit to Waimea Canyon, visitors will note brilliantly colored wild fowl, descendants of the original fowl brought to the island by the original Polynesian settlers. Generously fed by tourists and protected under state law, the colorful birds thrive. You will hear their clucking and cooing while seeing them everywhere.

    The road around the canyon is remote, with little traffic. Locals advise visitors to make sure the gas tank is full and to bring along foul-weather gear as the mercury can drop and rain showers are unpredictable. The trails in the canyon can become dangerously slick in rainy weather. Sturdy hiking boots with excellent traction are recommended. When hiking in the canyon, be aware of the potential for flash flooding.

  • September 14, 2016

    A Delightful Drive Along The North Shore of Kauai

    ©istockphoto/noblige ©istockphoto/noblige

    Endlessly enchanting, the North Shore of the Garden Island of Kauai offers countless opportunities for eco-adventure. Driving the Kuhio Highway from Lihue to the northern tip of the island is an adventure itself. The scenery is spectacular, offering one majestic view after another.

    Anahola Bay

    On the jaunt north from Lihue, visitors enjoy stellar vistas of the Anahola Mountains along the northern end of the Coconut Coast. At the 14-mile post, turn off the highway and follow Aniomanu Road through a dense green canopy of Monkeypod trees to the northern shore of Anahola Bay. Quiet and serene, the sandy beach is a delightful secluded spot to soak up the sun or to search for seashells.

    When compared to other beaches in the Pacific, seashells in Hawaii are a bit harder to find, but the treasures you find are rare and gorgeous. The powerful surf that carved Hawaii’s coastlines is destructive to shells. Intact shells are few and far between, but those you find are more than worth the search. Hawaii hides its shells in the sea, so the best way to find them is to wade or snorkel near the reefs, outcrops, and ledges, always being mindful of currents and tides.

    Moloaa Bay

    Continuing the journey north, visitors follow the Kuhio Highway over the Anahola Mountains to the 16-mile marker to exit to sheltered Maloaa Bay. Nestled between the steep walls of the bay, a beautiful strand of sugar sand is bisected by Moloaa Stream. Beachcombers frequent these shores as predominant winds and currents carry treasures in on the tides including the occasional Japanese glass fishing float, carried thousands of miles across the sea.

    Visitors to Anahola Bay, Moloaa Bay, and all North Shore beaches are urged to be extremely cautious when swimming in the ocean waters. Strong currents and dangerous riptides form along the coastline, and giant surf appears during the winter season.

    Kilauea Lighthouse

    The 23-mile post marks the turnoff to the Kilauea Lighthouse and the tiny plantation town of Kilauea. The old lighthouse overlook provides panoramic views along the coast and an up close look at the churning surf in the cove below the lookout point. Green sea turtles, Hawaiian monk seals, spinner dolphins, and migrating humpback whales are all spotted from the lofty lookout as well as a diverse array of seabirds whirling and diving.

    The United States Fish and Wildlife Service advises, “Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge’s dramatic backdrop of steep cliffs plunging to the ocean is one of the best places on the main Hawaiian Islands to view wildlife, and is also home to some of the largest populations of nesting seabirds found in Hawai'i.”

    The Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge surrounds the historic lighthouse, which is located on the northernmost tip of the island. The refuge celebrates 100 years of migratory bird conservation in 2016 with the centennial celebration. The United States and Great Britain on behalf of Canada signed a treaty for the protection of migratory birds on August 15, 1916. Subsequent agreements with Mexico, Russia, and Japan enforce Hawaii’s efforts to provide a safe haven for birds that migrate across international borders.

  • September 14, 2016

    Kauai’s Kalalalu Trail

    ©istockphoto/Onfokus ©istockphoto/Onfokus

    Visitors to the Garden Island of Kauai, following the Highway north, discover the winding scenic road comes to an abrupt end at Ke’e Beach. Beyond lies the impassable rugged Na Pali Coast and the trailhead for the world-famous Kalalau Trail.

    Ke’e Lagoon

    Ke’e Lagoon, dominated by imposing cliff faces, sheltered by a protective reef, is a small cove that provides an ideal location for swimming and snorkeling in calm waters. Lengthy secret stretches of white sandy beach extending beyond the right side of the lagoon offer a secluded retreat. This section of the sandy beach is a great place to beach comb and look for seashells, but the water is rough, and swimming here is less protected.

    Off to the left side of the lagoon, a hidden clearing within the dense jungle vegetation marks the site of Ka Ulu o Laka Heiau. The sacred heiau is dedicated to Laka, Pele’s sister and the patron of hula. Although the rocky remains of heiau have weathered considerably, one can still sense the ancient mystic power of the site. Traditionally, Hawaiians have held night rituals at the site, banishing flaming torches that are thrown off the cliff, providing a primitive fireworks display. Hula halaus continue to return to the heiau in the clearing to leave floral offerings and to renew their commitment to the ancient art in this sacred spot.

    Kalalau Trail

    The extreme dangers encountered in hiking the Kalalau Trail cannot be emphasized strongly enough.

    Three major streams, Hanakapiai, Hanakoa and Kalalau cross the trail. These streams can change from a peaceful trickle to a raging torrent in a matter of minutes, rising rapidly with no warning, swollen by rains upstream. The danger of flash floods cannot be ignored. Hikers are urged to practice extreme caution when waters rise. Do not risk crossing rain-swollen streams; one slip could cost you your life. Wait until the water recedes before proceeding along the trail.

    The steep, rugged, slippery and rough 11-mile trail leading from Ke’e Beach to Kalalau Beach provides the only land access to this section of the Na Pali Coast. Traversing five valleys, the trail ends at Kalalau Trail where it is blocked by a sheer fluted palus (cliff). Although most of the Kalalau Trail is a gradual grade, it is never level as it crosses towering sea cliffs and wanders through lushly vegetated valleys.

    The dangers of Kalalau Trail, a part of the Hawaii State Parks System, are significant and should not be underestimated. There are several narrow sections of the trail where the soil caves off around Hanakoa. Mile seven of the trail is especially hazardous and includes the infamous “crawler’s ledge” a treacherous, twisting path following a narrow ledge against the cliff face. The convoluted trail is very dangerous when it has recently rained, leaving the red clay soil slick, slimy and unstable and prone to mudslide. On this section of the trail, as well as the switchbacks immediately proceeding, one wrong move can result in serious injury or death.

    Experienced hikers claim the breath-taking vista are worth the risk, having survived the trail, a testament to their skills. A physically fit and highly skilled trekker can make the 22-mile round trip to Kalalau Beach in a single day. All others will require an overnight stay. Camping permits are required. There are no water stations or services on the trail and hikers must carry adequate water, food, foul weather gear, and sleeping sacks. The hike, considered one of the most spectacular, yet also one of the most dangerous in the world, requires preparation and planning and at least two to three days. Beside the main trail, there are several side trails, so a waterproof map and an accurate GPS are helpful tools.

    The Kalalau Trail has been the scene of countless disasters and deaths over the decades. Do not be one of them. The trail is not where even the most confident should overestimate their level of physical fitness, agility or extreme-adventure trekking experience. Physically fit novice hikers are advised to only hike the first half mile of the trail for a taste of adventure and a glimpse of the beautiful Na Pali Coast, then turn around and head back down to Ke’e Beach for a bit of Hawaiian style rest and relaxation.

  • September 12, 2016

    Maui – The Valley Isle

    ©istockphoto/MRaust ©istockphoto/MRaust

    The warriors of Maui boasted they were “Maui no ka oi” or “Number One” –

    Today’s windsurfing watermen agree: Maui windsurfers are the best as validated in a diverse array of international completions. Maui offers some of the most ideal waters, winds, and waves for windsurfers of anywhere in the world. Masters of the art of riding the waves come from all over the globe to test their skills against the powerful winds and waves of the island’s windy central isthmus.

    Windsurfers are not the only ones drawn to Maui’s beautiful coastal waters. Migrating humpback whales congregate, making Maui their choice of destination for a winter home. Named after Maui, “a god of a thousand tricks” who is much revered through all of Polynesia, the island has lots of secrets for visitors to discover. Drawn to its spectacular scenery, sugar sand beaches, and stellar surf, more than 2.5 million people visit Maui every year.

    According to ancient myths, Maui’s golden fishhook pulled up the chain of islands from beneath the sea to provide the people a place to live, then pushed up the sky so man could stand erect. Maui stole fire from Pele to keep the Keiki (children) warm and slowed the passage of the sun. When Hawaiians talk story, they tell of how the island resembles the demi-god Maui: commenting that the West Maui Mountains are the trickster’s head, the girth of Haleakala defining a limbless torso. A narrow isthmus between the majestic mountains forms the god’s neck thus earning Maui a nickname of the “Valley Isle”.

    The majority of Maui’s population is congregated on the northern tip of the isthmus, snuggled against the base of Maui’s neck. Maui, the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands is home to a 10,000-foot dormant volcano, a lush rainforest laced with cascading waterfalls, a historic whaling village, and more than 30-miles of white, yellow, red, and black sand beaches.

    Haleakala National Park

    Maui is home to the sprawling Haleakala National Park. The park showcases the island’s highest peak, volcanic Haleakala, and a series of pools and waterfalls that cascade down Ohe’o Gulch. The park is accessible by following the scenic Hana Highway. Waterfalls hidden in the dark folds of the hills along the highway generate a silvery mist that makes a light show of magical rainbows dancing in the sunlight.

    Iao Valley

    A hike into the Iao Valley is a must on every Maui visitor’s itinerary. The Iao Valley is the steepest, biggest and deepest cleft in the West Maui Mountains. The mouth or head of the jaw-dropping valley opens into an ancient crater that forms half of the island. The spectacular rear wall of the valley rises 5,788-feet to the tor of Puu Kukui, the highest peak on West Maui. To view the valley at sunrise is a once-in-a-lifetime memory-making experience you will never forget.

  • September 9, 2016

    Kauai – Island Of Discovery

    ©istockphoto/m-kojot ©istockphoto/m-kojot

    Often called “The Island Of Discovery”, Kauai is an island located in the Central Pacific, part of the Hawaiian archipelago. Intrigued by the dramatic deep-green pinnacles and brilliantly colored sea cliffs of the Na Pali Coast, visitors are drawn back in time to a land of tropical rainforest splendor. The 17-miles of the magical Na Pali Coast, located on the North Shore of Kauai, features jaw-dropping panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, sheer cliff faces, cascading waters and deep, narrow valleys. Appearing much as it did when the Polynesian settlers first lived in the valleys, the Na Pali Coast enchants the eye and nourishes the soul.

    Located the farthest north of the seven main islands, Kauai has several characteristics that differentiate it from the other islands in the Hawaiian Chain. Kauai is the oldest island geologically. Six million years have given the erosive elements of nature time to sculpt the mountain faces with a surgeon’s precision and ring the island with an inviting lei of white sugar sand. Kauai also holds the distinction of being the wettest island and one of the wettest places in the world.

    A shield volcano, Mount Wal’ale’ale is the second highest point on the Garden Island of Kauai. At a lofty elevation of 5,148-feet, the mountain averages more than 454-inches of rain each since 1912. In 1982, the Island was pummeled with 683-inches. The overflowing waters from Mount Wal’ale’ale feed into the seven full-fledged rivers and countless streams. Blessed with an abundance of moisture, the island is lush and verdant, resplendent with brilliant flowers that scent the air, attracting bees and butterflies.

    Kauai is distinctive in other ways as well. The Kauai Channel is much deeper, wider and rougher than channels between the other isles that lead scientists to believe that Kauai, and its satellite island Nilhau, remained rather isolated in ancient Hawaii. Kauai and Nilhau are the only two islands not conquered by King Kamehameha, not that he didn’t try. Two would-be invasions failed, turned back by angry seas and illness. To avoid bloodshed and violence, Kauai’s King Kaumualil voluntarily submitted, acknowledging Kamehameha’s sovereignty. However, the island remained a separate kingdom until Kaumualil’s death.

    Two hard-surfaced roads traverse the island, Kaumualii Highway (Route 50) and Kuhio Highway (Route 56). You can go approximately 40-miles in each direction before the roads become impassable and further travel is made impossible by the impenetrable barrier of the Na Pali Coast.

    The island offers three uniquely different regions to explore. The North Shore is the wettest part of the island, blanketed in lush rainforest. The beaches are beautiful and the hiking trails are challenging. The South Shore, with creative irrigation and plenty of sunshine, is known for its rich agricultural abundance and the birthplace of the sugarcane industry. The western region is known for brilliant red dirt canyons including the ten-mile long Waimea Canyon, the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”.

    Visitors are advised to rent a Jeep or 4-wheel drive vehicle to access the islands most intriguing points of interest. Many of the roads on the island are sand tracks, rough and rutted. Remember Kauai gets a lot of rain and all roads and trails are subject to flash flooding.

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