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  • September 5, 2016

    Lana’i – The Pineapple Isle

    ©istockphoto/Robert Bush ©istockphoto/Robert Bush

    Known as the “Pineapple Isle”, Lana'i is the sixth-largest of the Hawaiian Islands. The smallest and least visited island accessible to the public in the Hawaiian chain of islands, Lana'i is an isle of intriguing contrasts and pleasant surprises.

    For such a tiny island, Lana'i has witnessed many changes, enduring a rather turbulent past. For centuries, Hawaiians strictly avoided the island, believing it to be inhabited by akuas or Akua-ino, an especially mean and nasty breed of goblins or spirits: the gods of nightmares. The name Lana'i, in the Hawaiian language, means “day of the conquest of Kaulua’ae”. Kaulua’ae was a prince from Maui who has been banished to Lana’s as punishment for his wild ways and mischievous pranks in his father’s court on Maui.

    According to legend, Kaulua’ae battled and defeated the akuas, making the island safe for human inhabitation. After destroying the evil spirits, Kaulaua’ae built a giant bonfire that could be seen on Maui, signaling the people that the all was well. In celebration, people jumped in their canoes and set sail to Lana’i. Today, the only settlement of any size is the small town of Lana’I City, population 3,102. The Kalohi Channel separates Lana’I from the Island of Molokai to the North and from the island of Maui by the eight-mile-wide Au’au Channel on the east.  The little island, shaped like a comma, is only 18 miles long and 12 miles wide.

    In 1853, Mormon settlers made their way to the isle with the good intention of creating a “City of Joseph”, a model community personifying goodwill and earthly peace. The project failed, and the community disbanded when they discovered their leader, Walter Gibson, was a thief and a crook, having secretly registered the island in own name.

    Excommunication from the Mormon Church didn’t faze Gibson, who went on to bring in a new batch of settlers and to turn the entire island into an open cattle-grazing range. A sad example of poor stewardship, unrestricted grazing quickly decimated the landscape, turning the already dry landscape into a barren wasteland.

    It wasn’t until George Munroe, a naturalist from New Zealand, was employed to manage the ranch that the island began to heal. Munroe commenced an intense program of reforestation, planting thousands of Cook Island and Norfolk Pine that today are the City of Lana’I's signature statement. During the period that George Munroe labored to bring back native flora and fauna of the island, Jim Dole introduced pineapple cultivation to the arid land. In 1922 Dole purchased the entire island, turning it into the largest (90,000 acres) pineapple plantation in the world. The island was subsequently sold to Castle & Cook who maintained the land as a pineapple plantation for many years before converting to a more tourism focused management approach.

    The majority of the homes about Lana’I City date to 1922 and the town origins. Brightly colored tin roofs add quaint charm to the verdant farmlands.

    Today, discounting the 3,000 residents that reside on the isle, Lana’i is mega-billionaire Larry Ellison’s personal paradise. Ellison, who purchased the island in a single real estate deal in 2012, owns 97 percent of the island including two resorts, a water utility and a third of the island’s housing. Ellison is an innovative entrepreneur and the fifth richest person in the world.

    The island attracts adventurous visitors who come to view the abundance of wildlife that flourishes on the island including Mouflon sheep and Axis deer. Because Lana’I is the only island that does not have mongoose, game fowl thrive.  The island is bisected with rough, unmaintained red dirt roads. To explore the island, a four-wheel drive vehicle is required.

  • September 1, 2016

    Moloka’i – The Friendly Island

    ©istockphoto/VickyRu ©istockphoto/VickyRu

    Located east of O’ahu across the 25-mile wide Kaiwi Channel, Moloka’i lies north of Lan’I separated from its neighboring isle by the Kalohi Channel. The island of Moloka'i, part of the Hawaiian Island Chain, has been shrouded in secrecy and seclusion for centuries. The little island, the home of hula, is only 38-miles long and 10-miles wide. The annual Moloka'i Ka Hula Piko festival is a joyous celebration held each year on the island. At night, visitors and residents on the west end of Moloka’i can see the lights of Honolulu on O’ahu or persons along the south shore of the island can view the lights of nearby Lana’i and Maui.

    Wrapped in a legacy of ancient sorcery and carrying the social stigma of its infamous leper colony, Moloka'i’s long-time reputation as the “Lonely Island” was until the last decade reinforced by a shrinking population. Today, Moloka’i has a growing population and a new nickname: “The Friendly Isle” as the islands welcomes visitors to what remains one of the last “unspoiled” islands. Moloka’i calls itself the “most Hawaiian” of all the inhabited islands: as much as 60 percent of the residents share native Hawaiian ancestry. A genuine welcoming spirit of Aloha combined with a laid-back atmosphere reminiscent of old Hawaii invites visitors to explore the land and enjoy the island’s warm hospitality.

    In the past, the island was known for Moloka’i Ranch’s pineapple and cattle production. Perched on the Kalaupapa Peninsula, on the northern coast of the isle, settlements were established in 1866 to quarantine persons with leprosy. The settlement operated until 1969 and is now preserved by the Kalaupapa National Historical Park Society, which has stewardship of the settlement and all of Kalawao County.

    The Island of Moloka’i formed from the action of two shield volcanoes, known locally as East Moloka’I and the tiny West Moloka'i. East Moloka’I is home to the highest point on the island, Kamakou at 4,970 feet. The East Moloka’I volcano is all that remains of the southern half of the original mountain. The north half of the mountain was destroyed in a massive collapse more than 1.5 million years ago and lies scattered northward across the floor of the Pacific Ocean. The visible remains of the volcano on Moloka’i are the highest sea cliffs in the world. On its south shore, Moloka’i also holds bragging rights to the longest fringe reef in the United States.

    GoHawaii.com, the Moloka’i official tourism site, invites visitors to discover the rich historical heritage and spectacular scenery of the island, stating, ““Hawaiian by nature,“ the island of Molokai remains true to its island roots. There are no traffic lights—just aloha—in the harbor town of Kaunakakai, where fisherman haul in their daily catch and farmers showcase fresh-picked produce from neighboring fields. Quiet your spirit and you’ll feel the mana (power) that protects the island, from an area near Maunaloa said to be the birthplace of hula to the indescribable beauty of Halawa Valley. Or, descend 1,700 feet on a sure-footed mule to the remote settlement of Kalaupapa and change your perspective forever.”

  • August 30, 2016

    Hali’a Aloha – Treasured Memories

    OKHAA Celebrate Hawaii with a grand celebration honoring, preserving and perpetuating Aloha and the unique traditions of the Islands. Aloha Festival’s 2016 theme is “Treasured Memories” where residents and visitors talk story, sharing old memories and creating new ones. Everyone is invited to sing, dance and celebrate the Spirit of Aloha and all things Hawaiian. [...]

  • August 26, 2016

    Celebrate `Ohe –Hawaii’s Annual Bamboo Festival

    OK A vigorous grower, `ohe or common clumping bamboo, a giant flowering evergreen perennial member of the grass family, is one of the most conspicuous and abundant plants in Hawaii’s rainforests. `Ohe or Hawaiian bamboo is also one of nature’s most useful. In celebration of bamboo’s diverse roles in Hawaii, The Hawaiian Chapter of The American Bamboo Society (HCABS) will host the annual Bamboo Festival to be held September 11, 2016, at Nani Mau Garden in Hilo, Hawaii. Artists, growers, and lecturers will be featured, offering visitors an opportunity to view plants, ask questions and talk story with Hawaiian bamboo growers, collectors, and enthusiasts. A silent auction is planned. [...]

  • August 24, 2016

    Kaho' olawe - Preserved For The People

    ©istockphoto/ejs9 ©istockphoto/ejs9

    The peaceful isle of Kaho’olawe, the smallest of the eight main Hawaiian Islands, is desolate and drab when compared to the visually stunning beauty of her seven big sisters. Remote and uninhabited, brown and dry, the 44.6-square mile island, now known as the Kaho’olawe Island Reserve, bears the scars of a troubled history. [...]

  • August 22, 2016

    Hawaii Hau'oli

    Dramatic Hawaiian sunset over the tropical paradise of Kauai. ©istockphoto/YinYang

    In the Hawaiian language, Hau'oli means “happy” or the “fortunate one.” Would it surprise you to learn that in a nationwide survey of quality of emotional and physical health, residents of Hawaii were most likely to rank their lives as “Hau'oli” or “thriving”?

    Over the past five years, Hawaii consistently ranked as the least stressed state, reporting one of the highest levels of enjoyment of life in the United States.

    Blessed with the life-affirming attributes of sparkling waters, waves, fresh air, sunshine, a mild tropical climate, spectacular scenic beauty, and a diverse array of active and inactive volcanoes, Mother Nature provides lots of reasons for people to get outdoors, be active, and stay physically fit. [...]

  • August 19, 2016

    Opihi – The Deadliest Delicacy Money Can Buy

    Photo of seashells and seaweed was taken on a Kauai beach, all seashells were found there and are native to that place. ©istockphoto/kristinaki100

    “Try it – you'll like it!” If you have an opportunity to taste Opihi, do not turn it down. Opihi, known as the “Deadliest Delicacy” in Hawaii is a “superfood”, chock full of iodine, fat-free and delicious. An edible shellfish, Opihi (Cellana exarata) of the limpet species of marine gastropod mollusks found growing attached to rocks where the ocean meets the shore, is a rare treat either eaten raw with salt or seaweed, or cooked over a driftwood fire on the grill and garnished with butter and lemon. Others prefer Opihi slurped fresh from the shell with a dash of Tabasco. Opihi is also scrumptious pickled.

    Kauhana (elders) fondly remember when Eva Beach on Oahu was carpeted with oiphi. As a child, they would make it a family outing followed by a lula, to go to the beach and gather baskets of opihi, cart the succulent morsels home and as a whole family, clean and pickle them to enjoy in celebration of special events. [...]

  • August 15, 2016

    A View From The Volcano

    ©istockphoto/Yana_N ©istockphoto/Yana_N

    A solid anchor on the southeastern end of the archipelago that comprises the Hawaiian Island Chain, Hawaii, also known as the “Big Island” or “Big Isle” (to avoid confusion with the name of the state) represents Pele, the “Goddess of Fire” “latest and greatest’” creation.

    Built on an overlapping foundation of lava flows from five different volcanoes, the Big Island is twice the size of all of the other Hawaiian Islands put together. The Big Island is home to Volcano National Park, which includes both the active and inactive volcanoes on the Big Island. Volcano National Park, which encompasses some of the roughest and wildest terrain on the face of the earth, was established in 1916 and just celebrated its 100th anniversary.

    Mauna Kea, known as the “White Mountain” at the height of 13,795, dominates all other mountains in the South Pacific. Mauna Kea, when measured from top to its base deep beneath the sea, is the tallest mountain in the world. A bit “shorter and fatter”, Mauna Loa, known as the “Long Mountain”, blankets more than half the Island with her considerable girth. Mauna Loa is considered the world's heaviest volcano, weighing more than the entire Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. [...]

  • August 12, 2016

    The Hawaiian Lei – Symbol Of The Aloha Spirit

    ©istockphoto/Sarah Holmstrom ©istockphoto/Sarah Holmstrom

    The intriguing history of Hawaiian lei making dates back to the arrival of the original Polynesian explorers in roughly 750 AD. For centuries, the Polynesians of the South Pacific paid homage to the gods of land and sea by adorning their bodies with intricately woven strands of leafy greenery, flowers, fruits, feathers, and vines. When the Polynesian settlers made landfall in the magnificent islands, known today as Hawaii, they brought with them the staples of survival including plants useful for building, medicine, and food. Also, they carried fragrant ginger (`awapuhi) for its culinary value and to provide flowers for decorative adornment.

    During the time of settlement, which lasted through the 1300s, style and design of the lei remained fairly consistent throughout all of Polynesia and Asia. Perishable, fragrant lei of ferns and flowers such as ginger and green maile (Ti plant) vine were favored as were non-perishable lei crafted from shells (puku), seeds, nuts, stones, feathers (Hulu manu), shark tooth, and walrus or whalebone (niho palaoa). [...]

  • August 10, 2016

    Exploring The Majestic Caves Of Hawaii

    Inside a Sea Cave ©istockphoto/kellington1

    Visitors to the Hawaiian Islands are often intrigued by the state’s turbulent geological history. Exploring the caves of Hawaii is a magical way to view fauna, flora, and wildlife that differ dramatically from that found in the rest of the natural landscape. Holding the world record for the deepest and longest lava tubes, Hawaii also holds the United States record for the greatest diversity of cave dwelling species.

    Many of Hawaii’s caves can be reached on foot. Others require snorkeling or diving equipment. Across the islands, visitors will find cave exploration opportunities that are perfect hikes for the family, safe with secure access. However, many cave eco-adventures are best left to experienced climbers and cavers. [...]

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