• June 15, 2016

    Hōkūle'a does New York: An Interview With Archie Kalepa As He Chills in Jamaica Bay

    IMG_4213-2As the Hōkūle'a continues its worldwide journey, we caught up with Archie Kalepa after he rejoined the ship's crew to sail from Washington DC to New York City.

    OluKai: We covered your voyage on Hōkūle'a from Mauritius to South Africa. When did you jump back on Hōkūle'a?

    Archie Kalepa: I jumped back on this leg from DC to New York.

    OK: How was it? Was the boat there when you got there or did you sail in on the Potomac?

    AK: Sailed out of the Potomac because the boat was already there in DC when I got there. And then sailed to here, New York.

    OK: So how were the conditions? [...]

  • June 14, 2016

    What, exactly, is a vegan shoe? Vegan shoes explained

    OKveganWhen people talk about being vegan, they are typically referring to a diet that excludes all meat, eggs, dairy products, and any other ingredients derived from animals. But what about vegan footwear? What does that mean? [...]

  • June 13, 2016

    OluKai sponsores smART program to bring art to children

    27394035681_70b4880230_oOver the weekend of June 4-5, OluKai was proud to sponsor a mural and school beautification project in Paramount, CA. The smART (students making art) program at Harry Wirtz Elementary School is a grassroots way of infusing the arts back into schools at a time when art programs are being cut and are no longer being supported. [...]

  • June 9, 2016

    The Magnificent Colored Sand Beaches of Hawaii


    Hawaii is the proud home to the most naturally occurring colored sand beaches in the entire world, the result of a diverse variety of corals, unique marine life, and debris from the many ancient volcanoes that gave birth to the island chain. A few of Hawaii’s colored sand beaches are accessible; the majority remote and secluded, accessible only by a challenging hike, ATV or all-terrain vehicle. However, if you are a fan of romantic colored sand beaches and up for the challenge, you will discover red, green, black, white, and golden beaches of jaw-dropping beauty.

    Big Island Papakolea Green Sand Beach Tucked away at the base of Pu’u o Mahana, an ancient cone of a long-dormant volcano located near the southern tip of the Big Island, Hawaii, Papakolea Beach is a rarity. From the trailhead to the beach is a vigorous three-mile hike, so go equipped with plenty of fresh water and sunscreen. There are no services or lifeguard at the beach. Be aware of surroundings and wave breaks. The green sand is composed of finely ground, semi-precious olivine. The multi-faceted sand grains shimmer and sparkle in sunlight, but are especially striking at sunset. However, unless you plan an overnight camp out, it is best to start the hike back to the highway at least three to four hours before sunset as the terrain is challenging and can be dangerous in the dark. Novice hikers are advised to enlist the services of a guide service to ensure a safe and memorable eco-adventure. Seasoned trail guides are available in nearby Kona.

    Maui Kaihalula Red Sand Beach Accessible by the twisting Hana Highway, Kaihalulu Beach, which means ‘roaring sea” in the Hawaiian language, is not a beach suitable for swimming or any beach or water activity. Close to shore rip tides, and rocky outcrops are dangerous and deadly, but the scenery is amazing. The beach is composed of brilliant red sand with flecks of black, a product of nearby Ka’uiki Head, a now-dormant cinder cone volcano. The sands are red in color, ground down from lava that cooled quickly, retaining its fiery hue. When in the area, be sure to explore the charming amenities and points of interest in Hana and find your way to the Seven Sacred Pools.

    Molokai Halawa Black Sand Beach Park Molokai, perhaps best known as a 19th-century leper colony, is also the home of some of finest beaches in the island chain including one composed entirely of fine black lava sand. The majority of Molokai’s beaches are a rich golden color, often described as spun burnt sugar, making the pure black sand beach at Halawa an attractive abnormally. From the beach, there is a sweeping vista across the channel with a view of Maui in the distance. Hawaii’s scenic black sand beaches are the result of lava flow into the sea. When basalt settles near the surface, these spectacular haunting coastlines are created.

    Lanai Hulopoe Bay Golden Sands Beach Flanked by lava fingers protecting the beach from riptides and strong ocean currents, Hulopoe Bay is a great place to swim, snorkel and paddleboard. The pale golden colored sand shimmers on a moonlight night, and it is not an unusual sight to spot humpback whales and dolphins. Under the stewardship of the State of Hawaii, the inviting beach park provides campsites, showers, clean restrooms, BBQ pits, and picnic tables.

  • June 8, 2016

    Hōkūleʻa Sails Inland Across, Through and Up Florida

    DJI_0012After crossing the Atlantic from Namibia and putting in at Natal, Brazil, Hōkūleʻa headed north by northeast into the Caribbean for Leg 18 of this around the world voyage for Malama Honua: Five days in the British Virgin Islands and then to Havana, Cuba, where the Hōkūleʻa crew saw FINCA Marta, an organic farm that used mostly solar power for irrigation. The crew members also visited the Museo de la Canoa to learn about Caribbean canoe history as well as visiting Old Havana Town.

    Hōkūleʻa departed Cuba on March 23rd and sailed north to Florida where she stopped in Key West before making the voyage’s first touch of the continental US in the Everglades.

    Noelani Kamalu is a 31-year-old educator from Oahu. She was on Hōkūleʻa as a crew member from the British Virgin Islands to Havana, Cuba to Titusville, Florida and saw some island culture: “Havana was different,” Kamalu said. “It was like a snapshot into the 50s. All the old cars, the buildings. It’s like it stood still in time. The food was awesome. I try something new no matter where I go. I liked the culture, the music.”

    Hōkūleʻa then made the crossing to Florida, putting in at Key West first, then Everglades City and then zig-zagging north to Fort Myers. Looking at the Hōkūleʻa Tracking Map—it appears the Hawaiian ocean voyaging canoe somehow crossed Florida overland.

    What was that? Did they put the canoe on a big-rig or roll it by hand for 50 miles along coconut tree logs or something? “Interesting you mention that because I didn’t know that until weeks before we got on the plane,” Kamalu said. “We had a crew meeting in Honolulu. Originally I was supposed to go to Miami and then he started pointing around the map and I’m thinking, ‘Where is he going? This isn’t the way I thought we were going to go.’ And then he showed me the waterway. I don’t know the waterway but it starts in Fort Myers and passes through Okeechobee Lake and pops out in Stuart, Florida on the east side. It was an interesting experience. It was the first time Hōkūleʻa had been through a lock system. Or locks in general. Most of us had never been in a lock.”

    According to Noelani, all along the way, Hōkūleʻa and her crew carried a message of Hawaiian aloha which was returned with many different flavors of aloha: Cuban Aloha, Floridian aloha, Washington aloha. The crew were treated like family, but in Stuart, Florida, Noelani Kamalu really did meet family:

    "I happen to have [family] who live in Florida, who helped to host and mālama the crew of Hōkūleʻa. They greeted us on the dock, made us`ono food, and were overall amazing hosts," said Noelani,  "And, while I would like to say that they did it because they had relatives aboard Hōkūleʻa, I know that they would have taken care of the crew, regardless of my family’s involvement in the Worldwide Voyage."

    For the transit along the east coast of Florida through the Inter Coastal Waterway Noe stayed with the boat from Stuart up to Titusville. Each leg of Hōkūleʻa's adventure has pleasures and perils - whether it be out in the middle of ocean, or tucked away in a protected inland waterway.  From Stuart north along Florida, Hōkūleʻa was under way only during daylight hours, so they docked or anchored every night. “As a result Captain Bruce has stressed the importance of knots, line handling and overall good seamanship” according to Mark Elis on the Hōkūleʻa Blog.

    From Stuart to Indian Harbor is 44 miles as Google Earth flies, and that was the first day of the ICW leg, according to Shawn Kana’iapuni.

    "We traveled through the waterways, got here to Indian Harbor. And we decided to stop here because we were losing daylight, and it ended up being a good decision because there was space in this beautiful community," said Noelani, "The community outpouring has been fabulous here in Florida. There’s so many Hawaii connections and people have fed us, housed us, and given us so much aloha. So mahalo to all of you out there in Indian Harbor who have made us feel welcomed."

    From Indian Harbor it was a two-day voyage north to Titusville, through a waterway that is equally industrial and natural—manatees and factories—and where Hōkūleʻa’s message of Malama Honua—to care for our island earth—resonated and spread across the water.

    At Titusville, Hōkūleʻa was greeted by 200 smiling faces who had heard word of the coming of the canoe from the other side of the world.  Crew and guests were treated to a performance by Halau Hula o Kaleooka'iwa that made everyone feel much closer to Hawaii.

    Crew 18 cleaned and prepped the boat for Crew 19 in Titusville, and then they all took a sidetrip to NASA Kennedy Space Center to honor two Hawaiians—Lacy Veach and Ellison Onizuka—two pioneering space navigators who use the stars to explore space, much as their Hawaiian ancestors used the stars to navigate through the Pacific. (For more on that connection between traveling through space and traveling through the Pacific, click here.)

    The next day, the official changing of the crew from 18 to 19 happened in the afternoon. Leg 19 of the Hōkūleʻa’s voyage passed from Florida into Georgia, along the Outer Banks of North Carolina and to Charleston, South Carolina, where they were greeted by Native Americans and gave canoe rides at the Charleston Outdoor Festival.

    Hōkūleʻa and crew celebrated Earth Day in Newport News, Virginia then pulled into Yorktown on April 24—where Hōkūleʻa spent two weeks, before sailing through Tangier Island and Alexandria then up the Potomac River to arrive in Washington DC for a whole different level of aloha.

  • June 7, 2016

    Wai: Harnessing The Spiritual And Physical Characteristics Of Water

    OKwai2For Hawaiians, water symbolizes life. The Hawaiian word for prosperity or wealth, is waiwai, literally means water-water. Many names in Hawaiian have the word wai in it, referring to the water source that the people relied on at that time. [...]

  • June 2, 2016

    Pono: Healing In Harmony With Nature

    ©istockphoto/sommail ©istockphoto/sommail

    In ancient times, the Hawaiian people followed a healthy lifestyle that included physical fitness gained through labor and sport, a well-rounded and nutrient-rich diet, fastidious personal hygiene and pride in grooming. In fact, when Westerners (malihini) first visited the islands, they were so impressed they made written record commenting on the Hawaiian people’s incredible strength, beauty, grace, brilliant white smiles, overall cleanliness, and meticulous grooming. They described the island natives as a people of elegant carriage, glowing golden brown, blemish-free skin, dark piercing eyes and thick flowing hair with an outstanding level of physical fitness, giants among common men. In fact, skeletal remains gleaned from ancient burial grounds indicate that many of the early Hawaiians were over eight feet tall. [...]

  • May 31, 2016

    Anywhere Aloha in Outside Magazine

    If you haven't already, pick up a copy of June's Outside Magazine and flip over to pages 64-69. The gracious eds over at Outside must have really digged our summer styles. Good to hear because we're dig it too. Thanks Outside for the sweet pickup!

  • May 27, 2016

    5 of the Most Intriguing Waterfalls Of Hawaii  

    waterafllsWorld-famous for their incredible natural beauty, the islands of Hawaii offer jungle covered cliffs, canyons, ravines, rainforests, deserts, some of the most active volcanoes in the world, unique fauna and flora found nowhere else on earth, the wettest spot in the world, and some of the planets highest and most scenic waterfalls. [...]

  • May 24, 2016

    What To Look For In a Leather Boot

    OKboot Despite being known worldwide for its leather sandals, OluKai has also made a name for itself in leather boots. Taking the comfort of a leather sandal and creating a leather boot that is just as stylish was no easy feat, but it's what we do here. 

    Here’s a quick rundown of what to look for in a leather boot. [...]

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