Archive for June, 2007

Humpback Whales in Hawaii

Humpback Whales are beautiful creatures and can be seen in the waters of Hawaii between the months of November and May. They travel thousands of miles south and west to the warmer waters of Hawaii, where they breed, give birth, and nurse their newborns. Newborns, or calves are about 10-15 feet in length and can weigh up to 3000 pounds.

The Humpbacks got their names due to their arching backs as they go partially airborne, just before taking on a deep dive into the ocean. Here’s a photo of a whale breaching the water just before diving:

Humpback Whale In Waters Off Maui

If you are in Hawaii during their migratory period, chances are you will encounter more than one. The Humpback whale is currently an endangered species – from a population high of between 750,000 to 2 million, only 30- to 40,000 are now believed to exist.

Humpback whales produce a song that can last between fifteen to thrity minutes in length. No one really knows exactly why they sing this song, but that it is a sign of their social community and might be part of their navigation mechanism.

Whale watching boat tours are available on the islands of Kauai, Maui, Oahu, and the Big Island of Hawaii. The whales are visible from shore, but if you want a sigificantly closer experience, choose a boating tour. In either case, see them if you can while you are visiting Hawaii. You’ll be amazed with their sheer magnificence and grace!

Big Wave Surfing At Jaws on Maui, Hawaii

One of the most popular spots for big-wave surfers in Hawaii is a surf spot called Jaws on the island Maui in Hawaii. Jaws is located in Peahi, which is about 3 miles north of Paia off the Hana highway. The spot is called Jaws because of the massive waves it can generate during the winter months, between November and February.

Some of the wave faces can go as high as fifty feet, travelling up to thirty-five miles per hour! The waves at Jaws are not only large, they are also of high quality. Many other surf spots boast fifty foot high waves, but at Jaws, the rocks and reefs are shaped so that incoming swell energy is magnified, and clean right and left waves are produced. Here’s a photo:

Surfing at Jaws on Maui, Hawaii

If you look carefully, the tiny speck near the wave crest in the photo above is a surfer – that gives you an idea of the wave’s scale.

During a big wave event, surfers must utilize a technique called “tow-in surfing”, whereby the surfer is towed into the area by jetski, or is dropped in above via helicopter. Needless to say, only the highest caliber professional surfers can even attempt to brave the high waves here.

Jaws actually became so popular at one point that the roads were blocked with debris. Many pro surfers complained that tourists, incompetent surfers, and others that were showing up were crowding the beach. Thus the area is easy to get to.

However, if you are a big wave spectator, and are in the right place at the right time, there may be no better big wave viewing than at Jaws on Maui.

Honolulu Academy of Arts

If you’re in an artsy mood while in Hawaii, the Honolulu Academy of Arts is the place to visit. The Academy is over 80 years old, and has over 40,000 works of art from around the world. The Academy has been accredited by the American Association of Museums.

One of the really cool things about the Academy is the Antennae Audio Guide. For only $5, you can listen to the electronic guide discuss 40 different pieces of art from the Academy. If you want to take a guided tour, that isn’t a problem. There are four different tour times, Tuesday through Saturday. If you’re Japanese, do not worry. You can get a Japanese tour Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday at 1:00.

The building is also beautiful. In fact, it was once voted as Hawaii’s best building by the American Institute of Architecture. It is also very close to the Waikiki resort area if your hotel is located in the area. In addition, you can grab a quick meal in the Pavilion Cafe as well.

The Honolulu Academy of Arts is such a great attraction for tourists, you could spend an entire day there! Make sure to visit this wondrous place on your next visit to Hawaii.

Oahu’s Banzai Pipeline

For those who are looking to see some serious surfing or waves in Hawaii, Oahu’s North Shore is the place to visit. More specifically, you can see a great surf spot at the Banzai Pipeline.

The Banzai Pipeline name comes from a combination of the surf break – Pipeline – and the beach – Banzai Beach.

Only well experienced surfers should surf there. There are many jagged reef elements and lava spires that can cut you up if you fall.

Surfers have options when surfing the Banzai Pipeline, because there are four waves. The most common is the First Reef, also known as Pipeline. This is the wave that is most surfed, and is most photographed.

It is a sobering place for Surfers – many people have died there while trying to master the treacherous waves. The number of deaths at the Pipeline have earned it the nickname the world’s deadliest wave, since more people have died there than any other surf spot.

If you enjoy watching surfing competitions, you can watch the Pipe Masters, which is the final spot of the WCT (World Championship Tour Surfing). The Pipeline Bodysurfing Classic is also held there every winter. Don’t miss out on experiencing the Banzai Pipeline if you are a true surfing fan.

LOST on the North Shore of Oahu

There they were, a podcast film crew shooting some surfing scenes on the North Shore of Oahu near Sunset Beach.

Then guess who comes walking by???

Yep, that would be Terry ‘O Quinn, who plays John Locke on the hit ABC Show, “LOST”. Some news reports had indicated that ‘O Quinn often walked the beaches of the North Shore, and that he often walked to the show’s “set” on the beach, in order to stay fit, and to achieve the scruffy castaway look.

That gesture he’s flashing is called a “Shaka” sign in Hawaii. The Shaka sign can mean many things in Hawaii, but most often means “Hello/Aloha”, or “Thank you”.

So, the next time you’re watching the waves at Sunset Beach or Banzai Pipeline, keep your eyes peeled! You never know who may be walking by!

Hungry in Hilo? Try Ken’s House of Pancakes!

Sometimes, you just want a good old fashioned breakfast – at 2am. Other times, you want to eat something new and exotic. Whatever you want, Ken’s House of Pancakes in Hilo, Hawaii will satisfy your cravings. This pancake house (with a diner-style atmosphere) has been around since 1971, and is very popular with not only tourists, but local residents as well.

Ken’s isn’t just another small breakfast place either. There are almost 180 breakfast choices at Ken’s. They have one of the largest menus in Hawaii. Aside from 180 delectable choices, you can visit this restaurant at any time in the day. That’s right, Ken’s House of Pancakes is open 24 hours a day. Many other restaurants in Hilo close later in the evening, but Ken’s is open whenever you get that craving for some great food.

The food is not priced out of reach either, so you won’t break your wallet. If you are ever in Hilo, vist Ken’s House of Pancakes at 1730 Kamehameha Avenue in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. Your appetite will thank you!

Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle or Honu

If you spend time at some of the rural beaches in Hawaii, there is a good chance that you will be able to see the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle, called “Honu” in Hawaiian.

The Hawaiian Sea Turtle is a majestic creature, hunted nearly to extinction in modern Hawaii, until it was placed on the Threatened Species list in 1978.

Here is a shot of the turtle, in Hawaiian waters:

Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle Honu

90% of the the nesting activity for the turtles takes place in the French Frigate Shoals, which is under the National Wildlife and Refuge System, which offers some protection for the species.

We’ve seen the turtles off the Blowhole near Sandy Beach on Oahu, Mokuleia Beach on Oahu’s North Shore, and at the Turtle Bay Resort in Kahuku, also on Oahu. They can also be seen off the Kohala Coast in North Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii.

If you do see them, please do not touch or harass them, as it is illegal…….allow them to enjoy their natural habitat, and you can enjoy them too!

Kona Coffee Plant

Earlier, we talked about Kona Coffee in this post.

Here is a nice photo of a coffee plant (or tree, depending on your preference) growing on a Coffee plantation in Kona. Note that the beans are a deep red, and resemble cherries, don’t they?

Kona Coffee Plant in Hawaii

The Coffee plant takes 5 years before the beans can be harvested for production. At about 25 years of age it is considered aged. However, there are coffee trees that are over 100 years old in existence!

Before they can be roasted, the coffee “berries” have to be defruited, dried, sorted, and sometimes aged. Only then can the roasting process begin.

As you can see, quite a lot takes place before your fine Kona brew reaches your morning table!

Kauai and the Wettest Spot on Earth!

Did you know the wettest spot on Earth is on Kauai?

Yep. Its in Kauai on Mount Waialeale, where the average rainfall averages over 460 inches each and every year!

It’s northern position in the Hawaiian Island chain gives it more exposure to weather fronts, the round/conical shape of the peak provides all-point exposure to rain, and the peak lies just below the point where clouds cannot rise above. This “perfect storm” of conditions creates the substantive moisture at the Waialeale’s summit.

So, the next time you’re headed to the mountainous area of Kauai, be sure to bring an umbrella!

Climate of Kona Hawaii

Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii tends to have a different climate profile than the rest of the State, and different from Hilo on the west side of the Big Island.

The Kona coast of Hawaii is the only area in the State where rainfall in the summer exceeds that of the winter. During this summer period, there tends to be a greater chance of early morning and late afternoon showers. There is a nice breeze on land and from the sea. That being said, the Kona coast area is warmer and drier.

Hilo is the more humid and “greener” side of the island, while Kona is dryer. Daytime temperatures rarely vary between a 9 degree farenheit band.

As with most areas of Hawaii, the weather in Kona is very nice!