Archive for February, 2009

Historical Firsts at Hanauma Bay

This wonderful tourist attraction has come a long way.  Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay is like swimming in a giant, salt-water aquarium.  There’s just something about snorkeling with all of those fish!

Hanauma Bay just before sunset

I remember the feeling, especially as a young child, of being in another world while swimming with those fish.  At that age you’re so taken by the underwater world that you forget you’re actually just floating at the surface of the water like a big fat jelly fish.   A kid’s imagination can fill volumes.

Of course, at that young age, we also thought we were immune to danger and we heeded few warnings.  We would make that trek around the rocky perimeter to get to the “toilet bowl.”  Do keep in mind that this is based on an approximately 35-year-old memory.

YouTube Preview Image

It wasn’t the flushing part we wanted so much, it was the fast rising to the top that was the fun part. The videos on YouTube seem to be mostly of teenagers and adults, or so it seems. I was about 8 or 9 years old (stop doing the math). Like I said, we were immune to the dangers and fearless. 🙂

This particular video had a comment with it that said, Old stomping grounds… Can’t wait to go back!!!” and I can certainly relate to that statement. Thank you mtnbiker04 for capturing this great memory.

It was great fun to have that natural bowl of lavarock and coral throw you back up. Maybe they should have called it the “vomit bowl” or something. Okay, that name would not have been quite so attractive; “toilet bowl” is not the most attractive name either. Over the years, it seems that the waves have made the rim of the bowl smoother than it was back then.

Other things have changed, too.  When we frequented Hanauma Bay all those years ago, there was no building with all of this great educational information.  Suddenly, okay maybe not so suddenly, there’s a whole meeting room with exhibits to see and share.

Tile wall at entrance

This building appeared out of nowhere, it seems, and they even took the time to install this lovely ceramic-tile mural.  This is the Hanauma Bay Education Center.  Where was I?  I’ll admit that the East side of O’ahu received little to no attention from me over the 80’s and 90’s but I was a little busy with college, growing up and figuring out how to earn a living, and other boring stuff like that.

Hanauma Bay TimelineA walk through this Education Center will give you a quick lesson about a portion of the history of Hawai’i while getting a detailed history of Hanauma Bay.  There is a tremendous amount of information here that I found quite amazing.  In 1950 the City & County of Honolulu set aside $150,000 to dig up three swimming holes (I thought these were natural occurrences) and make improvements to the park which quickly became one of Honolulu’s most popular places for residents and visitors.

The next to the last picture on the right-hand side of this photo of the timeline shows some kind of blast.  No, it’s not World War II!  If you get close enought to read the text you find that it’s actually a blast to put us in contact with the rest of the world.  In 1956 a channel was blasted through Hanauma Bay for the installation of the very first transpacific telephone cable reaching from Hawai’i to California!

It sounds so destructive but it created a wonderful place for us and a very welcome environment for the most colorful fish and other marine life!  Another important tidbit of information to be found here is that Hanauma Bay became Hawai’i’s first Marine Life Conservation District in 1967.  Based on these descriptions and my own time line, I would have to say that this is the Hanauma Bay of my past.  This is the one that was created for the enjoyment of the generation that would follow — my generation.

The educational material certainly does not stop with the time line.  There are exhibits of different cultural items related to life in Hawai’i and how the ocean is so much a part of that life.  There are displays of woven fishing baskets and the hooks that were used for fishing so very long ago.  Then we get to one of the most important aspects for this venue, a great amount of detailed information about what helps make Hanauma Bay the bay what it is — coral!

Coral exhibit

The education doesn’t stop here.  The best part is that efforts have been made to further educate the public with talks, films and guest speakers.  The UH Sea Grant Hanauma Bay Education Program, managed by the University of Hawaii’s Sea Grant College Program, has put together these educational films and quest speakers to share their knowledge and information about the jobs they do.  Here is a calendar of events to help you plan your Thursday evenings.

For more information, interested parties can either call (808) 397-5840, visit the Hanauma Bay Education Program website, or ask about being added to Shawn Carrier’s email notification list.  Shawn is an Outreach Education Specialist with the UH Sea Grant Hanauma Bay Education Program and he’s always willing to add you to the list.  My experience in this area has always been good.  He’s going to love me for doing this but I think he’ll get over it.  The more people we can educate the better.

Yes, Hanauma Bay is on the map for travel guides and yes there is much to learn, protect and admire about this natural treasure.  But for life-time residents it’s part of the history of our home and, for some of us, the history of our lives.  We’ve lived part of the history of our home.  You don’t realize the significance of this kind of thing until, well, until it becomes historical.  Man, I feel old.  I told you guys to stop doing the math!  🙂

Reminder for the March Carnival of Aloha

Hawaiian GardeniaIt’s that time again! The deadline for submitting posts for the March chapter of the Carnival of Aloha is this Wednesday, February 25th. Please come join in the fun.

We’ve got some interesting additions for the upcoming Carnival, scheduled to go live on March 2nd. I’m looking forward to it and it should be interesting for readers! If you would like to join us, please submit your Hawai’i-based blog post over at using this form.

Mahalo to Hawai’i Naturalist on Flickr for the picture-perfect gardenia. Check out this artist’s photos and art. Take time to smell admire the flowers — I was impressed. 🙂

Run! It’s time!

Logo for the Great Aloha RunThis Presidents’ Day weekend, while most people are looking for activities to fill that extra day off, a chunk of Honolulu residents will be up bright and early and looking forward to the Great Aloha Run!  Come one, come all to gather together with more than 20,000 other community members and visitors to share the Aloha! 

This weekend, starting on Friday the 13th (today), the annual Sports, Health and Fitness Expo will be held at Neal S. Blaisdell Center Exhibition Hall on Friday from 4 pm – 9 pm, Saturday from 10 am – 8 pm, and Sunday 10 am – 5 pm.  If you have not signed up yet, you can still do so at Blaisdell!  Get a move on!


Monday, February 16, 2009, is the actual date of this annual community event.  The Sounds of Freedom (made up of all the different branches of our military) will start things off to the cheers of the other participants awaiting their turn to start. 

Good luck in trying to fight back the tears while listening to the sound of the National Anthem, Hawai’i Pono’i , and the rhythmic steps of our troops.  What a wonderful, emotional experience!  Come on, you guys!  Trust me, you’re gonna love it!

Who’s Biting Who?

Are sharks wrongly accused?  We don’t often think of them as gentle, peaceful creatures.  These black-tip, reef sharks certainly look peaceful here — swimming around quietly with the other fish in their aquatic home at the Waikiki Aquarium.  If anything, you might even call them friendly.   

Two black-tip reef sharks swim quietly at Waikiki Aquarium

The ones at Sea Life Park hide at the bottom of the tank during the daylight hours but these guys swim by and glance at admirers with mild curiosity.   I remember the first time I saw them up close and personal like this.  I was beside myself with awe and admiration and couldn’t take my eyes off of them.  Even now the sight of them nearly has me in tears. 

Obviously, I’m not the only nut case that has an attraction to this particular ocean creature.  Bobbie, over at The Right Blue, can share the drama from a fish’s-eye view.  Nobody shares the water more intimately with the sharks and the other aquatic wildlife, more than divers do. With that in mind, nobody can feel the pangs of animal cruelty like a diver can either!

The underside of a shark swimming overhead

Yes, they are scary to behold but that’s because some fiction writers (love them as I do) and our own beloved Hollywood movie makers have distorted the true character of these aquatic marvels in the interest of providing us with some great entertainment. 

The truth of it is, these ocean dwellers have little to no interest in us.  We taste junk!  They obvioulsy don’t know our race very well because they mistake us for seals and sea lions and the like.  In other words, they mistake us for lunch.    In reality, their biggest danger is us. 

We need them.  They are essential to the balance of the ecosystem and without them our oceans may end up like so many swamp lands that are either tarnished, polluted, or completely destroyed after the upheaval of their environmental balance.  There have been instances where the loss of just one essential life form was enough to throw the entire ecological system of an area out of whack.  

My philosophy is that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”  Our attempts at “fixing” things are exactly what’s leaving them broken!  Our sharks may be joining the humpback whales on the endangered species list if we’re not careful.  Remember insisting on buying dolphin-safe tuna?  We’re going to need a new label soon:  “Dolphin & Shark-Safe” tuna!  

GoVisitHawaii Visits Hawaii

Bloggers love to meet up with other bloggers.  It’s always fun to finally get to sit down and talk story in person.  The first time I saw Sheila and Andy, it was at the airport as they were moving between islands.  The last time, we made an effort to spend at least a little more time and have a conversation that lasted more than just a couple of minutes.  🙂

Good luck trying to meet for breakfast at Aloha Tower!  But, all is not lost, Don Ho’s Island Grill opens at 10:00 a.m. so we managed it that way.

Andy and Sheila Beal

Andy and Sheila are the most charming couple!  They are wonderful people to begin with and they see Hawaii the way most of us feel about it — beautiful and perfect.  There is one minor, focal difference — they see the positives we often overlook and close their eyes to the things we ohumu (complain) about all the time.  This is not to say that they see things through rose-colored glasses; they just have slightly shaded lenses. 🙂  They are rapidly working their visits to Hawai’i down to a science and I, for one, appreciate their diligence.

Today they’re on their way home again and I just wanted to take a moment to send them off with cyber hugs, well wishes, and a lot of aloha as they make their way home to plan their next trip.  Have a safe trip home you two, hurry back — GoVisitHawaii already!  🙂   The coco puffs are on me!  If you’re between islands again you have to tell me — they are available “to go!”

When Art Grabs Your Heart

Diana Hansen Young is a very well-known artist in Hawaii.  She is known for her pinks and for avoiding hands in any detail (or so I’ve been told).  I don’t have a lot of her work but this print was given to me a few years ago and I was just consumed with the notion that I had to frame it with a very nice wooden frame and UV-protected plexiglass.  Why?  There seemed no rhyme or reason to my reaction.

Literature on the beach

The photo below, while not necessarily a scenic sight, is of an area that always signaled to me that I was home.  This photo was taken from the little stretch of beach across from 7-11 on Farrington Hwy in Makaha.

Makaha Beach

That’s it — there it is!  That’s the memory the print triggered.  It may not have been what the artist had in mind but art is subjective, right?  It was a corner of home, a girl sitting on the beach with her books, thinking.  Yep, that would be me! Okay, I don’t look like that but the message is still there.  🙂

It was just so Hawai’i and so worth sharing.  I found some of her pictures online but I couldn’t find this one.  There was a note on one of the ones I did find that talked about the book that was in the picture and that made me wonder about the books in my picture.  What were these books?  I can make them whatever I want in my mind but someday I would like to find out where the artist’s mind was at the time this was created.

You guys knew I was strange.  Thank you, Cilla, your gift meant more than I can even begin to tell you.

Carnival Flies Into February!

Paragliding at Makapu'u Never let it be said that we do things slowly around here, even if we’ve had a bit of a problem with takeoff this month!  🙂   As carnival rides go, this has got to be one of the most exciting.

When the first post of this month’s Carnival came soaring in on the Internet’s coconut wireless, I could see our mode of transportation in the making — for February we are going to paraglide through the Carnival of Aloha.

Bobbie starts us off with Perceived Risk, and Point of View posted at The Right Blue, saying, “Re category choice — not really travel to us kama’ainas, but maybe to those away from Hawaii? More like tales of “life in Hawaii.”   You’re right, Bobbie, it’s not exactly travel, but, it’s quite a trip!  I love the stories I have heard (second hand) from paragliders who, from their great vantage point, watch the swimmers below as they swim with the sharks and don’t even know it.  I love that story and I know you are certainly aware of it!

Part of Bobbie’s post talks about our next blogger who tried something just as fun-loving and zany on Kauai.  For the Carnival, however, Sheila is providing our food.  No risks here, except for our waistlines!

Sheila talks about Leonard’s Bakery – A Honolulu Delight over at Hawaii Vacation Blog –, saying, “Hot malasadas, anyone? :-)”  I say, “Me, me, meeee!”  One of my favorites since about age 9 or 10, compliments of the Leonard’s Malasada wagon in the parking lot at Gem’s in Waipahu.  Remember that striped wagon?  Remember Gem’s in Waipahu?  Oh dear, I’m dating myself!

Okay, maybe that was a little too much sugar?  Nah!  How about some gau?!?  Okay, how about dragons and lions and beauty queens, oh my!  I look forward to Chinese New Year and I’m particularly appreciative that Mel, my favorite pictorial genius, has gifted us with his steady hand and crisp photos.

Mel says Kung Hee Fat Choy – Year of the Ox posted at Mel’s Internet Universe Weblog and defined as, “Chinese New Year parade post and photos + link in Downtown Honolulu, January 24, 2009.”  Follow his Flickr link to view the wonderful colors of this event.  Thank you, Mel!  Even though I missed it all this year, I can relive it through your photos.

Speaking of things that fly, like dragons and us as we paraglide, did you know that carnivals can be educational?  We’re going to prove it as we fly with the birds.

GrrlScientist shares more ecological science as she tells us to Meet the Great Speciators: The White-Eyes by reading her post over at Living the Scientific Life, explaining, “Did you know that some lineages evolve (speciate) faster than others? This hot-off-the-presses paper tells you more about this fascinating phenomenon as identified in a group of birds from the southern hemisphere: the White-eyes (might be interesting because there is a white-eye that lives in Hawaii: the Japanese white-eye was introduced to the island many years ago).”  See?  I told you there’s some intellect around here!

Since we’re up high, let’s fly over to Maui.

Pua sends us over to Haleakala via her post at Best Hawaii Vacation with Hawaii Vacation Blog. Pua wanted to “share one of the biggest Maui attractions – a visit to Haleakala National Park – with our Maui visitors. Find tips about a visit to Haleakala, the House of the Sun.”

We’re really up high and some of us are still high on the election year.  In fact, we even have a specialty booth this month.  In the political arena we have an Obama Fan Club.

HawaiiVacationGifts felt compelled to share, President Barack Obama–Born & Raised in Hawaii, Self Guided Tour posted at Hawaii Vacation Gifts by Double Brush-Hawaiian Gifts & Blog.  We can’t help it.

Evelyn joins Hawaii Vacation Gifts (yeah, yeah, me too) in talking about it just one more time as she tells everyone that Hawaii [was] Well Represented at 2009 Inauguration.

So, as the Obama girls conclude this Chapter of the Carnival of Aloha, we urge you to submit your blog articles to the next chapter using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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