Hawaii Today edited by Derek Paiva Page: 1 2 3 4 Next>>
bag_no_longer_free_Hawaiian_AirlinesThe way things are going for the airline industry, toting your luggage on board for free will be as much a thing of the past as milk bottles and cellphones the size of a brick.

Honolulu-based Hawaiian Airlines announced it will be charging an additional $15 for the first checked bag on flights between the Mainland and Hawaii.

The $15 fee will be automatically added on tickets purchased after Aug. 1 for flights scheduled for Oct. 1 and beyond. Hawaiian Airlines already charges $25 for a second bag on Mainland flights.

Passengers traveling interisland should be relieved to know a first checked-in bag is still free for interisland flights. For now, anyway. It already costs $17 for a second checked-in bag.

The new baggage fee tops a number of changes the carrier is making to stay financially afloat in turbulent economic times for the airline industry.

Starting Sept. 1, Hawaiian Airlines will charge a ticketing fee for bookings made over the telephone—$10 for interisland travel and $20 for all other routes. Ticketing at airport locations will set you back $25. There are no immediate plans to implement ticketing fees for transactions made on HawaiianAirlines.com.

Hawaiian is also adjusting mileage requirements for its popular frequent flyer program, meaning it will take more miles for award travel starting Sept. 1.

What do you think about the airline industry’s recent movement toward instituting fees for previously gratis services such as checked-in luggage and reservations?

big_game_fishing_tournament_Kailua_KonaBig fish, no?

The Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament is on this week in the waters off Kailua-Kona on Hawaii’s Big Island.

It’s the 49th annual running of the tournament, which bills itself as “the granddaddy of all big game fishing tournaments.” More than two dozen fishing teams from around the world head out into the Kona Coast’s deep blue each morning in search of Pacific blue marlin.

The waters off the coast not only have an abundance of marlin, but an abundance of marlin in record sizes.

If any afternoon this week you’re wandering Kailua-Kona town’s Alii Drive, right along the ocean, make sure to hang out at Kailua Pier as the boats return to weigh in their catch.

This Pacific blue marlin, caught Tuesday by California’s Laguna Niguel Billfish Club, was the second-largest in the tournament’s history. We’re talking 973 lbs. of fish here, reeled in after a 2 hour and 20 minute fight.

Last year’s winning billfish weighed in at 689 lbs. so the team has a good chance of taking the tourney’s Governor’s Trophy on Sunday. It wouldn’t be the team’s first win at the tournament either.

Laguna Niguel Billfish Club also caught the biggest marlin in Hawaiian International Billfish history—a 1,062.5 lb. monster reeled in back in 1986.

Fishing ends Friday afternoon. Awards will be handed out on Sunday.

Click here for more information and history about the tournament, daily standings and a schedule of related events.

Photo courtesy of Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament
Hit us with your best shot.

Just a friendly reminder that you have little over a week to send in your entries for HAWAII Magazine’s 10th annual photo contest.

Up for grabs is a trip for two to Oahu courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines and a six-day, five-night stay at the Outrigger Reef on the Beach Hotel in Waikiki.

Entries have grown from a steady stream a month or two ago to an all-out deluge. But we still encourage if you have something—anything—that showcases your keen photographer’s eye and love of the islands, send it in. We’d love to see it.
There will be only one grand-prize winner. But 4 first-prize winners and 4 second-prize winners will get some great gifts including cash and gift packages from Lanikai Bath and Body and Watermark Publishing.

Aside from the prizes, winners will also have the satisfaction of being published in the January/February 2009 issue of HAWAII Magazine.

Click here for a complete list of photo contest rules. Categories include Oahu, Maui, Big Island and Kauai. Photos sent to Photo of the Week can also be entered into the contest.

Entries must be postmarked by Aug. 8, 2008, so don’t delay.

UPDATE: The contest is now closed. The last day to mail entries was Aug. 8, 2008.

Last year’s grand prize winning photo by Brian Luke Seaward of Longmont, Colo. (top); 
Photo of the Week winning photo by Portia Bernaldez of Oakland, Calif.


National Geographic’s Explorer-in-Residence in Hawaii

National_Geographics_Explorer_in_Residence_comes_to_HawaiiDr. Sylvia Earle is no stranger to Hawaii’s waters.

“I can’t count the number of times I’ve been to Hawaii,” says National Geographic’s Explorer-in-Residence. “But I’m back again.”

Twenty-nine years ago, Earle took a submersible down off Oahu’s Makapuu Point and then walked 1,250 feet below the ocean’s surface. Today, she’s back in Hawaii as the keynote speaker for the 2008 Hawaii Conservation Conference, which started this morning.

The three-day conference gathers individuals interested in protecting Hawaii’s natural environment. It also focuses on the International Year of the Reef and the Island’s ecosystems.

I first heard Earle speak eight years ago at an international conference for Phi Theta Kappa in Orlando, Fla. When I chatted with her yesterday in Waikiki, she was still the bubbly person I remember. In her 70s, she’s still full of energy and passion.

Nicknamed “The Sturgeon General,” Earle insists, “We haven’t been doing a good job taking care of the ocean. The ocean is in trouble, so we’re in trouble.”

Earle has seen how the ocean has changed over the years. As the former chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), she has logged more than 6,000 hours underwater. She's been an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society since 1998. She studied Hawaii’s humpback whales, and also holds the depth record for solo diving at 3,300 feet (1,000 meters).

Even though her stay in Hawaii will be short, the 72-year-old deep-sea diver still finds a way to get her feet wet. She’ll be diving off of Kaneohe Bay tomorrow.

“It keeps my gills wet,” she says, smiling.

Photo by Sherie Char
Kilauea volcano is still the best show on Hawaii’s Big Island even if it has been sort of business-as-usual the last couple of weeks.

A few small temblors at the summit. Halemaumau’s steam and ash plume. Molten magma from downslope Pu'u O'o vent meeting chilly ocean off the Puna coastline.

What to do?

Catch up with volcano watchers Steven and Donna O’Meara—who live near Kilauea and are regular HawaiiMagazine.com contributors. The couple was sorting through recently-shot photos chronicling the simultaneous creation and destruction of Earth’s newest land.

They sent this photo and note for HawaiiMagazine.com readers.

When hot lava pours into the much cooler water of the Pacific, as it is doing now, steam explosions occur blasting the lava into bits and fragments.

Some of these fragments, called tephra, can fall towards land and build small littoral cones—like this one, photographed on July 17.

Some of the blasted bits are carried away by the ocean currents, some are deposited onshore creating stunning black sand beaches

A few of the beaches become permanent. Others are washed away almost as quickly as they were created.

Regardless, the process is mesmerizing to watch and hear. That can make daytime visits like this one just as exciting as nighttime visits.

On the Big Island this week? Click here for directions to the ocean side public viewing area where this photo was taken, and more information.
Photo: © Steve and Donna O'Meara, someara@interpac.net

Char’s Chopsticks: La Taqueria de Ramiro

Chars_Chopsticks_La_Taqueria_de_RamiroI was a fan of the Super Burrito at La Taqueria de Ramiro on Fort Street Mall in Honolulu.

Now I’m a Fried Wet Burrito fan. Let me explain.

This plate lunch is more than just a burrito. It comes with rice, beans, guacamole, sour cream and of course, the fried burrito, wet or dry. I like my fried wet burrito filled with pork (pictured right).

La Taqueria de Ramiro (Ramiro’s Restaurant) offers five types of burritos and four tacos. Each comes with a choice of five different meats. The restaurant also serves nachos, quesadillas, tostadas and enchiladas.

We also ordered another fried wet burrito plate, a Super Nachos (pictured below), California-style tacos and some regular tacos. It was more food than the five of us could finish.

Chars_Chopsticks_La_Taqueria_de_RamiroThe next day, we went back for more Mexican food. Seriously.

Chef/owner Angelo Hernandez is part Mexican, part Japanese. He looks more like a tall Japanese man, but you won’t find a piece of sushi anywhere in the restaurant.

Angelo is no stranger to Mexican restaurants. In 1972, his father started a Mexican restaurant in the San Francisco Bay area. Today in Alameda, Calif., his mom still runs Taqueria Ramiro and Sons, which opened in 1981.

But it was always his dad’s dream to start a Mexican restaurant in Hawaii.

Unfortunately, his dad passed away in December 2004. Determined to honor his father’s dreams, Angelo opened La Taqueria de Ramiro in March 2006 and named it after his father.

We’re glad.

Chars_Chopsticks_La_Taqueria_de_RamiroThe food is delicious, the prices are affordable, the customer service is great and the restaurant is clean. Plus, we love the fact that the restaurant is a three-minute walk from our offices.

We also loved La Taqueria de Ramiro’s breakfast burritos, which are served from 7:30 to 10 a.m. I recommend trying the one-plus pound breakfast burrito filled with chorizo (pictured above). One thing’s for sure: this isn’t the same breakfast burrito down the street at McDonald’s.

Insider’s Tip: Go early. As it gets closer to noon, the restaurant fills up with businesspeople, Hawaii Pacific University students and out-of-town visitors.

[Open Monday through Friday for dining in or take out: 1148 Fort Street Mall, (808) 532-TACO (532-8226)]

Photos by Sherie Char


Unlimited golf at the Four Seasons Hualalai

Unlimited_golf_four_seasons_hualalaiThis isn’t your father’s round of eighteen. Unless, of course, your dad happens to be a billionaire.

The posh Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on the Big Island is offering the Unlimited Golf Package for those who love golf and those who have the bucks to spend on it. But is the deal worth it? You tell us.

Starting at $980 a night, two of you can golf yourself silly on the Hualalai Golf Course, designed by legendary pro golfer Jack Nicklaus.  It’s a course the Champions Tour tournament review board declared was “near perfect.”

So what do you get? A room, of course. Unlimited daily golf, including nine-acre driving range, 27,000-square foot short-game practice area and 9,000-square foot putting green?  Plus everything from GPS-equipped carts to free sunscreen. Fuel up at the free breakfast for two at Pahu ia restaurant (which, believe us, is a great place to eat).

For the golfer at heart who may be lacking in skill, don’t worry, you’re also covered—also included are clinics on putting, chipping and escaping those blasted sand bunkers.

Complete complimentary beverage service on the driving range and fresh fruit in the locker rooms is the cherry on top of your well-spent weekend swinging away at Hualalai.

Package prices starts at $980 per room, per night for travel Aug. 25-Nov. 20, 2008, and Dec. 1-8, 2008. The rate bumps up to $1,060 during peak travel seasons: now through Aug. 24, 2008, and Nov. 21–30, 2008.

It’s a bit pricier than a go-through at the neighborhood driving range. But if golf is your passion …

For more information, call (808) 325-8000.

Catching up with HawaiiMagazine.com's best posts

missing_posts_IWe know how it is.

You go out of town on a vacation or a business trip. You have family or friends from out of town staying at the house for a week. You get slammed at the office. There’s a weeklong marathon of Magnum P.I. episodes on cable.

When daily life intrudes, you can’t find a few minutes to check out our daily updates.

Whatever the reason … we understand: Sometimes you miss one of our fine Hawaii Today posts while it’s on the homepage.

Our Hawaii Today posts never disappear. You can always find them—going all the way back January—by clicking “next entries” at the bottom of  the home page. There are now more than 300 posts on all things Hawaii. (Trust us, we counted ‘em.)

Still, we thought it’d be a good idea to bring some of our best stuff back up to the top of the homepage again—as links—in case you missed them. If you like it, we’ll do it every few weeks.

Here’s the first bunch:

Vintage photos show bygone Hawaii from soldiers' view

Pssst! Want to see an amazing new Kilauea volcano photo?

New Kilauea volcano land collapses explosively into ocean

Kilauea volcano magma meets ocean with 100-foot lava burst

"Explosion-like" earthquakes, lava fountains stir Kilauea volcano

Hawi was great! What about Lanai?

Hidden Hawaii: Hawi and Beyond

Free Hawaii trip up for grabs

The Koko Crater Trail. I climb it.

It's O-bon season in Hawaii

Scenes from Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony

Indiana Jones and the Eight Best Movies Filmed in Hawaii

Char's Chopsticks: Dim sum at Mei Sum in Honolulu’s Chinatown district

Jack Johnson and Kokua Festival: A fifth-row dispatch

My Favorite Places: Thurston Lava Tube

Remembering Mauna Loa's last eruption

Maui’s humpback whales

Hawaii's state parks: Worth a visit?


Haleakala cabins on Maui now easier to reserve

Haleakala_cabins_Maui_reserveAll of us who love trekking Maui’s most amazing crater are suddenly happy campers.

Haleakala National Park has done away with the lottery system for cabin rentals within the mountain’s crater.

Why is this such good news?

Hiking and camping Mount Haleakala’s mountaintop “crater”—actually a massive “erosional depression”—is one of the top three or four backpacking experiences in Hawai‘i. It’s certainly a wonderland for trekkers who want to experience Hawai‘i’s stunning, raw volcanic landscape.

Haleakala’s bowl is 7 miles across and 2,600 feet deep, with more than 36 miles of curving trails between vivid red, amber and black cinder cones. Spread out among it all are rare endemic silversword plants (below), a hidden lava tube and rustic but comfy cabins to protect against the nighttime icy cold.

But until now, if you didn’t want to do a day hike into Haleakala or set up a tent in one of two small primitive campgrounds, trying to reserve one of the three cabins was a roll of the dice. You’d submit on paper your name, the cabin or cabins you wanted to stay in, and your requested dates. Applications would arrive from around the world. A lottery decided who got cabins.

Haleakala_cabins_Maui_reserveWaiting to see if you’d won was exciting—a bit like Vegas for nature nuts. But it was hard for those of us on tight schedules trying to plan from Honolulu or Helsinki.

The new system is more practical. All reservations are taken over the phone on a first-come-first-served basis.

Call (808) 572-4400, between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., seven days a week to make a reservation. You can make reservation three months in advance, to the day. So plan ahead. The cost is only $75 per cabin per night for up to 12 people.

There’s a three-consecutive-night maximum stay in the crater, but a two night maximum stay at any one cabin.

An online reservation option will also be available soon.

Photos: Wikipedia/Commons

Aloha! My name is Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii

hello_my_name_is_Talula_Hula_HawaiiA nine-year-old with a truly unfortunate name—it was the strangest piece of Hawaii-related news I encountered checking my e-mail this morning.

A New Zealand family court judge today intervened in the case of a young girl so embarrassed by her birth name, she went by the alias “K” in school to avoid being teased and ridiculed.

The name given her by parents clearly in love with the Islands, but perhaps also daft? Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii.

Judge Rob Murfitt—presiding over a custody battle between Talula’s parents—made the girl a ward of the court and ordered her name changed.

Murfitt also took the opportunity of the ruling to chastise dimwitted New Zealand parents saddling their offspring with atrocious names. A subject he seemed long perturbed by.

Among the names Murfitt mentioned, all really submitted to the New Zealand registrar: Sex Fruit, Number 16 Bus Shelter, Violence, Yeah Detroit, Keenan Got Lucy, Midnight Chardonnay and the twin sets Fish and Chips, and Benson and Hedges. All but Number 16 Bus Shelter and Violence were denied.

"The court is profoundly concerned about the very poor judgment which this child's parents have shown in choosing this name," Murfitt wrote in his ruling.

TDTHFH’s parents did not explain why they gave their daughter the name. We in Hawaii should probably feel grateful they're not sharing.  
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