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when_the_best_weather_for_traveling_to_HawaiiHAWAII Magazine reader Bill Parker wrote us with a question about our sun and surf :

What are the best months, weather-wise, to visit Hawaii? I also would like to know the water temperatures for Honolulu and the island of Kauai.
 
You ask. We answer.

Rarely is there “bad” Hawaii weather—high-pressure zones and resulting tradewinds make Hawaii’s climate consistently temperate.

While it’s impossible to predict the weather, know that annual trends in Hawaii’s average temperatures aren’t that different from the rest of the country: Warmer temperatures come during the traditional summer months of June through September, while the winter season of December to February means cooler climes.

Don’t believe us? Take a look at the chart below—compiled from data collected by the National Weather Service in 2008.

Average Monthly Temperatures for 2008 (in degrees Fahrenheit)


Honolulu, Oahu
Kahului, Maui
Kona, Big Island
Lihue, Kauai
January
73.5
68.9
74.3
71.4
February
74.8
68.6
74.6
73
March
77.3
71.7
76.5
75.3
April
77.2
74.3
77.1
74.2
May
79.2
76.2
77.2
76.4
June
80.4
77.4
76.5
77.6
July
82.2
78.5
79.8
79.3
August
81.6
79.2
79.6
80.7
September
80.4
78.1
79.1
78.5
October
79.7
77.9
79.7
77.7
November
77.2
74.9
77.4
74.2
December
75.3
73.5
75.7
72.5

As you can see, the greatest climate change during the year comes between the summer and winter months. In places like Kahului, Maui, the decline in temperature is as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit—dropping from an average temp of 79.2 in August to a chilly (for Hawaii) 68.9 average in January.

You won’t need an overcoat for our brand of cold weather. Still, we suggest packing extra layers—as temperatures can drop another 10 degrees at night.

Hawaii’s water temperatures mirror climate trends—expect warmer temps in the summer and cooler in the winter.

According to data from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association (NOAA), the warmest water off Honolulu can be found from July to September—averaging 80 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. However, Honolulu water temperatures drop to only 76 degrees in January, according to NOAA.

Click here for a complete list of water temperatures from NOAA-monitored stations across the state, updated daily. Or, click here for water temps across Hawaii in Google Maps form.

Bottom line: If you’re looking for the warmest climate and ocean temperatures during your next Hawaii vacation, stick to visiting in the summer.

But really, it's great here all year, folks.

Photo: Krystal Moore
 

SLIDESHOW: Makawao, Maui's cowboy town



Hidden_Hawaii_Makawao_Maui_cowboy_town_slidewhowIn the November/December 2009 issue of HAWAII Magazine, we take you, in words and pictures, to Makawao (pronounced Mah-kah-Wow!). It's Maui's historic cowboy town, filled with both horses and homegrown boutiques.

As always, we had more photos from HAWAII Magazine photographer David Croxford  than we could publish, so we’ve put together a slideshow tour of this fascinating, but not often seen part of Maui, exclusively for HawaiiMagazine.com. 

Take a look, both here and in the HAWAII Magazine print edition's feature Hidden Hawaii: Stand Up for Makawao: You'll meet some real paniolos—as we call our cowboys in Hawaii—plus some other fascinating folks, from glass blowers to asparagus farmers to sausage makers to bakers.

(Click on slideshow frame to enlarge photos.

 

Four_Seasons_Resort_Maui_serenity_poolI am trying not to get used to this.

I am currently sitting in a cabana next to the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea’s new $9 million Serenity Pool.

Why serene? Guests under the age of 21 have to confine themselves to the resort's two other pools.

At this one, there's only the sound of the small bubbling fountains at the pool's borders. You’re on an elevated terrace here. All you can see past the pool's infinite edge are the West Maui Mountains some 10 miles across Maalaea Bay.

A cabana at the Serenity Pool costs $300 a day. In addition to a pair of lounge chairs, each 160-square-foot cabana has a large sectional couch, a safe, a refrigerator complete with chilled Evian spritz, a ceiling fan and a flat screen television with wireless earphones.

If that's not enough creature comforts for you, there's a spa therapist on duty, should you need a poolside facial with all organic products.

Four_Seasons_Resort_Maui_serenity_poolOf course, there’s a waiter bringing by drinks and snacks, plus a full breakfast and lunch menu-—not to mention a swim-up bar with underwater bar stools.

What you don’t see much of is actual swimming. People read, doze, dunk in to cool off, wade over to the bar, perhaps hang on the far edge to admire the view. 

But when I put in my daily laps, I suddenly heard music. Speakers below the surface play Hawaiian melodies that you can only hear with your head underwater.

Really, I'm trying hard not to get used to this.
 
Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'll order myself a classic mai tai and drift over to the pool's edge to watch the sun set between Maui and Kahoolawe.

Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, 3900 Wailea Alanui Drive, (808) 874-8000, www.fourseasons.com/maui

Photos: Four Seasons Resort Maui
 
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The humpback whales are back!

The Maui News last week reported the first sighting of a pod of North Pacific humpback whales, spotted off the West Maui coast. Since then, even more whales have been spotted offshore around the Islands, marking the start of Hawaii’s annual humpback whale season.

After spending the summer months feeding in the waters of southeastern Alaska, thousands of North Pacific humpback whales make a 3,000-mile journey south to various winter breeding areas to mate, give birth, and nurse. Fortunately, for Hawaii residents and visitors, our islands have traditionally attracted the majority of the seasonal humpback whale population—as many as 10,000 per season.

The whales are arriving a bit early this year—they were expected in early- to mid-November. Peak viewing months are January to March. The last remaining mothers and calves usually leave our Hawaiian waters for Alaska by early May.

Commercial whale watch cruises are popular, and are still the best way to see the whales up close and breaching. But if you take a drive on the Islands’ coastal roads and highways during peak viewing months, you’ll find scenic lookouts full of people—eyes, cameras and binoculars fixed toward the ocean in search of the gargantuan mammals as they relax in Hawaiian waters.
 
Where are the best places to watch from shore?


• Oahu: The Makapuu Point lookout and lighthouse and Halona Blowhole lookout on Oahu’s south shore offer great vantage points, with wide ocean vistas. Both lookouts are located off Kalanianaole Hwy, and have free parking.

• Maui: The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Learning Center in the south shore resort community of Kihei has an on site viewing scope and personnel available to answer any questions you might have on whales and whale behavior. The center, located at 726 S. Kihei Road, is open Monday to Friday; from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free. Driving to and from Lahaina? There are also several good lookouts for whale spotting along West Maui’s Hwy 30.

 
Aston_offers_discounted_rates_at_25_properties_for_2010Thinking of a Hawaii vacation sometime in  2010? 

Aston Hotels and Resorts' “Early Bird” special is promising discounted room rates at 25 Aston properties on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island of Hawaii for bookings from Jan. 2 to Dec. 21, 2010.

Sound good? There’s a catch.

You must reserve your room by Saturday, Oct. 31, to qualify for the savings. That's right. This Saturday!

On Oahu, room rates at eight properties are being slashed as part of the “Early Bird” deal—seven of them in Waikiki, including the Aston Waikiki Joy Hotel (which starts as low as $97 nightly) to the posh oceanfront Aston Waikiki Beach Tower (beginning at $301 nightly).

Aston_offers_discounted_rates_at_25_properties_for_2010Nine Aston Maui hotels also qualify—ranging from the Aston Maui Lu ($89 a night) to The Whaler on Kaanapali ($230 a night). All five of Aston’s Kauai properties are part of the “Early Bird” deal, with rates ranging from the Aston Aloha Beach Hotel ($95 a night) to the Aston Waimea Plantation Cottages ($172 a night).

On the Big Island of Hawaii, three Aston properties are part of the deal, with rates ranging from the Aston Kona by the Sea ($168 a night) to the Aston Waikoloa Colony Villas ($184 a night).

Click here for the complete list of participating Aston hotels with links to each individual property. Or, to book by phone, call (877) 997-6667 and mention "2010 Early Bird Deals."

Photos: Aston Waikiki Beach Tower on Oahu (top), Waimea Plantation Cottages on Kauai
 
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George_Naope_dies_Merrie_Monarch_Festival_hulaGeorge Lanakilakekiahialii Naope, one of hula’s most revered kumu hula and co-founder of the Merrie Monarch Festival, passed away today at his residence in Hilo after a long battle with cancer. He was 81.

Naope, who is credited with reviving the art of male hula, co-founded the Merrie Monarch Festival in 1963 with Dorothy “Auntie Dottie” Thompson. Merrie Monarch is hula’s premier event; an annual, by-invitation-only competition attracting hula halau (hula groups) from Hawaii, the Mainland U.S. and worldwide. The festival’s home for much of its nearly half-century existence has been the Edith Kanakaole Tennis Stadium in Naope’s hometown of Hilo.

Naope was easy to spot in the festival crowd or anywhere else. He often dressed in bright colors and sported his signature straw hat, which was usually adorned with flower lei. Though larger than life to many kumu hula (hula teachers) and their students, Naope was always approachable.

He would enjoy much of Merrie Monarch from the comforts of a peacock-fan wicker chair, but often couldn’t resist taking the stage to dance hula during the festival’s finale. Naope was spotted in a wheelchair at this year’s Merrie Monarch Festival in April, but even that couldn’t interfere with his enjoyment of the competition.

Naope lived and breathed hula. He opened his own hula school after graduating from high school and often traveled around the world to promote the art of hula. Naope didn’t start enjoying hula until he was about 15 years old, an age when he said he was “a little older and little wiser.” As an adult, he was an inspiration and role model to countless hula students in Hawaii, Japan, Europe and Australia. In addition to being a kumu hula, Naope was a master Hawaiian chanter and the founder of the Humu Mo‘olelo, a quarterly journal of the hula arts.

George_Naope_dies_Merrie_Monarch_Festival_hulaNaope received numerous awards in his lifetime, including the National Heritage Fellowship Award from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2006. Hula festivals were also named in his honor, including the George Naope Northwest Hula Invitational in Seattle, Wash., and the George Naope Kane Hula Festival in Modesto, Calif.—the latter, the first male-only hula competition. The George Naope Keiki Hula Festival was established in Modesto in 2008 and named in his honor. It is promoted as “the only keiki hula competition on the Mainland.”

Memorial services for Naope are tentatively scheduled for Nov. 6 and 7 at Hilo’s Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium, located just next door to the Edith Kanakaole Tennis Stadium.

The next Merrie Monarch Festival is scheduled for April 4 to 10, 2010.

Rest in peace, Uncle George. The world of hula won’t be the same without you.

Photos: Courtesy of George Naope Kane Hula Festival (top),
courtesy of Island Heritage (above).

  

Saint_Damien_Hawaii_art_aloha_shirtsHawaii’s Father Damien was at the center of international interest earlier this month when he was canonized a saint by the Catholic Church in ceremonies at the Vatican.

Those ceremonies and celebrations in Rome are now over. But a tour of a Damien relic concludes in Hawaii this week, accompanied by many events happening at neighborhood churches and parishes statewide—click here for a complete schedule. A handful of Hawaii artists are also honoring Damien through their artworks.

Hawaii-born printmaker Maria Lee (pictured below) is one of many artists who have included images of Damien and Kalaupapa in her artwork. The idea for her exhibit, Kalaupapa: Keep In, Keep Out, was born after her work on a three-week National Park Service (NPS) project on Molokai’s remote peninsula, where Damien ministered to and cared for Hansen’s disease patients.

“I had the opportunity to meet patients and people employed in Kalaupapa—listening to and learning about their lives and personal histories,” says Lee. “I learned about leprosy’s devastation in the Hawaiian Islands, the consequences of isolation and stigma. I learned about those who died there, their hardships and sacrifices.”

Saint_Damien_Hawaii_art_aloha_shirtsThe purpose of Lee’s three-week stay in Kalaupapa was to assess the condition of the headstones in the peninsula’s graveyard. As a member of the NPS conservation team, she counted and measured the cracks on each headstone.

“Most of the graves are crumbling and deteriorating,” says Lee. “It was our job to indicate which headstones needed repairs and which ones should be marked ‘high priority.’ We also indicated in the grave marker condition survey whether the inscriptions were readable or not. If these repairs aren’t made in time, valuable information will be lost forever. It’s important to preserve Hawaii’s history.”

Lee found headstones with inscriptions written in many languages, including Japanese and Chinese. She was also amazed at the sheer number of headstones on the peninsula.

  
Food_Network_Diners_Drive_Ins_Dives_where_guy_eatsThe "train to Flavortown" has finally made a stop in Hawaii.

Food Network personality Guy Fieri has been busy running around Oahu this week, filming segments for his popular show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. It’s the show’s first visit to the Islands.

On Diners, the ebullient Fieri—known more, perhaps, for his over-the-top antics at the DD&Ds he visits and spiked bleach-blonde hair than culinary chops—takes viewers on a continuing gastronomic road trip across America, showcasing dozens of casual eateries and dining institutions. For the restaurants Fieri checks out, a segment on “Triple D” is huge, guaranteeing exposure to millions of viewers across the U.S. who tune to the weekly show.

So where did Fieri wind up dining on his inaugural Hawaii visit?

Food Network wouldn’t tell us. So we did what any curious fan of the show would do given the situation: We asked around town, made some phone calls and followed the tweets of Honolulu followers on our Twitter page—which, as it turns out, was flooded with Guy sightings all week. As a result, we were able to trace Fieri’s footsteps to a number of eateries across Oahu.

Click the next few pages to find out where on Oahu Guy ate, what he ate and some behind-the-scenes stories of what went down at each stop. Hope you’re hungry.

 
savin_the_ditch_kohala_ditch_shirtHAWAII Magazine subscriber Donald Hinds of Florida recently called us to ask:

“Is there any way I can purchase a t-shirt to help generate money for the Kohala Ditch restoration effort? I was on the Flumin’ Da Ditch ride two months before the earthquake hit, that damaged it.”

You ask. We answer.

There's good news for Donald, and anyone else who wants to help restore the ditch. The Kohala Ditch Steering Committee would be more than happy to sell you a t-shirt.

The Big Island of Hawaii non-profit organization printed the shirts to raise funds and public awareness within the community for the ditch repair. Two large earthquakes centered off the Big Island's South Kohala Coast demolished sections of the century-old irrigation system in late 2006, immediately stopping the flow of water to the area’s farms and businesses. The popular Flumin’ Da Ditch ride, which used a portion of the 14-mile system of flumes and waterways, was among the causalities.

A t-shirt goes for $20, plus shipping and handling.

The group doesn’t have an official website or phone number. So the best way to contact them is by e-mail at oluolufarms@mac.com. You can place an order or inquire about available sizes. Other donations are gladly accepted through this e-mail address as well.

We’ve included a picture of a couple of the t-shirts, above. A different slogan such as “Got Water?” or “Save the Ditch” is printed on the front, while a picture of one of the ditch’s flumes—in its pre-quake state with water freely flowing—is on the back. We've got a few. Trust us, they look great, and will look great on you.

You can find a feature on the Kohala Ditch restoration effort and the current status of the Flumin’ Da Ditch ride in the November/December 2009 issue of HAWAII Magazine. The issue is arriving in subscribers’ mailboxes now, and available for purchase in a digital edition here. Look for the November/December issue on newsstands and in bookstores nationwide.

Photos: (top) Dawn Paiva, (bottom) Bill Shontell
 

Help! I need a good Mai Tai mix! Right now!


mai_tai_mix_Hawaii_cocktailHAWAII Magazine reader Raymond Bertrand of Grapevine, Texas, sent us an e-mail with the subject line: “Help! Help!”:

While in Hawaii, I really like those mai tais. However, I cannot seem to find a decent mai tai mix here in Texas. Could you help us? I've looked on Google, but I'm not sure which one of those mixes are good or not. Your help in finding a mai tai mix that's not all corn syrup (I'm allergic to corn, by the way) would be greatly appreciated.

You ask, we answer.

We’re pleased to have discovered on our last trip to Kaua‘i an excellent mai tai mix bottled by Hawaiian Kukui Fruit Specialties, a small Kauai company with a rich history on the island. Kukui’s Authentic Hawaiian Mai Tai Mix is made with cane sugar from Maui and fresh Kaua‘i fruit juices.

mai_tai_mix_Hawaii_cocktailClaims Kukui, “Unlike other mai tai mixes that use corn syrup for sweetness, our Kukui Brand insures sweetness all the way through the drink because there is no settling of the sweetness to the bottom of the glass like with corn syrup.”

We’ve got a bottle in our refrigerator right now.  Although we are not usually fond of premixed cocktails, we have to admit Kukui's mix makes a simple, quick and quite delicious mai tai.

That’s especially true when you mix it with Kauai’s first rum, Koloa, just coming into production from the same company.

Hawaiian Kukui's Mai Tai Mix is available by mail order in the U.S. and Canada, at  $5.95 a liter, by calling (808) 332-9333, between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. (Hawaii standard time). More info here.

Look for a feature on the revival of the Hawaiian Kukui Brand and the distilling of Kauai’s first rum in an upcoming issue of HAWAII Magazine.

Oh, and if you’re willing to go through the trouble of making a mai tai from scratch, we have a couple of recipes you can make yourself—courtesy of Waikiki's Moose McGillycuddy's Pub & Cafe and The Royal Hawaiian hotel Mai Tai Bar. Just click here.

Photos: Hawaiian Kukui Brand
 
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