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Hokulea_set_for_PalmyraThe legendary Polynesian double-hulled voyaging canoe, Hokulea, will set sail from Oahu this weekend. The destination: Palmyra Atoll—some 1,000 miles away from Hawaii’s shores.

Famed Hokulea navigator and Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) chairman Nainoa Thompson confirmed the crew is scheduled to depart for Palmyra on Saturday. However, strong winds that have battered the Islands could put their travel plans on hold.

Palmyra Atoll sits 1,050 miles from Oahu, nestled within the fragile chain of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands.

The trip to Palmyra and back is the first of at least 12 long-distance training missions to prepare crews for an upcoming global circumnavigation, which is scheduled to start May 2012, with the Hokulea returning to Hawaii in June 2015. Over the three-year period Hokulea will require 12 crews to travel to more than 20 countries.

Since its maiden voyage to Tahiti in 1976, Hokulea has set out on nine occasions—traversing the far reaches of the South Pacific and beyond. In 2007, Hokulea racked up more than 8,000 miles en route to Japan.

The crew of Hokulea continues to use navigation similar to that of ancient Polynesian voyagers—favoring celestial bodies and ocean currents over instruments and other forms of modern technology—making the planned global trek all the more impressive. We’ll keep you posted as news about the 2012 trip develops.

UPDATE 3/2/2009: Strong winds kept the Hokulea from departing to Palmyra Atoll last weekend. The voyaging canoe will attempt to set sail again today if weather permits.

UPDATE 3/4/2009: The Hokulea's departure has been delayed for a second time due to high winds and cloudy skies. For non-instrument navigators, it is important to be able to see the stars. No new sailing date has been set. We'll let you know as soon as we find out.
Photo: Eli Witt

 
Jimmy_Buffett_Takes_Over_Don_HoLast night was the grand opening of Jimmy Buffett’s at the Beachcomber, his new restaurant in the Ohana Waikiki Beachcomber Hotel.

It’s hallowed ground since the location once housed the Don Ho show.  At the VIP opening, the Land Shark beer (Buffett’s brand with Anheuser-Busch) and the margaritas (with Buffett’s licensed Margaritaville tequila) flowed freely.  And Buffett played a full set with his Coral Reefer Band.

Buffett’s beach vibe is Caribbean, not Hawaiian.  But Buffett made some gestures, including having Hawaii musicians Henry Kapono and Jake Shimabukuro on stage with him.

Shimabukuro has toured with Buffett, who spotted the Hawaii ukulele wizard in his now famous viral video, playing “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” in New York’s Central Park.  Says Jake, “He’s increased my exposure far more than I could have done on my own.”

Buffett’s $15-million, 400-seat Waikiki restaurant is open daily, with local music, casual food and, of course, his signature margaritas.

And, if you are on Oahu, you can catch Buffett and His Coral Reefer Band in concert at the Waikiki Shell tomorrow, Sat., Feb. 28th, at 7 p.m.  For tickets: (808) 591-2211 or click here.

In the photo: Jimmy Buffett at the opening gala for his Ohana Waikiki Beachcomber restaurant—with the Coral Reefer Band, Henry Kapono and Jake Shimabukuro.  Courtesy: Jimmy Buffett

 

Take a tour through Lahaina’s historic trail on Maui


Lahaina_historic_trailLahaina, Maui was once a favorite hangout spot for Hawaiian royalty and rowdy sailors.

You can learn much about the first capital of the kingdom of Hawaii by strolling down Lahaina’s historic trail. The self-guided walking tour features 62 historic and cultural sites.

The historic “trail” is not really a trail at all, but rather historical sites scattered throughout Lahaina. Many have been restored by the Lahaina Restoration Foundation, and can be found around the big Banyan tree and Lahaina Harbor. Look for the brown Lahaina Historic Site markers like these pictured on the right. Some sites have newer bronze markers with the sites’ histories.

Want to learn more about the history of West Maui’s largest town? Check out “A Walk into Lahaina’s Past” in our March/April 2009 issue of HAWAII Magazine.

In the meantime, here are photos of some of the tour’s sites. Click on the slideshow screen for larger photos.
Photos by Sherie Char


 
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Hidden Hawaii: Cool, green and serene Lanai


Again this month, our photographer David Croxford and HAWAII Magazine editor John Heckathorn took roads less traveled. In this case, often dirt roads less traveled, on the cool and green island of Lanai.

The two rambled through Lanai City and then combed the island, meeting some fascinating people, from artists to conservation workers, from shooting instructors to seabird biologists. 

As on previous Hidden Hawaii sojourns to Hawi and Kapaau on the Big Island, the road to Waimea Canyon on Kauai, the Hana coast on Maui, and Honolulu's Chinatown by Night, Croxford brought back hundreds of photos.

You can find a couple dozen of them and Heckathorn’s illuminating story on this unique island in our March/April 2009 issue of HAWAII Magazine.

Here’s the best of the rest—the photos that made us jealous we didn’t come along for the ride. Click on the slideshow screen for larger photos.

Photos by David Croxford

 

Hapa kicks off national tour on Maui this weekend


Hapa_national_tourOn Maui? Want to end your February on a high note? How about some Hapa?

The Grammy-nominated Hawaiian music duo kicks off a national tour at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center (MACC) this Friday, February 27. Musicians Eric Gilliom and Ernie Cruz Jr. will join Hapa. For more information, call (808) 242-SHOW, or click here.

Hapa then jets east for shows in Maryland and Virginia, returning home via the West Coast, playing several spots in California, Oregon and Washington. For a complete tour schedule, click here.

Not familiar with Hapa? Led by the assured vocals of Nathan Aweau and anchored by guitarist Barry Flanagan’s steady rhythms, Hapa’s music stands out among contemporary Hawaiian artists.

Hapa’s eponymous debut CD was released in 1993 and swept the 1994 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. The album went on to become the biggest selling CD by a group or duo in the history of recorded Hawaiian music. Hapa’s 2005 effort, Maui, also went on to score big at the Na Hoku awards, taking several honors including Album of the Year.

Click here to sample some of Hapa’s music for yourself, courtesy of online music service Rhapsody.

If you’re on Oahu, you can usually find Nathan Aweau performing every Friday at Chai’s Island Bistro in downtown Honolulu’s Aloha Tower Marketplace. When he’s not on tour, of course.

While you’re at it, take a listen to Aweau’s excellent 2008 solo CD, Kaneohe. HAWAII Magazine online editor Derek Paiva ranked it one of the five best Hawaiian music albums of last year.

Photo courtesy of Hapa

  
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Hawaii_Mardi_Gras_2009New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro may have their own Mardi Gras celebrations, but so does Oahu.

Here’s a list of Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday events in Honolulu:

Honolulu Chinatown Arts District
Mardi Gras—Carnaval 2009 (Free street festival on Nuuanu Avenue)
• Pre-party celebration: Alliance Francaise dinner and wine tasting at Du Vin
• After-parties at Epic, Indigo, Next Door
• Entertainment stages: Pauahi St. outside The ARTS at Marks Garage, Hotel Street outside Louis Pohl Gallery and near King Street outside Tea@1024.

Near Honolulu Harbor
Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday Celebration (Aloha Tower Marketplace)

Waterfront Plaza (formerly Restaurant Row)
Mardi Gras Madness (Oceans 808)

Besides the free beads and parties, today is also Malassada Day in Hawaii.

Hawaii_Mardi_Gras_2009In order to use up eggs, butter and oil before Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent), Portuguese immigrants made malassadas (yes, the Portuguese spelled it with two s’s).

On Malassada Day, indulge in these hot deep-fried sugar-coated doughnuts at Leonard’s Bakery [933 Kapahulu Ave., (808) 737-5591], Agnes Portuguese Bake Shop [46 Hoolai, (808) 262-5367] or Champion Malasadas [1926 S. Beretania St., (808) 947-8778].

If you’re on the Big Island, stop by Punaluu Bake Shop for guava-sugared and lilikoi (passion fruit) glazed malassadas.

Insider's tip: Leonard’s Bakery will be passing out free malassadas (while supplies last) during the street festival on Nuuanu Avenue tonight.

(Top): Photo courtesy of The Arts District Honolulu
(Above): Photo by Sherie Char
  
Daniel_Dae_Kim_Lost_HawaiiI recently had breakfast with Lost actor Daniel Dae Kim—and well-known Hawaii restaurateur, DK Kodama—at their new Hawaii restaurant. The two are partners in The Counter, a build-your-own burger place in Kahala Mall (a sizeable neighborhood mall in East Honolulu that also houses a Whole Foods, and an Apple store, among other retailers).

What was for breakfast at the burger joint?  That Hawaii favorite: a loco moco, with kim chee on the side. (For those who don’t know: A loco moco is a mound of rice topped with a hamburger patty and a fried egg, all of it smothered in brown gravy. Kim chee is the Korean national dish, a highly spiced preserved cabbage.)

“I can’t tell you how great it is to live in a place where everybody knows what kim chee is,” said Kim, whose investment in the California-based franchise chain restaurant—the first of three planned for Hawaii—is a way of setting down roots in the Islands. He wants to stay here after Lost wraps up production in spring 2010.

Kim's wife and children are Korean—“Korean-American,” he points out, “but the beauty of Hawaii is that the American is assumed. Nobody thinks of you as foreign here because of your ethnicity.” 
Hawaii is the first place where he’s felt completely accepted.  “I want that for my children. It’s the way the rest of the world should be.”

He hopes, of course, that movie roles will come a-calling, too, after Lost. But The Counter is now his stake in the community—and things seem to be going well.

The place is already packed with local families, and members of the Lost cast including Josh Holloway, who dropped by for lunch with Kim last Saturday.

The Counter: Kahala, Kahala Mall, 4211 Waialae Ave., Honolulu, Oahu, HI (808) 739-5100.


Daniel Dae Kim and DK Kodama get ready to dig into loco mocos at The Counter. Photo by Jimmy Forrest
 
Waikiki_beach_sandYou ask. We answer.

HAWAII Magazine reader Deborah Wheeler of Australia writes:

A group in Australia claimed that sand from Stockton Beach in Newcastle, Australia, was shipped to Hawaii many years ago. But on a recent visit to Hawaii, I asked a tour guide about this, who told me that I was incorrect.

So where does Waikiki Beach’s sand come from?

We’ve heard countless stories and urban legends about sand being shipped over from all over the world to replenish Waikiki’s famous stretch of beaches. It turns out Waikiki’s sand comes from … (insert dramatic pause for effect) … Hawaii!

Even more interesting? The majority of Waikiki sand actually comes from just offshore.

“The benefit of using localized sand is compatibility,” says Sam Lemmo, of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands. Using sand similar in color and structure not only benefits Waikiki Beach aesthetically and environmentally, it also maintains the beach’s integrity from an engineering standpoint, Lemmo adds.

Erosion and rising sea levels have swallowed a foot of Waikiki Beach annually since 1985. This phenomenon, while accelerated in the last few decades, is nothing new. Reports from the 1920s and 1930s reveal that sand was brought in from Manhattan Beach, California, via ship and barge, to Waikiki Beach. Importation of sand into Hawaii ceased in the 1970s.
 
Recently, sand has been pumped from neutral areas of the ocean floor some 2,000 feet off Waikiki to fill in the shrinking beach. In 2004, the state spent $500,000 to siphon 10,000 cubic yards of sand from offshore—the largest replenishment effort of Waikiki’s beaches in more than 30 years. It’s a solution that aims to lessen the environmental impact and is being adopted by deteriorating beaches worldwide.

Before that, Waikiki’s sand was trucked from various points around Hawaii including Oahu's North Shore—in particular, Waimea Bay Beach and a sand bar off the town of Kahuku—and Papohaku Beach on Molokai.

While it’s true that some sand is brought into Hawaii from places like Australia, Polynesia and even China, it serves more utilitarian purposes—namely construction and filling sand traps on Hawaii’s golf courses.

Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)/Joe Solem
  
Jason_Mraz_Hawaii_videoFor the March/April 2009 issue of HAWAII Magazine, I caught up with singer-songwriters Colbie Caillat and Jason Mraz to discuss music videos each filmed in Hawaii last year with veteran music video director Darren Doane. In our print edition, Mraz and Caillat talk about why they wanted to film videos for their hits “I’m Yours” and “The Little Things” on Oahu and Kauai—turns out both musicians, and Doane, had some history in the Islands prior to the shoots. Here on HawaiiMagazine.com, we’re featuring the trio sharing behind the scenes stories from the video shoots, which you can read while watching corresponding scenes in the videos.

In our first Web feature, posted earlier this week, Caillat and Doane shared behind-the-scenes stories from the video shoot for “The Little Things” in Kilauea and Hanalei on Kauai’s north shore.

In this, our second of two Web posts, Mraz and Doane talk about filming the “I’m Yours” video on the fly at various locations on the islands of Oahu and Kauai. For the last four years, Mraz has spent at least four weeks a year on Kauai exploring the island’s rugged, yet lush terrain, between adventures almost always staying with friends he makes. The video for “I’m Yours” riffs on Mraz’s preferred Hawaii vacation style. Over two days last winter, Mraz and Doane simply went out to shoot with a couple of cameras and virtually no crew. There was no schedule. They shot what they encountered.

The time in parentheses in the text refers to the point in the video Mraz and Doane are discussing. You can view the video for “I’m Yours” at the end of the post. Click twice on the video frame to enlarge the video.

We'll allow Jason and Darren to do all of the talking from here:

 
airfare_hotel_los_angeles_san_francisco_hawaiiThree nights on Oahu, airfare included, starting at $299?

Skip the double take—this deal is for real.

The Los Angeles Times reported today that travel provider Pleasant Holidays has extended its popular "Hawaiian Islands Getaway Sale" to June 4. The deal—first announced in January—offers three nights in Waikiki with round-trip airfare from Los Angeles or San Francisco, for as low as $299 per person, plus the usual taxes and fees.
 
There are also three-night packages to the neighbor islands—around $400 for Kauai and Maui, $515 for the Big Island and $1,115 for Lanai.

There are the expected catches: limited availability, weekday afternoon flights, possible red-eye return flights. And naturally, don't expect to land a beachfront suite for $299. (A short walk to the water from your hotel room, however, is nothing to whine about.)

If you can’t land the magic $299 deal, there are numerous Oahu packages listed for $403 or $455.  Not bad considering the average round-trip airfare from the West Coast to Hawaii is hovering around $350 to $400.

For more information, click here, or call (800) 742-9244.

Photo: Wikikpedia/Commons
  
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