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Hawaii_Oahu_Big Island_Daughters of Hawaii_Tucked into the emerald uplands of Nuuanu Valley — a 15-minute car ride from Waikiki — Queen Emma Summer Palace once served as a cool retreat for the queen consort and her husband King Kamehameha IV from court life in the mid-1800s as well as occasional hot-and-humid Honolulu weather.

Today, the palace (pictured, below), is a museum featuring a blend of Victorian era furnishings and the markings of Hawaii royalty. The seven-room home and its surrounding grounds are managed and maintained by the Daughters of Hawaii. The nonprofit is hosting its 35th annual Day at Queen Emma Summer Palace, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 1. The event’s admission: $6 for adults and $1 for children (age 6 and older), and includes admission to the palace, 2913 Pali Highway.

The event will open with a Hawaiian blessing followed by a performance by the Royal Hawaiian Band. Several Hawaii musicians and hula groups will also perform throughout the festivities. Also, look for a strolling couple dressed as Queen Emma and King Kamehameha IV.

Among the highlights: palace haku lei makers, headed by a master lei maker Amelia Bailey (pictured, above - wearing white dress), will display their woven their floral creations. In a written statement, event-co-chair Julie Auld Watson, advised: “Plan to come early, if you wish to purchase one of these gorgeous haku lei.” She added, “Each one is different, and they always sell out.”Hawaii_Oahu_Big Island_Daughters of Hawaii_

The Daughters will also be selling palace-made jams, jellies, chutney, baked goods and Daughters of Hawaii publications.  And tickets are available to win a one-of-a-kind king-size Hawaiian quilt.

Established in 1903, the Daughters of Hawaii acquired Queen Emma Summer Palace in 1915. The organization has maintained and cared for the Palace since then, as well as Hulihee Palace and King Kamehameha III’s birthplace, both on the Big Island. All proceeds from Day at Queen Emma Summer Palace go to the restoration and preservation of both palaces.

To find out more about Queen Emma Summer Palace and its history, read “A Queen’s Summer Escape,” in the September/October issue of HAWAII Magazine.

To subscribe to HAWAII Magazine, click here.

Photos: Daughters of Hawaii (top), David Croxford (bottom)

Hawaii_Big Island_humpback whalesTwo tail slaps — both courtesy of a humpback whale yearling.

That’s what a Sea Quest tour captain witnessed on Mon., Sept. 26 in Honaunau Bay, which edges the Big Island. The slapping event marked first confirmed whale sighting for the 2011-12 whale-watching season in the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

The sanctuary, which lies within the shallow (less than 600 feet), warm waters surrounding the main Hawaiian Islands, constitutes one of the world's most important humpback whale habitats.

Scientists estimate that there are 20,000 humpback whales in the North Pacific. An estimated 12,000 swim to Hawaii each winter to mate, give birth and nurse their calves in warm Hawaiian waters, where they are protected.

Whale-watching season in Hawaii typically spans the months between November and May. The whales arrive throughout the season, moving in and out of Hawaiian waters through the winter. Peak humpback whale viewing months in Hawaii are January through March. The last remaining mothers and their calves usually depart our Islands for Alaska by early May.Hawaii_Big Island_humpback whales

This year’s first sighting was a bit earlier than most years. Last year, and in 2009, the first humpback whale of this year’s season was spotted on Oct. 20. According to the Maui-based Pacific Whale Foundation, which has records from the last dozen years, the earliest arrival of the first humpback on Sept. 16, 2000, and the latest, Nov. 11, 2005.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration advises whale-watching enthusiasts to maintain a safe distance from the 45-ton endangered marine mammal. Federal regulations prohibit approaching within 100 yards of whales when on the water, and 1,000 feet when operating an aircraft. These and other regulations apply to all ocean users, including vessel operators, kayakers, paddle boarders, windsurfers, swimmers and divers throughout the Hawaiian Islands. 

In a news release issued by NOAA, Paul Wong, operations coordinator, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, said: 
 “It’s important for everyone to be extra vigilant during whale season, for their own safety and the protection of these magnificent animals.” Hawaii_Big Island_humpback whales

The best way to see the humpbacks up close is aboard a whale-watching tour. In recent years, though, thanks to an increase in the number of whales gliding along in the channels between the Hawaiian Islands, it has been fairly easy to spot them from the shoreline.

Which shoreline outlooks do we go to? Glad you asked. Check out our HAWAII Magazine’s Landlubber’s Guide to Whale Watching in the Islands — and don’t forget your binoculars.

Also, if you come across an injured or entangled marine mammal, please maintain the required safe distance and call the NOAA Marine Mammal Hotline at 1-888-256-9840 immediately, or the U.S. Coast Guard on channel 16. If reporting a suspected approach zone violation, please call the NOAA Fisheries Enforcement Hotline at 1-800-853-1964. For additional guidelines and safety tips, click here.

To subscribe to HAWAII Magazine, click here.

Photos: courtesy of NOAA HIHWNMS: Fisheries Permit #782-171

Hawaii_Big Island_Kilauea_volcano

Lava is continuing to flow from a fissure on the upper southeast flank of Puu Oo crater — within Kilauea volcano’s east rift zone — but the pace has slowed since last week’s outbreak eruption.

All erupted lava is contained within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park or adjacent state land managed by the Department of Land and Natural Resources. It advanced about 2.3 miles before stopping short of the mostly abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision.

Last week, scientists had warned that if the eastern flows persisted, they could pose a hazard to the subdivision. During 1983 — the year Kilauea began erupting — lava flow destroyed houses and other buildings in Royal Gardens, which was then a largely undeveloped 1,800-acre community. 

Puu Oo's latest outbreak began on Tues., Sept. 20 with an overflow on the west flank of the cone crater. That flow stalled by the next morning as the southeast outbreak eruption got under way (pictured, below). A lava falls that formed near the Puu Oo's eastern base during the outbreak (pictured, above) had a cascading drop of about 20 feet. (Check out the observatory’s three videos — at the bottom of this page — tracking the path of the outbreak lava.)

Hawaii_Big Island_Kilauea_volcano

Earlier this year, lava drained from Puu Oo when the crater’s floor deflated and collapsed during the March 5 Kamoamoa fissure eruption. On March 26, shortly after the eruption paused, lava abruptly returned to the crater’s floor. The floor collapsed again on Aug. 3 — dropping about 245 feet below its east rim. On Aug. 21, lava started pouring into the crater again. It has since filled and overflowed, according to observatory reports.

Daily updates on Kilauea volcano activity are available at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website.

HawaiiMagazine.com has reported regularly on lava activity at Kilauea volcano and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. Click here to catch up with all of our Volcano News posts. You can also follow our updates on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

VIDEO 1: Fast-moving upper section of the lava stream on the eastern flank of Puu Oo. The video pans to the left to show the smaller lava stream eruption from the lower (eastern) end of the fissure. (Click on frame below to watch.)

Hawaii_Big Island_Kilauea_volcano

VIDEO 2: Main lava stream on the lower east flank. This stream carries most of the lava—the rest splits off to the south (to the left) and flows behind the mounds at upper left. Video 1 shows the section of the stream visible at upper right. The stream featured in this video is about 13 feet wide and 7 feet deep, and is moving at speed of about 10 feet per second. (Click on frame below to watch.)

Hawaii_Big Island_Kilauea_volcano

VIDEO 3: Lava cascading to a height of about 20 feet near eastern base of Puu Oo. This is the same lava stream shown in both previous videos. The lava stream continues on several hundred yards before transitioning into a stony pahoehoe (smooth-flowing lava) and stalling. (Click on frame below to watch.)

Hawaii_Big Island_Kilauea_volcano

To subscribe to HAWAII Magazine, click here.

Photos and videos: Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, U.S. Geological Survey


Aulani, the much-anticipated Disney resort and spa, recently staged its official sunset grand-opening event — complete with Hawaiian music, a dazzling light show, and a ceremonial mixing of sand with pixie dust (courtesy of Tinkerbell, perhaps?).

After three years of construction on Oahu's Leeward coast, Aulani, which bills itself as aiming to combine the “magic of Disney storytelling and guest service with the beauty and traditions of Hawaii,” opened its first phase to guests on Aug. 29.

In a news release issued on the date of the grand opening (Sept. 22), Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, described the resort as a sort of gateway to the Hawaiian Islands. “Aulani captures the spirit of the islands and we look forward to welcoming guests from around the world to the magnificent shores of Oahu for many years to come,” Staggs said.Hawaii_Oahu_Aulani

Aulani — Disney’s first Hawaii destination property — occupies 21 acres of beachside property in Ko Olina, adjacent to a nine-acre, man-made ocean lagoon. Ko Olina is 17 miles from Honolulu International Airport, about a 40-minute drive from Waikiki. When all phases are complete, Aulani will include 359 traditional hotel rooms and 481 two-bedroom equivalent Disney Vacation Club villas in two towers.

Aulani, in Hawaiian, means: “messenger of a chief— someone who speaks on behalf of a higher authority." (Disney officials say the resort “serves as a messenger of the Hawaiian spirit, people and culture.”) “The name 'Aulani' expresses a connection to tradition and deep storytelling – and its roots are in this land right here,” said Joe Rohde, senior vice president and creative executive, Walt Disney Imagineering, who led the design of the resort.

Among the resorts nods to Hawaiian authenticity: a restaurant lounge in which every object is labeled in Hawaiian and the staffers speak both Hawaiian and English.

While Aulani does not offer midway-style Disney rides, it does sport seven acres of water play areas. Aulani’s Wai Kolohe, or “mischievous water” in Hawaiian, includes a series of waterslides, pools and plenty of activities for kids.

Among the other water-related highlights:

• Rainbow Reef snorkel lagoon — Guests may swim with native Hawaiian fish, including angelfish, butterfly fish and tangs in the 3,800-square-foot lagoon — the only one of its kind on Oahu.

• Makai Preserve conservation pool — Guests may stroke the velvety backs of gentle stingrays (available by reservation only). A portion of the proceeds from this activity will support research and conservation efforts in Hawaii through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund.

Aulani also will host big-group events. When all phases are complete, there will be nearly 50,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 14,545-square-foot conference center, main ballroom, four breakout rooms and pre-function space. Disney also has created three event lawns, one of which is an oceanfront wedding lawn.  For more information about Aulani, click here.

To subscribe to HAWAII Magazine, click here.

Photos: Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

Hawaii_Oahu_Maui_Hawaiian Airlines’ Great Hawaiian Winter Getaway Sale offers deals on nonstop roundtrip travel to or from Hawaii and its 10 mainland cities in North America.

The sale's fares will be offered through Mon., Oct. 3, for nonstop flights from Nov. 21 through Feb. 9, 2012, with the exception of West Coast departures from Dec. 14-26, and Hawaii departures from Dec. 27-Jan. 4. 

In a news release issued by the Oahu-based airline, Glenn Taniguchi, Hawaiian’s senior vice president of marketing and sales, said: “By acting quickly, travelers from the West Coast can save money and escape to the warmth of Hawaii, while Hawaii residents can make that special getaway to their favorite mainland destination.”

Tickets at the special fares must be purchased online and are subject to
Availability and do not include applicable taxes and fees. Also, there's no special website page for booking these deals. So, you'll have to enter dates under round-trip listings.

Here are the sale’s fares. (Note weekend flights cost an extra $50 roundtrip.) 

• Portland – Maui  $308 ($358 weekends)
Portland – Honolulu  $338 ($388 weekends)

• Seattle – Maui $348 ($398 weekends)
Seattle – Honolulu  $348 ($398 weekends)

• Las Vegas – Maui  $368 ($418 weekends)
Las Vegas – Honolulu  $368 ($418 weekends)

• Phoenix – Honolulu  $388 ($438 weekends)

• San Diego – Honolulu  $368 ($418 weekends)

• Los Angeles – Honolulu  $388 ($438 weekends)

• Sacramento – Honolulu  $388 ($438 weekends)

• San Francisco – Honolulu  $388 ($438 weekends)

• Oakland – Honolulu $388 ($438 weekends)
Oakland – Maui $388 ($438 weekends) Service starts Jan. 11, 2012.

• San Jose – Honolulu  $388 ($438 weekends)
San Jose – Maui $388 ($438 weekends) Service starts Jan. 10, 2012

Earlier this month, Hawaiian Airlines announced that starting in January it will offer nonstop flights from Maui to San Jose (three days weekly) and Oakland (four days weekly).

According to a news release issued by airline, the flights from Kahului to San Jose will depart on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, with return flights on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.

Flights from Kahului to Oakland will depart Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, with return flights departing Oakland Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

For additional information about Hawaiian Airlines, click here.

To subscribe to HAWAII Magazine, click here.

Photos: Hawaiian Tourism Authority (HTA) Tor Johnson 

Hawaii_Oahu_Maui_Big Island_Kauai_Molokai_ecotourismNot all ecotourism operations in Hawaii — or anywhere else, actually — are the same shade of green.

Most provide some sort of nature experience, anything from a hike in a remote area to a snorkeling cruise circling an offshore reef. But which ones are most respectful of the host culture? Which contribute to environmental efforts and local communities?

In an effort to spotlight Hawaii’s ecotour operators sporting the deepest shades of green, the Hawaii Ecotourism Association (HEA) has developed a certification program. This week, it honored 14 tour companies that have earned Hawaii’s first-ever “green” certification.

Through the nonprofit’s program, which has been in the works for the last 18 months or so, “Hawaii is the first state to try to get a handle on this,” says Diana King, a member of the association’s board of directors.  

In a written statement, HEA’s president, Chris Colvin, said: “The purpose of certification is to support, promote, educate, and strengthen on-the-ground tourism practices with respect to honoring and caring for our natural and cultural resources, resulting in better resource conservation, higher visitor satisfaction, and more community support for the visitor industry.”Hawaii_Oahu_Maui_Big Island_Kauai_Molokai_ecotourism

HEA’s certification is awarded to applicant ecotour operations that meet the following requirements:

 • Provide a direct, personal experience of nature for customers; 

• Maintain a written sustainability plan that guides operations and demonstrates commitment to HEA ecotourism principles;

• Contribute to conservation outcomes annually to statewide and/or local community-based environmental conservation initiatives; 

• Contribute to the local communities in which the applicant operates;

 • Demonstrate effective management of operating principles tied to the environment, interpretation, consumer evaluation, marketing, and staff.

HEA’s program reviews applications through site visits and other assessments. Those meeting requirements are issued gold, silver or bronze certification. Gold honorees are certified for a three-year period, while silver and bronze honorees can make adjustments to their operations and reapply next year for gold status. Hawaii_Oahu_Maui_Big Island_Kauai_Molokai_ecotourism

The inaugural group includes three gold-certified ecotour operators: Atlantis Adventures (Oahu, Maui and the Big Island), Trilogy Excursions (Maui) and Volcano Discovery (Big Island).

The silver-certified: Hawaiian Paddle Sports (Maui), Hike Maui (Maui), Jack’s Diving Locker (Big Island), Kayak Kauai (Kauai), Kualoa Ranch (Oahu), Pacific Islands Institute (Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Molokai and the Big Island), Pacific Whale Foundation (Maui), and Wild Side Specialty Tours (Oahu). 

Bronze-certified: Annette’s Adventures (Oahu), Bike Hawaii (Oahu) and Hawaii Forest & Trail (Big Island). 

The ecotourism certification program was developed with funding from a Hawaii Tourism Authority natural resources award. In-kind support was contributed by the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management. Support for the program’s development was provided by a volunteer advisory panel representing business, government, and nonprofit interests.

Founded in 1994, the Hawaii Ecotourism Association advocates for ecotourism as a means to protect Hawai‘i’s natural environment and native culture. Its membership base is composed of tour and lodging operators, travel writers, and community and environmental. For more information about HEA, click here.

To subscribe to HAWAII Magazine, click here.
Photos: Hawaiian Paddle Sports (top and bottom), Pacific Islands Institute (middle)

Hawaii_Oahu_Molokai_paddleboardHawaii Five-0 will feature footage from the recent 15th annual Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championship (M2O) in an episode slated to air on Mon., Sept. 26, according to Surfline, an online company that specializes in surf forecasting and surfing-related news.

On July 31, more than 250 athletes — on both prone and stand-up paddleboard — competed in the 32-mile, open-ocean crossing of the famously unpredictable Kaiwi Channel, also known as the Molokai Channel.

According to Surfline, the M2O race (pictured, right) was identified by the Hawaii Five-0 producers as an “authentic Hawaiian event to be showcased” in the popular redux of the classic Hawaii-filmed CBS TV police procedural drama. Thousands of fans turned up on Waikiki Beach on Sept. 10 for a special advance screening of the first episode of the show’s sophomore season. (We were there for the fun event. To check out what we saw, click here.)  The rest of the world watched the episode on Mon., Sept. 19.

The next episode’s storyline involves the kidnapping of the teen winner of a women's stand-up paddleboard race. According to Surfline, “although Hawaii Five-0 reenacted the M2O finish line for the show, actual race footage is featured throughout the episode.”

Some of the fastest athletes complete the race course — from Molokai’s Kaluakoi Beach (north shore) to Oahu’s Maunalua Bay Beach Park (south shore, near Hawaii Kai) — in less than five hours.

Oh, and if you’re a dedicated Hawaii Five-0 fan, check out Hawaiian Airlines’ Hawaii Five-0 trivia game. If you answer a trivia question correctly, you’ll be entered into a drawing for various travel-related prizes. For game details, click here.

To subscribe to HAWAII Magazine, click here.

Photos: Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championship


Hawaii_Big Island_KilaueaLava flows from a fissure on the upper southeast flank of Puu Oo crater — within Kilauea volcano’s east rift zone — advanced about 1.5 miles yesterday, according to scientists at the Big Island’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Currently, all erupted lava is within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park or adjacent state land managed by the Department of Land and Natural Resources. However, scientists noted in a report, “If the eastern flows persist, they may pose a hazard to the Royal Gardens subdivision in the coming days.”

Kilauea has been erupting, with few pauses, since 1983. During that first year, lava flow destroyed houses and other buildings in Royal Gardens — a largely undeveloped 1,800-acre community.  Today, the subdivision has no paved road access and only a few structures remain. The eruption marked its most destructive period during 1990 when flows destroyed the villages of Kalapana and Kaimu. Kalapana Black Sand Beach was also completely covered with lava. Hawaii_Big Island_Kilauea

Puu Oo's latest outbreak began Tuesday with an overflow on the west flank of the cone crater. That flow has mostly stopped when yesterday' morning’s southeast breakout got under way.

Earlier this year, lava drained from Puu Oo when the crater’s floor deflated and collapsed during the March 5 Kamoamoa fissure eruption. On March 26, shortly after the eruption paused, lava abruptly returned to the crater’s floor. The crater’s domed floor collapsed again on Aug. 3 — dropping  about 245 feet below the east rim of the crater. Lava started pouring into the crater again on Aug. 21 and has since filled and overflowed (pictured, left and above), according to observatory reports.

Daily updates on Kilauea volcano activity are available at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website.

HawaiiMagazine.com has reported regularly on lava activity at Kilauea volcano and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. Click here to catch up with all of our Volcano News posts. You can also follow our updates on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

Photos: Hawaii Volcano Observatory 


TheBus — Honolulu’s city bus system — is expanding the green-minded portion of its Oahu-navigating fleet.

Hawaii’s congressional delegation announced earlier this week that Honolulu is slated to receive $5 million from the federal government to purchase eight new turbine electric buses, thereby increasing the city’s overall fleet to 539 buses. Sixty are hybrid electric. Also, every bus in the fleet sports a bike rack.
The funding is coming from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) program, according to a joint press release issued by Sens. Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka and Reps. Mazie Hirono and Colleen Hanabusa. The elected officials lauded the funding as an opportunity to help the city move more people around Oahu while lessening dependence on imported fossil fuels.Hawaii_Oahu_Honolulu_transit

We love TheBus because it will take you around the entire island, and it travels to all of Oahu’s major shopping malls, museums, restaurants, beaches and nearly every attraction on the island.

The first fleet in the city’s TheBus program took to the streets of Honolulu on March 1, 1971, under then-mayor Frank Fasi. Since then, the fleet has grown to provide more than 75 million rides to residents and visitors every year.

TheBus has been recognized twice by the American Public Transportation Association as "America's Best Transit System," in 1994-1995 and 2000-2001. It remains the only mass transit system to win the recognition twice.

With one-way adult fares at $2.50 (allowing one free transfer for each paid cash fare) and discounts for seniors, military and children, TheBus is one of the most affordable ways to get around Oahu. Visitors can also get a four-day bus pass for $25. For more information about TheBus and its routes, click here.

To subscribe to HAWAII Magazine, click here.

Photos: Wikipedia Commons 

Hawaii_Oahu_Pearl Harbor_Battleship Missouri MemorialThe iconic Victory Kiss photograph was snapped on Aug. 14, 1945 in New York City's Times Square, as President Harry S. Truman announced of the end of the war with Japan.

The black-and-white image captures an embrace between an uninhibited sailor and a nurse dressed in white. With one arm, the sailor has apparently grabbed the nurse about her waist. And with the other, he dips her into a slight back arch while planting his lips on hers.  

According to Life magazine, which published the photograph a week later, the kiss was purely spontaneous. The photographer, Alfred Eisenstaedt, didn’t have opportunity to get the names of the sailor and the nurse before New York's Broadway area was flooded with revelers.

Starting today, couples visiting the Battleship Missouri Memorial at Pearl Harbor on Oahu will be invited to enter the Victory Kiss Contest through which they’ll reenact the famous smooch in front a 6-foot sculpture of the embracing nurse and sailor titled Unconditional Surrender. The artwork is on loan from The Sculpture Foundation.

Wanna enter the kissing contest? If so, be sure to give the photographer your name before dashing off. Why? The contest’s grand prize: roundtrip airfare for two between Hawaii and U.S. Mainland cities served by Hawaiian Airlines. Plus, the winners will get hotel accommodations for two nights at Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa. Prizes for runners-up include Battleship Missouri Memorial Victory Store gift certificates and Fandango gift certificates.

Contest photos will be posted on the Battleship Missouri Memorial Facebook page, where the public can vote by “liking” the photo of their choice. The contest will wrap up on Oct. 30, and the voting will end on Sun., Nov. 6.  The top 10 finalists will be couples who score the most “likes” with their kissing photo. Contest officials encourage the public to revisit the Facebook page each week to vote for their favorites. On Nov. 11, the finalists will be entered into a random drawing for the grand prize.

On Sept. 2, 1945, Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Douglas MacArthur and representatives from 10 nations assembled on the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay to accept Imperial Japan’s formal, unconditional surrender.

Earlier this month, the Battleship Missouri Memorial — now located a ship’s length from the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor —marked the 66th anniversary of the end of World War II in the Pacific on the “Mighty Mo’s” forward main deck.

For additional information about the Battleship Missouri Memorial or the kissing contest, click here.

To subscribe to HAWAI’I Magazine, click here.

Photo: David Croxford
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