Hawaii Today edited by Derek Paiva Page: 1 2 Next>>

Want to learn more about Hawaii’s favorite tail-slapping, 45-ton winter visitor?

During February, Whale Wednesdays at Waikiki Aquarium will feature educational talks and activities spotlighting the humpback whale. The events are sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The first one is slated for 3 p.m. on Wed., Feb.1. The next three will be held at 10 a.m. (Feb. 8, 15 and 22); and the last, 3 p.m., on Feb. 29. The event is free with daily admission.

Scientists estimate that there are 20,000 humpbacks in the North Pacific. An estimated 12,000 of them swim to Hawaii's waters to mate and nurse their young, typically between late September and March. Since 2006, an annual census count has tracked a steady rise in the humpback whale population visiting the 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, is one of the world's most important humpback whale habitats.

The annual sanctuary census, dubbed Ocean Count, got under way last weekend with more than 950 volunteers gathering data on the shores of Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island. Participants tallied whale sightings and documented the animals’ surface behavior during the Saturday survey.

Volunteers collected data from 61 sites. Here’s the average number of whales sighted per 15-minute count period on each of the islands: Oahu, two whales; Big Island, three whales; Kauai, eight whales.

Two more sanctuary Ocean Count sessions are slated for Sat., Feb. 25 and Sat., March 31. For more information on becoming an Ocean Count volunteer, click here or call 1-888-55-WHALE ext. 253. A whale count on Maui is conducted independently by the Pacific Whale Foundation.

Hawaii is the only state in the nation where humpback whales mate, calve, and nurse their young.  According to NOAA, humpbacks may find swim to our mid-Pacific area because of warm waters, underwater visibility, variety of ocean depths, and the lack of natural predators. During their annual visit here, mothers can be spotted breaching alongside their calves and males can be seen competing with one another for females in head-to-head battles.

For additional information about the sanctuary, which is jointly managed by NOAA and the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, click here.

To subscribe to HAWAII Magazine, click here.

Photos: courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) HIHWNMS: Fisheries Permit No. 782-171

Hawaii_Oahu_North Shore_surfingIf you’re on Oahu this week, you’ll find big winter waves rolling into the island’s North Shore.

How big? Big enough to call off competition under way for the three-day Volcom Pipe Pro, which kicked off earlier this month with 112 of the world’s best surfers vying for $130,000 in prize money.

This morning, contest organizers declared today as the event’s eighth lay day, or as they put it “lei day,” because the waves at the famous Banzai Pipeline were too wild. A news note on the event’s website reads: “The waves are massive and getting gnarlier by the minute, so we had to call another Lei Day.” 

The winter waves are rolling into Oahu’s North Shore, with surf expected to top out at a jaw-dropping 35 feet today and subside to 20 feet by tomorrow, according to a high-surf warning issued by the National Weather Service. The swell is expected to gradually subside by Thursday, but will be followed by another swell that may push the waves up to an advisory level toward the weekend.

According to the National Weather Service, surf heights are forecast heights of the face or front of waves. “The surf forecast is based on the significant wave height, the average height of the one-third largest waves, in the zone of maximum refraction. Some waves may be more than twice as high as the significant wave height. “Hawaii_Oahu_North Shore_surfing

The second round of the Volcom Pipe Pro was held yesterday, and the next round is expected to take place later this week.  The contest holding period will continue through Sat., Feb. 4.

Surfing fans are also buzzing about whether the rising waves in the North Shore’s Waimea Bay will set the stage for a Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau surfing contest — the world’s longest-running and most prestigious big-wave invitational. The one-day competition is held only when wave heights consistently exceed a minimum 20-foot threshold. This season’s annual hold period runs through Feb. 29.

Total number of competitions since the event was launched about 27 years ago? Eight.

The defending champion is California's Greg Long. Past champions: Denton Miyamura (Hawaii), Keone Downing (Hawaii), Clyde Aikau (Hawaii), Noah Johnson (Hawaii), Ross Clarke-Jones (Australia), Kelly Slater (USA), and Bruce Irons (Hawaii). This year, the contest’s organizers invited 28 elite surfers and 24 alternates. Slater, a 10-time world champion, is confirmed as a competitor in the 27th edition of "The Eddie." To check out photos from the last time the contest was held — the 2009 Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau — click here.

If, as organizers say, “the bay calls the day,” thousands of spectators will flock to the North Shore to catch the competition. Wanna go? Your best bet to avoid traffic tie-ups is to arrive early. Otherwise, you may end up in a long line of vehicles slowly making their way to the Haleiwa area and beyond. Bring binoculars and enjoy the waves.

To subscribe to HAWAII Magazine, click here.

Photos: 2009 Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau surfing contest, David Croxford/ HAWAII Magazine

Hawaii_Honolulu_airlinesHawaiian Airlines and New-York based JetBlue Airways this week announced a partnership agreement that will aims to ease travel to the Islands from the East Coast.

Starting this week, customers will be able to purchase single tickets combining travel on both Hawaiian and JetBlue, allowing for “seamless” travel between the carriers’ networks, according to a news release issued by Hawaiian Airlines. For example, a passenger could travel from Boston to Los Angeles on JetBlue and then connect with Hawaiian to Honolulu.

Customers may book their connecting travel by calling Hawaiian Airlines or by contacting a travel agent. Both carriers plan to sell each other’s flights on their respective web sites in the near future.
Also, the partnership permits passengers to earn or redeem frequent-flier credit with either carrier.

Under a preliminary agreement, JetBlue’s TrueBlue members will soon be able to accrue points on any Hawaiian-operated flight, while HawaiianMiles members will be able to earn miles on any JetBlue-operated flights.

The carriers plan to further expand their partnership on June 5, when Hawaiian launches the only nonstop service between New York City and Hawaii with its new wide-body Airbus A330-200 aircraft, which seats 294 customers.

Hawaiian Flight 51 will depart New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) daily at 10 a.m. and arrive at Honolulu International Airport at 3 p.m. The return Flight 50 (“Hawaiian 5-0”) will depart Honolulu daily at 3:05 p.m. and arrive in New York at 6:55 a.m. the following morning.

Hawaiian offers nonstop service to Hawaii from 10 U.S. mainland cities as well as service to Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, American Samoa, and Tahiti. Hawaiian also provides daily jet flights within the Islands.

In addition to New York, JetBlue’s “focus” cities include Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, and Orlando. The airline serves 70 cities with 650 daily flights and plans to launch service to Dallas/Fort Worth in May.

For more information about Hawaiian Airlines and the carrier partnership, click here.

To subscribe to HAWAII Magazine, click here.

Photo: Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaii_volcano_lavaScientists at the Big Island’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory have released a video that depicts vigorous lava spattering this week at Kilauea volcano’s summit, Halemaumau crater.

The spattering on the south side of the crater’s lava lake (pictured, right) has reportedly picked up since Tuesday when the lake’s level was gauged at about 260 feet (80 meters) below the crater’s floor. (Check out the video at the bottom of this page.)

Since March 2008, the lakes levels have fluctuated between 70 meters to 150 meters below the crater floor. The summit lava lake is deep within a cylindrical vent with nearly vertical sides inset within the east wall and floor of Halemaumau crater.

Lava activity is also reportedly picking up at Puu Oo, a cinder cone on Kilauea’s eastern flanks. Puu Oo began erupting in January 1983. The ongoing 29-year Puu Oo eruption, among the longest-lasting Hawaiian eruptions in recorded history. The first written accounts of eruptions in Hawaii date back to the 1820s, when American missionaries arrived on the Big Island.

Want to learn more about Hawaii volcanoes?

This month, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, in cooperation with Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the University of Hawaii at Hilo, is presenting its third annual Volcano Awareness Month, which includes offerings ranging from talks with scientists to walks with naturalists and art exhibitions. Click here to check out the listings.

Also, this year Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is marking its centennial anniversary.  “Watching the Volcano,” in the January 2012 issue of HAWAII Magazine, takes a look at what its like to work on the edge of continuously active Kilauea volcano.

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: Spattering along the south edge of the Halemaumau crater’s lava lake. Lava is upwelling in the northern portion of the lake (out of view) and slowly migrates to this south side where it sinks back into the conduit. Click on the image below to see video.


To subscribe to HAWAII Magazine, click here.

Image: Hawaiian Volcano Observatory/ United States Geological Survey


Some world's best pro football players are now touching down in Hawaii for this weekend’s 2012 NFL Pro Bowl at Oahu’s Aloha Stadium.

The all-star game, in which the NFC (National Football Conference) squares off against the AFC (American Football Conference) will get under way at 2 p.m. (Hawaii time) on Sunday, and will be televised nationally on NBC. If you’re on Oahu, Pro Bowl Week offer a chance to meet some of the players and cheerleaders and take part in festivities. (See 2012 Pro Bowl Week listing below.)


The Pro Bowl was held at Aloha Stadium for nearly three decades, from 1980 to 2009. In 2010, it moved to Sun Lite Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins. Last year, it moved back to Aloha Stadium and scored the biggest TV audience for the all-star game since 2000.

According to Nielsen TV ratings, the 2011 Pro Bowl, broadcast on the FOX Network, drew 12.4 million viewers, an uptick of 37 percent from the game’s 2010 ratings. After hosting the game in Miami, the National Football League moved the Pro Bowl back to Aloha Stadium for the first game of a two-year contract keeping it in Hawaii. The contract has required Hawaii to pay $4 million per game. The NFL hasn’t selected Pro Bowl locations for 2013 and beyond.

2012 Pro Bowl Week events

Sunset on the Beach — A pep rally of sorts, with guest appearances by the Pro Bowl cheerleaders and mascots. There will also be a movie screened on Waikiki Beach, 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Fri., Jan. 27 (Queen’s Beach, Waikiki) Admission: free.

Pro Bowl Ohana Day Celebration — This morning event features fan contests, player interviews, NFL video features and a preview of the Pro Bowl game entertainment. There will even be a special Kid’s Zone where keiki can enjoy special contests, prizes, presentations and “mascot mania.”  9 a.m. to noon on Sat., Jan. 28 at Aloha Stadium. Admission: free

Youth Football & Cheerleading Clinics — Advanced registration is required. Contact the Honolulu Boys and Girls Club or the Honolulu YMCA for registration information. 10 a.m. to 2:45 p.m on Sat., Jan. 28. at Kapiolani Park. Admission: free

Pro Bowl All-Star Block Party — A stretch of Waikiki’s main street shuts down to make way for a block party featuring NFL players, cheerleaders, mascots and local celebrities. There will also be six entertainment stages, food and local crafts. 7 p.m. to 10 p.m on Sat., Jan. 28., Kalakaua Avenue. Admission: free.

Pro Bowl Touchdown Club — NFL food court, bands, appearances by NFL players and cheerleaders. 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Sun., Jan.29. Aloha Stadium, Lot 8B (North End). Admission: free to Pro Bowl ticketholders.

Official Pro Bowl Tailgate Party — The party will be held at Richardson Field, which overlooks Pearl Harbor and is a short walk from Aloha Stadium. Entertainment and food included with admission. 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on San., Jan. 29 Tickets available through Ticketmaster. Tailgate Party "will call" tickets will be issued by Ticketmaster at Richardson Field site only.

Pro Bowl Pregame Ceremonies — The pregame show will include tributes to the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl and a live performance by Hot Chelle Rae. 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Sun., Jan. 29 at Aloha Stadium. Admission: included with Pro Bowl ticket.

For additional information about Pro Bowl game and tailgate party tickets, click here.

To subscribe to HAWAII Magazine, click here.

Photos: (top) 2011 Pro Bowl, courtesy the NFL; (bottom)
 Adrian Peterson at 2010 NFL Pro Bowl in Miami, courtesy of the NFL

Hawaii_Oahu_Kauai_Descendants_filmThe Descendants, a dramedy filmed on Oahu and Kauai, and packed with a cast of compelling Hawaii characters, today picked up five Academy Awards nominations.

They include: best picture, best lead actor (George Clooney), best director (Alexander Payne), best adapted screenplay and
best film editing.

According to the complete Oscar nominee list for the 84th Academy Awards, Hugo leads the competition with 11 overall nominations. The Artist follows with 10 nominations. Moneyball and War Horse have six each; and The Descendants and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, five each.

Earlier this month, The Descendants won the Golden Globe award for best motion picture drama, and Clooney (pictured, right) top the award for best lead actor. The awards come on the heels of praise at 2011 film festivals and among dozens of movie critics.Hawaii_Oahu_Kauai_Descendants_film

Based on the best-selling novel by Hawaii writer Kaui Hart Hemmings, The Descendants follows the story of Matt King (Clooney) — a wealthy landowner, husband and father of two girls — who is forced to reexamine his life and relationships in the after his wife is severely injured in a boating accident near Waikiki.

A descendant of a 19th-century Hawaiian princess, King must simultaneously contend with a big decision about the impending sale of his family’s inherited Hawaiian land while learning that his comatose wife had been having an affair. In the film, King’s home is in Nuuanu, a 15-minute car ride from Waikiki on Oahu. Part of the storyline involves King and his daughters traveling to Kauai to find his wife’s lover and see the pristine family-owned land. 

Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller (both, pictured left) star as King’s daughters. The film also features Beau Bridges, Robert Forster, Nick Krause (pictured, left) and Judy Greer. Payne was nominated for an Oscar for directing Sideways, which won the 2005 Oscar and Golden Globe for best screenplay. Clooney won the 2006 Oscar for best supporting actor in the Middle East thriller Syriana.

To check out a trailer for The Descendants, click here.

To subscribe to HAWAII Magazine, click here.

Photos: Fox Searchlight Pictures  

Hawaii_aloha_shirt_postcard_stampU.S. Postal Service is saluting Hawaii’s most enduring symbol of the relaxed, laid-back, and tropical lifestyle: the aloha shirt.

Of the five vintage-shirt stamps issued this week, two feature surfers and boards. The other three depict Kilauea volcano (pictured, right), bird of paradise flowers, and fossil fish, shellfish and starfish, respectively.

Manufacturer Alfred Shaheen created four of the shirts depicted on the stamps. The red shirt showing surfers and a large wave (pictured, below) was manufactured by Malihini. The stamps themselves are now available for purchase on at Post Offices nationwide and by phone, 800-782-6724.

During the mid-1960s “Aloha Friday”  — the precursor to casual Fridays — got under way in the Islands, with businessmen wearing colorful aloha shirts to work rather than suits and ties. By the end of that decade, the wearing of aloha shirts for business dress any day of the week was widely accepted — in Hawaii, anyway.Hawaii_aloha_shirt_postcard_stamp

The exact origin of the aloha shirt is a bit of a mystery. According to the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, some say “roots can be traced to the kapa cloth found throughout the Pacific, made from pounding and dyeing tree bark. Others claim it was inspired by the tail-out shirts of Filipino immigrants, or elegant kimono cloth from Japan, or the vivid floral prints of Tahiti.”

The bureau also notes this mid-20th century fashion news tied to the shirt.

“In 1946, the Honolulu Chamber of commerce appropriated $1,000 to study suitable designs for clothing businessmen could more comfortably wear in Hawaii’s tropical climate. A resolution was passed to allow open-necked sports shirts during the hottest months from June through October. The aloha shirt was specifically excluded because of loud patterns. The following year during the annual Aloha Week celebration, an exception was made to allow the wearing of casual aloha attire — the more colorful the better — for the entire week.”  Soon after, visitors and residents alike were walking around in “wearable postcards awash with coconut trees, surfers, outrigger canoes, hula girls, and endless varieties of colorful tropical flowers, birds, and fish.” 

For additional information about the U.S. Postal Service’s aloha shirt stamps, click here.

To subscribe to HAWAII Magazine, click here.

Photos: U.S. Postal Service images

Hawaii_Big Island_plastic_Kauai_Maui_OahuIn an effort to reduce litter and threats to marine life, the Big Island is gearing up for a ban on plastic shopping bags. The green-minded move follows plastic-bag bans already in effect on Maui, Kauai, Molokai and Lanai.

Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi signed a bill this week that will eventually ban stores from giving out plastic shopping bags. According to the law, which goes into effect next year, starting in January 2014 stores will not be allowed to offer plastic bags to customers.

Plastic-bag bans on Maui, Kauai, Molokai and Lanai took effect last January. At that time, businesses were encouraged to provide environmentally friendly alternatives and shoppers were expected to bring reusable bags with them to checkout counters. The laws were approved by the Maui County Council (Maui County includes Molokai and Lanai) and Kauai County Council in August 2008 and in October 2009, respectively.

Here are some more details.

• Maui County — Businesses, including restaurants, are required to provide recyclable paper or reusable bags for sale or at no charge. Business owners who provide non-biodegradable bags to customers at checkouts may be fined $500 per day.

• Kauai County — Commercial businesses, including restaurants and takeout eateries, are now required to use recyclable paper bags and biodegradable bags. Businesses that use plastic bags face a $250 per day.Hawaii_Big Island_plastic_Kauai_Maui_Oahu

There are some exceptions, though. Thin plastic bags are still available at businesses selling raw meat, poultry, produce and bulk items such as granola and flour. Also, plastic bags used to protect garments are allowed at dry-cleaners. For more information about the Maui and Kauai county bans, click here and here.

The Big Island’s County Council, which passed the ban proposal in December, will hold public hearings as it drafts its own administrative rules and penalties.

On Oahu, where the most of the state’s residents live, a similar proposal is expected to go before the Honolulu County officials this year. 

For additional information about the environmental dangers posed by plastic bags, check out the Rise Above Plastics program organized by the Oahu Chapter of the Surfriders Foundation.

To subscribe to HAWAII Magazine, click here.

Photos: (top) Maui County, (bottom) Kauai County 

Hawaii_culinary_chef_Kohala CoastMauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows, on the Big Island’s Kohala Coast, will host its second annual Celebrity Chef Tour this weekend, which will feature culinary masters showcasing island-grown ingredients.

The lineup for the event, slated for Fri., Jan. 20 and Sat., Jan. 21, includes: visiting chefs Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto Restaurant, New York City), Ming Tsai (Blue Ginger, Boston) and Tyler Florence (Rotisserie & Wine, Napa, Calif. and Wayfare Tavern, San Francisco); cocktail mixologist Manny Hinojosa; and Hawaii chefs Sam Choy (Kai Lani, Kahaluu-Keauhou) and Sandy Tuason (Mauna Lani Bay resort).

The event is a fundraiser for the James Beard Foundation, whose mission is to “celebrate, preserve and nurture America’s diverse culinary heritage and future.” To date, the Celebrity Chef Tour has raised more than $950,000 for the foundation.

This weekend’s event will get under way with a cocktail reception and live Hawaiian entertainment, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday. Chef Sam Choy, will prepare passed hors doeuvres reflecting his signature Pacific Rim style. International award‐winning cocktail mixologist Manny Hinojosa will prepare a selection of island-inspired cocktails. Hinojosa, who was a chef before turning to mixology, creates his own syrups, juices and garnishes. Tickets are $50.Hawaii_culinary_chef_Kohala Coast

Starting at 6 p.m. on Saturday at Mauna Lani Bay’s CanoeHouse restaurant, chefs Jonathan Waxman, Ming Tsai and Tyler Florence, along with Mauna Lani’s executive chef, Sandy Tuason, will prepare a six‐course dinner centered around the “best and freshest local island ingredients.” Each course will be matched with wines and, for select courses, Hinojosa’s cocktails.

The exact menu for the dinner will not be decided until the chefs visit Big Island farms to select ingredients. They are aiming for food that will be “bold and imaginative at one level, yet simple and focused at another,” and encourage a family‐style, communal dining experience. Tickets: $250 (including tax and tip).

The Celebrity Chef Tour brings James Beard Award winners and other celebrity chefs to venues around the country for dining events designed to replicate the experience of dining at the famed James Beard House in New York City. Later this year, the tour will be headed to Atlanta, Palm Desert, Calif., Eggleston, Va., and St. Louis, Mo. For additional information about the tour, click here.

For more details about Mauna Lani Bay resort and room rates for event attendees, click here.

To subscribe to HAWAII Magazine, click here.

Photos: Celebrity Chef Tours/Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows


Hula schools (hula halau) from across Hawaii and Japan will take the stage at the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu this weekend for the 22nd annual Moanikeala Hula Festival.

The festival (hoike) will get under way at 10 a.m. on Sat., Jan. 21 at the center’s Pacific Theater. Festival admission is $10 for adults, ages 16 and older; and $6 for children (keiki), ages 5 to 15. Admission is free for Kamaaina Annual Pass holders and keiki younger than 5. The event will wrap up at about 2 p.m.

The annual festival is held in honor of the Polynesian Cultural Center’s first hula master (kumu hula), Aunty Sally Moanikeala Wood Naluai, who started teaching students (haumana) at the center when it opened in 1963 and continued until her retirement in 1980. After retiring, she worked with the PCC as a consultant until she passed away in 2000. Many of her past haumana have since formed their own halau.

The Moanikeala Hula Festival, which started as a keiki hula competition, is now presented as a hoike featuring dancers of all ages performing ancient (kahiko) and modern (auana) hula and celebrating Hawaiian culture.

In a new release, Ellen Gay Dela Rosa, PCC’s theater director and Aunty Sally’s niece said: “With her love and passion for sharing the Hawaiian culture, especially hula, Aunty Sally touched the hearts of many, not only in Hawaii, but throughout Polynesia, the Pacific and the world.” She added, “Today her legacy is carried through her students, who continue to perform and share the culture of Hawaii.”


The Polynesian Cultural Center estimates that 36 million visitors have attended its presentations about culture, arts and crafts of Polynesia. The nonprofit provides financial assistance to young people from more than 70 different countries while they attend Brigham Young University-Hawaii. PCC’s revenue is used for daily operations and to support education. For more information about the center, click here.

To subscribe to HAWAII Magazine, click here.

Photos: Moanikeala Hula Festival
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