Hawaii Today edited by Derek Paiva Page: 1 2 3 Next>>

Hawaii_Kailua_Kona_whale_HonokohauOcean recreation tour operators in Honokohau Harbor kicked off a very early start to the 2012-13 whale-watching season yesterday morning when they spotted a humpback whale in waters near the Big Island’s Kailua-Kona area.

The confirmed sighting may be the earliest to be documented in recent history, according to a news release issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Last year’s first sighting was on Sept. 26. The first sighting for both 2010 and 2009 occurred on Oct. 20. According to the Maui-based Pacific Whale Foundation, which has records from at least the last dozen years, prior to this week’s confirmed sighting, the earliest arrival of the first humpback was on Sept. 16, 2000. The latest occurred on Nov. 11, 2005.

According to a NOAA news release, tour companies Atlantis Submarines, Captain Zodiac, Kona Diving Company and Wild Hawaii Ocean Adventures yesterday observed an adult humpback whale surfacing off Honokohau Harbor.Hawaii_Kailua_Kona_whale_Honokohau

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.

With the arrival of humpbacks, NOAA reminds ocean to keep a safe distance from these 45-ton visitors to 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 planet’s most important humpback whale habitats.
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 Islands.Hawaii_Kailua_Kona_whale_Honokohau

Peak whale-viewing months are typically January through March. The last remaining mothers and their calves usually depart our Islands for Alaska by early May.

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. For shoreline recommendations, check out Hawaii Magazine’s Landlubber’s Guide to Whale Watching in the Islands

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

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

Hawaii_Maui_Kaanapali_Fresh_festival_cuisineThe inaugural Kaanapali Fresh — a three-day event showcasing Maui’s culinary artistry with island-grown eats, music, culture and outdoorsy activities — is slated to get under way tomorrow.

Among the foodie highlights: Kaanapali’s Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa will play host to those lucky enough to have tickets to everything from brunch and dinner to cocktails and dessert. Dining will feature farm-to-table menus prepared by teams consisting of a wine expert, a farmer, and a chef. (The lineup includes 15 Maui’s chefs and 12 local farms.)

Also, a progressive dining event will take diners to epicurean delights at three Kaanapali resort properties; and a Grown-on-Maui farmers market in Whalers Village will provide Fresh festivalgoers a chance to talk story with farmers and chefs.

Evening musical performances will feature alternative rockers Third Eye Blind and the venerable jazz ensemble Spyro Gyra (pictured, below). Opening for SpyroGyra will be Hawaii’s Makana — an acclaimed slack key guitarist, singer, and composer. His song Deep in an Ancient Hawaiian Forest is featured on the soundtrack of the Academy Award winning movie, The Descendants.Hawaii_Maui_Kaanapali_Fresh_festival_cuisine

Kaanapali Fresh’s outdoor activities will under way throughout West Maui’s Kaanapali resort area, which is bordered by three miles of white-sand beach (pictured, above), with options ranging from parasailing and golfing to a local coffee farm tour. Proceeds from some pre-booked activities will help benefit the Maui Food Bank. For more details about day and evening events and activities, click here.

In a news release issued by event organizers, Michael Jokovich, president of Kaanapali Beach Resort Association said: "Kaanapali Fresh invites people to discover aspects of Kaanapali that they may not have previously been aware of.”

Shelley Kekuna, the association’s executive director, added, “All in all, Kaanapali Fresh is a unique occasion for our entire resort to come together and bring people a culmination of culinary creativity, memorable entertainment, and relaxing play.”

For more details about Kaanapali Fresh’s schedule (Aug. 31-Sept. 2) and ticket information, click here.

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Photos: Kaanapali Fresh

Hawaii_Oahu_Waikiki_Aloha_Festival_sweepstakesCongratulations to Joann Hoxha of Burlington, Mass. — the winner of our HAWAII Magazine’s Aloha Festivals Oahu Flyaway contest.

Joann’s name was drawn at random from more than 9,000 sweepstakes entries submitted through our Facebook page over a three-week stretch. Her prize?

• Complimentary Hawaiian Airlines roundtrip coach airfare for Joann and one guest between Oahu and one of 11 gateway cities served by Hawaiian Airlines in North America.

• Five-days/four-nights complimentary accommodations at the Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki, Sept. 20-24, 2012.

• Dinner for two at the Royal Hawaiian Center in Waikiki.

• Two 48-hour passes on AlohaBus.

• Merchandise gifts from the Aloha Festivals.

• VIP seating at the 66th Annual Aloha Festivals Floral Parade, on Sept. 22.

Joann (pictured, above) entered the sweepstakes shortly after losing her job as a marketing coordinator. She said: “You always think when you’re out of work, ‘Oh, I’ll travel more,’” but a tighter between-jobs-budget can sometimes nix the very idea of getting away.Hawaii_Oahu_Waikiki_Aloha_Festival_sweepstakes

So, when Joann spotted HAWAII Magazine’s Aloha Festivals Flyaway sweepstakes, she submitted an entry. “When I saw that there were 30,000 likes on the (HAWAII Magazine) Facebook page, I thought: ‘It’s a long shot, but I’ll give it a try.'"

And now, of course, Joann and her husband, Dritan, are very glad she did. Still somewhat stunned by her sweepstakes win, Joann added, “For this to fall in your lap, it’s pretty incredible.”

Once on Oahu, the couple — both first-time visitors — will attend the 2012 Aloha Festivals. Now in its 66th year, the Aloha Festivals is one of Hawaii’s longest-running cultural celebrations. Founded in 1946 as Aloha Week, the celebration was renamed Aloha Festivals in 1991. This year’s theme, Ho‘onui ‘Ike, translates as “to increase knowledge, enrich.”

A big mahalo from HAWAII Magazine to our Aloha Festivals Oahu Flyaway co-partners and prize sponsors Hawaiian Airlines, Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki, Royal Hawaiian Center, AlohaBus and Aloha Festivals!

Congrats, once again, to Joann and Dritan! We hope that you enjoy your Oahu visit!

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Photo: (top) courtesy of Joann Hoxha; (bottom) Aloha Festivals

Hawaii_Kona_outrigger_canoe_racesThis holiday weekend, more than 2,000 outrigger canoe paddlers from around the world will assemble in the Big Island’s Kona area to compete in the 2012 Queen Liliuokalani Long Distance Outrigger Canoe Races.

Crews from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Tahiti, United Kingdom and the United States will take part in the races, which will get under way on Saturday morning (Sept. 1) with the event’s signature 18-mile race along the Kona Coast. The racing will wrap up on Mon., Sept 3.

Billed as the “world's largest long distance outrigger canoe race,” the event was launched in 1972 to serve as tune-up race to prep paddlers for the grueling distance races from the island of Molokai to Oahu (more than 38 miles). The women’s race is called Na Wahine O Ke Kai. The men’s race, which serves as the world championship for outrigger canoe racing, is the Molokai Hoe.

Named in honor of the last reigning monarch of Hawaii, Queen Liliuokalani, and, initially, the first race fell on the Queen's birthday, Sept. 2.

Over the years, the race has grown from a one-day event to three days of racing, with the first day being the strenuous single-hull canoe races, which cover the miles between Kailua and Honaunau, followed by double hull and one-person canoe races on Sunday. On Monday, the “Alii Challenge,” a northward paddle from Kailua-Kona to Kona Village.

Held each year on Labor Day Weekend, the event also features a Saturday evening torchlight paddlers parade, which will begin at Hale Halawai (a historic church in the Kona District), wind through Historic Kailua Village and end on Kailua Pier. The public is invited to line up along Alii Drive and cheer for the crews. For more information about Queen Liliuokalani Long Distance Outrigger Canoe Races, click here.

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Photo: Queen Liliuokalani Long Distance Outrigger Canoe Races

The United States Mint will officially release the new Hawaii Volcanoes National Park quarter during a ceremony set for tomorrow (Wed., Aug. 29) near Kilauea, the Big Island volcano depicted on the coin.

The public is invited to attend the ceremony, and the new coin (pictured, right) will be available for coin/currency exchange. Park entrance fees will be waived while festivities are under way, between noon and 3 p.m. The ceremony is slated to start at 1:30 p.m. at Kahua Hula near Kilauea Visitors Center.

During the ceremony, some 2,000 Hawaii Volcanoes National Park quarters will be poured into a special receiving bowl and then handed out to schoolchildren in the audience. For anyone else interested in picking up the new coin, $10 rolls of the commemorative quarters will be available for coin/currency exchange.

The new quarter is part of the United States Mint’s America the Beautiful Quarters® Program. The coin features an engraved image of an eruption on Kilauea’s East Rift Zone on its reverse (tails) side and inscriptions that read HAWAII VOLCANOES, HAWAII 2012 and E PLURIBUS UNUM. It was designed and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Charles L. Vickers.

The Hawaii Volcanoes’ quarter is the fourth quarter to be launched this year, and the 14th in a series of 56 circulating America the Beautiful Quarters. The reverse side designs are symbolic of a national park or other national site in each state, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. All coins in the program have a common obverse (heads side) featuring, of course, the portrait of George Washington and the inscriptions UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, LIBERTY, IN GOD WE TRUST and QUARTER DOLLAR.

In a news release issued by Volcanoes National Park, its superintendent, Cindy Orlando, said: “This highly collectible quarter is a significant milestone for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, for the residents of Hawaii, and for the Hawaii Island destination. “ She added that now everyone may carry in his or her pocket a reminder of Hawaii’s first World Heritage Site.

This year, the World Heritage Program, which is operated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), is marking its 40th anniversary. It designated Volcanoes National Park as a World Heritage site in 1987 for its "superlative attributes of universal value important to the common heritage of humanity — in particular, the park’s biological, cultural and geologic resources," according to the news release.

Two years ago, Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument —the largest single area dedicated to conservation in the United States — was dedicated as Hawaii's second United Nations World Heritage site. The 140,000 square-mile monument — stretching from Nihoa Island, northwest of Kauai, to Kure Atoll — is home to over 7,000 marine species, one-fourth of which are found nowhere else on Earth.

Puu Oo, a cinder cone on Kilauea volcano’s eastern flanks (pictured, left), 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.

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

HawaiiMagazine.com reports 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.

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Photos: (top) U.S. Mint image, (bottom) Hawaiian Volcano Observatory/U.S. Geological Survey

Hawaii_Oahu_Pearl_Harbor_Ford_Island_battleshipHawaii-filmed Battleship, an action-adventure/science-fiction movie that made its box-office debut earlier this year, will have its DVD/Blu-ray/digital download or “home release” tomorrow. To mark the occasion, a free screening will be held at the Battleship Missouri Memorial — the very ship that stars in the movie.

In addition to the 45,000-ton ship, the movie stars Liam Neeson, Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker and Rihanna.

The screening of the Universal Pictures movie is set for 7 p.m. tomorrow (Aug. 28) at the memorial on Ford Island in Oahu’s Pearl Harbor, with complimentary shuttle service available from the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center (starting at 5:30). Reservations are required — RSVP to USS Missouri.org/MoMovies.

Refreshments and Battleship merchandise will be for sale.  Attendees are invited to arrive early to learn more about the historic battleship, known as the “Mighty Mo.”Hawaii_Oahu_Pearl_Harbor_Ford_Island_battleship

This weekend, the memorial will host another event — the annual commemoration of the end of World War II. 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.

The formal surrender aboard the USS Missouri followed V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day), May 8, 1945, when German troops laid down their arms after Germany surrendered to Allied Nations. Japan announced its surrender on Aug. 15 (Japan time) and formalized the agreement on Sept. 2 aboard the ship, thereby finalizing the Allies’ victory over Axis Powers.

The memorial— now located a ship’s length from the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor  —will mark the 67th anniversary of the end of World War II in the Pacific with a free ceremony set to begin at 8 a.m. on Sun., Sept. 2. The keynote speaker will be James Zoble, senior archivist for the MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, Va. The anniversary event is free but reservations are encouraged, as space is limited. To RSVP online, click here.

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Photos: Battleship Missouri Memorial at sunset/Thomas Fake; (bottom) filming Battleship aboard the "Mighty Mo/Battleship Missouri Memorial." 

Last year (and the year before), the scene looked something like this: thousands of excited fans happily snapping photos and cheering for Hawaii Five-O cast members as the actors walk a red carpet rolled out on the sand edging Oahu’s south shore.

Then, a few of the lead actors and others tied to our favorite Hawaii-filmed re-imagined police procedural TV drama address fans from a stage fronting a 30-foot screen. And finally, the crowd quiets down for the special Sunset on the Beach advance screening of a show episode in Waikiki.

Sound like fun? According to local news reports, if you happen to be on Oahu on Sun., Sept. 23, you are cordially invited to check out Hawaii Five-O’s third round of red-carpet razzmatazz, which will be followed by the screening of the first episode of the 2012-13 season. The episode will be broadcast elsewhere on Mon., Sept. 24.  

Alex O’Loughlin (rule-bending Det. Steve McGarrett) and the show’s other primary cast members — Scott Caan (Danny “Danno” Williams), Grace Park (Kona “Kono” Kalakaua) and Daniel Dae Kim (Chin Ho Kelly)— are expected to attend as are other cast members and show producers/executives. If you want to see the carpet-walkers up-close, arrive early. Fans will begin assembling long before sunset for the free event at Kuhio Beach Park, across street from the Honolulu Zoo.

In March, Hawaii-Five-O was among 18 prime time television series renewed by CBS for the 2012-13 season.

It appears that filming is still under way. A few weeks ago, we spotted camera crews setting up early morning shots in leafy Manoa Valley, and earlier this week cameras and actors were situated near Honolulu’s Chinatown area, just a few blocks from HAWAII Magazine’s downtown offices.

For additional information about Hawaii Five-O, click here.

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Photo: (left to right - Daniel Dae Kim, , Scott Caan, Grace Park, and Alex O'Loughlin) CBS

Hawaii Volcanoes Institute — an educational seminar sponsored by the nonprofit Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park — is offering a Pu’uloa Petroglyph Walk, which spotlights hundreds of ancient symbols carved into lava over countless generations.

The guided 1.5-mile easy-going round-trip walk through windswept coastal lowlands is set for 8:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sat., Aug. 25. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is home to the largest petroglyph field in the state, which is accessible via a trailhead 17 miles down Chain of Craters Road. For more information about this weekend's seminar and registration fees, click here or call (808) 985-7373.

In other news tied to Volcanoes National Park, yesterday park officials announced a lineup of three free programs that aim to introduce hikers to intriguing landscapes, biodiversity and history in the park’s southernmost section.Hawaii_Volcano_National_Park_Kilauea_hiking_petroglyph

Officials also announced that a new 4.5-mile hiking trail in Volcanoes National Park’s Kahuku area is now open to visitors.

Located between 3,880 feet and 4,440 feet above sea level, the new Kona Trail (pictured, left) offers sweeping views of Ka Lae, the Kau coast, and it crosses a rugged lava landscape left behind by the 1887 Mauna Loa flow. The loop trail winds through old pastures and native forests, and alongside native plant restoration areas. Its hiking difficulty level is rated as “moderate.”

Kahuku is located on Highway 11, near mile marker 70.5 on the mauka side of the road. The Kona Trail is about 5.5 miles from the Kahuku entrance up a steep, rough and rocky road. Four-wheel drive is strongly recommended. Parking for the Kona Trail is at the Lower and Upper Glover Trailheads.

Kahuku and the new Kona Trail are open Saturdays (except the first Saturday of each month) and Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Here’s the park’s three-program lineup.

People and Land of Kahuku — A three-hour excursion (2 miles) through pastures, a quarry, an airstrip and the 1868 lava fields of Kahuku. Rangers will explain how people lived on the vast Kahuku lands, from the earliest Hawaiians through today. Participants will hike in emerging native forest, hear about Kahuku’s history of violent earthquakes and eruptions and the residents who survived them, and find out how Volcanoes National Park plans to restore the native ecosystem and protect Kahuku’s cultural sites.

Guided hikes: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., on Sun., Aug. 26, Sept. 9, Sept. 22, Oct. 14 and Nov. 10.  Drive through the Kahuku gate, which is located on the mauka side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5. Meet at visitor contact tent, near ranch buildings. No advance registration is required.

Kipuka Akihi — A five-hour adventure (1.5 miles) to see rare plants and wildlife. Participants must be prepared to scramble over fallen trees, lava rock, and slippery, wet terrain. Wear sturdy hiking shoes, long pants, sunscreen and a hat. Bring raingear, garden gloves, day-pack, insect repellent, lunch and water. This forest stewardship program provides opportunities to help protect this rainforest by pulling up invasive kahili ginger and other invasive non-native plants throughout the kipuka. No advance registration is required.

This program, which takes hikers into Kahuku’s isolated refuge of rare plants is offered from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sat., Aug. 25, Sept. 23, Oct. 21 and Nov. 24. Drive through the Kahuku gate, on the mauka side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5. Meet at  visitor contact tent.

Palm Trail — The Palm Trail, an easy-going 2.6 mile loop through scenic pasture along an ancient cinder cone, offers some of the best panoramic views Kahuku has to offer.  Along the way are relics of the ranching era, sections of remnant native forest and striking volcanic features from the 1868 eruptive fissures. The trail opened in October 2011.

Guided hikes: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 15 and Sept. 29. Drive through the Kahuku gate, on mauka side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5. Meet at the visitor contact tent. No advance registration is required.

For more information about Volcanoes National Park or Friends of Volcanoes National Park, click here and here, respectively.

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Photos: (top) Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park; (bottom) park ranger and hikers on Kona Trail/(National Park Service) Jay Robinson 

Hawaii_Molokai_Maui_Kalaupapa_photographyA photography exhibit detailing life at a former settlement for Hansen’s disease (leprosy) patients at the Kalaupapa Peninsula of Molokai, is now on display at Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului.

A Reflection of Kalaupapa — Past, Present and Future, with photography by Wayne Levin, features portraits of Kalaupapa patients and their families. Supplemented by archival documents and interviews, along with rarely seen historical photographs, Levin’s work depicts residential life in this remote northern peninsula on Molokai. Levin began taking photographs at the former settlement in 1984 — about 15 years after the state’s Hansen’s disease segregation laws were lifted.  At that time, many patients were continuing to reside at the former settlement site. Even today, a small group of Hansen’s disease patients live there.

The exhibit is organized by Ka' Ohana O' Kalaupapa, a nonprofit dedicated to advocacy and remembrance of the estimated 8,000 patients banished to the leprosy settlement. A Reflection of Kalaupapa is supported by Hawaii Council for the Humanities, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Hawaii Tourism Authority, Atherton Family Foundation, Fred Baldwin Memorial Foundation and IDEA (International Association for Integration, Dignity and Economic Advancement for people with Hansen’s disease). 

Maui Arts & Cultural Center's Schaefer International Gallery is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and before shows in Castle Theater.  Admission is free. For more information, call gallery director Neida Bangerter at 808-243-4288 or click here.Hawaii_Molokai_Maui_Kalaupapa_photography

A Reflection of Kalaupapa will be on display at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center through Sept. 30, 2012. A related exhibit, which focuses on the relationship between the people of Kalaupapa and the Kingdom of Hawaii’s leaders, is on display in Iolani Palace (through December), near downtown Honolulu. For additional information about the exhibit at the palace, call (808) 236-9155.

Leprosy first surfaced in the Hawaiian Islands in the early 19th century. By that time, native Hawaiians had already been ravaged by other contagious diseases, ranging from measles to cholera, introduced to the long-isolated Islands in the late 1700s with the arrival of European explorers and other outsiders. By the mid-1800s, an estimated four-fifths of the pre-contact population of about 250,000 native Hawaiians had died from diseases for which they had little, if any, immunity.

In 1865, with the leprosy spreading at a rapid rate among native Hawaiians, King Kamehameha V instituted An Act to Prevent the Spread of Leprosy. As executed by the Board of Health, the law, by 1866, quarantined anyone diagnosed with the disease to a settlement at Kalaupapa Peninsula, virtually separated from the rest of Molokai by sheer 2,000-foot pali (cliffs).Hawaii_Molokai_Maui_Kalaupapa_photography

The flat, five-square-mile triangular peninsula was created by a late-stage eruption occurring long after the north shore sea cliffs had majestically eroded to much the way they appear today, all but securing its isolation.  With today’s access to Kalaupapa (Hawaiian for “flat leaf”) limited to small plane, boat, or a trek down the pali’s narrow 2.9-mile trail — complete with 26 switchbacks — the feeling of isolation persists.

From 1866 until 1969, the State Board of Health’s patient segregation laws were in effect. In some cases, patients were accompanied to the settlement by healthy relatives or friends known as nā kōkua (in Hawaiian, “the helpers”). The exiled were initially relegated to Kalawao, on the peninsula’s windward side. The settlement was later relocated to Kalaupapa, situated on the more arid leeward side of the peninsula. Both sites are now part of Kalaupapa National Historical Park.

More details about life in the settlement is included in a HAWAII Magazine story (September/October 2012) about Mother Marianne Cope, who served the exiled patients in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The Roman Catholic sister will be canonized as Hawaii’s second saint on Oct. 21, 2012.

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Photos: images included in "A Reflection of Kalaupapa — Past, Present and Future." (Top) Descendants of Kalaupapa settlement residents offer ho'okupu at field over an estimated 1,000 unmarked graves (2010) Wayne Levin; (middle) Hawaii's first saint, Father Damien, on Kalaupapa (historic photo); and (bottom) Kalaupapa beach house (1986)/Wayne Levin.

Hawaii_Oahu_Honolulu_airlineAllegiant Air, a Nevada-based airline owned by Allegiant Travel Company, announced this week that, starting in February 2013, it will begin providing weekly direct service between Honolulu and the Mesa-Phoenix area in Arizona. The new service increases the airline's planned mainland-Oahu lineup to include a total of 10 cities in Western states.      

Introductory fares for one-way flights between Honolulu International Airport and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (about 20 miles south of the downtown Phoenix area) are as low as $199 for air service that’s slated to begin on Feb. 7, 2013. However, the fares are limited (not available for all flights) and must be purchased by Tues., Aug. 28 for travel by April 16, 2013. For more information about flight schedules, click here or call 702-505-8888. For information about baggage fees (including fees for carry-on luggage), click here.

In a news release issued yesterday by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the state tourism agency’s president and CEO, Mike McCartney, said the route, which will be in operation three-times weekly, "opens up access to and from Arizona's third-largest city (Mesa)." Currently, the only other Arizona city with direct service to Hawaii is Phoenix (Phoenix Air Harbor International Airport) .

Allegiant made its first-ever flight to Hawaii in late June, when it launched its service from Las Vegas to Honolulu. On July 1, the airline sent its first flight from Fresno, Calif. to Honolulu International Airport. In May, the carrier announced that, starting in mid-November, it will provide nonstop air service from Monterey, Calif., Bellingham, Wash., Eugene, Ore., Santa Maria, Calif., and Stockton, Calif. In addition, beginning on Nov. 14, it will fly from Maui's Kahului Airport to Bellingham.

Also, earlier this month, the airline announced that on Feb. 8 and Feb. 9 it will start providing weekly service from Honolulu to Spokane, Wash. and Boise, Idaho, respectively. 

Founded in 1997, Allegiant Travel Company specializes in providing low-cost travel packages that include air, hotel, rental car and attractions. For additional information about Allegiant Air, click here.

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Photo: Lanikai Beach (Kailua), Oahu/David Croxford
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