Archive for the ‘Around The Island’ Category

The History of Surfing in Hawaii

Monday, September 9th, 2013

The warm tropical waters and ideal breaking waves that surround the Hawaiian Islands make Hawaii a true surfing paradise. This ancient sport is deeply rooted in Hawaiian culture with surfers arriving from all corners of the globe to test themselves on the large and challenging waves found throughout Hawaii.

While no one knows for sure exactly when, where and who first tried surfing, it was likely attempted first in the Society Islands but later really took hold in the Hawaiian Islands. When Captain Cook landed on Hawaii in 1778, he documented some of the earliest written records that describe surfing, although ancient Polynesians had been surfing for hundreds of years prior to his observance. Hieroglyphics on lava rocks that depict people on surfboards have been found in Hawaii dating back over 500 years – although Hawaiians were likely surfing many centuries before that.

en51Surfing in Hawaiian culture

Surfers today typically consider surfing to be just a sport, but to ancient Hawaiians, surfing was considered to be part sport and part religion as a significant part of Hawaiian culture.

Surfing was even part of the Kapu system of government on the islands which helped to maintain a sense of order as well as societal classes. Surfboards used were divided into classes by the type of wood utilized as well as the length of the board with the largest and heaviest dedicated only for Hawaiian royalty.

The ruling class, or ali’I, used boards that were 14 to 16 feet long and carved out of the buoyant wood of the wiliwili tree, weighing as much as 175 pounds; this massive surfboard was called an olo and used only by the most exceptional surfers.

Surfing competitions were held to settle disputes including social standing, land ownership and even “who got the girl.” In order to maintain a high standing within the community, the island chief had to be the very best surfer, constantly testing his strength and skill in the waves in order to avoid being ousted by someone better.

Near extinction

In the early part of the 19th century, English settlers arrived on the islands and attempted to take control over the people, prohibiting many traditional practices nearly driving surfing practically to extinction. Hawaiian people endured years of oppression until social reform began at the start of the 20th century and a group of native Hawaiians revived surfing. Its resurgence continued and visitors who arrived enjoyed watching the sport with it eventually finding its way back to the mainland.

Surfing on the mainland

One documented story, according to Santa Cruz, California historian Geoff Dunn, is that three Hawaiian princes, Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana’ole, David Kawananakoa and Edward Keliiahonui visited family friends in Santa Cruz during their summer break from St. Matthew’s Hall, a military school for boys that they attended in San Mateo, in 1885. They were said to have ordered 15-foot, 100 pound surfboards carved from local redwood and paddled out at the river mouth where a large wave was said to have historically broke.

The royal family of Hawaii boosted this claim just a few years ago when they honored the princes who first introduced surfing on the mainland by giving the city a bronze plaque commemorating the event.

Today, surfing is one of the most popular sports along the California coast, although Hawaii is considered to be the ultimate surfer’s paradise, drawing enthusiasts from all over the world to enjoy some of the best surfing the sea has to offer.


We’re Just Five Minutes From White, Sandy Poipu Beach

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

en49Our seven air conditioned accommodations are a short five minute walk to Poipu Beach.  This is the only beach on the south shore of Kauai that is life guarded and has twice been named the number one beach in the United States.  You’ll enjoy sun bathing, swimming, snorkeling, boogie boarding, surfing and stand up paddle boarding.  Brennecke’s Restaurant is right across the street with a wide selection on their menu.  The hamburger is delicious as are the fish tacos.  Downstairs is the deli, where you can get a coffee and some take out breakfast.  For lunch grab one of their made to order deli sandwiches, some chips and a soda.  Perfect for those hot summer days.

Our video begins at Hideaway Cove and ends at the beach to give you a better idea of just how close Hideaway Cove is to the best beach on Kauai.


Top 3 Reasons Attending Hanapepe Art Night is a Must While Visiting Kauai

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

Hanapepe bills itself as the “biggest little town” on Kauai, and on Friday nights from 6.p.m to 9 p.m. it really comes alive with a fun and festive atmosphere featuring local works of art, live music and entertainment with local performers, as well as a wide variety of fantastic cuisine.

This charming historic town that is home to more art galleries than any other spot on Kauai was the inspiration for the Disney film, “Lilo & Stitch,” giving visitors the chance to embark on a journey into an era that is long gone in most places. On Fridays, sculptors and craftsmen keep their galleries open late and many local artists arrive to set up kiosks to display their work while local performers play Hawaiian music and other tunes in the streets.

Why should you attend Hanapepe Art Night?

en46The Food

There is an amazing variety of tasty and affordable food to be found on Friday nights in Hanapepe. Mele’s Kusina offers local favorites for just $7 a plate such as the Longanisa Plate with homemade vinegar pork sausage deep fried to a juicy golden brown and served with two scoops of rice and potato salad.

You’ll also find roadside truck vendors like the Monster Taco Truck and the Silver Elephant with Thai food. Little Fish Coffee not only offers coffee, but some of the best shaved ice on the island.

Many come to Hanapepe on Friday night just for the pie; the “Right Slice” offers heavenly slices of to-die-for pies.  Bobbie’s is known for some of the best Hawaiian barbecue on the island and delicious plates including Korean fried chicken, kalbi short ribs, breaded mahi mahi, teriyaki beef, Spam, loco moco and much more.

The Music

The musical entertainment here features everything from string trios to solo ukulele to slack key guitar and more. Westside Smitty is a favorite, belting out rockabilly tunes with a guitar slung in front and a harmonica propped near his mouth – you can’t miss him. He plays well-known ballads as well as outstanding original songs such as “Kekaha Rooster” and can often be found in front of the Storybook Theater or the Talk Story Book Store.

The Art

Of course the main feature of Hanapepe Art Night is the art! Located across from the Monster Tacos truck and the Talk Story Bookstore, Amy-Lauren’s Gallery is a favorite of many. Her collection is considered a “must-see,” featuring some of the most unique originals that showcase local artists.

Camille Fontaine is just one of the artists with works found here; she is the daughter of the famed local artist, James Doyle as well as the half-sister of the gallery owner, Amy-Lauren Jones. Her paintings are often comprised of vibrant colors complemented by an impressionist style similar to her father’s. Gallery manager Michael Sieradzki notes her work is like “Van Gogh with a twist of Mardis Gras.”

Friday nights in Hanapepe will also give visitors the chance to meet with some of these wonderful local artists and gallery owners. Don’t miss it!


The Old Koloa Mill Marks the Beginning of 172 Years of Sugar Cane Production on Kauai

Monday, August 5th, 2013

In 1835, the first successful sugarcane plantation was started at Koloa, Kauai with the Old Koloa Sugar Mill. William Hooper cleared 12 acres, planting the first sugar cane ever in the Hawaiian Islands.  Its first harvest in 1837 produced 2 tons of raw sugar and was sold for $200.

While sugarcane had been raised by ancient Hawaiians previously, it was done on small individual plots; it was the first large-scale commercial production in the Islands.

The sugar era also opened the door to a wave of immigrants that are today part of the Islands’ multicultural population.

en33172 years later, on October 30, 2009, Kauai’s last sugar cane company, Gary and Robinson made its final harvest on the island. With the end of sugar production on Kauai, there is just one producer of sugar cane left in Hawaii, Maui’s Alexander & Baldwin’s Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar co. Many feel that Hawaii’s sugar industry may be entering its final chapter and that within only a few short years it will be a thing of the past.

What remains of the very first sugar mill can be seen today in the grass park of historic Old Koloa Town. The mill began with large stone sugar grinders with plantation cut-cane hauled here by ox-cart until 1882 when the train tracks were built.  All that is left is part of its foundation and a 30-foot stone brick smoke stack, representing the rich history of sugar cane in Hawaii.

In 1912, the old mill was replaced by a much larger one to the east, with management changing hands several times, becoming a part of the Grove Farm Company in 1948. That plantation was shut down in 1996.

The site of the old building and its remains was designated a National Historic Landmark on December 29, 1962 with a plaque erected in 1965 stating that the site “possesses exceptional value in commemorating or illustrating the history of the United States.”

Koloa was developed as the company town for the sugar mill with a number of informative signs throughout the town describing the history of the area with most of the architecture refurbished while still remaining unique to a typical sugar plantation town.

Every year in July, Koloa Plantation Days is held to commemorate this rich past. For nine or ten days, depending on the year, the festival celebrates the ethnic groups that came to Hawaii to work the sugar plantations as well as the Hawaiians who welcomed them through music, dance, costumes and food. In 2013, the event takes place from July 19-28 with the 2014 festival to be held July 21-29.

If you aren’t fortunate enough to be in Kauai for this fun celebration, you can find out more about the history of sugar here by visiting the History Center in Old Koloa Town. The center allows visitors to trace the history of Koloa, the sugar industry and life in the plantation era through artifacts and photographs.


Kauai’s Scenic Coastal Path: Yet another Reason to Visit the Garden Isle

Monday, July 8th, 2013

There are many reasons to choose Kauai over Hawaii’s other islands, including its spectacular landscape filled with an abundance of waterfalls, lush gardens and picturesque beaches.  The opportunity to participate in nearly an endless number of outdoor activities can be found here, and just a few years ago yet another was added to that already long list.

kauai-coastal-path-kauai-attractionsThe Kauai Coastal Path offers the opportunity to take a gentle stroll or a casual bike ride along the island’s spectacular shores with expansive views of the dazzling Pacific. The path begins at Kappa town north of Wailua on the island’s east side and heads north past Kealia – it continues to be extended each year.

While there are opportunities for more thrilling, challenging bike rides such as through Wailua Canyon, this path is fairly flat with few hills, making it ideal for people of all ages and abilities who want to get out and cycle

Walk, ride or run and experience breathtaking scenery as it stretches the coastline for miles. From December to May, when the magnificent humpback whales are in the area you might just see these gentle giants put on an exciting display as they tail slap or breech through the water.

is a prime place found along the Kauai Coastal Path for whale watching while dolphins and turtles can be seen year round.

Don’t forget your bathing suit as well as a picnic lunch. Kealia Beach is a beautiful crescent shaped beach over a half-mile long offering sheltered picnic tables. This is also a popular place to swim when the surf is calm. You might remember this beach from the film “The Descendants.”

Along the entire Kauai Coast Path you’ll find numerous pavilions with the opportunity to enjoy outdoor dining and stunning ocean views.

At the end of the path, be sure to take the short hike to Secluded Cove, a beautiful spot filled with brilliantly-colored fish among black lava rock and coral formations.

Bike rentals

You’ll find a number of bike rental shops in the area, including Coconut Coasters. Rent a classic style cruiser starting at $8.50 per hour, with special deals for a half-day, full-day or even an entire week. For a romantic ride, check out the bicycle built for two!

Those with small children can rent a trailer that attaches to an adult bike, while kids ages six through 12 can choose from bikes meant especially for their size.

Kapaa Beach Shop is another great place to rent bikes.  Most shops require you to return your bikes by 4pm, which means having to miss the beautiful sunsets at the beach.  Owner Janie and her husband live behind their shop, so bringing their bikes back after the sun sets is no problem.  Just let them know when you leave that you’ll be coming back after dark.  If you are going to watch the sunset and ride home afterward, please be sure and bring a flashlight as the bike path does not have lights and is very dark in places.

Come to Kauai and see for yourself why so many travelers return to the island again and again.


Kauai Tsunami Update March 25, 2011

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

Photo by Peter Liu-Maui                       Maui damage                                       Maui home

To get a better idea of the extent of damage to the Hawaiian Islands and Kauai specifically by the recent tsunami, it is helpful to look at the damage estimates for each island.  According to the State Civil Defense, the preliminary damage estimates from the tsunami that hit Hawaii after the Honshu earthquake in Japan totals $30.6 million.

An estimated $2.3 mission of damage was incurred by public infrastructure on the Big Island.  Maui suffered $2.7 million in public damage while Honolulu had $3.4 million.  Kauai had $60,400 in damage to its public infrastructure.  The damage to businesses and private property was estimated separately.  Big Island businesses suffered $13.5 million in losses and $2.5 million in damages was reported to Big Island homes.  On Maui, the damage figures were $5.5 million to private property, including boats and $600,000 to private homes.

As can be seen by these numbers, the largest amount of damages were on the Big Island, representing under 60% of the total losses in the state.  Maui had the second highest total of damages followed by Honolulu and Kauai.

I reported in an earlier blog that the tsunami had been a non event here on Kauai.  These loss estimate numbers bear that out, at least in relation to the damages to the other major Hawaiian islands. This in no way is meant to minimize the losses by Kauai residents who suffered some flooding and damages to their boats.  Fortunately those losses did not include any loss of life.


Tsunami Update from Kauai

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

This photo by Garden Island Photographer Dennis Fujimoto is of the crowds in the King Kaumuali‘i

Elementary School cafeteria in Hanama‘ulu while waiting out the tsunami warning in the early morning

hours, Friday. The holding area reached its capacity just before 2 a.m. with lines overflowing the cafeteria

while others spent the night sleeping in their vehicles parked in the school’s parking lot.

The Tsunami sirens sounded for the first time at 10pm and all residents in low lying areas had to evacuate.


photo.JPG photo.JPG


This included all of our guests at Hideaway Cove, so after calling everyone and letting them know what

was happening, we invited everyone up to our home.  The first wave was not due to arrive until 3am, so

there was plenty of time.  Our 18 guests starting arriving around 11pm and everyone was here by midnight.

In these photos you can see everyone enjoying the buffet breakfast we cooked up at 7am.  The all clear signal

was given at 8am and everyone was able to return to Hideaway soon after.


For the most part Kauai did not suffer significant damage.  This photo, also by Dennis Fujimoto of the

Garden Island shows a pier area at Nawiliwili Harbor with the water at unusually low levels.  Properties

that suffered the most water damage were located close to the ocean and built right a sea level.  If you ever

wonder why you see so many house on the north shore of Kauai that appear to be built on stilts, now you

know why.


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Tuesday, March 1st, 2011


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Missing Sign Found

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Earlier in the week, Kauai resident Janos Samos reported a sign had been stolen.  He said a community group cleaned up the Hanapepe lookout area, located on Kaumuali‘i Highway. The area beyond the guardrail had been full of trash for years, he said. The cleanup crew erected an aluminum sign with an educational message, greeting the visitors with Aloha. On or about Dec. 28, the sign, along with its concrete footing, was stolen. The group was asking for help to recover the sign.  Here is what the sign looked like:

On the surface this seemed to me to be a pretty reasonable request.  The sign is missing, they’d like it back. After all, who would want to steal a good looking sign like this?  Then I decided to read the sign, although the print was pretty small.  As best I can tell it reads “This area was cleaned ukp by the local citizens and supporters of the Lawful Hawaiian Government who love their ‘aina (land).  Please keep our beautiful island clean.  Take your trash back home or dispose of it in the containers, and remember (Next part written in both Hawaiian and English) Kauai is not America and never will be.  Enjoy your stay on Kauai!

Whoa!  What was that part about Kauai not being a part of America? Now I’m getting the sense this was no ordinary sign, and sure enough a follow up article in the newspaper a few days later said that the sign was not, in fact, stolen.  The mayor’s office had received a complaint of a sign being placed on State land and the sign was removed by the state Department of Transportation  No mention was ever made in the paper of the wording on the sign.


Hawaii November Visitor Spending Increases 30%

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011
According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, total spending by visitors who came to Hawai’i in November 2010 rose 30.4 percent, or $227.8 million, from November 2009, to $976 million. Total expenditures for the first 11 months of 2010 were $10.3 billion, a 16 percent increase compared to the same periodlast year, according to preliminary statistics released.
For the third consecutive month (since September 2010) total visitor spending increased by double digits on all islands.
The growth in visitor spending for November 2010 was due to higher average daily visitor spending (+10.5%), and an 18.2 percent increase in total arrivals to 577,540 visitors. Total arrivals by air grew 17.6 per-
cent from November 2009 to 560,588 visitors. Canada (+28.2%), U.S. West (+23%) and U.S. East (+18.1%) showed double-digit growth, while arrivals from Japan rose 3.3 percent from last November. Arrivals by cruise ships increased 43.5 percent to 16,952 visitors.
For the first 11 months of 2010, total visitor days for all visitors increased 8.9 percent compared to year-to- date 2009, and total arrivals rose 8.6 percent, to 6,450,795 visitors.