By Tina Rulewicz
Magic mingles with mist, saturating Hawaii with exquisite beauty, where diverse climates exist on each island. Geology and legend parallel each other in the State’s formation centuries ago.
Formed from volcanic activity, the tale of Hawaii’s birth gives a charming alternative to its geological explanation. Hawaiian lore commences with the tale of Pele, the cunning goddess of volcanoes.
Possessing power to cause earthquakes and volcanic eruption, Pele formed the Islands of Hawaii, starting with Kauai and finishing with Hawaii. She now rests atop the active volcano, Kilauea, on the Big Island. She created the islands during an arduous battle with her sister, often recovering from near-death.
Capturing and promoting the Hawaiian cultural experience is the Ritz Carlton, an exclusive resort set on 54 acres in Kapulua, Maui. A five diamond resort that offers five diamond services, in addition to famous golf courses and popular ammenities, the resort presents a program run by a prominent cultural practitioner, Clifford Naeole.
Hawaiian culture runs deep, explains Mike Masterson, Director of Sales and Marketing. “You can’t really find the true Hawaiian cultural experience in a lot of places. You get the traditional luaus with the fire dancing that people think is Hawaii but that’s part of it. What Clifford delivers and what he talks about is the really true Hawaii experience in terms of how it’s viewed by the host culture.”
Evidenced by erosion levels, and coincidently how Pele shaped them, the islands are younger from northwest to southeast. The eight islands of Hawaii (Nihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe, Maui, and, Hawaii) dwell on a hot spot (magma source) below the ocean floor. Crafted from volcanoes that have grown over millions of years, the islands are produced from one or more volcanoes. With eruption over the centuries, lava flowed, solidified, and formed mountains that continued to grow. Once the mountains (shield volcanoes) reached the ocean’s surface, the islands were spawned.
The youngest island, Hawaii, still grows as Kilauea continues to erupt.
The Hawaiian Islands’ volcanic formation has fashioned intriguing and vastly different beaches. Hawaiian beaches subsist in different shapes, sizes, consistencies, and colors. While some beaches contain white sand, others have green sand, or blackish hued sand. Some of the sand is soft, comprised of coral, fine rocks, and shells, while others are blended with lava rocks.
The Oahu beaches’ conception possesses much geological interest. When the Wainae and Koalau Volcanoes cracked the ocean’s surface, they created shield volcanoes that turned into the island itself. These volcanoes emerged on each side of the island, appearing to enfold it. As the shield volcanoes erupted (over a million years ago), their sides fell under the ocean surface, leaving the attractive beaches of Oahu.
Oahu also hosts one of Waikiki’s nude and gay beaches. Diamond Head Lighthouse Beach is on Kalakau Ave. Once at the beach, the far right is the gay section. While it is illegal to sunbathe nude in Hawaii, many people do so at their own risk.
In Makena, Maui, Little Beach is also known for its nude and gay sections. With the sea turtles, whales, and white sand, a drum circle gathering occurs on Sunday afternoons. Musicians, artists, and whoever wants to be a part of the fun and soul cleansing is welcome.
Within 20 minutes of Little Beach is the Maui Sunseeker LGBT. Across from Mai Poina ’Oe la’u beach and in Kihei, Maui, the Sunseeker caters to the gay and lesbian community, yet also welcomes heterosexuals.
Sunskeer LGBT Resort owner, Chuck Spence, articulates that the resort dons extraordinary views, a magical rooftop where guests mingle and make life-long friends, intrinsic amenities, and outside activities, all at a very reasonable price.
“When you come to stay at the Maui Sunseeker LGBT Resort, you’re a significant person that we care about.”
Mr. Spence and his staff find it vital to provide each visitor with the individual attention necessary to make their vacation the best it can be. The resort’s goal is to ensure that guests have a true Hawaiian experience on their stay. “We really emphasize the Hawaii experience, and I think that because of that we have an astonishing return rate of 42%,” proudly states Mr. Spence.
In addition to differing types of beaches, Hawaii’s islands also possess different climates within each island. Particularly apparent on the Big Island, one can find barren lava fields, beautiful valleys, and a tropical rain forest. The mountains prevent northeasterly trade winds from passing through, causing a dry west coast, while the east side of the island receives much rain. This results in making the west side of the island an excellent climate for growing coffee. World renowned Kona Coffee grows in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. An ideal location in which to grown this tasty coffee, Kona has mild wind, sunny mornings, little rain, along with rich volcanic soil. Kona Coffee blooms in February and green berries (cherries) coat the trees by April. These berries turn red and are ripe by August. Hand-picked regularly between August and January, the “cherries” are separated from the pulp, fermented, rinsed, and laid out to dry. Finally, after a several day drying and storing process, the beans are either roasted or sold.
Although a debated issue, it is widely accepted that Hawaii was first settled by the Polynesians. Known for their sailing skills and love of nature, much of the ancient Polynesian tradition is found in modern Hawaii. The earliest form of structured law was designed to protect the land on which they lived.
The land the ancient settlers preserved maintains its original loveliness and attraction. Magnificent waterfalls, breath-taking valleys, populated and unpopulated beaches, famous roads, plant and animal life provide visitors with much to do. On the Big Island, drive along Saddleback Road, the narrow, foggy and white-knuckle inducing road that runs east to west through the Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea Volcanoes. Usually off limits to rental cars, this scenic road has two observatories on both mountain peaks.
Banyan Drive, on the Big Island, is an eastern shore road that is lined by trees planted by famous people throughout the years. To name a few, Babe Ruth, FDR, Amelia Earhart, and Louis Armstrong planted trees.
In Oahu, the setting for many famous television shows and movies is the Ka’a’awa Valley, a part of Kualoa Ranch. This preserved valley remains chiefly untouched and provided the amazing scenery for Lost, Godzilla, and Pearl Harbor. Oahu also has an historic nature park, called Waimea Valley. Hike through this park that contains many rare plant species, excellent views, and a swimming hole.
Throughout Hawaii, visitors marvel at the tremendous waterfalls. Some can be hiked, while others can only be viewed by helicopter. Stunning Kauai is home to the famous Wailua Falls.
Known for its appearance in the opening of Fantasy Island, the waterfall descends 80 feet. Says Melissa Howard, Public Relations Manager of the Sheraton Kauai Resort, “From the lush green mountains that fall into the brilliant pacific to the tight, local community – Kauai is small but has a force that is very strong that attracts people of inner-most strength and respect for the sacred land, culture, and rich history.”
The Sheraton Kauai Resort rests on Poipu Beach, one of the most famous beaches in the world. The Sheraton staff and Kauai’s beauty combine to give guests unbelievable experiences. Strengthened by a tight local community, the Sheraton Kauai Resort practices and instills the “Aloha Spirit” in guests.
Plants and animals in Hawaii offer as much myth and mystery as does the formation of the island. Many of the orchid varieties are unique to Hawaii and the Big Island is often referred to as “Orchid Island.” The island contains many orchid farms that grow many different varieties.
Many endangered plants and animals, like the Mauna Kea Silverwood and the Hoary Bat, sparsely occupy the island. The state bird, the Ne-Ne bird is the Hawaiian Goose that descends from the ancient Giant Hawaii Goose and the Nene-Nai.
Avoid plucking any flowers while in Hawaii, for fear of disturbing lovers at rest. Love and revenge return us to the origin of these beautiful islands, where we once again collide face to face with Pele. When Ohia refused to reciprocate her love, Pele turned him into the ugly Ohia Tree. His true lover, Luhau begged Pele to return Ohia to his human form so that they could be together. Bitterness reigned and Pele turned Luhau into the pretty (usually red) flower that rests on the Ohia tree. Be wary of plucking one of these blossoms from its place, for myth maintains that rain falls as the lovers cry over the separation.
Hawaii’s mystique and charisma captivate visitors. Whether you are on a remote beach like Waialea Bay (Big Island) or playing golf at The Plantation in Maui, you are charmed and drawn in by the islands’ splendor, history, traditions, and lore.
© Copy Right Protected, All Rights Reserved. 6-1-2011
Beach on Maui, Hawai'i, Pictured
Sure, you are here to relax. But when you get tired of that, possible activities include: Luaus, Biking Haleakala, ATV Tours, Zipline Tours, Horseback Riding, Taking the Road to Hana, Hiking the Crater, Snorkeling, Visiting the Nearby Beaches, Helicopter Tours, and Tropical Garden Tours. You can even get-away on your getaway.
Spa Grand Wailea
-A Waldorf Astoria Resort
"Guests are encouraged to make Spa arrangements in advance to ensure appointment times are available. A Credit card is required to secure Spa appointments." -See their website for details.
The Fairmont Kea Lani Maui Hotel: 4100 Wailea Alanui Dr., Wailea, 96753. (866) 540-4456 Luxury.
Ho'okipa Beach is known for being an excellent spot for windsurfing and kiteboarding. Ho'okipa Beach Park, in North Maui, is possibly the best place in the world for windsurfing. -Link for details.
Pacific Whale Foundation Link. Whale-Watching FAQ Answered on the Pacific Whale Foundation website. According to the website, the first sightings of the year are typically in late Sept. There are special whale-watch cruises with guaranteed sightings in late November. See the website for details.
Learn about Maui's marine wildlife on ocean tours at the Pacific Whale Foundation Facebook Page. -Link to Facebook Page.
The Haleakala Silversword
- a rare plant found only in the crater and slopes of the Haleakala Crater on the Island of Maui, Hawai'i, Pictured-Link to Wikipedia Citation.
"The Haleakala is found only on Maui at an elevation of 2,100 to 3,000 metres (6,900 to 9,800 ft.) on the Haleakala summit depression, the rim summits, and surrounding slopes of the dormant Haleakala volcano, in and around Haleakala National Park." -Wikipedia.
Haleakala is also called the East Maui Volcano; a shield volcano which also has gone by the name of "House of the Sun." Kamoalii and Kalahaku Pai are located inside Haleakala Crater.
The Haleakala Canyon, in Haleakala National Park, can be explored on horseback. Take Pony Express Tours along Sliding Sands Trail.
-Link to National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Mountain Ridge of Ko'olau Mountains, Northeast side of Oahu, Hawai'i
Oahu is the third largest of the Hawaiian Islands. Known as the "Gathering Place", it is the most populated Island in this archipelago. Among the oldest geologically, without question, the best shopping is located here, in the largest city of Hawai'i, Honolulu.
There is the more reasonably priced dining on Oahu. And it is here you will find the most spectacularly beautiful beaches. Beaches with the emerald-colored water that have been formed by the remains of craters from long-extinct volcanoes are located here. Take a drive up the windward side of the island for this.
Terrific snorkeling is abundant and you can rent gear from most of the major hotels. You can get the most up-close and personal with the colorful tropical fish in their own habitat. Be sure to ask for a chart to aid you in your discovery.
Oahu is the easy island to get around on. The Hawaiians will offer directions as you rent your car. Or, ask the concierge at the hotel where you are staying.
It has been said that some of the world's finest resorts are located here, on Oahu.
The Hotel Halekulani, Oahu. On Waikiki Beach. Halekulani.com: A hotel that has been providing hospitality on Waikiki Beach for 100 years. Luxury.
Kahala Hotel & Resort: ten minutes from Waikiki. Virtually private crescent beach. -Link to their website for details. This is a 5-star hotel.
Budget: The Breakers: Harkens back to old Waikiki. Budget-friendly. Need to make reservations far in advance: 250 Beach Walk, Honolulu, HI 96815: (808) 923-3181 or (800) 426-0494 Limited Parking. Rooms larger than average. The hotel was refurbished in 1986 and is continually maintained. No bathtub or Jacuzzi; only shower. This info. is per their website: Breakers-Hawaii Website for details.
Waikiki Beach is known as the best beach in the world to learn surf-boarding. Hanauma Bay is known for excellent snorkeling. Waimea Beach Park big-wave surfing in the winter. Placid in the Summer.
Turkey Fish, Hawai'i, Pictured
Making reservations in advance of your cruise is recommended.
Sailtrilogy.com Maui Snorkeling Trips and Whale-Watching Tours. -Link for details.
Link to Fair Wind Cruises: Big Island Ocean Guides. Fair Wind II Morning Snorkeling Cruises and BBQ
Sail Hawaii.com: Sail Hawai'i: Year-round Whale-Watching and Dolphin Tours. Inter-Island Cruising. Turtle Reef Snorkeling, Half, Full, Mutli-day Tours. See Website for Details.
-Link to TomBarefoot.com: Tom Barefoot's Tours: 800-779-6305: Hawai'i, Maui, Oahu, Kauai.
Oahu is divided by the mountain range of the Ko'olau Mountains on the eastern (windward) side. This is the remnant of a shield volcano.
Polihale Beach Pictured
Allerton Garden Tours and the National Tropical Botanical Garden
-Link to specific garden on the ntbg.org website.
"The Allerton Garden lies between the Pacific Ocean and the McBryde Garden in the Lawa'i Valley on the south shore of the Hawaiian Island of Kaua'i." -visit the website for details.
Visit these National Tropical Botanical Gardens; two of the beauties of the 'Garden Isle'.
Conquer the waves and hang ten.
Garden Island Surf School.com: 808 652-4841
The Garden Island's premier surfing school in Poipu guarantees a "97%" success rate.
Absolute Paradise -Link to a Hawai'in Resort that is clothing-optional and near a clothing-optional beach.
Kehena Beach, formed in 1955 when a lava flow reached the ocean, has been home to locals and tourist alike for the last half century. The cliff behind the beach shields if from view from the road, giving it the privacy it needs to be a clothing-optional beach. While public nudity is not strictly legal in Hawaii, Kehena Beach has never been targeted for ticketing (unlike the beaches on the more commercial Kona-side of the island) and the community supports the naturists who make-up a large segment of the beach users. Monday has been deemed the unofficial "gay day" at the beach, but the beach is gay-friendly seven days a week as many residents of the area are gay. The neighborhoods around Kehena Beach have been called a mini P-town of the Pacific, because of the gay-friendly atmosphere.
The surf at Kehena can be rough at times, but only near shore where the waves break. Once you're out past the shoreline, the ocean is safe and there are some reefs that snorkelers can explore to spot turtles and coral formations. Spinner dolphins, which are found in our Hawaiian waters year-round, often swim around the beach, sometimes for several hours, and they seem just as curious about the people who swim out to them as the swimmers are curious about the dolphins.
There are no facilities or services at the beach so bring your own refreshments and snacks, but make sure you pack your trash out. Because of the cliff behind the beach, the sunniest times are from mid-morning to mid-afternoon. Shade can be found anytime under the palm trees.
-Reprinted with permission from the author
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