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Archive for the ‘Beaches of The Hawaiian Islands’ Category

Happy New Year!

Posted by Jody on December 31, 2012

OK, maybe it doesn’t come close to the Sydney New Year’s US$6.9 million fireworks extravaganza from the steel arch Habour Bridge, and it has nothing near the glitz of the First Night celebration with the well known Zambelli Fireworks spectacular over Boston Harbor, but it is a room with a great view and a fireworks show!

So, Happy New Year with all the glitter and glow from Waikiki Beach’s man made Hilton Lagoon (aka: Duke Paoa Kahanamoku Lagoon)! The ocean beach next to the lagoon, Duke Kahanamoku Beach, has been named the #2 beach in America for 2012 by the well-respected “Dr. Beach.”  This is where world famous Waikiki Beach begins.

The Duke Paoa Kahanamoku Lagoon is the setting of a free fireworks display, hosted by the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort and Spa, which takes place every Friday evening. It’s one fine show!

A room with a view, Honolulu, Hawaii

A Room with a View, Honolulu, Hawaii

Hilton Lagoon, Waikiki Beach

Hilton Lagoon, Waikiki Beach

View of the Hilton Lagoon Fireworks, Waikiki

View of the Hilton Lagoon Fireworks, Waikiki

View of the Hilton Lagoon Fireworks, Waikiki Beach

View of the Hilton Lagoon Fireworks, Waikiki Beach

The Hilton Lagoon has always been one of our favorite sandy spots on Waikiki. This family friendly, kid pleasing swimming and recreation center boasts five full acres of splashable fun that is open to Hilton Hawaiian Village guests and the general public, alike. It’s also the spot where you can catch a parade of brides and grooms posing for dazzling and dramatic wedding photos, with sun-drenched Waikiki Beach and iconic Diamond Head as their backdrop. This is the perfect place to catch those amazing Hawaiian sunrises, too!

By the way, do you recognize this unique building?  It’s the Ilikai, where Detective Lieutenant Steve McGarrett (Jack Lord), the head of a special state police task force, is standing in the opening credits for the original Hawaii 5-O. “Book ’em, Danno.”

Here are a couple helpful links: Beachcombing on Waikiki Beach (includes family friendly freebies near Waikiki Beach)

Duke Paoa Kahanamoku Lagoon, aka: The Hilton Lagoon

Aloha and Beat Wishes for 2013!

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Posted in A Treasure of a Beach (Best Beaches), Beaches of The Hawaiian Islands, Monday Miscellaneous, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

The Magic of Magic Island

Posted by E.G.D. on December 3, 2012

A Cast Party at Magic Island with Ala Moana in the Background (Photo by Jody Diehl)

A Cast Party at Magic Island with Ala Moana Beach in the Background (Photo by Jody Diehl)

Let me tell you a story.  Once upon a time, someone started building a resort adjacent to Ala Moana Beach Park in Honolulu, Hawaii.  The company got as far as making a man-made peninsula aaaaaaaaaaaaaand…. stopped.  Rumor has it, they ran out of money.  Anyhow, the resort was going to be called “Magic Island,” and when the new peninsula became property of the city, the name stuck and it became a really spiffy park right next to the beach.  Now, once upon a time long after that, I lived in Honolulu while working on a terminal degree in theatre performance, and Magic Island became significant in my life as a prime location for extremely low-budget cast parties (for you non-theatre types out there, a cast party is a party that happens just after the closing performance of a play, and is not limited to the cast, but usually includes the entire design and technical crews of a given production, plus guests).  Suffice it to say, you can’t do any better for a location than “free and on the beach,” unless perhaps it’s “free and on the beach, and nicely landscaped, and attached to a safe swimming hole blocked off from the ocean with boulders, and featuring picnic tables in the shade of gigantic and beautiful trees.”  Magic island is definitely a winner!  As with Ala Moana Beach Park, Magic Island is generally a hangout for locals, and unless it happens to be a major holiday (like Christmas, for example) it is not usually crowded.

View from Magic Island (Photo by Jody Diehl)

View from Magic Island (Photo by Jody Diehl)

I do not believe I have ever been to Magic Island and not easily found a free, shaded picnic table… except for on Christmas.  Seriously, if you want a prime location that close to Ala Moana Beach on Christmas, you probably have to show up at six in the morning.  Otherwise, though, whether you are a local or a visitor, Magic Island is a great place for a picnic, and if you don’t feel like making your own, it’s right across the street from Ward Center (a mall catering primarily to locals) where you’ll have your choice of any number of different, quite excellent places to pick up take-out.  After lunch and a swim in the swimming area, I highly recommend a walk on Ala Moana Beach, which can be a good place to find shells and chunks of coral at low-tide, especially after a storm.  What more can you ask for?

View from Magic Island (Photo by Jody Diehl)

View from Magic Island (Photo by Jody Diehl)

That, my friends, is the magic of Magic Island… which is neither magical nor an island in any literal sense.  Next time you’re in Honolulu, go ahead and drop by.  I’m sure you won’t be disappointed- E.G.D.

Jody, E.G.D., and Grandma at a Magic Island Cast Party (Photo probably by Jackie Okimoto or Steph Pak)

Grandma, E.G.D., and Jody on Magic Island, Honolulu (Photo probably by Jackie Okimoto or Steph Pak)

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Posted in Beaches of The Hawaiian Islands, Monday Miscellaneous | Tagged: , , , , , | 11 Comments »

The Sunset Tellin

Posted by Jody on November 29, 2012

Oahu Sunset

The Sunset Tellin (Tellina crassiplicata) of Polynesia and the Indo-Pacific is a beautiful, shallow water bivalve. Ranging up to 2 ½ inches in length, the Sunset Tellin has a yellowish tinge and sports pink radiating bands of varying widths on its exterior. Somewhat glossy, this seashell has a lovely texture due to its fine, sharp concentric lines.

Sunset Tellin

Not to be confused with the Sunrise Tellin (Tellina radiata) of the Carribbean Sea, the Sunset Tellin seashell also slopes gently but has a  blunted tip at the rear (see top of photo above). This tellin looks almost like the shell has been “pinched” into a ridge at the posterior end.

Sunset Tellin (interior)

The colorful pink exterior bands show through slightly on the shiny interior of this lovely shell.

An amazing tropical island sunset and the gorgeous Sunset Tellin are only two of the many beauties you can find on the beaches of Hawaii!

~Aloha~

~~~~~~~~~

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Beaches of The Hawaiian Islands, Seashells | Tagged: , , , , | 11 Comments »

Mele Kalikimaka Video Christmas Card

Posted by Jody on November 25, 2012

And so begins the Christmas season!

~Merry Christmas from the beaches of the Hawaiian Islands~

~~~~~

Posted in Beaches of The Hawaiian Islands | Tagged: , , | 9 Comments »

The Ultimate Hawaii Seashell Guide

Posted by E.G.D. on October 18, 2012

Aloha, everyone!  The University of Hawaii and I are both pleased to announce that the Hawaii Marine Shell Collection  is 100% digitized and online.  This has apparently been the case since 2010, but I had no idea this project was even in the making until Mom (Jody) sent an excerpt from this semester’s College of Arts and Sciences newsletter my way (she is on their mailing list because she has participated in Kennedy Theatre fundraising events, you see).  Regardless of when the collection was completed and posted, the whole Beach Treasures and Treasure Beaches staff agrees that this development is a truly awesome one, and now that it has come to our attention, we felt it was our duty to bring it to yours!  There is no greater authority on Hawaiian seashells than my graduate Alma Mater, and now the whole world has access to a brilliant photographic guide to very nearly every shell they might encounter on a Hawaiian beach.

Haleʻiwa, Oahu, Hawaii – Beachcombing

According to the University of Hawaii Museum’s Flickr page, “The collection is currently housed in the Anthropology Department, Archaeology Program, College of Arts and Sciences. The collection is fairly comprehensive for much of the shell midden material found in Hawaiian sites… (and) supports undergraduate education through various Archaeology courses.”

The photographic guide provides not only stunning images of “nearly 200 species of marine mollusks” (according to the College of Arts and Sciences newsletter) all with the shells sitting conveniently next to a ruler for size reference, but in most cases information including scientific name, common name, habitat, and the typical adult size of the pictured mollusk.  What fun!  I can’t wait to ferret out information about some of the shells I’ve found on the coast of Oahu over the years!

North Shore Beachcombing, Oahu, Hawaii

And so, happy beachcombing, everyone, and when you’re finished with your day on a Hawaiian beach, don’t forget to have some fun identifying your finds!  -E.G.D.

Jody’s note:  If you’re looking for the best beachcombing beaches of the Hawaiian Islands, we have that, too: “Best Hawaiian Beaches for Shells.” You might also want to check out more Hawaiian beach posts by looking through our category: “Beaches of the Hawaiian Islands.”

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Beaches of The Hawaiian Islands, Seashells | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Travel Theme: Foliage

Posted by Jody on October 3, 2012

“Up!”

This tropical foliage photo was taken on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii.  It’s the wonderful sky-high view from our favorite double-sized hammock.  ~Aloha~

The ” Travel Theme” concept comes from Ailsa of “Where’s my Backpack?

Posted in Beaches of The Hawaiian Islands, Today's Special | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay – a Perfect Day!

Posted by E.G.D. on September 24, 2012

Today’s Featured Writer is Vic Dinovici of Hop Tours.  His guest post is a fun bit of accurately detailed fiction that could just as well be any of a hundred different people’s story.  It is certainly more universal than my quirky story last April…  Enjoy! -E.G.D.

That beautiful Hanauma Bay beach and reef from above (photo by F. Travis Riley)

Special thanks to our friend F. Travis Riley for today’s Hanauma Bay photography.

I visited Hanauma Bay for the first time this last June.  Having very little experience with the ocean, or anything to do with ‘water related activities,’ I was a little apprehensive at the idea of snorkeling at Hanauma Bay and had no idea what to expect.  My boyfriend, who had visited Hanauma Bay before, assured me it was probably one of the safest places to learn how to snorkel, and that turned out to be true.

We hadn’t rented a car, choosing to spend most of our vacation in and around the Waikiki bustle. This left us the option of going with a snorkeling tour group or taking the bus; we chose the bus. Bus #22 picked us up at 8:30 am at the corner of Kuhio Ave and Kalakaua, and surprisingly most seats were already filled with tourists going to Hanauma Bay. It seemed completely ridiculous to be boarding a city bus with a cooler full of food and drinks, snorkel gear, a boogie-board and my bikini top, but the bus driver must’ve been used to it because he announced Hanauma Bay was his last stop and the trip would take around 45 minutes.

The water beckons! (Photo by F. Travis Riley)

The bus dropped us off at the Hanauma Bay parking lot. From there it’s a short walk to the ticket counter. Admission is surprisingly cheap. Admission is the same price as a Waikiki Mai Tai, $7.50 for visitors, and free for military and locals. There is a mandatory 9 minute informational video that covers the history of the Hanauma Bay Marine Sanctuary and important snorkeling and swimming etiquette.  We had to wait 15 minutes until the next showing, but there is an incredible overlook that gives you the perfect vantage point of Hanauma’s volcanic caldera, the gorgeous beach and the breathtakingly blue water. I had never seen such inviting water before in my life – the day of snorkeling in Hanauma Bay has arrived! Even from the overlook, I knew the water was going to be warm and inviting. I couldn’t wait.

After the video, we walked down the steep incline toward the beach. Even though the sun had not yet crested the lip of the caldera, it was already warm. We found out later, finding shade or bringing a shade-tent is key to an enjoyable day at Hanauma. The bay is protected from the afternoon trade winds and feels much hotter than the normally 85-90 degree afternoons.

As soon as we laid out our blankets and ‘marked our turf,’ we jumped in the water. I spent  the first 10 minutes snorkeling in waist-deep water just getting familiar with the fins, mask and breathing through the snorkel; but it didn’t take me long before I was venturing toward the reefs.

Beach at Hanauma Bay (Photo by F. Travis Riley)

At 9:30 am there were only a few people in the water, and the fish were everywhere. Entire schools surrounded us, swimming through our legs and right past our masks. It felt like I had been dropped into the middle of an aquarium during feeding time.

Without meaning to, we timed the tides perfectly, beginning our first snorkel at exactly high tide. Normally shallow reefs were easy to swim across, allowing us to see every part of the bay’s reefs. Later on in the afternoon as the tides changed, those same reefs were actually exposed, with some even above the water line.

Hanauma’s beach is truly picturesque – the kind of beach every mid-west gal dreams of visiting. We spent much of the afternoon in the shade of a coconut tree, reading, and talking; taking occasional swims in the water whenever we became too hot. A perfect beach day.  However, we were glad to have brought our own cooler and lunch. There is a concession stand near the parking lot, but prices are expensive and choices are limited. Local families bring wheeled, industrial sized coolers down to the beach.

Beach days disappear in a flash, and it was already late afternoon by the time we were climbing the hill back toward the bus stop; my shoulders already a threateningly dark pink. The #22 Waikiki bound bus runs once an hour. Make sure you check the bus schedule so you don’t spend 45 minutes waiting like we did.

About the author: Vic likes snorkeling and scuba diving at Hanauma Bay, long bike rides and writing about cool stuff happening in Honolulu and Oahu island. Evenings and weekends, he enjoys sharing stories with his friends over some beers and delicious traditional Hawaiian food like kalua pig, pipiluala ribs or squid luau.

 

Posted in Beaches of The Hawaiian Islands, Monday Miscellaneous | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life

Posted by Jody on September 18, 2012

This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is entitled “Everyday Life.” For me, it adds a really fun dimension to the Challenge when our beach theme is tossed into the mix!

Of course, when you move to Hawaii, you expect frequent visitors from the mainland.  You’d be pupule (crazy) if you didn’t! :-) Here, then, is a slice of “everyday life” for a Master’s student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa: Mom and Grandma come to town and rent a car to drive Oahu’s Circle Island Tour.  The dedicated student (and mighty fine hostess) comes along and does her homework in the shade on Pipeline Beach (home of the world famous Banzai Pipeline) while her guests stretch out in the sun and watch the expert surfers ride the waves! Nicely played, Elisa!

Note from E.G.D.: Indeed, I did a lot of homework on the beach when visitors came to town.  Does anyone remember that Hanauma Bay post?  Travis got a nice homework shot, too!  Everyday life can happen at the beach just as well as anywhere else, and it makes for a much cooler picture ^_^.  Nicely snapped, Mom! 

Posted in Beaches of The Hawaiian Islands | Tagged: , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Making waves in Hawaii. ~Safely~

Posted by Jody on August 28, 2012

For most of us, a vacation to paradise comes with a healthy dose of excited anticipation and a whole bunch of advance planning.  We might chat with friends who have been to the islands, visit websites and read travel guides, all with the intention of getting the most out of our upcoming Hawaiian experience. Especially the beaches – of course! Still, many (if not the vast majority of) mainlanders arrive on the Hawaiian Islands completely unaware of the incredible power of  Hawaii’s waves (I must admit that I was one of those). The Hawaiian coastline and its impressive surf have unique characteristics that make prior knowledge invaluable.

One of my all-time favorite beach and safety websites is simply titled Hawaii Beach Safety. I haven’t seen a more comprehensive, easy to understand, user friendly beach focused website.  It is designed specifically to inform beachgoers and help prevent injury to eager, and often naive, visitors to the Aloha State.

North Shore Waves, Oahu, Hawaii

Here’s just a small portion of what you’ll find on the pages of Hawaii Beach Safety:

1. Minimize your risk.

If you are not familiar with the shoreline, do not visit unguarded beaches. Dangerous waves and currents do not happen randomly and most human involvement is a matter of choice, not chance. Many ocean-related accidents are caused by:

  • A lack of understanding that the shoreline can be dangerous;
  • A lack of caution

2. Learn the conditions.

Always talk to a lifeguard to determine the safety level of the ocean and shoreline. Find out about surf and wind conditions for the whole day. Find out about:

  • Strong currents and waves that surge up beaches
  • High surf
  • Waves that break directly on the shore (shore break) ,
  • Hidden rocks
  • Dangerous shore areas

SOAK

Before entering the water, remember to SOAK:

  • Study the conditions before entering the water.
  • Observe the activities of others in the ocean.
  • Ask the lifeguards about current conditions.
  • Know your limits in the water.

3. Understand wave and current behavior.

Waves arrive in groups separated by lulls. Watch the ocean for several minutes before entering the water. A calm sea may change in an instant when a group of waves arrives. Don’t be fooled by the variability of the waves!

Waves make currents that can be dangerous. Rip currents in the surf zone can carry you out to sea. A wave rushing up a beach (wave surge) can knock you down and drag you into the ocean. Large waves on rocky shores can knock you into the ocean. Check to see if the rocks or sand you are walking on are dry; avoid wet areas. Remember that beach hazard ratings are only general guidelines. Distinctions between beach areas, ocean bottom, and the angle of incoming waves can cause large variations in safety. No matter what the beach hazard is, there are safe beach areas in Hawaii, learn about them.

read more…

The Hawaii Beach Safety site also provides education on rip currents, lists current beach conditions and alerts, offers weather information and supplies surf reports.

So go ahead and pack your new found knowledge along with sunscreen and that awesome new bathing suit you’ve been dying to show off, and enjoy a fun and worry-free vacation in paradise! ~Aloha~
Visit Hawaii Beach Safety for lifeguard sponsored hazard conditions for Hawaii beaches

Posted in Beach Safety Tips, Beaches of The Hawaiian Islands, Tallies & Tips | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Signs that make you go “Yikes!”

Posted by Jody on June 25, 2012

If you’ve been to Oahu some time after 1990, you probably have this shot in your vacation collection! This photo has probably been taken a million times by tourists over the years. I, of course, am no exception. In fact, I take a few shots of this very image every time I’m on Waikiki Beach!

Duke Paoa Kahanamoku, Waikiki Beach

Born and raised in Waikiki, Duke Paoa Kahanamoku was an Olympic champion swimmer, master surfer and expert outrigger canoe paddler. Known as the Father of Modern Surfing, a bronze statue of Duke welcomes locals and tourists to Waikiki Beach with open arms.

If you can’t make it to the beach, you can still see what’s happening around this statue! The City of Honolulu has a 24/7 webcam so you can check up on the conditions and live vicariously though the happy beach-goers. If you are on the beach already, smile, wave (maybe do a little dance), and show your friends how you are living it up in Hawaii. People from around the world can watch you, with musical accompaniment, near the Duke Kahanamoku statue and on the sands of Waikiki. This would be a very bad place to lose your suit to the surf!

Now, take another look at the picture above, right beside Duke’s left knee. Do you see it? There is a beach warning sign that really surprised me because there were so many people playing in the ocean on this day.

Yikes!

Even though there were plenty of swimmers and surfers nearby, it certainly was enough to keep me out of the water. That’s OK, though. It was the absolute perfect day for beachcombing. It always is!

Go ahead and take a look. Sit back, relax, and start the week off on the soft, warm sands of Waikiki Beach.

Aloha!

Posted in Beaches of The Hawaiian Islands, Monday Miscellaneous, Surfing Beach | Tagged: , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

 
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