Sunrise at Taylor Camp, Kauai
On an early pre-dawn morning in September, I joined Brian Ross, owner of Photo Safari Hawaii, climbed into his 4x4 SUV and departed on one of the most fun and indeed educational experiences I've had in Hawaii.
Over the course of the morning we ventured to a remote beach where over 40 years ago a group of hippies once had a thriving tree-house community. On that beach I learned a new and, I believe, better way to take photographs. We continued our journey at the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge lookout and then made our way down into Hanalei Valley where we stopped at the taro fields to put some of what I had learned into action (or rather, more precisely, photos.)
"NBC's TODAY," more popularly known as the Today Show will be broadcasting live from Waikiki next Monday from 1:00-4:00 a.m. Hawaii time (7:00-11:00 a.m. eastern). The broadcast will be the first broadcast in their week-long "TODAY's Great American Adventure" series.
The broadcast from Waikiki will take place on Waikiki Beach fronting The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort which is serving as the host hotel for the NBC broadcast.
The great news is that the public is invited to attend the live broadcast, so if your plans have you in Waikiki next Sunday night/Monday morning, you can see all of the show's regular broadcast team in person.
While, The Royal Hawaiian will be closed for access during the broadcast except for registered guests, spectators may walk through the public beach access located between The Royal Hawaiian and Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach. Parking in the Sheraton Waikiki parking lot will be available, however, normal parking rates will apply as The Royal Hawaiian and Sheraton Waikiki will not validate tickets for attendance at this event.
An advance team for NBC is already in Hawaii doing filming on neighbor islands for pieces that will be shown throughout the show.
If you're a fan of Hawaiian music and your plans are taking you to Honolulu this summer, you will want to be sure to attend one of the bi-weekly "Ke Kani O Ke Kai" (The Sound of the Ocean) Summer Concerts at the Waikiki Aquarium at 2777 Kalakaua Avenue in Kapiolani Park.
In what has become a highlight of the summer season, the Waikiki Aquarium will once again host five concerts on their oceanside lawn featuring some of Hawaii's top performers. The doors will open for each concert at 5:30 p.m. with the concert starting at 7:00 p.m. allowing those attending to spend some time exploring the wonderful galleries and exhibits offered at the Aquarium.
This year's lineup of artists is one of the best ever:
Thursday, June 13, 2013 - John Cruz and Nathan Aweau (food by Kani Ka Pila Grille)
Thursday, June 27, 2013 - Halau I Ka Wekiu and KUmZ (food by Hog Island BBQ)
Thursday, July 11, 2013 - Mark Yamanaka and Darren Benitez (food by The Grove)
Thursday, July 25, 2013 - Amy Hanaialii and Hi'ikua (food by Coco'z Catering & Takeout)
Thursday, August 8, 2013 - Makaha Sons (food by The Counter)
Each concert costs $45 for adults, $15 for children ages 7 to 12 and free for children under 6. Special rates of $25 and $10 are offered for Friends of Waikiki Aquarium members. If you'll be lucky enough to be on Oahu all summer, you can buy a single adult admission to all five concerts for $185 ($60 for children.) Food and beverages will be available for sale. No outside food or beverages will be allowed. Be sure to bring a low sand chair or beach mat. The concerts are held rain or shine and no refunds are available. Space is limited to 650, so make your reservations in advance online.
Crater or More Accurately Called Depression of Haleakala
Haleakala, "The House of the Sun", is a dormant volcano and the tallest peak on Maui, reaching 10,023 feet above sea level.
The crater, or more correctly called the depression, is large enough to hold the entire island of Manhattan. It is 7.5 miles long, 2.5 miles wide and 3000 feet deep. The crater includes its own mini-mountain range of nine cinder cones - the largest of which is over 1000 feet high.
Many believe that Haleakala Crater resembles the surface of the moon or, more likely, Mars with its red hue.
Find out more about the Haleakala National Park Summit Area and view our revised and updated gallery of photos of the Haleakala Highway and Summit Area of Haleakala.
I've written the content on this site for over 16 years and, through all of those years, there's one topic that I never thought I needed to write about. I always thought that the subject was something that most people already knew about and that there was really nothing I could say that readers didn't already know. Apparently that's not the case. You do need to know. The topic is "Water Safety in Hawaii."
As of the writing of this article in May 2013, eleven people have died in ocean related incidents on the island of Kaua'i, already as many as, on average, die in the ocean off Kauai each year. It's not a Kaua'i problem. It is happening on the other Hawaiian islands also. But it's not a Hawaii problem either.
With few exceptions, most of the deaths that occur in the waters of Hawaii each year are due to one thing and one thing alone, bad decisions made by the victim.
Most visitors see Hawaii as paradise on earth. It's their dream vacation and in many cases, their vacation of a lifetime. They arrive in the islands with a misplaced sense of invulnerability. How can anything bad happen in such a beautiful place?
I'm sure that well over 99.9% of all visitors to Hawaii return home in as good or better shape than when they arrive. Some, unfortunately, may become victims of theft or, on rare occasion crime or accident related injury. Some return home after a close call in the water. A few don't ever make it home alive.
The vast majority of visitors (and locals) who get hurt or die in the ocean, rivers, or streams of Hawaii could have easily prevented injury or death by simply obeying some simple safety rules.
Please take a moment to read some basic rules of water safety in Hawaii, a number of which are mentioned in an excellent video on ocean safety presented by, among others, the Kauai Lifeguard Association, the Rotary Club of Kapa'a and the Kauai Visitor Information Channel KVIC.
Today is May Day and May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii. It's a day of color, celebration, flowers and aloha.
In our feature Lei Day in Hawaii we take a look at the origins of Lei Day and how the holiday is celebrated throughout the Hawaiian islands.
View our gallery of photos of O'ahu's Lei Day Celebration.
View our travel video Celebrate May Day as Lei Day in Hawaii.
Daniel K. Inouye Kilauea Point Lighthouse
The Kilauea Point Lighthouse on the island of Kauai will officially be renamed the Daniel K. Inouye Kilauea Point Lighthouse. A formal ceremony will take place this Saturday, May 4, 2013. The lighthouse will honor the longtime U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii, who passed away in December 2012.
Senator Inouye served in the U.S. Congress ever since Hawaii attained statehood in 1959 when he became the nation's first Japanese-American congressman. He served in the United States Senate from 1963 until his death, making him the second-longest serving U.S. senator in history.
Senator Inouye is a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor for his courage on the battlefields of World War II. During his tenure in Congress, Inouye was a longtime supporter of conservation in Hawaii and, in particular, at the Kilauea National Wildlife Refuge, the establishment of which, Inouye was a key supporter.
The ceremony on Saturday will be a major part in the five-day Kilauea Lighthouse Centennial Celebration which will take place from May 1-5, 2013, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Kilauea Lighthouse and Light Station. As part of the celebration, the lighthouse itself will be relighted on Saturday May 4, following an extensive restoration.
If you're planning to be in Waikiki anytime between April 25 and May 31, 2013, you'll have a great opportunity to enjoy some of the best that the music of Hawaii has to offer.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority and the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts (HARA) are working together to present a month of concerts, workshops, jam sessions and awards - all culminating with the 2013 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards ceremony on Saturday, May 25 where the best in the music of Hawaii during the past year will be honored.
During the month, there are concerts every Tuesday evening at Halekulani, a huge Concert on the Lawn at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort on May 11, and a special Mother's Day concert at the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa.
Those are just a few of the more than 30 events throughout the month, aptly called "Mele Mei," or May Song. For more details, see our in depth feature 2013 Mele Mei - Celebrating the Music of Hawaii.
This Saturday, April 26, 2013, visitors to Waikiki will get a great chance to experience some of Hawaii's unique culinary tastes when the 11th Annual Waikiki SPAMŽ Jam returns to the island of Oahu.
From 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., the Waikiki SPAMŽ; Jam will take place on Kalakaua Avenue in the heart of Waikiki with one of the largest street festivals in Hawaii - all in honor of Hawaii's love affair with the lovable luncheon meat.
There will be great food, special SPAMŽ themed merchandise and entertainment on two stages.
Do you like SPAMŽ so much that you'd consider trying it in just about any form? Well, consider SPAMŽ Fusion Fajitas, SPAMŽ Katsu, SPAMŽ Won Ton, SPAMŽ Pan Lau Lau, SPAMŽ Ravioli, SPAMŽ Tacos, and SPAMŽ Poke. Those are just a few of the creative and enhanced dishes some of Hawaii's most innovative chefs will be serving up at this year's Waikiki SPAMŽ JAM Festival.
Here is some good news if you'll be in Hawaii next week.
Next week is National Park Week and in honor of the celebration, entrance fees will be waived next Monday through Friday, April 22-26, 2013 at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park on Hawaii Island (the Big Island) and at Haleakala National Park on Maui.
The other five parks in Hawaii that are part of the National Park system already offer free admission every day of the year.
This year's theme, "Did you know..." is intended to allow visitors the chance to learn amazing and unique things about all 401 national parks. For example, did you know that Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is 520 square miles, nearly as large as the entire island of Oahu (597 square miles)?
At Hawaii Volcanoes National Park there will be special, free programs during the week:
Kilauea Iki Crater Hike
Join master ranger volunteer Charlene Meyers on an invigorating four-mile, three-hour hike through the rain forest and onto the crater floor of Kilauea Iki. Learn how the 1959 eruption forever changed this landscape.
Where: Meet Charlene at the Kilauea Iki Overlook Parking lot (on Crater Rim Drive)
When: Tuesday, April 23 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Amazing Mauna Ulu
Explore fascinating volcanic features like fissures and lava trees that were formed during the 1969-74 Mauna Ulu eruption with master ranger volunteer Noel Eberz. The one-mile, one-hour round-trip hike will highlight the amazing process of plant survival on this harsh lava landscape.
Where: Meet Noel at the Mauna Ulu parking lot, four miles down Chain of Craters Road.
When: Wednesday, April 24 at 11 a.m., and again at 1 p.m.
Join Park Ranger Adrian Boone for a two-hour, 1.5-mile round-trip trek across ancient lava flows to the largest petroglyph field in Hawai'i. Discover the meanings inherent in these rock carvings and gather a greater understanding of the native people who created them.
Where: Meet Ranger Adrian at the Pu'uloa Petroglyphs parking area, near the end of Chain of Craters Road. (A 45-minute drive from the park entrance).
When: Thursday, April 25 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
NPS Volunteer Day
Save Hawai'i's native rainforest, and join forces with volunteers Jane and Paul Field to remove Himalayan ginger, faya, strawberry guava, and other invasive non-native plants that threaten the native understory alongside Halema'uma'u Trail. Bring garden gloves.
Where: Meet the Fields at Kilauea Visitor Center. Tools will be provided.
When: Saturday, April 27 from 9 a.m. to noon.
If you plan on visiting the park next week and taking park in any of these free programs be sure to wear sturdy hiking shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, rain-gear, day pack, snacks and water.
There will also be the regularly scheduled programs in the park, and at the Kahuku Unit, during National Park Week. For a complete listing, visit the park website.
The National Park Service will waive entrance fees again on July 13 (Hawaii Volcanoes National Park's 33rd Annual Cultural Festival), August 25 (NPS Birthday), Sept. 28 (National Public Lands Day) and Nov. 9-11 (Veteran's Day weekend).