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Travel Logs March 2014

Compulsive Traveler

Ten Unforgettable Things to do in Hawaii

By Sandra Scott

Every winter the humpback whales return to bear their young and put on a great show of breaching, fin slapping, and tail waving. While these behemoths of the sea can be 40 to 45 feet in length, weigh up to 40 tons and can eat a ton of food a day – they can leap nearly their body length out of the water.

Hawaii is like no other state. It is located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and is of Polynesian heritage. There are only seven inhabited islands, with each offering unforgettable great experiences.

  1. Pearl Harbor: The World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument is the place to learn about the beginning and end of World War II. A 23-minute documentary in the Pacific Memorial Theater relates the attack that led to the United States declaring war. Visitors then proceed to the Memorial built over the sunken battleship Arizona. A shuttle bus takes visitors to the recently refurbished battleship Missouri, the site of Japan’s official surrender to the United States that ended World War II.
  2. Polynesian Cultural Center: The Polynesian Cultural Center offers an experience of villages in Tahiti, Fiji, Tonga, Hawaii, New Zealand, and Samoa. At 5 p.m. head to the Hale Ku’ai for a fabulous luau. After dinner there is time to amble over to the evening show, “Ha: Breath of Life,” which is a circle-of-life story.
  3. Snorkeling: Enjoy the colorful underwater parade of fish, especially the bright yellow tangs and the humu-humu-nuku-a’pua’a, the Hawaiian state fish. Dive above a turtle-cleaning station where the surgeon fish clean the algae off the turtles. The most exiting snorkel trip is the night dive with the manta rays.
  4. Whale watching: Every winter the humpback whales return to bear their young and put on a great show of breaching, fin slapping, and tail waving. While these behemoths of the sea can be 40 to 45 feet in length, weigh up to 40 tons and can eat a ton of food a day – they can leap nearly their body length out of the water.
  5. Surfing: The surf is always up in Hawaii. The North Shore of Oahu is known for its big waves especially during the winter but surfers will find thrills on all the islands. Wannabe surfers will find places to take lessons and practice on more gentle waves. Surfing is also a spectator sport especially at Oahu’s Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach and Banzai Pipeline.
  6. Volcanoes: There are currently three active volcanoes in Hawaii. For the biggest thrill head to the Big Island and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Near Hilo is Kilauea, one of the earth’s most active volcanoes, called “the world’s only drive-in volcano.” The Crater Rim Drive, a 10.6-mile loop, takes visitors to the main attractions.
  7. Plantations visits: On Oahu visit the Plantation Village museum and the Dole pineapple museum. The Big Island is home to the Mauna Loa macadamia nut plantation. Maui is the place to learn about producing sugar, tropical fruits and flowers. Kauai is home to a sugar plantation and rice mill. On Molokai visitors can learn about taro and take the Molokai Coffee Plantation Estate Tour.
  8. Halawa Valley: The Halawa Valley is where the first civilization in Hawaii began around the year 500. Anakala Pilipo and his family, who have been living in the valley for 50 generations, are preserving the ancient culture of Hawaii. And, the lush valley is the place to hike to some stunning waterfalls.
  9. Father Damien: The former leprosy colony is located on Molokai where victims of this now easily curable disease were isolated. Until the arrival of Father Damien there were no amenities or help for the ill. In 1873 Father Damien, a Catholic missionary, arrived and dedicated his life to improving conditions for the patients.
  10. Getting around:Several airlines including Hawaiian and Mokulele Airlines offer quick efficient connections between the islands. Looking for a luxurious, all-inclusive cruise to the Big Island, Maui, Lanai and Molokai? Consider Un-Cruise’s Safari Explorer. For more information check Gohawaii.com and Un-cruise.com.

 

Sandra Scott travels the globe recording the top attractions at every destination.

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