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Planning a visit to Kauai? We regularly add news and information about events, activities, and places to see on The Garden Isle.

About The Author

Sheila Heathcote has lived in Hawaii since 1986. She's a published author on the topic of Kauai and the owner of Hale O Nanakai Bed & Breakfast.

Kauai's Sights, Activities, & Events


Tuesday
Dec132011

Audubon Bird Count at Koke'e, Sat. Dec. 17 

Join the Koke'e Museum and volunteer for the annual Christmas bird count on Saturday, Dec. 17. Trek into some of the most botanically-rich areas of the island and enjoy the opportunity to see Kauai's native birds.

From December 14 through January 5 tens of thousands of volunteers throughout the Americas take part in an adventure that has become a family tradition among generations. Families and students, birders and scientists, armed with binoculars, bird guides and checklists go out on an annual mission - often before dawn. For over one hundred years, the desire to both make a difference and to experience the beauty of nature has driven dedicated people to leave the comfort of a warm house during the Holiday season.

Each of the citizen scientists who annually braves snow, wind, or rain, to take part in the Christmas Bird Count makes an enormous contribution to conservation. Audubon and other organizations use data collected in this longest-running wildlife census to assess the health of bird populations - and to help guide conservation action.

From feeder-watchers and field observers to count compilers and regional editors, everyone who takes part in the Christmas Bird Count does it for love of birds and the excitement of friendly competition -- and with the knowledge that their efforts are making a difference for science and bird conservation.

The data collected by observers over the past century allow researchers, conservation biologists, and other interested individuals to study the long-term health and status of bird populations across North America. When combined with other surveys such as the Breeding Bird Survey, it provides a picture of how the continent's bird populations have changed in time and space over the past hundred years.

The long term perspective made possible by the Christmas Bird Count is vital for conservationists. It informs strategies to protect birds and their habitat - and helps identify environmental issues with implications for people as well. For example, local trends in bird populations can indicate habitat fragmentation or signal an immediate environmental threat, such as groundwater contamination or poisoning from improper use of pesticides.

In the 1980's CBC data documented the decline of wintering populations of the American Black Duck, after which conservation measures were put into effect to reduce hunting pressure on this species. More recently, in 2009, the data were instrumental in Audubon’s Birds & Climate Change analysis, which documented range shifts of bird species over time. Also in 2009 CBC data were instrumental in the collaborative report  by the North American Bird Conservation Initiative,  U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service - State of the Birds 2009

In 2007, the data were instrumental in the development of two Audubon State of the Birds Reports -Common Birds in Decline, which revealed that some of America's most beloved and familiar birds have taken a nosedive over the past forty years, and WatchList 2007, which identified 178 rarer species in the continental U.S. and 39 in Hawaii that are imperiled. These three reports helped scientists and policy-makers to both identify threats to birds and habitat, and promote broad awareness of the need to address them.

To meet up with the group of Kauai birdwatchers, be at the Koke'e Museum (behind the Koke'e Lodge) at 7 AM on Saturday, Dec. 17. Please bring/wear warm clothes, hiking boots, rain gear, bottled water and trail snacks.

For more information call Michelle Ho'okano at (808) 335-9975

Monday
Nov282011

"Ki ho'alu" -- Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar

Hawaiian slack key guitar (ki ho'alu) is one of the world's great acoustic guitar traditions. However, due to Hawai'i's isolation (the islands lie furthest in the world from any major land mass) ki ho'alu remains one of the least known traditions. Ki ho'alu, which literally means "loosen the key," is the Hawaiian-language name for this unique finger-picked style. The strings (or "keys") are "slacked" to produce many beautiful tunings, almost always based on a major tonality and often containing a full major chord, or a chord with a major 7th or 6th note. Each tuning produces a characteristic resonance behind the melody, and each has its own characteristic color and flavor, like a beautiful basket of fruit.

Many Hawaiian songs and slack key guitar pieces reflect themes, such as stories of the past and present, and aloha for loved ones. Hawai'i's tropical surroundings, with its ocean, volcanoes, mountains, waterfalls, forests, plants and animals, provide other deep sources of inspiration for Hawaiian music.

These currents run deep in slack key guitar playing, as accompaniment to vocals, as instrumental compositions, or as instrumental interpretations of vocal pieces. Drawn from the heart and soul out through the fingers, slack key music is sweet and soulful.

Slack key's unique sound comes partly from techniques such as the hammer-on, an ornament produced by plucking a note and immediately fretting that string to produce a second higher tone; and the pull-off, produced by plucking a fretted string and immediately pulling the finger off that fret, sounding a second lower note that is either open or fretted by another finger. For a great example, see Ray Kane's Punahele from his album of the same name. These techniques mimic the yodels and falsettos rooted in ancient chants and common in Hawaiian singing. Other techniques include harmonics ("chimes"), produced by lightly touching strings at certain frets, and slides, in which one or two treble notes are fingered and then slid (usually up in pitch) to sound another note. A beautiful effect is sometimes created when a guitarist is singing and the note or notes on the top pitched strings sound like a second voice. These techniques all enhance the expressions of aloha, joy or longing--sometimes all in the same song.

Like blues guitar, the slack key tradition is very flexible and can have great emotional depth. A guitarist will often play the same song differently each time, sometimes changing tempos, or even tunings. As guitarists learn to play in this very individualistic tradition, they find their own tunings, techniques, arrangements and repertoire.

FOUR SLACK KEY STYLES

Today there are four basic types of slack key guitar. Some guitarists play more than one style. The first is simple but profound, most evident in the older playing styles, such as that of the late Auntie Alice Namakelua. The second is a sort of "slack key jazz" with a lot of improvisation and is used prominently in the music of Atta Isaacs, Cyril PahinuiLed KaapanaMoses Kahumoku,George KuoOzzie Kotani and Peter Moon.

The third type creates a unique sound using ornaments like hammer-ons and pull-offs. These techniques are featured on Sonny Chillingworth's Ho'omalu Slack Key, Ray Kane's Punahele, and George Kuo's Kohala Charmarita. Guitarist Manu Kahaialii uses another technique called "Hei Kuikui" on his song So Ti in Eddie Kamae's documentary film THE HAWAIIAN WAY and on Manu's out-of-print album KAAHAIALII MAUI STYLE. In this technique, the left hand holds the chord normally while the right-hand index finger produces a beautiful and unique sound by hammering down on the string and pulling off very rapidly, rather hand plucking it. (The late George Kahumoku, Sr. called this same technique "Ki Panipani.")

The fourth slack key style is performance-oriented and features entertaining visual and sound techniques. These include playing with the forearm, playing with a bag over the fretting hand (as performed by the late Fred Punahoa and his nephew Led Kaapana) and the intriguing needle and thread technique, where the player dangles a needle hanging from a thread held between the teeth across the strings while otherwise playing normally; this creates a sound a bit like a mandolin or a hammered dulcimer. It can be heard on the fourth verse of the song, Wai Ulu, on Sonny Chillingworth's recording SONNY SOLO. This technique can also be seen in two great slack key films: Susan Friedman's KI HO`ALU, THAT'S SLACK KEY GUITAR on the song Kaula 'Ili by Sonny and in Eddie Kamae's THE HAWAIIAN WAY on an improvised piece by slack key guitarist Fil Secratario.

ORIGINS OF SLACK KEY

There are different theories about the beginnings of slack key guitar in the Islands. Music is one of the most mobile art forms. European sailors around the beginning of the 19th century possibly introduced Hawaiians to the gut string guitar--ancestor of the modern nylon string guitar.

Mexican and Spanish vaqueros (cowboys), hired by King Kamehameha III around 1832 to teach Hawaiians how to handle an overpopulation of cattle, brought over guitars. In the evenings around the campfire, the vaqueros--many of whom worked on the Big Island, especially around the Waimea region--probably played their guitars, often two or more together with one playing lead melody and the other bass and chords. This new instrument would have intrigued the Hawaiian cowboys, or paniolo, who had their own strong, deep-rooted music traditions. Given the long work hours, however, the Hawaiians probably didn't have time to learn a lot about this new music.

The vaqueros returned to their homelands a few years later and some gave their guitars to the paniolo. Geniuses of assimilation, Hawaiians wove what they had learned of the Mexican and Spanish music into their traditional chants, songs and rhythms and created a new form of music that was completely their own. Unique Hawaiian musical traditions were the dominant force in this guitar music, as they have historically been with other musical influences that have come from the rest of the world. Hawaiian music never stops evolving, and yet it always remains in touch with its deep roots and inspiration.

From the start, slack key guitar became a significant part of the music that the paniolo played after work or with families and friends at gatherings, and this paniolo tradition continues today on the Big Island and Maui. Many guitarists choose to play just for family and friends rather than playing professionally or recording. George Kuo, reflecting on his slack key mentors, points out, "Sometimes the older players would lock into a groove (keep the same tempo and feeling) and stay there all night." This can sometimes be heard in the playing of Ray Kane and Ni'ihau guitarist Malaki Kanahele.

At first there may not have been many guitars or people who knew how to play, so the Hawaiians developed a way to get a full sound from one guitar. They picked the bass and rhythm chords on three or four of the lower-pitched strings with the thumb, while playing the melody or improvising melodic fills on three or four of the higher-pitched strings with the fingers. The gut string guitar introduced by the vaqueros had a very different sound than the steel string guitar, which arrived later, probably brought in by the Portuguese around the 1860s. By the late 1880s, the steel string sound had become very popular with the Hawaiians, and slack key had spread to all of the Hawaiian Islands. To this day the steel string guitar predominates, although slack key artists Keola BeamerOzzie KotaniMoses Kahumoku and Bla Pahinui have also prominently used the nylon string guitar.

Until the mid-20th century, vocals were the most important element of Hawaiian music. The guitar was relegated mainly to a backup role, often grouped with other instruments. Played in a natural, finger-picked style with a steady rhythm, guitar was used as an accompaniment to hula and singing. The guitar usually did not play the exact melody of the song, but played a repeated fragment with improvised variations, often using ornaments such as hammer-ons, pull-offs and harmonics. In the latter half of the 20th century, however, slack key guitarists increasingly played an instrumental verse between some of the vocal verses, sometimes called the pane or answer verse, which had previously been played by the steel guitarist.

Since the 1960s, and especially in the 1990s, Hawaiian slack key guitar has evolved into a highly developed instrumental art form, in both solo and group formats. When played solo, the beautiful and unique intricacies of the slack key guitar can be most fully appreciated, as the music of each master has great depth and individuality.

KING KALAKAUA & QUEEN LILI'UOKALANI

The slack key tradition was given an important boost during the reign of King David Kalakaua, who was responsible for the Hawaiian cultural resurgence of the 1880s and 1890s. King Kalakaua supported the preservation of ancient music, while encouraging the addition of imported instruments like the 'ukulele and guitar. His coronation in 1883 featured the guitar in combination with the ipu (gourd drum) andpahu (skin drum) in a new dance form called hula ku'i. At his Jubilee in 1886, there were performances of ancient chants and hula. This mixing of the old and new contributed to the popularity of both the guitar and 'ukulele.

King Kalakaua's conviction that the revitalization of traditional culture was at the root of the survival of the Hawaiian kingdom became a major factor in the continuity of traditional music and dance. His influence still shows. This was a great period of Hawaiian music and compositions, when traditional music was actively supported by the monarchy. Kalakaua, along with his siblings W. P. Leleiohoku II, Miriam Likelike and especially Lili'uokalani, composed superb songs that are still well-known today.After King Kalakaua passed away in 1891, he was succeeded by his sister, Queen Lili'uokalani, who was Hawai'i's last monarch. Among her classic pieces areAloha 'OeSanoeKu'u Pua I PaoakalaniPau'ahi O KalaniAhe Lau MakaniHe Inoa No Ka'iulaniManu KapaluluQueen's JubileeQueen's PrayerKa Hanu O Ka Hana KeokiNinipo (Ho'Onipo)TutuHe Ai No KalaniKa Oiwa Nani and many other beautiful songs. These compositions are still deeply part of Hawai'i's music today.

One of Hawai'i's greatest and most prolific present-day song-writers, Dennis Kamakahi, has been deeply inspired by Queen Lili'uokalani. He says, "Queen Lili'uokalani and I have one passion, that is, the passion to write what we see and hear around us and transform these images into music. She has been the inspiration for me to write in the most poetical way, using the Hawaiian language she knew so well." With this inspiration, Dennis has composed many beautiful songs and Hawaiian standards such as Koke'eWahine 'IlikeaPua HoneKe Aloha Mau A MauKaua'i O ManoLei KoeleE HihiwaiE Pupukanioe and Ka Opae.

PHILIP "GABBY" PAHINUI

The most influential slack key guitarist in history was Philip "Gabby" Pahinui (1921-1980). The modern slack key period began around 1946 when Gabby, often referred to as "The Father of The Modern Slack Key Era," made his first recording. Gabby was the prime influence that kept slack key guitar from dying out in the Islands. His prolific and unique techniques led the guitar to become more recognized as a solo instrument. He expanded the boundaries of slack key guitar by creating a fully-evolved solo guitar style capable of creatively interpreting a wide variety of Hawaiian traditional and popular standards, original pieces and even pieces from other cultures. Gabby's beautiful, expressive vocals, especially his incredibly soulful falsetto, have also inspired many musicians.

The Gabby Pahinui Hawaiian Band of the 1970s is a good example of the complex sound that slack key can achieve with multiple guitars. Along with Gabby, this band featured the late great slack key guitarists Leland "Atta" Isaacs, Sr. (1930-1983), Sonny Chillingworth (1932-1994), and Gabby's sons, Cyril and Bla Pahinui. On the band's recordings, each guitarist usually played in a different C tuning (and Bla and Cyril played in D tunings tuned down to the key of C), providing a thick, multi-textured sound.

Gabby's five earliest recordings from the 1940s (78 rpms on Bell and Aloha Records) are especially impressive: Hi'ilawe (twice), Key Khoalu [sic], Hula Medley and Wai O Keaniani. (These have been reissued on THE HISTORY OF SLACK KEY GUITAR.) These recordings inspired and astounded many other slack key guitarists, given the level of Gabby's playing and because each song was in a different tuning. He also made more great recordings in the 1950s for the Waikiki label, which were mostly issued on three different albums: HAWAIIAN SLACK KEY - VOLUME 1, HAWAIIAN SLACK KEY - VOLUME 2 and THE BEST OF HAWAIIAN SLACK KEY. In 1961 the late Dave Guard of the first Kingston Trio, who grew up in Hawai'i and was inspired by Gabby, produced the beautiful album PURE GABBY, which was eventually released in 1978.

The release of several great slack key albums in the 1960s by Leonard KwanRay Kane, Atta Isaacs and Gabby Pahinui on Margaret Williams' Tradewinds label further increased the awareness and popularity of slack key guitar. These four artists, plusSonny Chillingworth, recorded in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, and influenced all the younger slack key guitarists. The next generation's three most influential slack key guitarists issued their own first recordings in the 1970s: Keola Beamer (solo and with his brother Kapono), Led Kaapana with his trios Hui 'Ohana and I Kona), and Peter Moon (with his groups The Sunday Manoa and the Peter Moon Band). Leonard, Ray and Sonny (until his death in 1994), continued to record and influence many others into the 1980s and 1990s.

SLACK KEY SINCE 1970

Since the early 1970s (often called the era of the Hawaiian Renaissance), Hawaiians have increasingly looked to their cultural roots, and because of this, slack key guitar has steadily grown in popularity. The Hawaiian Music Foundation, founded by Dr. George Kanahele, did much to increase awareness through its publications, music classes and the sponsoring of concerts, including the landmark, first ever slack key concert in 1972.

The slack key tradition is now at its peak. Currently, there are several annual slack key festivals held in the Islands. More slack key guitar recordings are now available throughout the world. More guitarists are giving concerts more frequently in and outside of Hawai'i, including on the Mainland, in Japan and in Europe. Additionally, slack key is gaining recognition in more institutional music settings. In 1998, Ozzie Kotani gave the first ever solo instrumental slack key recitals. With these developments, and with the techniques and influences of today's players expanding the range of slack key guitar, the future looks bright for ki ho'alu. It is a testament to the depth of the slack key traditon that it is one of the oldest music traditions to still be a viable (other than just historical) part of a modern culture, like Irish dance music and Spanish Flamenco guitar.

Saturday
Nov052011

Waimea Plantation Lifestyle Tour

Exploring one of the furthest west towns on Kauai is a real treat -- if you know what you are looking for!

Rich in history and local culture -- including Hawaiian, Paniolo, Portuguese, German, Japanese and Filipino -- Waimea is one of the most "local" places on the island of Kauai. 

Waimea Bay was the historic location of white man's first visit to Kauai. In 1778,  Captain James Cook anchored in Waimea Bay at the mouth of the Waimea River and "discovered" the "Sandwich Islands", later to be called Hawaii.

The ruling family of Kauai King Kaumuali'i and his large, extended family and court, lived and worshiped in Waimea -- one of the most populated areas of the island before the missionaries arrived.

Boasting a hospital, clinic, nursing home, fire and police station and home of the Waimea High School Red Raiders, Waimea is one of the few remaining places that exemplify "the old style Hawaii".

Gateway to Koke'e State Park and Waimea Canyon, Waimea town has an array of visitor amenities and services, too, and they feature an old-timey, country feel.

These include a comfy old art deco theater, a brew pub, two grocery stores, fast food ala Subway, a small resort property and a valley once inhabited by Meneheunes -- an industrious tribe of ancient ancestors who were overcome by later Polynesian immigrations. Be sure to check out the road leading up Waimea Valley where examples of their handiwork can be seen in the Meneheune Ditch.

To join an informative tour of Waimea Town go to the West Kauai Technology and Visitor's Center. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, volunteer guides greet visitors at the Center, where a permanent museum exhibit of Waimea's past is always on display, to conduct walking tours of the area.

Volunteer guides lead walking tours through the Waimea Plantation Cottages and the Waimea Sugar Company "camp" houses, which date from the turn of the century.

Tours take approximately 90 minutes and are limited to 12 people. Call for times: (808) 337-1005.

Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring sunscreen.

After the tour there are several great restaurants including  Obsessions, the Waimea Brew Pub and Wranglers Steak House.

The Shrimp Station serves up delicious shrimp dishes. For an ideal souvenir visit  Aunty Lilikoi, who cooks up her delicious jams and jellies on the street mauka of Capt. Cook's statue.

And, if you have never tried "Shave Ice" now is your chance. It is a Hawaiian delicacy! 

Also, don't miss "Collectibles"  a fun shop for trinkets and souvenirs.

Take a walk to the Waimea Pier to see what the locals are catching, then stop by the Russian Fort on the way out of town.

Aloha 'Oe!

 

Monday
Oct242011

"Hands On" cultural workshop teaches about the real Hawaii

Na Lima Hana means many hands working, as this four-day event presents a multitude of cultural and health practitioners offering activities, demonstrations, entertainment and learning experiences.

Literally, many hands are working to teach and learn these fascinating skills. Learn all about lei-making, weaving with endemic plants, salt-making, drum-making, lomi lomi (traditional massage), lauhala weaving, kapa (tapa) making, carving, ancient chants, hula kahiko and the uses of kalo (taro).

Enjoy Hawaiian food and entertainment too. As part of the Na Lima Hana Festival, an ANA Grant workshop will take place (Oct. 26, 27 and 28) as well as a Hawaiian cultural conference organized by the HHLA Kauai on October 28. Many events are free of charge to the public.

Take part in hands-on demonstrations and learning sessions about Hawaii's rich cultural traditions, crafts and health practices including Hawaiian entertainment and food.

This year's theme, "kumu honua," means learning by going back to the source. All cultural practionners will convey the original sources of their knowledge, explaining how a particular cultural skill, craft, practice or tradition was taught to them; what was their source.

The Na Lima Hana Festival combines the former Hawaiiana Festival, which is about Hawaiian cultural practices and arts, and the former Malama Ola Festival, which is about health and healing practices.

Enjoy Hawaiian food and entertainment too. Many events are free of charge to the public.

Events are partially sponsored by the Hawaii Tourism Authority and Kauai County.

The Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa is located in the Poipu Beach area of Kauai.  For more information, contact "Aunty" Stella Burgess, director of Hawaiian culture and community afrairs, Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa 808.240.6369 or stella.burgess@hyatt.com.  For a complete listing of events, visit or click on link:http://nalimahana.net

Friday
Oct142011

Halloween at the Kauai Humane Society 


There is a wonderful non-profit organization on Kauai that is close to the hearts of many islanders: The Kauai Humane Society (KHS). 

"We’re glad you’re here. It’s because of our caring community we are able to provide refuge for Kauai’s neglected, abandoned and abused animals, " says Pam Woolway, Volunteer Coordinator for the organization.

" If it weren’t for compassionate folks like you supporting us since 1952, we wouldn’t be able to achieve our mission to strengthen our bond with our pets as well as provide informed care for all of Kauai’s animals."

As a volunteer cat cuddler and aspiring dog photographer, I see a lot of visitors to Kauai stopping in to the shelter because they miss their pets at home. Visitors to Kauai are welcome and encouraged to visit the shelter pets and spread a little island Aloha.

The shelter also features a lovely dog-walking park called "Freddy's Dog Park" and the KHS is currently letting interested parties buy trees or gazebos to beautify the landscaping of the park.

Information about this program and other ways you can help the shelter -- or just to find out what time visiting hours are -- can be accessed at the Kauai Humane Society's website www.kauaihumane.org 

Although bringing animals to Hawaii requires a strict quarantine time period -- and this service is offered by the Kauai Humane Society -- there are no restrictions on taking a pet back to the Mainland with you as a souvenir of Kauai or a loving, living momento of the island. 

This little fellow at left, "Midnight Juju Jamal" came home with me on August 28, 2011. He is learning to travel places with me on his leash and I have featured him prominently on my Facebook Page on many occasions.

I also just adopted a playmate for Juju named Kumo Kerfluffel, a huge ball of snowy white fur with tabby stripes and a fluffy raccoon-like tail.

He and Juju were cage mates at the Humane Society in the past and they are getting along very well together.

We are going to build a nice backyard cat run for the boys that has a cat door that leads from the outdoor shower area to the bird-filled backyard -- all enclosed for everybody's safety!

I'll keep you posted with photos and blogs.

Until then...

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!!!!!

Thursday
Oct062011

See Kauai by Airplane with Wings Over Kauai

I recently had the opportunity to be a passenger on a photo shoot that Bruce and Ellen Coulombe, the owners of Wings Over Kauai  Air Tours, were commissioned to do of the Pioneer Seed Corn Company's fields on the west side of Kauai.

Taxiing out the runway on this mild tradewind day of crystal clear skies and few cotton ball clouds, my excitement mounted.

It had been at least a year since I was in the air -- way too long for someone who was working on a private pilot's license many years past.

Our view of Nawiliwili Harbor and Carter's Point -- the end of the Ha'upu Mountain Range -- was unrivaled both in the afternoon colors and the clarity of the cooperative weather.

 On board also was Kyle Brown, a local conservationist and  kayak enthusiast, who regaled us with tales of kayaking along this jagged coast, where all forms of radio communication cease to exists at sea level, and where the best spot is to beach a boat at Kipu Kai.

In the distance Waita Resevior glistened  like a large cauldron of green pea soup near the cluster of buildings and houses that comprise Koloa Town.

Having just kayaked a short time before from Koloa Landing to Port Allen Boat Harbor, Ellen, Kyle and I were particularly interested in the Palama's Beach.

This segment of coast and the strange body of water called Nomilo Fishpond that is located smack dab next to the ocean below the McBryde coffee fields that stretch from Port Allen to Lawai Valley.

This geological feature is thought to be a fresh water pond that has occurred in an extinct volcanic crater, and is also believed to be connected to volcanic activity on the Big Island.

Banking over the mist enshrouded canyons of Olokele and Hanapepe, we flew over the prescribed crop fields and whatched a lazy stream of nice sized waves peel onto the break at Pakala's.

This might not have been an official tour, but Wings is standing by to give you the ride of your life. For reservations call (808) 635-0815.

"Bruce and I were just remarking that we have had about one of the most beautiful flying weeks ever here on Kauai, light winds, gorgeous sunny skies, and passing showers that only enhance, rather than inhibit, our flying experience, " said Ellen after the flight.

"Things have slowed down a bit since the Labor Day rush and we have one or two openings just about every day this week.  So if you find yourself on Kauai with some extra time on your hands please just give us a call or text or email - we would love to share this beautiful island with all of you.

"If you are not yet here and planning ahead and have any questions about Kauai, how it all works, what is fun to see and do, just ask, and although we haven't experienced everything yet in our 15 years of living here, we have dabbled a bit.  Anyway, we'd love to try and help."

Monday
Sep192011

Sail Kayaking along the South Shore

Ocean kayaking is an exhilarating, challenging endurance sport for the brave at heart. So what were we thinking when we decided to kayak Kauai's south coast from Koloa Landing, Poipu and paddle to the Port Allen Small Boat Harbor, a distance of 7.8 miles?

Kyle Brown would take us. 

Eddie Aikau is turning in his watery grave as he hears us chant "Kyle would go! Kyle would go!" Brown, an avid adventurer and outdoor enthusiast, who volunteers on conservation teams to save the forest, to help archaeologists dig, and to save endangered Monk Seals, had been asking us if we would accompany him on a open ocean paddle somewhere in our neck of the woods, which happens to be close to Poipu.

Logistics are key in a one way sail and we spotted a car at Port Allen then took Kyle's truck with the boats to Koloa Landing - the perfect spot to launch a couple of kayaks. Kyle and I opted for the two man, while Ellen Coulombe (owner of Wings Over Kauai Air Tours) was delegated to a light weight one man kayak with a rudder. She was on her way to Tahiti before we even got launched, remarking how fast and easy the one man kayak was to manoeuvre.

We waited for Ellen to rejoin us closer to shore but far enough out to avoid the backs of some nice sized rollers going humpity bumpity along the reef. With a nice 10 knot trade wind breeze over our right shoulders, we scooted past Spouting Horn and soon arrived just outside the bay that fronts the Allerton area of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens. This is the real Lawai Beach.

Several huge Green Sea Turtles popped to the surface to check us out along the way. Sea cliffs below the McBryde coffee fields made up the coast until we came to Palama's Beach.  Here, a fish aggregating buoy is anchored in waters just off Kalanipuao Rock, a point marked by a shrine with an owl statue on it. The Palama's are an old Hawaiian family with ties to Walter McBryde, who owned McBryde Sugar Company, and who granted the family this ocean side parcel.

Behind and west of Palama's Beach an ancient volcanic crater rims the landscape above the ocean with high conical walls that once housed an ancient heiau. Sloping downward into a brackish pond called Nomilo Fish Pond, this geological feature is said to be tied into volcanic activity on the Big Island, possibly by deep tubes running through the tectonic plate near the volcanic hot spot.

Just off the crater our wind was perfect for rigging up the kayak sail that Kyle purchased. I was skeptical at first, but my old windsurfing skills kicked in and soon we were flying along the sea, surfing the backs of the huge rollers with many hoots and hollers. Not wanting to be left behind, Ellen tried out the sail on her one-man kayak and we held on to her for the ride.

All was well until I accidentally let go of Ellen's kayak and she slipped away but only for a few minutes! A nice squall and some rainy gusts gave us further momentum and we soon could make out the cliff faces near Waihiawa Quarry Beach and Glass Beach near the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative's electric generating plant. Please be horrified to note that Kauai's entire electrical grid is run by using diesel fuel. It is one of the most expensive means of generating power known to man.

With only a short way to go, we sailed and paddled around the long jetty that protects Port Allen large boat harbor and headed in to the small boat ramp. It was a glorious trip! Including shuffling cars the entire trip took about 5 hours.

Kyle can assist those interested in ocean kayak trips. Please email ellen.coulombe@gmail.com  for more information and write KYLE KAYAK TRIPS in subject line.

 

Wednesday
Sep142011

Local Theater Review: The Complete History of America (abridged)

I must admit I was a bit skeptical about the merits of "Complete History" going in to a tiny segmented ballroom at the Aston Beach Hotel to watch this production, which was billed as one of London's longest running comedies.

Well, the laughs began straight away and didn't let up until the curtain closed! Leave it to a London playwright to sterotype Americans as being historically ignorant and herein the humor lies. 

From Washington to Watergate, from the Bering Straits to Baghdad, from New World to New World Order – The Complete History of America (abridged) is a ninety minute rollercoaster ride through the glorious quagmire that is American History, reminding us that it’s not the length of your history that matters – it’s what you’ve done with it!

Originally performed by the Reduced Shakespear Company (RSC), an American acting troupe that writes and performs unsubtle, fast-paced, seemingly improvisational condensations of huge topics and written in the early 1990s by RSC members Adam Long, Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor, the play delighted audiences in California before being shipped across the pond to the U.K.

In a stellar Kauai performance by Kauai residents Ross Martineau, Nellie Foster and Jeff Demma,  the simple production depends not on stage sets or props. The magic is in the acting and the seemingly perfect improve which is really the result of hours upon hours of rehersals.

This History offers an unceasing barrage of explosive punch lines, visual and verbal puns and scattershot slapstick. Moreover, the Company hits its targets nearly every time. There is method in the madness of these goofy guys, who have pioneered their own wacky genre while drawing upon such surreal antecedents as Firesign Theatre. 

The play is currently running every Tuesday night at the Austin Beach Hotel. Call (808) 212- 8444 for info, tickets and reservations.

Tuesday
Sep062011

Sorry for a gap in events....it was a sad month

On August 27, 2011 my BFF (Best Furry Friend) passed on to the next realm. Born around September 11, 1998 this beautiful boy, who came to me as a bottle-fed kitten, lived his entire life here on the Nanakai Place Cul de Sac, where the Hale O Nanakai Bed & Breakfast is located.

Sparky was a true gentleman and an accomplished mouser. Here in Hawaii it is common for residents to leave our rubber "slippahs" just outside the front door.  My dear Sparky-cat, saw my slipper as a perfect receptacle for a tiny mouse carcass, so he placed it right in my slipper so I wouldn't miss it. What a treat!

For some reasons cats seem to tune in to me, and I to them, a bit more intimately than I do with some other species. Sparky knew my moods and rejoiced when I was happy, and brought me geckos and live doves when I was upset or sad. He was there for me, day and night, for 13 years, through numerous jobs, 2 marriages, one divorce, the death of both my parents and 9/11.

Each cat has its own personality and Sparky will always be remembered for his adorable and incessant demands to have his whiskers brushed on every possible occasion. In the mornings, as I was rushing to get ready for work, he would stand on his hind legs on the counter, reach both paws up to the hairbrush and grasp it,  and demand a rake of the bristles across his whiskers before I could finish my own hair!

Sparky was a great conversationalist and we had many philosophic discussions over the years. He would greet me in the driveway when I came home, walk with me to pick up the mail, and catch me up on all the neighborhood gossip while I was away.

Because of his love of "nookying", someone eventually bought him a special fur pillow and a fur mat to appease the kittenish instinct of pawing with tiny claws to receive milk from mama-cat. This boy never stopped kneading soft, fluffy objects and body parts from kitten hood on through old age. I often had pin pricks in my skin from his happy claws, and didn't mind it a bit!

Another unique thing was the fact that I never once saw Sparky's tail bushed out when frightened or confronted by a dog. He was hip, slick and cool and bad boys don't get bushy tails. His tail was always beautiful and thick with silver blue fur like his coat.

Some claim that cats are rather useless despite the fact that they catch vermin. All of my cats have had a very important purpose -- one that no other creature on this green earth could fulfill. Unconditional love. Complete acceptance and tolerance. Enduring companionship. Warmth. Friendship. A bit of food and kitty litter is a very small price to pay for the gift of a cat like Sparky.

As much as I loved Sparky-cat throughout his life, I don't think I ever really imagined how much he loved me until he was ready to say goodbye.  Then I realized that Sparky loved me even more than I had loved him -- if that could even be possible. 

I post this final photo of the divine energy that exists in this world, and that is called LOVE. Sparky knew it. I know it. I hope you find it, too.

Sunday
Aug142011

Hiking the South Coast beyond Shipwreck's Beach

Stepping off the manicured sidewalks of the lush, tropically landscaped Grand Hyatt grounds, and onto the sands of Shipwreck's Beach on Keoneloa Bay is one of the easiest ways to ride a time machine into the ancient past.

Unmarked fishermen’s paths and footprints in the sand along this breath-taking coastline lead to the remote and stunning Mahaulepu Beach near Kawailoa Bay.


Rated ‘easy” and with an elevation gain of only 100 feet, this 4 mile (round trip) trail takes approximately 3 hours to traverse, but allow extra time to swim, sun bathe and enjoy the area’s seclusion.

Keep the camera handy as rugged sea cliffs, secluded coves, dunes, tide pools, sculpted lava formations and native plants embellish the landscape.


Here, Kauai’s natural history is etched in spectacular limestone and lava rock formations, and fossilized treasures can be seen eroding out of ancient lithified sand dunes and ledges.


Green sea turtles, spinner dolphins, monk seals can be viewed along the coast most of the year and humpback whales are visible during winter months.


Evidence of the stages of the island’s volcanic growth over the past 5 million years and several major sea level changes over the past 500,000 years are visible.

 In many places ancient soil horizons associated with the sand dunes contain abundant fossil land snails and the bones of extinct flightless birds and large land crabs.

The shoreline also abundantly sprouts lush native coastal vegetation well adapted to the harsh environment.

 

 

 

From Lihue take Hwy. 50 to Maluhia Rd. (Tree Tunnel Hwy 520) into Koloa and take any of the roads from Koloa to Po’ipu Beach.  Turn left and pass the Grand Hyatt. Shipwreck's Beach, where this hike begins, is in front of the Grand Hyatt Take the last paved road to the right to the public parking lot between the Hyatt and Po’ipu Bay Golf Course.

Friday
Aug052011

88 Shrines - Annual Pilgrimage of Compassion Aug. 7 at 1:30pm

It's time for hearts to unite on the sacred grounds of Lawai International Center.

This verdant valley and hillside is one of the most highly acclaimed spiritual energy centers of the modern world. And, while a variety of practitioners (Hawaiian, Buddhist, Hindu and New Age) have benefited from its unique essence over the millenium, 88 Shrines at Lawai International Center has been carefully tended and nurtured so it can greet modern-day pilgrims from far and wide with its own special magic and healing.

The 11th annual Pilgrimage of Compassion to be held this year from 3 to 5 p.m., Sunday August 7, with gates open at 1:30 p.m., celebrates a timeless spiritual vision in a valley long recognized as a healing sanctuary.

On lovingly tended grounds in Lawai Valley, among 88 historic shrines, world-renowned shakuhachi (Japanese flute) Grand Master Riley Lee - the first non-Japanese to attain the rank of shakuhachi Grand Master will issue a call to the pilgrims of the world. Carried by the wind through the trees, the soothing sounds of Lee's shakuhachi are the voice of Lawai International Center.

Built in 1904 by the first generation of Japanese immigrants, the shrines are one of the oldest Buddhist temple sites in the country, replicating the ancient pilgrimage of 88 temples in Shikoku, Japan.

In celebrating this legacy, the annual Pilgrimage adds local treasures to the archaeological and historic wonders: chanting by the rarely seen children of Niihau and the dynamic drumbeats of Taiko Kaua`i.

Riley Lee's Grand Master designation did not come easily. He attained the rank 30 years ago after rigorous training that included practicing barefoot in the snow, blowing his flute while standing under a waterfall, and playing in blizzards until icicles formed at the tip of his flute.

The recipient of a 2009 Na Hoku Hanohano award, he remains one of the few such masters outside of Japan. He has performed extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, including at the Sydney Opera House and Kennedy Center in Washington DC, and has released more than 50 recordings on international labels.

Hawaii elders have described Kaua`i as the crown of the archipelago, anchored to the south by Lawai Valley. Those seeking healing have come to Lawai for centuries.

Drawn by its healing energy, the ancient Hawaiians walked there from far reaches of the island. The Asian immigrants followed, and they too, built their temples: a Taoist temple, a Shinto shrine and Shingon Buddhist temple. Today this site is all that tangibly remains of this legacy.

The photos at right and above  are actual, un-retouched photos taken by pilgrimage participants. The enigma at right occurred when the photographer placed her camera inside of one of the shrines. Although not visible to the human eye, spirits and energy often manifest on film, as these examples demonstrate. There have been numerous occassions of energy spikes or illuminations occurring in photos taken during events at the  88 Shrines. 


Lawai International Center is a non-profit community project driven by its volunteers, whose earnest efforts are bringing the valley back to prominence as an international center of compassion, education, and cultural understanding.

A journey to this site will reveal the thread that unites the Hawaiians, the immigrants, and a dedicated community of modern residents. In the folds of this wondrous valley shines a healing and cultural center for all pilgrims of the world—a beacon of aloha and compassion when the world needs it most.

Please bring an umbrella and wear comfortable shoes for this hillside walk. And if possible, please car pool and arrive early to facilitate parking. The gates open at 1:30 p.m. with booths and exhibits open and the program starts at 3:00 p.m.

Donations will be accepted with gratitude. There will be a bake sale, silent auction, bonsai exhibits, and mochi pounding demonstrations. For more information contact LM@hawaii.rr.com , call 639-3197 or visit www.lawaicenter.org
.

Thursday
Jul212011

Koloa Plantation Days July 22-31, 2011 has full schedule

Fabulous Food, Live Music, Hawaiian Products, Keiki Fun!

This nine-day long festival in July is a celebration of plantation life on the island of Kauai. More than 25 family-friendly events include cultural performances, plantation era talks and exhibits, film nights, craft fairs, local food events, outdoor activities exploring the area, sporting events, keiki and family activities, the Plantation Days rodeo, evening Ho'olaulea (street party), and a parade and park celebration.

Founded in 1835, Koloa Plantation was Hawaii’s first sugar plantation where laborers from Asia and Europe lived together sharing traditions of their homelands.  

After the Koloa Town parade on Saturday, July 30, head to Anne Knudsen (Koloa) Park for a full day of festivities from 10 AM to 5 PM. Don’t miss the headline performer, Hawaii's Grammy Nominated & Award Winning, Henry Kapono, appearing at 4 PM at the Anne Knudsen Ball Park.

Henry Kapono and his band cap off the celebration but the line up starts at lunchtime just following the parade with non-stop entertainment – music, dance and comedy all day, representing the diverse cultural mix that started in the sugar era and shapes Hawaii’s local culture today. Local comedy favorites, the beloved Frank DeLima and Augie T have returned this year by popular demand.

American and Hawaiian standards, traditional hula, kachi kachi music, taiko drumming, modern Hawaiian music and rock n roll will all be celebrated. Enjoy food booths with local specialties, 70 craft vendors offering products made in Hawaii, rides, waterslides & activities for children, silent auction for activities, merchandise, accommodations, golf and dining.

 FRIDAY – July 22 

  • Plantation Days Rodeo - Preliminary Roping & American West Barrel Racing  at CJM Stables, 12-5:30pm.
  • Paniolo Cookout & Slack Key music by George & Keoki Kahumoku,   CJM Stables, 5:30-8pm. $10, ages 6 & under free. 

SATURDAY – July 23 

  • Charity Tennis Tournament for United Way at Po‘ipū Kai. $20 entry fee.   8am-4:30pm. Entry deadline: July 15. 634-6050.
  • Historic Hapa Trail Walk & Lunch departing from St. Raphael’s Church,   by Kōloa Community Association. 9am. 652-2063.
  • Preliminary Roping at CJM Stables, 12-5pm.

 SUNDAY – July 24 

  • Family Fun Run/Walk by Kukui‘ula Canoe Club. Race fees apply. 7-10am.
  • Charity Tennis Tournament Semi/Finals for United Way at Po‘ipū Kai.   $20 entry fee. 8am-4:30pm.
  • Miniature Golf Tournament, ages 13 & under, Lāwa‘i Beach Resort, 10am. 240-5179.
  • 12th Annual Plantation Days Rodeo at CJM Stables. Pre-rodeo entertainment,   $2 adults, children free ,11am-3:30pm. 742-6096.

MONDAY – July 25 

  • Makawehi Sand Dune Walk, Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i, Seaview Terrace 9am. 742-1234.
  • Historic Film Night & Exhibit, Kukui‘ula Village. 6pm. 7:30pm movie. 742-9545.

 TUESDAY – July 26 

  •  Kōloa Plantation Days Craft Fair, The Point at Po‘ipū, 9am-1pm. 742-1888.
  • Mixed Plate - Live Music at Old Kōloa Town Courtyard, 3-7pm. 245-7238.
  • Polynesian Revue & Fire Dancer, Po‘ipū Shopping Village 7:30-8:30pm. 742-2831. 

WEDNESDAY – July 27 

  • Māhā‘ulepū Coastal Hike by Mālama Māhā‘ulepū. 9:30-11:30am. 742-2024.
  • Traditional Hawaiian Games, Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation, 10am-12pm. 742-6411.
  • Plantation Treats at Kaua‘i Culinary Market, Kukui‘ula Village, 4-6pm. 742-9545. 

THURSDAY – July 28 

  • Look Back Through the Sugar Era, Old Kōloa Mill, by Grove Farm. 9-11am. 245-3678x222
  • Plantation Days Putting Contest, Po‘ipū Bay Resort Golf Club, 2-4pm. 742-8711.
  • Lū‘au Buffet Dinner & Show, Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i. 6pm. Book directly with   Hyatt concierge. 240-6456. 

FRIDAY – July 29 

  • Māhā‘ulepū Watercolor Class by Mālama Māhā‘ulepū. Fee for supplies or bring   your own. 9am-noon. 742-2024.
  • Talk Story: Sweet Memories of Old Kōloa, Kōloa Union Church, 4:30pm. 332-0303.
  • Old Kōloa Town Historical Walk departing from Kōloa School, 5:30pm. 332-5201.
  • Movies in the Park by Rotary of Po‘ipū Beach, 8pm screening, 652-2136. 

SATURDAY, -July 30  

  • Annual Parade & Park Celebration
  • HISTORIC PARADE – 10am, Kōloa Town.
  • Floats, marching units, riders, classic cars & the Pacific Fleet Band
  • PARK CELEBRATION – 11am-5pm, Anne Knudsen (Kōloa) Park.
  • Food, Crafts, Keiki fun, plus Live Entertainment featuring Henry Kapono &
  • Band, Frank DeLima, Augie T, and more! $2 admission. 652-3217.

SUNDAY – July 31

  • Paddle Fest at Po‘ipū Beach Park by Kukui‘ula Canoe Club. 10am-2pm. 635-0165

 


Wednesday
Jul132011

"Te Mana O Te Mauna" historic Voyaging Canoes visit Kauai

 “The Spirit of the Sea” crew arrived in Hanalei Bay on Wednesday, July 5th in seven double-hulled voyaging canoes from a large smattering of South Pacific locations.  They are voyaging throughout the Pacific Ocean using only the stars, the ocean, and the surrounding wildlife to navigate. 

Each canoe sailed with 16 crew members. Chiefs and crew members  on board the seven canoes arrived  in Hanalei Bay from Tahiti, New Zealand, Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. They brought with them one important one message:

 “We are all family in the vast ocean of the Pacific.”

“Sailing together, we seek the wisdom of our ancestors and the knowledge of scientists to keep the Pacific healthy and give our grandchildren a future,” explained one voyager about the purpose of the voyage.  The purpose is to bring awareness to the plight of the ocean, and to renew each crew member’s ties to the sea and its life-sustaining strength. “This voyage represents a sustainable way of living and a respectful treatment of the ocean,” he added.  

This is the first time that these island nations have sailed in unison; an epic journey of thousands of miles.

Te Mana O Te Moana pays homage to ancient voyagers and their modern counterparts.

Following in the salty wake of their ancestors, the canoes are part of a resurgence of Polynesian culture initiated by the voyages of the original Hōkūlea.

 Hōkūle‘a is a performance-accurate full-scale replica of a Polynesian double-hulled voyaging canoe which was initially launched on  March  8, 1975 by thePolynesian Voyaging Society. 

Hōkūle‘a gained fame in 1976 by sailing to Tahiti with only Polynesian navigation techniques, essentially without modern navigational instruments.

The goal of the voyage was to support the anthropological theory of the Asiatic origin of native Oceanic people of Polynesia and Hawaii in particular, as the result of purposeful trips through the Pacific, as opposed to passive drifting on currents, or sailing from the Americas.

 A secondary goal of the project was to have the canoe and voyage "serve as vehicles for the cultural revitalization of Hawaiians and other Polynesians."

Since the 1976 voyage to Tahiti and back, Hōkūle‘a has completed nine more voyages to destinations in Micronesia, Polynesia, Japan, Canada, and the United States, all using ancient way finding techniques of celestial navigation 

 Her last completed voyage began 19 January 2007, when Hōkūle‘a left Hawaii with the voyaging canoe Alingano Maisu on a voyage through Micronesia and ports in southern Japan. The voyage was expected to take five months. On 9 June 2007 Hōkūle‘a completed the "One Ocean, One People" voyage to Yokohama, Japan.

On April 5, 2009, Hōkūle‘a returned to Honolulu following a roundtrip training sail to Palmyra Atoll, undertaken to develop skills of potential crewmembers for Hōkūle‘a's eventual circumnavigation, currently planned to commence in 2012.

Story by Sheila Heathcote                                                                     Photos by Ronald Adams

Tuesday
Jul052011

Ocean Safety -- More Important than Sunscreen

Kauai is truly an island paradise with emerald mountains, shimmering white sand beaches, swaying palms and crystalline, turquoise ocean waters. Kauai is also known for having some of the largest ocean waves on the planet and is home to the top watersport athletes in the world. Local kids learn to surf about the same time they learn to walk, many islanders earn their living or feed their families from the sea, and all others use the beaches for recreation and enjoyment every chance they get. Kauai’s people are a true “ocean culture” and they would like to share some really valuable information with you about local coastal conditions and seasonal wave patterns.

Kauai's shoreline and reef systems are exposed to the raw power of the open ocean, where storm systems in the vast North and South  Pacific Ocean, above and below the Equator, generate some massive swells that pummel the coastlines each year. Combined with the howling tradewinds and the shape of the shore, dangerous and often invisible currents result.

For this reason it is highly recommended that visitors swim at beaches where lifeguards are stationed. These include KEKAHA, SALT POND, POIPU, LYDGATE, KEALIA, HANALEI AND HAENA.

These guys and girls are a wealth of information about local conditions, they have immediate updates when high surf advisories are issued by the National Weather Service, they are VERY highly trained and skilled watermen in their own right, and they posses state of the art rescue equipment– God forbid it should be needed.  

Depending on the season -- there's only two in Hawaii: Winter or Summer --, high surf advisories may be posted for any of kauai four coasts - specifically the North Shore, the East Side, the South Shore and the West Side. 

During the SUMMER months (May through September), cyclones and hurricanes in the Southern Hemisphere -- between Hawaii and New Zealand or Australia -- cause waves to increase along Kauai's South and East Shores.

During WINTER months (October through April/May), gigantic surf generated from huge winter storms in the North Pacific Ocean -- can hammer the North and West Shores, often without warning and in the deceptively sunny conditions that precede a storm front.

A High Surf Advisory is a condition dangerous to swimmers and beachgoers, and is officially issued when breaking wave action poses a threat to life and property within the surf zone.

Never turn your back on a wave.

Never swim alone.

If caught in a rip current, signal for help.

WHEN IN DOUBT – JUST STAY OUT!

Some of the conditions to be aware of include STRONG CURRENTS, the main cause of drowning; DANGEROUS SHOREBREAK - forceful waves breaking on the beach; HIGH SURF - big waves; SLIPPERY ROCKS; SHARP CORAL - cuts and scrapes can lead to serious infections; SUDDEN DROP OFF - no gradual entry into the water, returning to shore impossible; WAVES ON LEDGE - chance to get knocked of ledge into the ocean by breaking waves.

 

 

Wednesday
Jun152011

In Celebration of Aloha Shirts!

 On July 1, Hawaii will celebrate the birthday of a very special American icon who was born and raised in the Hawaiian Islands - despite the fact that the state cannot turn up a birth certificate as proof of citizenship.

No, it's not President Obama.

It is in fact the equally well-known Hawaii icon - the aloha shirt.

For three-quarters of a century, the aloha shirt has been Hawaii's most enduring symbol of the relaxed, laid-back, and tropical lifestyle of the Islands.

Different tales have circulated for decades about the origins of Hawaii's aloha shirt. Some say its roots can be traced to the kapa cloth found throughout the Pacific, made from pounding and dyeing tree bark. Others claim it was inspired by the tail-out shirts of Filipino immigrants, or elegant kimono cloth from Japan, or the vivid floral prints of Tahiti. No one is absolutely sure and the origin of the aloha shirt has many parents.

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the tradition of beautifully sewn printed shirts spread from the Asian dry-goods merchants and home-sewers in Honolulu to the tailors and dress-makers, creating a new style of colorful clothing. Hawaii was emerging as a paradise for tourists and visitors arriving by ship were charmed by hula dancers swaying to the rhythm of the ukulele, boys riding the waves on their great wooden surfboards, and the colorful open-necked loose fitting aloha shirts.

In 1946, the Honolulu Chamber of Commerce appropriated $1,000 to study suitable designs for clothing businessmen could more comfortably wear in Hawaii's tropical climate. A resolution was passed to allow open-necked sports shirts during the hottest months from June through October. The aloha shirt was specifically excluded because of loud patterns. The following year during the annual Aloha Week celebration, an exception was made to allow the wearing of casual aloha attire - the more colorful the better - for the entire week. With this breakthrough, the trend would continue to expand.

Soon, visitors and locals alike were donning these wearable postcards awash with coconut trees, surfers, outrigger canoes, hula girls, and endless varieties of colorful tropical flowers, birds, and fish.

Duke Kahanamoku, (photo at left) Hawaii's most beloved surfer and Olympic swimming champion, was the earliest and greatest promoter of the aloha shirt. Duke even had his own line of shirts that are widely coveted by collectors today. Many other celebrities from Bing Crosby to Elvis Presley and Tom Selleck of Magnum P.I. were widely photographed wearing the shirts.

The modern era of the aloha shirt began in the 1960s. In 1962, the Hawaiian Fashion Guild staged "Operation Liberation," presenting two aloha shirts to each male legislator in the State House and Senate. The Senate passed a resolution urging the regular wearing of aloha attire from Lei Day, May 1, and throughout the summer months. In 1966, Aloha Friday - the precursor to casual Fridays - came into being and businessmen began the trend of wearing aloha shirts to work. By the end of the 1960s, the wearing of aloha shirts for business dress any day of the week was accepted.  

Today, there are aloha shirts for every occasion and fancy - staid button down shirts for businessmen; elegant shirts for weddings and nights out on the town; sporty shirts for surfers and beach bums; and extra vibrant shirts often preferred by tourists.

Whether you fancy a collectible from the 1930s or a modern style of today, the aloha shirt remains a symbol of the casual, carefree, and graceful Hawaii lifestyle. It's caught on everywhere - from Los Angeles to Australia - and every tropical destination in the world has adopted the born-in-Hawaii aloha shirt - even that guy Tommy in the Bahamas!

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