Great Pacific Garbage Patch

While many of us just recently learned of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch floating 1000 miles off the California coast in the North Pacific Gyre, scientists tell us it has been growing steadily since the 1950’s. Birds and animals get entangled in the trash and ingest tempting looking pieces of plastic causing a high concentration of chemicals in our food chain.

Weight is estimated at over 100 million tons spanning an area twice the size of the state of Texas. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch even has its own Wikipedia entry. Experts believe 80% of the plastic comes from land based sources while 20% comes from ships.

I delighted in taking my kids snorkeling in Hanauma Bay in Hawaii this month. They were wide-eyed as they watched the colorful tropical fish swim arms length away. At all the beaches we visited in Hawaii we found plastic bags and other trash on the shore and in the water. It’s not just Hawaii beaches. We find garbage everywhere we go. While out hiking or geocaching, we take a bag to collect garbage. In fact, the other week I had to buy a tactical backpack to carry our hiking snacks/water in one compartment while filling up the others with beach trash. Cache in – Trash out.

Hanauma Bay in Hawaii

Hanauma Bay in Hawaii

Plastic is 100% non biodegradable. It never breaks down.

What do you do about this growing problem? Start locally.
* Bring reusable bags with you when you go shopping. It’s an easy step.
* Pick up trash you find on your walks
* Reduce your waste. Can you fix it? Repurpose? Do without?

Only humans are to blame for this disaster and we are the only ones who can resolve the situation.

Profile for Diamond Head

Eating Cookies with Wally Amos In Waikiki Honolulu Hawaii

Recently we were in Royal Hawaiian Shopping Centre in Waikiki, Honolulu visiting with our friend Wally Amos in his Chip and Cookie store and talking with customers about their favorite flavors. All five flavors of cookies he bakes are yummy and we had a hard time choosing our favorite.

Top votes went to Chocolate Chip with Macadamia Nuts. Here’s how the people voted. What is your favorite?

Chip & Cookie on Urbanspoon

Street Named for Duke Kahanamoku on Waikiki Beach Hawaii

Last week the city of Honolulu named a street for Duke Kahanamoku, surfing legend complete with Hawaiian traditional blessings. The Duke was known as an Olympic medalist and ambassador of Aloha. The street runs along the Ilikai Hotel next to the Hilton Hawaiian and recently renovated lagoon also named for the Duke. No waves for surfing on Duke’s Lagoon!

Duke Kahanamoku

Duke Kahanamoku

Tikis Waikiki Hawaii Tweet with Chris Pirillo

This week, I was invited to meet up with Chris Pirillo tech writer for CNN.com, Traci Toguchi, Ryan Ozawa, Vern Brown and other Hawaii friends.

I write for Vern’s Insider’s Guide to Hawaii travel website 808Talk.com.

We met at Tiki’s Grill overlooking Waikiki Beach and the Pacific Ocean. Chris Pirillo set up a Ustream live feed and you can watch some of the video below. Many other Hawaii social networking friends were there and it was fun to see them in real life.

World War Two Pearl Harbor Survivor Herbert Weatherwax

We are enjoying our visit to Honolulu on the always beautiful island of Oahu in Hawaii. Yesterday we visited the Pearl Harbor Memorial and met a 92 year old Pearl Harbor survivor of the day which has lived in infamy, Dec. 7, 1941. Herb Weatherwax was born in Oahu and was at Pearl Harbor during the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Herb later served in the Battle of the Bulge before fighting in Germany.

Raised in Hawaii, Herb found the Midwest winters too cold and returned to the Hawaiian Islands after World War II. Herb can be found volunteering at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center three days a week. He enjoys meeting with and signing autographs for the thousands of visitors he meets each year.

Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?” Turn up your speakers and listen as Herbert Weatherwax introduces himself to you. Enjoy this history moment of history.

I am very grateful to have met several Pearl Harbor survivors on my travels to Hawaii. Many of these soldiers toured the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center last year for the final Pearl Harbor Survivors reunion. As they reach their 90’s it is harder for them to travel, especially long distances. Here are the stories of other Pearl Harbor survivors.

Another Perspective of Diamond Head Honolulu Hawaii

There is more than one way to experience Diamond Head, an extinct volcano in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii.

Anyone who is around me for longer than a few minutes knows I love to travel and my favorite spot is Hawaii. We are frequent visitors and even write for the 808talk travel website. You can read my latest post about a scenic walk here. There are links to photos of sites you might see on this walk.

Lighthouse on Diamond Head Road Honolulu, Hawaii

Lighthouse on Diamond Head Road Honolulu, Hawaii

The Thrill of the Hunt Geocaching in Hawaii

Have you heard about geocaching?

I discovered I could incorporate several activities I enjoy within a single hobby. I like spending time with my family and friends, solving puzzles, seeking out new adventures, exercising and being environmentally “green”. Geocaching is treasure hunting with a GPS receiver. You can search for geocaches online by zip code and download the coordinates into your hand held GPS unit. You seek out hidden geocaches based on longitude and latitude.

Sometimes the jackpot is as small as a prescription pill container with a piece of paper rolled up inside so you can log your visit. Some containers are so tiny; you need to bring your own pencil. Other containers are as large as a Tupperware food saver or an army surplus ammunition box filled with trinkets. Our geocaching equipment includes a bag of tchotchkes that we swap based on the theme of the geocache.

For me though, the fun is not in finding the treasure, but the thrill of the hunt. We geocache while in Hawaii as an activity to challenge our brain and seek out new adventures.

This is a hobby the both family and friends can participate in. My husband and I often take others with us to introduce them to the hobby. We took keiki with us to the Honolulu Zoo to find their first cache. When we return to the island, their first question for us is “Are you going to go geocaching?” Other times we need subject matter expertise. One of the geocaches in the North Shore, Hawaii required solving a puzzle to figure out the coordinates. Ten car logos were pictured from different auto manufactures around the world. After identifying the car model and country of origin, the digits of the location could be determined. I recruited a couple of world traveling gear heads to help figure out that one out.

Williams Family geocaching at the Honolulu Zoo

Williams Family geocaching at the Honolulu Zoo

While geocaching we learn about local history. A geocache is hidden on the estate of the last reigning Hawaiian monarch, Queen Lydia Liliuokalani. The site overlooks the drainage canal built to convert water logged taro fields into dry land becoming Waikiki.

A multi-stage geocache requires several stops. At each site you visit, you find clues to identify the next location. We learned about local leaders during a 5 stage history tour to five statues along Waikiki. Each statue had a plaque which told a story. There is Father Damien, who came from Belgium, to Hawaii in 1864. He devoted the rest of his life to the leper settlement on the island of Molokai before succumbing to the disease himself. He has been nominated for sainthood. During the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy led by U.S. business men, Princess Kaiulani spearheaded a campaign to restore the throne. Beloved native son, Duke Kahanamoku, born of Hawaiian royalty, was a swimming sensation earning Five Olympic medals. “The Duke”, starred in Hollywood movies and is known as “The father of modern surfing.”

You can get a good workout in a day hiking up Diamond Head, the extinct volcano which stands at the east end of Waikiki. If you have comfy shoes, cache your way around the volcano on foot enjoying a heart healthy work out and spectacular views of the Pacific, Waikiki and downtown Honolulu.

Get away from the crowds and cache in Kailua. There are finds along both the busy and the quiet parts of the beach. Don’t forget your sunscreen and snorkel gear. You’ll be hungry after a day of swimming and caching. Check out the yummy handmade cookie store in town for a snack.

When you are on Oahu, you don’t have to go far to find these treasures. There are hundreds of local finds. From the crowded pedestrian malls of Chinatown to the top of Diamond Head to the shores of Kailua, there is a cache for every interest and ability.

While we are getting our exercise, learning about the area and catching up with friends and family, we also pick up trash. We carry in a couple of empty garbage bags to snatch up any litter we spy while we are out. This is referred to as “cache in, trash out”.

You can learn more about the hobby at geocaching.com. I enjoy the opportunity to combine time with my family, brain exercise, and physical activity all in one hobby. If you like history, culture and the great outdoors, you should give geocaching a try.

Profile for Diamond Head

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