Waikiki Beach Reef and Ocean Expo

This week we visited Duke’s Waikiki sponsored Reef and Ocean Expo. Ross Anderson, Regional General Manager was inspired to host this event by local fisherman Mac Poepoe who created a sustainable fishing plan for Moloka’i bay. By working with local residents, the retired firefighter created a plan allowing locals to fish and the Bay to replenish.

When we met with Ross on the beach he talked about Mac Poepoe, his passion for the ocean, sea life and his kids. His son Dakota and his schoolmates spent the day helping out and greeting attendees.

Educational displays were set up beach side with a variety of information on ocean life and conservation. We learned about non-native seaweed that raises havoc with our native plants. Volunteer divers put this vegetation from the waters and have disposed of truckloads of these invasive plants.

Ryan, a Waikiki lifeguard was on hand showing jellyfish caught off Waikiki Beach. These ocean critters are abundant in the waters about 10 days after a new moon. According to Ryan, the jellyfish tendrils are covered with thousands of pockets of venom. When swimmers are stung these pockets are transferred to our skin and the pocket opens. Some swimmers feel a faint twinge while others experience a more severe stinging and swelling. Each Waikiki lifeguard station is stocked with vinegar they can spray on victims to prevent the venom pockets from breaking, releasing their toxins. Occasionally, the stings produce an allergic reaction that may become deadly if untreated.

Two artists practiced fish painting called gyotaku. They brushed paint on an octopus then transferred the design onto t-shirts and posters.

If you are in Waikiki, take a break at Duke’s and check out the memorabilia of legendary Duke Kahanamoku. You never know who you might run into while you are there! Follow them on Twitter.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Gyotaku Fish Painting Waikiki Beach Reef and Ocean Expo

Gyotaku Fish Painting Waikiki Beach Reef and Ocean Expo

Ryan shows us jellyfish Waikiki Beach Reef and Ocean Expo

Ryan shows jellyfish found in Waikiki Beach

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Aloha Shirt Paradise in Honolulu Hawaii

In this episode of “Where Are You Today” we visit David Bailey of Bailey’s Antiques and Aloha Shirts.

A few years ago while in Honolulu, Hawaii, we walked down Kapahulu Street and spotted a unique store. Located just outside Waikiki is Bailey’s Antiques and Aloha Shirts. Although it started as an antique store, Bailey’s primary business is the barter and sale of Aloha shirts. The store is packed with over 15,000 Aloha shirts priced from under $10 to thousands of dollars. Most shirts are vintage new while others are new.

Shirts are the focal point in this store. You will find other Hawaiian related items like books, drinking glasses and jewelry at the store. The selection changes daily. If you find something you like, take it home because it may not be there on your next visit.

Bailey’s will help you if you have a special request for a specific shirt. They will keep an eye out for your desired color, pattern and style then send you photos of shirts that come into the store.

We talked with David Bailey’s about the origin of Aloha shirts and his unique store. Did you know these shirts were created by a kimono maker?

Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?”

A Handsome Devil Made Me Do It

I just got a tweet from my buddy the Travelocity Roaming Gnome who said “@AprilMWilliams: Let’s have a peek at the photos! I can only imagine I look stunningly handsome.”

Well of course the Roaming Gnome is handsome and dashing. And I have photos to prove it.

While I posted the photos on my Twitter feed and often use this photo in my presentations as an excellent example of building relationships with customers, I did not post the photo to my blog. So I am fixing this today.

On a recent trip to Hawaii Nathan Kam @NathanKam let us in on a inside scoop. We took advantage of this photo op during the gnome’s busy and adventure packed visit to Hawaii. We snapped this shot at Duke’s Waikiki Restaurant & Barefoot Bar at the Outrigger Hotel Waikiki. He has a bit of a tan from all the surfing he did the day before. Fortunately, he was slathered in maximum sun screen protection.

Here’s the Roaming Gnome and I enjoying breakfast overlooking Waikiki Beach. Aloha!

Travelocity Roaming Gnome and April M. Williams at Duke's in Waikiki Honolulu Hawaii

Travelocity Roaming Gnome and April M. Williams at Duke’s in Waikiki Honolulu Hawaii

So You Think You Know Hawaiian History?

We travel to Hawaii often and likely know more about Hawaiian history than the casual tourist to the islands. Our visits include stops at cultural and history sights important to making Hawaii the diverse location that it is. Then we met Richard Wong, tour guide for Ohana Tours. When our friends at Ohana Tours heard about our love of history and Honolulu they invited us to check out the weekend walking tour of the downtown area. We took our ohana (family) to meet Richard on a recent Sunday morning.

Our adventure began in downtown Honolulu in front of the golden Kamehameha Statue in the heart of the city. You can see this statue on the Hawaii state quarters released as part of the state series. For the next two hours Richard shared history of Hawaiian culture, religion, politics and people. As history buffs ourselves, we were overwhelmed by the detailed stories our guide shared with us. Richard is a gifted story teller. His vivid words and smooth delivery made the tales come alive for us. Drawing on a long career as a Honolulu police officer, he personalized his tales with accounts from his time on the force.

We found another link between us and our guide. To bring the islands to us when we are in the Midwest, we started watching the Hawaii 5-0 television series starting at the pilot. I get chills every time I hear the Hawaii Five-0 theme song playing. The show ran for 12 years from 1968 to 1080 and was filmed in Hawaii. The second floor of the Iolani Palace was the fictional state police headquarters. Many scenes were filmed at the iconic Ilikai Hotel in Waikiki overlooking Duke Kahanamoku’s Lagoon and the Honolulu Marina. Richard worked security during many of these shoots and shared stories of the cast and crew. He even had a few on screen parts.

You can read more about our tour on the www.808talk.com article. Listen to how Richard started out our tour below. If you are  staying in Honolulu over a weekend, check out Ohana Tours for information or reservations.

Elephant at the Honolulu Hawaii Zoo

Looking for a great way to spend an afternoon in Honolulu? Stop by the Honolulu Zoo just a block away from world famous Waikiki Beach. This jewel in the Waikiki neighborhood is just the right size for a  few hours of leisurely strolling.

Elephant at Honolulu Zoo Hawaii

Elephant at Honolulu Zoo Hawaii

When you walk into the park, the first exhibit you’ll see is the scarlet flamingos. Did you know they are pink because of the seafood they eat?

This is one of the few places you’ll be sure to see the native Nene birds. Other favorite exhibits I make sure not to miss include the Galapagos tortoise, monkeys, orangutan and African elephants.

Tikis Waikiki Honolulu Hawaii Tweet Up

Tiki’s Grill and Bar has one of the best locations in Waikiki. With a vast view of Waikiki Beach and the Pacific Ocean, this a favorite spot for locals to meet for cocktails and dinner while catching a beautiful sunset.

Tiki's Waikiki Tweep up Alexis Williams, Kyle E. Williams, Vernon Brown, Aloha Bruce, Carson P. Williams

Tiki’s Waikiki Tweep up Alexis Williams, Kyle E. Williams, Vernon Brown, Aloha Bruce, Carson P. Williams

Just a few weeks ago we were hanging out with friends at Tiki‘s in Waikiki. There was a Twitter organized meet up with Chris Pirillo tech writer for CNN, the night after we got into town. For us, it was a great way to visit with many of our new and old friends at one time. We ended up leaving the party early as we were still on Chicago time. I barely stayed awake till 8:30 there which is 5 hours later on Chicago time. I’m not often awake at 1:30AM.

You can watch video and read more on this Tiki’s event and other interesting friends.

I ran across one of the photos today of a few of our favorite tweeple. Check out these dudes having a fun time!

Tiki's Grill & Bar on Urbanspoon
Tiki's Grill & Bar on Foodio54

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.

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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