Friday, July 27, 2018


Hawaii Five 0? No

If you watch the TV program "Hawaii Five O" you will recognize these two buildings. Actually, they have nothing to do with Honolulu Police, apart from providing film locations. They are historic buildings from the time of the last Hawaiian royal family and the takeover of the islands by the USA. The first building is the Ali'iolani Hale. It was originally built in the early 1870s by King Kamehameha V. He intended it to be the royal palace, but changed the plan to be the central offices of the Hawaiian government. Today it is the Hawaiian Supreme Court building. The statue in front of the building? More about that later. Across the road is the 'Iolani Palace, which was the royal residence of the rulers of Hawaii from 1882 to 1893. It was built on the site of an earlier palace, which dated back to 1845, by the last king of Hawaii, David Kalakaua. The last monarch, his sister Queen Liliuokalani, spent a year under house arrest here after a coup ended Hawaiian royal government. Both buildings are designated as National Historic Landmarks. The palace is open Tuesday to Saturday, so naturally the Oldies took me there on a Monday and I couldn't see the inside. However, there are some spectacular banyan trees in the grounds, just right for a small bear to climb (my Aloha shirt made it easy for the Oldies to keep an eye on me), so the visit was not wasted.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, July 19, 2018


An Endangered Hawaiian

On our day trip along the east coast of Oahu we were fortunate to see one of the most endangered animals in the world. Our guide, Kirk, spotted this Hawaiian Monk Seal sun-baking on the sand at Aukai Beach, Hauula. There are only about 1,200 of these Monk seals left and most of them live on the more northern islands of Hawaii, so we were excited to see this guy. Monk seals don't have external ears and they can't fold their hind flippers under their body to use as "legs" like most seals can. They get their name from their fat body and a head that looks like it is covered by a hood, like the caricature of medieval monks. There is another species of Monk Seal in the Mediterranean, and there was another in the Caribbean but is now extinct. While we were in Hawaii a couple of thugs stabbed a Monk seal to death; locals were keen to knife the thugs. Aukai beach is a typical east coast beach - fairly calm water behind a protecting reef, fine sandy beach with parkland, houses right behind the sand and no high-rise buildings as yet. Add those 3 palm trees and you have the classic tropical beach picture.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, July 12, 2018


Window on Waikiki

Every morning during our stay at Prince Waikiki, I could hardly wait for the Oldies to wake up and open the curtains and window. There was always lots to see, particularly on the water. Surfers were out there even before there was enough light to get pictures. They would not do that in Australia because sharks are usually feeding at dawn and dusk; I guess they (the sharks) are not as hungry at Waikiki. Also getting an early start were the outrigger canoe crews. I really liked watching them because occasionally they would get the timing wrong and the wave would win and leave them upside down and terribly embarrassed. The waves at Waikiki are usually small and fun to tackle. The canal near the marina is a training ground (maybe that should be training pool) for sailing beginners. There was usually a few of these brightly coloured sails there and occasional gentle collisions and accidents. Further out to sea there were usually a few ships waiting their turn to enter Honolulu harbour. This strange looking one came through every couple of days. I guess it is a container ship with a solid cover over the cargo, but it is a new type for me. I gladly stayed at the window while the Oldies were out exploring the shops, the view was always interesting.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, July 08, 2018


Guiding Lights to Honolulu

If you were sailing from mainland USA to Honolulu, you would be guided into port by these 3 lighthouses. The first one you would see is on Makapu'u Point, the southeastern point of Oahu. This small lighthouse was built in 1909 and is on a clifftop 183 metres above the sea. It has the largest lens of any lighthouse in the US. It is a long walk from the road to the lighthouse, so the photo was taken from the next beach to the north. Because of its isolation there has been a lot of vandalism of the light and associated buildings, including an idiot shooting a hole in the lens. Today the area is state park and a great hang gliding site. The second light is at the foot of Diamond Head, at the eastern end of Waikiki beach.There has been a lighthouse here since 1899, warning ships away from the Waikiki reefs. The present tower is the result of major modifications of the original tower in 1917. It is easy to get to this lighthouse, it is just off the seaward side of the road that goes around Diamond Head. At the other end of Waikiki is the entry to Honolulu harbour. Ships are greeted by the 10-story Aloha Tower, a lighthouse built in "Hawaiian Gothic" style that came into operation in 1926. For around 40 years it was the tallest building in Hawaii. The area around the tower is being redeveloped, but I am not sure just what that means. The ship in the photo is "Pride of America". It takes you on a week-long cruise around the Hawaiian islands, stopping at a different port each day. Next time we are in Hawaii, I am putting pressure on the Oldies to do that cruise. The guy in the last photo is Kirk. He was our "guiding light" on a fantastic full-day tour around the east and north coasts of Oahu. If you want to see the best of the region, you can't do better than book Kirk through Tours By Locals. Tell him Bart sent you.

Labels: ,

Thursday, July 05, 2018


No Diamonds Here

Wherever you are along Waikiki beach you can see the walls of Diamond Head. During the day the changing angles of sunlight make the walls seem to glow with different colours. This is one of the craters that were part of the huge series of volcanic eruptions that made the island of Oahu. Diamond Head is one of the youngest, formed about 450,000 years ago. Its Hawaiian name is Le'ahi (Tuna fin). It got its English name because some sailors, early in the 19th century, thought that the calcite crystals they found here were diamonds. The crater is a National Park and you enter it through a tunnel. A small military area is restricted. We didn't go in and hike to the lookout, the Oldies are not that fit any more, but we did drive all around it. If you look carefully just across the road on the middle right of the last image (from a brochure) you can see a small lighthouse. Of course we stopped there; pictures tomorrow.

Labels: ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?