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Archive for hawaii

A Treasure Chest of Science

By Linda Tancs

Located 1,000 miles south of Hawai’i, Palmyra Atoll is one of the most spectacular marine wilderness areas on Earth. Declared a national marine monument, its pristine and unoccupied environs are jointly managed by The Nature Conservancy and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. As a center for scientific study, research there helps inform island conservation efforts around the world. Imagine a place where sharks still dominate the reef ecosystem, a place where over a million nesting seabirds and the rare coconut crab find refuge. Although it has never been settled, its history is nonetheless interesting. Named after an American shipwreck, it was claimed by the sovereign Kingdom of Hawai’i in 1862 and came under United States jurisdiction following the annexation of Hawai’i in 1898 (Hawai’i later entered statehood in 1959). Nonetheless, it was privately owned and even used by the U.S. Navy as an air refueling station during World War II. The Nature Conservancy acquired Palmyra from the Fullard-Leo family for $30 million in 2000. Because the atoll is specifically excluded from the State of Hawai’i, it was the only privately owned territory in the United States. These days its inclusion as part of a new national Pacific marine monument increases the amount of protected ocean wilderness surrounding Palmyra from half a million acres to 13 million acres, including nearby Kingman Reef.

The History of Coffee

By Linda Tancs

Hawaii’s Kona Coffee Living History Farm tells the story of Kona’s coffee pioneers during the years 1926–1945. America’s only living history coffee farm, it tells the story behind Kona’s gourmet crop. A self-guided experience, take a walk among the coffee trees or learn how farmers milled and dried their world-famous coffee. At the end of your visit, be sure to sample the farm’s 100% Kona coffee. No doubt you’ll pack a little extra for the trip home.

Preserving Hawaiian Heritage

By Linda Tancs

Formed in 1996 by preservationists Sam and Mary Cooke, the Mānoa Heritage Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, is a center for preservation of Hawaii’s natural and cultural heritage. The Center consists of four distinct areas: a native garden with a collection of 30 to 40 species, a Polynesian-introduced garden (also known as canoe plants), a heiau (the only intact ancient Hawaiian temple in the district of Waikiki) and a Tudor-style house built in 1911 and presently the private residence of Sam and Mary Cooke. The heiau and historic home are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Currently, only guided tours of the heiau and garden are available, but the house is being readied to become a historic house museum.

The Most Hawaiian Island

By Linda Tancs

Moloka’i is often referred to as the most Hawaiian island. That’s probably because native cultural practices and traditions remain pretty much intact with but one hotel and few restaurants to distract tourists from its Polynesian splendor. Even the national park, Kalaupapa, is restricted. State law requires all individuals to secure a permit prior to entering. The park is a place of remembrance for a community in isolation. When Hansen’s disease (leprosy) was introduced to the Hawaiian islands, King Kamehameha V banished all afflicted to the isolated Kalaupapa peninsula on the north shore of Moloka’i. Intrepid visitors seek out the three-mile mule trek, descending down a dizzying mountain to the former leper colony.

The Cliffs of Kauai

By Linda Tancs

Sheer cliffs with crayon hues descending into the deep blue sea, playing host to an array of dolphins, sea turtles, whales (in season) and colorful fish. That’s the promise along Na Pali, the rugged coastline on the northwest shore of Kauai, Hawaii’s oldest inhabited island. Widely acclaimed as one of the most beautiful views in the world, it is best viewed by sailing, rafting or hiking the Kalalau Trail (an 11-mile trail that leads from Ke’e Beach to Kalalau Beach). Rainbows are virtually guaranteed.

The Legend of Twin Rocks

By Linda Tancs

Although identified plainly as “a garden in a valley on the ocean,” the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden is anything but ordinary. A natural greenhouse, the 40-acre valley just miles north of Hilo on the Big Island features nearly 200 species of palms alone and over 2,000 species of tropical plants from around the world overall. Its location on the site of the ancient village Kahali’i at Onomea Bay gives rise to the legend of twin rocks. According to the tale, two young lovers were recruited to stand guard over the bay during the night to protect against enemy sails spotted by the local chieftain. When day broke, the lovers were gone and two attached rock formations stood in their place, forever standing sentinel at the head of the bay. These days the enemy sails are just cruise ships, and passengers will be glad to know that garden staff will meet you at the pier for a day’s visit.

Happy New Year

By Linda Tancs

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou.  That’s Happy New Year in Hawaiian–and what a wonderful time to visit!  Those tubular waves made famous in print and film are in full vigor this time of year.  Surf’s up.  Are you ready?

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