Posts Tagged 'hawaii'

Tsunami Damage- What’s Closed, What’s Open on Hawai’i The Big Island


Hawai’i Island ( Hawai’i Island, especially the Kona District, sustained some damage from the tsunami generated by an earthquake near Japan, but impact on visitors will be minimal, tourism officials said.

TSUNAMI UPDATE. (April 1, 2011)It’s business as “almost-usual” for Hawai’i Island, following the tsunami that struck March 11 due to an earthquake near Honshu, Japan. There were no deaths or injuries in Hawai’i, and the majority of Big Island businesses are back to normal (those impacted most are in the Kona District.) See below for Big Island updates. For detailed statewide updates, visit the Hawai’i Visitors and Convention Bureau’s special alert website. BIVB supports the statewide relief effort for Japan, “Aloha for Japan.”

Thanks to the help of dedicated community volunteers, Hulihe’e Palace has reopened for self-guided museum tours 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Repair of damages suffered by the March 11 tsunami continue to the palace basement, grounds and exterior buildings; the gift shop remains closed. Hulihe’e Palace continues free monthly outdoor concerts honoring late Hawaiian royalty. Time is 4 p.m. Apr. 17, May 15, June 12, July 17, Aug. 14, Sept. 18, Oct. 16, Nov. 20 and Dec. 18. Call (808) 329-1877 or visit

Four Seasons Resort Hualālai at Historic Ka’upulehu will reopen Apr. 30, 2011.  While there is no significant structural damage, management is well aware of what their guests desire and their need to provide an uncompromising experience.  For updates, visit

Kona Village Resort remains closed “for an extended period of time,” according to a statement issued by its management. Damage to the 45-year-old iconic resort was severe enough to cause the layoff of all employees and no re-opening date has been established at press time. For information, visit

King Kamehamemeha’s Kona Beach Hotel is open and there was no damage to guest rooms. The award-winning Island Breeze Lu’au has resumed its normal schedule. Carpets are being replaced in the lobby and meeting areas, and the Billfish Bar is serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Anaehoomalu Beach is again open on both sides. The public parking, restrooms and access on the south side had been previously closed due to debris.

All Big Island National Parks Are Open. Assessment continues at Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park on impacts to its cultural sites, but the park is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Its royal grounds, puuhonua and coastal trail are closed. All other areas of the park are open. Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park is open daily and the only area closed is the coastal trail between the north end of ‘Aimakapā and the south end of Kaloko fishponds.  The visitor center is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Overall, Hawai’i Island escaped with minimal damage,” said George Applegate. “The best way to help us is to come visit and enjoy all be have to offer, which is an inspiring experience and vacation. We send our aloha and heartfelt sympathy to the people of Japan, and to everyone who sustained losses due to the earthquake and tsunami,” he said.

Thank you to

The Big Island Visitors Bureau (BIVB)

For more information on Hawai‘i Island, please visit

The Insanity of Learning to Surf at my Age – On the North Shore of Oahu

Learning to Surf on the North Shore of Oahu

I can remember exactly the first time I felt I had to surf….against all expectations, as I am uncomfortable in the ocean when my feet don’t touch a sandy bottom. Surf movies were projected onto the walls of the hip restaurant where we celebrated my daughter’s birthday.  Watching surf movies is like seeing poetry come to life.

The scene of a young woman on her board, freely gliding atop a wave 10 times her size seduced me, even though I knew that as with skiing, surfing is best learned when you’re young and flexible in body and mind.

The image of me on the surf board became another “must do” on my bucket list of adventures. I wondered if it was crazy to try to surf in my 50’s.

Recently, when planning a family vacation to Hawaii, I saw a promotional photo of a girl on a surf board outside the Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu. That’s it, I thought. I’ll book the surf lessons for myself and my two college-age daughters. My husband was less enthusiastic, but I had to give it a shot, and with my daughters urging me on, maybe I’d have the courage to try. We grabbed our suitcases and good books and took off for Turtle Bay, a non-stop flight from San Francisco and then only an hour drive from the Honolulu Airport.

The north shore boasts big waves, large enough to drown you or throw you up on the rocks and crush you. It’s a Mecca for the world’s top surfers and competitions. All my life I’ve sat on the shore watching the surfers and finally said to myself, “I have to get out there and confront my fear of the ocean. I’ll never have better company than my athletic daughters and I may not have the opportunity to take lessons at a surf school as renowned as Hans Hedemann’s at the Turtle Bay Resort. “Go for it,” I remember my mom telling me so many times.

Surf lessons with my daughters

We were given thin wet suits and long boards and instructions on the sand, and then into the breakers we paddled. Our buff teacher Tom floated at the crest of the waves near us and called me to paddle over and get ready. Bobbing up and down, he watched and waited for the perfect wave for me, then with a push, a spin and a yelp, I paddled out of the wave. On my belly, counting to three, following his instructions, I tried to stand up, wobbled and crashed.  “The wipe-outs are part of the fun,” I remember Tom saying.  Tumbling downward into the pit of the wave, I felt the whole power of the ocean above me. There was no time to be scared. Suddenly a force pulled me by my ankle up to the surface. There was no time to wonder if it was a supernatural power helping me out. With a snap, tug and a pull from the surfboard strap I was propelled upward.

Sputtering and dazed, I surfaced and looked out to the wave line where I saw my daughters smiling with thumbs up. “OK, time to try again,” I thought.

Then they took their turns and gracefully stood up, balanced and rode their waves. We were all hooping and yelling encouragement to each other.

I paddled back out to the instructor, feeling my strength and pumping up my courage. What did I do wrong? Tom said, “Let go of it. Don’t count or think, just feel the wave.” He pushed me off for the second try and started paddling into the rushing wave. I had the sensation I was dancing and that I’d been on that wave all my life. I stood up and rode it in. It was pure euphoria.  For the rest of the day I managed to ride every wave, something I never thought I would be allowed to do. The ocean touched me on the nose and said, “That was for you.”  For a few seconds I was one with the wave.

Learning to surf is one of the harder things I’ve done in my life, but it’s also immensely gratifying. It requires both great focus and tremendous effort to paddle out and get on the wave. You need to be highly observant to understand what’s happening around you, while simultaneously letting everything go and allowing your instincts to guide you. If you’re not 100-percent present, you might get unlucky and get hurt.

Out there bobbing in the waves of the North Shore of Oahu, I had to deal with the ocean, the fear, the survival and the challenge – all alone. You truly are on your own.

After the surf lessons I was sore for days and I stayed close to the pool, the Jacuzzi, and the sand beach at Turtle Bay Resort. But I knew something had changed in me—the way I feel about myself. I did it — I surfed –even at my age.

Hawaii Lomi Lomi Chocolate Wrap

Blissed-Out with a Chocolate Body Wrap

Lomi Lomi is Hawaiian massage. Practioners of this ancient Polynesian healing technique use not only palms, but also the forearm, fingers, knuckles and elbows. The Hawaiian phrase, Lomi Lomi, means, literally, to rub, knead, massage.

The Sheraton Ho’ola Spa offers open-air massage on private patios where your mind and body will melt into the soundtrack of waves and birdsong. Zen-out with a Chocolate Body Wrap; warm Hershey’s chocolate is brushed all over your body, and a soft Vichy shower completes the decadence.  It sounds other worldly because it is.

Their custom aroma-chroma facial is the latest and greatest treatment out of Switzerland. It too is a “must try.”

Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Ho’ola Spa 808-930-4900

Massage as magnificent as the Hawaiian flowers

Hawaii Five O -5 Outstanding Adventures on the Big Island of Hawaii

If you think Hawaii is only about resorts, pools and beaches, think again. The Big Island of Hawaii has so many active adventures outside the gates of the resort. You can hike to waterfalls, bike volcanoes, paddle with dolphins, and snorkel with Manta Rays.

Hawaiian sunset.

To get a feel for the rich diversity of the island, fly into Hilo and out of Kona.
As the jet makes its arching descent across Hilo Bay on the Big Island of Hawaii, we‘re mesmerized by the tropical tableau below – translucent blue water fringed with green rolling hills. The couple across the aisle compares the scenery to Ireland. But when my husband and I step off the plane the floral fragrances and warm trade winds leave no doubt that we’re in Hawaii.
Next blog: Where to stay to get the feel for the real Hawaii.

About Marybeth Bond

Marybeth Bond is the nation’s preeminent expert on women travel. She is the award-winning
author-editor of 11 books.

Marybeth has hiked, cycled, climbed, dived and kayaked her way through more than seventy countries around the world.

She was a featured guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Marybeth has appeared on CBS News, CNN, ABC, NBC, National Public Radio and National Geographic Weekend.