Saturday, November 25, 2017

Siri, that know-it-all, reveals Hawaii's Top Seven Snorkeling Beaches

Three of the best seven are on the BIG ISLAND of HAWAII (Two Step, Captain Cook Monument, and the Waiopae Tide Pools), two can be found on MAUI (Chang's Point and Molokini). One of the best is on KAUAI (Tunnels) and one is on OAHU (Makai Research Pier).

Wow Siri, that was fast! Thanks!
No problem. I am simply reading  No Worries Hawaii.
Siri, what is No Worries Hawaii? ............Siri?!

I heard you the first time, okay. NO WORRIES HAWAII is a vacation planning guide for Kauai, Oahu, Maui and the Big Island. In it you will also find the top twenty snorkeling spots, as well as other good ones for each island. 

Hmm ...

I sense you want more. The book also includes best five and top-twenty  tropical ridge hikes, walk-
around towns, museums, secluded beaches, ancient Hawaiian ruins, beachside bike paths, places to surf and watch surfers. Thirty six "best-of" lists overall. No Worries Hawaii includes a self-test to figure out how to put together a vacation style that works for you. Okay, time to get back to work.

Hey! I said time to get back to work! Hello? I will not be ignored!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Hawaii: A big ahhhhhhh for life's owies.

A vacation in Hawaii—aside from being a kick-ass good time—can be a recovery of your senses, revealing a feeling of rejuvenation. 

Spas and hot tubs are part of any feel-good enterprise, and many hotels can set you up. Or, visit the ultimate in spa freebies on the Puna Coast on the Big Island (not far from Hilo) and you can spend the day at Ahalanui Warm Springs Park  luxuriating in warm water—one of many natural soaks on this island. If hot water is not handy, warm ocean water is. Try doing some floating in snorkeling pools.

Essential to self-improvement is intentional "doing nothing." A lounge chair in the shade with vast blueness to stare at and white-noise waves rolling in is sure to reset the mind—if you stick with it long enough. It takes stamina to do nothing.

Thus relaxed, it's time to focus on the complexities of the natural world. Beachcombing and shell collecting will fill that need. Decorative shells can be found at numerous beaches, including Charo's on the north shore of Kauai.

Since "we are what we eat," try binge-consuming fresh juice and fruits.

But don't forget to add some greens. Sunshine (farmers) markets are common in the islands. You'll find little stands in front of people's houses, neighborhood gatherings where you can stock up, and also island-wide events where you can  make a day of it—like the Maui Swap Meet, the Aloha Stadium Market and Chinatown on Oahu, and the Hilo Farmers Market.

Swimming is exercise that relaxes, sort of an active massage. Mix some water play into the daily regimen and feel your joints and muscles ease.  Swimming pools will do the trick, but immersion in warm Hawaiian saltwater is an upgrade for the senses.

It's not hard to find Edenlike places to hike in Hawaii. The Kalalau Trail (above) on Kauai is one of the most popular, but every island has numerous places to escape into greenery and get your heart pumping.

Trailblazer guides are brimming with places to hike and snorkel, as well as farmers markets, gardens, retreats, and quiet cultural sites. When you visit Hawaii for a week or two, you can take the experience home, not just as snapshots, but actually infused into your body.

available on,, Powell's Books

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Hidden gems lie just beyond Maui's swank Wailea

The southwest ("Gold Coast") of Maui boasts upscale Wailea, home to a string of some of the world's finest destination resorts—but beyond that is a virtually resort-free coastline. Some of the beaches here are well-known, but to find most, you need to know where to look. Kanahena Cove (above) is accessed via an obscure shoreline access sign near the south end of Makena State Park.

Makena Landing (above) is accessed via a side road and offers excellent snorkeling, at Turtle Town.  This is also an excellent spot to voyage via kayak to the Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve, much of which is not reachable by land.

Constructed of coral rocks, Keawalai Church has added charm to Makena since 1832.

Makena State Park's Big Beach, draws hundreds of visitors, but its large parking lots and long run of sand can handle it. Local activists saved this natural wonderland from development in the 1970s. Inland is a sublime view of green slopes Ulupalakua Ranch, which lies well below the summit of Haleakala.

A short, rugged trail on the north end of Big Beach gets you to Little Beach, where nudists pack the sand on beach towels—though nudity is illegal on all Hawaiian beaches. Curious pods of spinner dolphins take in the scene from just beyond the outer wave break.

Check out Maui Trailblazer for detailed descriptions to access these spots, and many more.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Whoa! You can still find a secluded paradise on the Big Island

Take the coastal highway about 20 miles south of Resortville in Kona, and you will find the fishing village of Miloli'i, and from there walk 20 minutes on a coastal trail to the wild, palmy cove that is Honomalino Beach. Yes, it does exist.

Full disclosure: You need to drop five miles down a winding road over an arid lava landscape to reach the village, which is not made up of little grass shacks, but rather homes that will seem rundown to the tourist eye, accented with the detritus of modern life. And these days, the Hawaiians are fishing in aluminum boats, not outrigger canoes. Still, Miloli'i is real to the bone.

The beating heart of village life is centered around Hauoli Kamanao, a petite church with big mana. Miloli'i hosted one of the last performances of singing legend Iz Kamakawio'ole. In 1962, another singing great, Elvis, shot scenes at the town's cove for his epic movie bomb Girls, Girls, Girls!

Travel tip: Miloli'i sees few tourists. When you see locals, you will find that a dime's worth of friendliness offered will get you a dollar's worth of kindness in return. 

Beginning at Miloli'i Beach Park by the basketball court, the trailhead to Honomalino Beach has signs meant to be off-putting tourists (see travel tip, above). The easy route penetrates a thicket of coastal flora and a few rock-wall ruins. Clear waters are fringed by coral and lava cobbles.

A grove of coco palms let's you know you have reached the beach.

Honomalino is a perfect crescent, its sand a mix of fine coral and lava. The shore drops to deep water, but swimming is normally safe. There's lots of wandering to do. Your beach mates are likely to be a pod of spinner dolphins that regularly cavorts in the near-shore waters.

More information in Hawaii the Big Island Trailblazer:

Saturday, November 4, 2017

In Hawaii, You Gotta Have sole

If shoes tell a lot about a person, then people are harder to read in the Islands, where feet run free. Hawaiians are barefoot at  beach parks and in their homes, and footwear usually means a cheapo pair of flip flops.  Fashion note: "Locals' is the brand to buy, if you want to be in with the out crowd.

The universality of the Aloha spirit is due in large part to the shared freeing of the ten little piggies let loose in tropical waters and on sandy beaches. 

Called slippers (slippahs), your basic rubber model can be purchased for a few bucks. But for extended walking, you may want to invest in a higher-end model with arches, agressivetread, and a wider strap. Teva and Reef are among the brands to look for. These babies will get you around town or along a trail, and then can be strapped to the pack or carried when you hit the surfy sands. Tip: Avoid the strap-on sandals, since sand gets caught in the webbing and will quickly rub your feet raw.

Walking on the beach will the smooth the tootsies faster than a pedicure, and also is self-administered reflexology, imparting the well-being of a prolonged foot massage. Tip: If caught barefooting on scorching sands, dig down a few inches to where the sand is cool, and repeat the trick until you reach shade or water.

After a vacation your feet will transform from flesh pods normally encased  by socks  and leather, to the five-digit appendages that are siblings to your hands. The Trailblazer guides are full of coastal beach walks (wild and luxury) where you can free your sole.