Hawaii Travel Tips For A Great Holiday

May 18, 2008 by  
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Do: Jump in the water! Hawaii’s location in the path of the warm tradewinds gives the water a year round temperature of 74°F – the same as a gently cool bath. There are snorkeling opportunities galore, and hundreds of colorful tropical fish and sea plants to discover. It’s an excellent place to scuba dive, and to learn how to surf in the place where surfing was invented. (Don’t be put off by the occasional sensational shark-attack story; the odds are less than one in a million.)

Don’t: Overpack. Hawaii is a casual place, full of sand and nature hikes. Unless you’re planning to attend specific upscale events, limit yourself to one or two dressy items. Wear comfortable sandals, and expect that your clothes will come back filled with sand and bits of local flora. Anything you forget or run out of will be easily available for purchase locally.

Make sure to: Visit one of the many educational sites. The Hawaiian islands have enjoyed a rich history, from ancient Polynesian village life to European migration to today’s film industry, and there are specialized tours, museums, and cultural centers to showcase each aspect. Pearl Harbor is a moving memorial and worth a day of its own.

Remember: Wear sunscreen. Even on the occasional cloudy day, the sun reflecting off that clear blue water is significantly stronger than it is on the Mainland. SmartShield, Sawyer, and Off! make spray-on waterproof sunscreen that doubles as insect repellent.

Beware of:

Pickpockets and scams. As with any tourist-oriented place in the world, there will always be scavengers trying to take advantage of the unwary traveler. Keep your money and ID in a moneybelt under your clothes, your valuables locked in the hotel safe, and your common sense turned on.

Always: Be gracious to the local people. They are sharing their beautiful home with you, and they will have to live with whatever you leave behind.

With children: The beach is an endless source of playtime inspiration. If they’re going swimming, be sure to check the local tidal conditions. Ask for a report from your hotel, or search for your beach on one of the many “surf report” websites.

For romance:

Hawaiian sunsets – and sunrises – are like no other. There are wonderful vantage points to watch the view with your beloved, from the heights of Haleakala to the hidden coves of Na Pali Coast State Park. Pick up the book “The Best Places to Kiss in Hawaii” to find that perfect spot.

Retire to: One of the many cruises available between the islands. You can enjoy a 3 night cruise that stops at each island, and have all of your accommodations and excursions planned and handled by experts. Honolulu has excellent medical care available, as do most of the cruise ships, so you can vacation with peace of mind.

Most of all: Relax. You’re on vacation in one of the most beautiful spots on Earth. Take the time to simply rest and enjoy it.

History of the Hawaiian Hula Dance

May 18, 2008 by  
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Hula dance is a form of storytelling, expression, religious practice, and art that stretches back to ancient times.

Ancient Times – Hula Kahiko

The ancient origins of hula dance are shrouded in mystery and mythology. In a pre-literate society, an oral history was preserved through this music and dance, and it was used as a form of prayer. Often it was also used as amusement, celebration, and performance. The traditional musical instruments were gourds, drums, rattles and sticks, many made from gourds. Songs or ritualized chants tell stories of history, mythology, and morality, across all phases of life and the range of human emotion. There were many different “types” of hula, such as the Dance for the Chief, the Dance with Bamboo Pipes, the Dance as an Image, and others.

Monarchy – Hula ‘auana

During the monarchy period from 1810 through 1898, hula was derided by foreign Calvinist missionaries as a lewd and pagan practice. King Kamehameha II banned the art at the missionaries’ request, but enforced the ban only halfheartedly and continued to personally support it. Outside influence on the dance forms changed them drastically. The costumes changed as well, from merely to traditional bark-cloth skirts and leis to including tops and less revealing cloth skirts. European musical forms and harmonies were introduced.

Late Monarchy and Republic – Hula Ku’i

As the monarchy began to more openly support hula, a new form emerged. This combined poetry with chanting, dance, and a more limited selection of musical instruments. In particular, the ipu gourd-drum was prevalent. Religion remained a strong component of the dance.

Twentieth Century – Hula ‘auana / ku’i

Hula came to the world’s attention on the silver screen. Growing external influence combined many hula movements with other types of dance movements, solidifying this fusion as its own style. The dance’s sensual elements were emphasized and its vocabulary limited to those movements that looked compelling on film and in tourist performances, rather than those that carried meaning. Melodic music, as opposed to traditional drumming and chanting, rose in prominence. Hula became largely secularized, though a few traditional practitioners kept the older knowledge alive.

A resurgence of interest in the ancient hula forms has produced a tremendous respect for the Hawaiian dance community elders. The Hula Preservation Society has dedicated thousands of hours to filming and recording the songs and dances of elderly practitioners. These hula masters learned the dances from their grandparents, preserving the monarchy-era dances in living memory. These newly discovered and re-created ancient dances, called ai kahiko, are modern attempts to return the hula to its more spiritual roots and to preserve the oral histories they expressed.

Dangerous Marine Life Of Hawaii

May 18, 2008 by  
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When one considers the dangers of marine life in Hawaii, most people think of sharks and possibly jellyfish. This is certainly two of the things that one should be paying attention to, but there are a number of other living organisms in Hawaiian waters to be aware of. Here are just a few of the dangers in Hawaiian waters to know about.

Anemone of Hawaii

Anemone are found in the deepest offshore waters of Hawaii, as well as up close to shore in tide pools. These organisms hide out in various crevices and often find contact with Hawaiians via people wading in tide pools. The anemone has tentacles that have stinging cells attached and will certainly sting upon contact with human skin. Reactions vary from mild to severe, and one should rinse any sting with fresh or salt water upon contact. In serious reactions to a sting, one should get to the hospital immediately as some people suffer respiratory distress.

Barracuda of Hawaii

Barracuda are supreme predators and quite capable biters found in the deep ocean, and in close to shore as well. They are particularly fond of hanging out in the bay and near any floating devices that can provide shade. The barracuda is very attracted to anything shiny so do not swim with jewelry. This is due to the similarity to the barracuda’s prey, other fish, being shiny. The barracuda has long sharp teeth that can deliver an extremely painful and devastating bite. Any bite from a barracuda needs immediate medical attention. Apply pressure to the bleeding wound on the way to the hospital.

Coral of Hawaii

The coral in Hawaii is actually quite sharp and jagged and one should be careful not to touch it at any time. One should also wear footwear at all times when wading to avoid accidental cuts and bruises from this fascinating but dangerous coral.

Moray Eels of Hawaii

These eels are actually quite dangerous and most attacks happen when someone goes poking around in the holes and crevices found under the water. If you are diving, avoid putting your hands into these places to avoid a teeth filled surprise. The moray eel has sharp ragged teeth that can tear flesh easily. Seek medical treatment if bitten.

Portuguese Man-of-War of Hawaii

This is one serious threat in Hawaii if you are not careful. The man-of-war has long blue tentacles that will sting forcefully and painfully. Fortunately, they are somewhat predictable as far as patterns. They follow the winds when they blow in from the ocean. If you observe the signs warning of this danger you should be okay. If stung, however, remove the visible tentacles and seek medical attention.

Sea Urchins, Scorpion Fish, and Cone Snails of Hawaii

Again, these creatures like to hang out in the various holes and crevices of the sea. Keep your hands and feet out of these areas and wear footwear when wading in shallow waters and you will avoid these dangerous, painful creatures.

Stingrays of Hawaii

These are also found along the bottom of Hawaiian shores. Though famous for being the culprit in the death of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, they are not naturally aggressive. If you encounter a sting ray, leave it alone. If accidentally stung, seek medical attention right away.

Sharks of Hawaii

The Hawaiian coastline has many species of sharks, but only a few known to target man as a potential food source. The most notorious of the bunch is the tiger shark. This large predator will certainly eat anything, and you should always be mindful of large sharks in the area. Other sharks found in Hawaiian waters are the Galapagos, the sandshark, the scalloped hammerhead, and the whitetip. These are just a few of the species that inhabit Hawaii, and one should remember that any shark can be dangerous. If one is spotted, you should calmly get out of the water.

Jellyfish of Hawaii

Jellyfish are one of the most troublesome problems for humans in the ocean because they are very hard to spot. They are often see through and float in the water silently. That said, the box jellyfish is the primary problem in Hawaii, and one should stay out of the water if they are around or spotted. These jellyfish have tons of stinging tentacles that are profoundly painful when touching human skin. This is a serious sting that should be treated by medical professionals.