The Flowers of Hawaii

May 18, 2008 by  
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The many islands of Hawaii are known for many things, and the flowers and colors of the islands are certainly a large part of the beauty.  When one thinks of Hawaii, color and beauty are among the many things that one may think of.  The flowers of Hawaii are very diverse, and they color the island in a pallet of beauty. 

 

Any discussion of Hawaiian flowers begins and ends with the official state flower, the yellow hibiscus.  This flower, known to locals as pua aloalo, has been representative of the Hawaiian people as the state flower since the 20′s.  The hibiscus was originally a flower from the Pacific islands, and they can be found in a number of other colors as well.

 

The island of Oahu has its own official flower, as does all of the other islands of Hawaii.  The yellow ilima is the official flower on the island of Oahu.  This popular Hawaiian flower and is similar to the hibiscus.  The ilima has a history of being used for medicinal purposes, and is also used regularly to construct the colorful leis of the Hawaiians.

 

Maui uses the pink lokelani as its official flower.  This flower is also known as the cottage rose.  The lokelani is famous for being one of the more beautiful flowers of Hawaii, and it’s smell is famous as well for being so sweet.

 

The official flower of Kauai is actually a berry that is grown exclusively on Mount Wajalelae.  It is used as a bead in many Hawaiian decorations, and this green berry is prized as one of the more exquisite and useful items in Hawaii.

 

The Big Island sports the red ohia, which is a flower off of a tree as its official flower.  These blossoms can come in a variety of colors including orange, white, and even a vibrant yellow.  This flower, like the ilima, is often used to make leis for visitors and Hawaiians alike.

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The official flower of Lanai is the kaunaoa.  The kaunaoa has a vine that is used to construct the leis as well.  The flower is yellow and orange, and is quite beautiful as well.

 

Molokai has the white kukui for the official flower.  These flowers are the tiny white flowers that you see on most leis.  These cute flowers give the colorful flowers more vibrance by breaking up the color patterns, and providing depth.

 

The island of Nijhau has the pupu shell, which is unusual in that it is not an actual flower. 

 

Kahoolaw even has an official flower, in spite of it being uninhabited.  It is the hinahina.  This plant is a silver colored plant that also helps in lei making.

 

Each of these flowers are steeped  in Hawaiian tradition and hold a special place in the hearts of every native of the islands.  They are all used in everyday life and customs, and the recurring theme among them all is beauty.  These beautiful flowers are well worth taking the time to know and love when you visit the great state of Hawaii.

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.

Dangerous Sharks of Hawaii

May 18, 2008 by  
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Out of the roughly forty species of sharks found in Hawaiian waters, only about four are especially dangerous to man.  The tiger shark is by far the most likely culprit in Hawaiian shark attacks, and the Galapagos is not far behind. Other species such as the scalloped hammerhead, and the whitetip have occasionally attacked humans in Hawaii, but they are the exception.

 

In Hawaii, shark attacks are actually quite rare, occurring at a rate of about 3-4 per year.  This is in stark contrast to the reputation of the Hawaii coastline in many other places.  Long thought to be a shark attack hotbed, the actual numbers do not support that fact.

 

By and far, the Tiger shark is the primary danger in Hawaiian waters.  This large apex predator is known affectionately as “the garbage can” of the sea.  This name comes from the reputation of being willing to eat anything.  The tiger shark has been known to eat everything from a human being to a car tire.  This curious nature is one of the reasons that the tiger shark is so dangerous.

 

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The tiger shark is about fourteen feet when grown, though they can grow quite a bit larger.  They can be easily identified by the stripes that line it’s length, and a short blunt snout. The tiger shark has rows of sharp serrated teeth that are built for tearing.

 

Most shark attacks in Hawaiian waters are curiosity bites.  That is, the shark sees the human and wants to see if they are prey.  The shark has no hands to investigate, and uses the only thing it has.  Teeth.  This can be quite lethal to a human when a fourteen foot tiger shark is doing the investigating.

 

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Though the tiger shark is the main attacker in Hawaii, any shark should be considered dangerous as they all are meat eaters. Any wild animal is a potential threat and should be treated with respect. 

 

Other species commonly found in Hawaiian waters are the reef whitetip, the scalloped hammerhead, and the sandshark.  These species are large, strong predators and should be avoided in the water at all costs.

 

By and large your odds of being attacked by sharks in Hawaii are very slim.  The pristine waters of the Hawaiian coastline are full of dangers, but the shark population is a very small percentage of that danger on the whole.

 

Spearfishermen and surfers are by far the most likely to be attacked, but for very different reasons.  The spearfisherman is killing fish and putting blood in the water.  This is a magnet for sharks in the area and dangerous encounters can follow.  Surfers resemble the sharks prey when atop a surfboard as the shark is seeing them from below.  This is often a case of mistaken identity.

 

Sharks are generally not seen and stay well out of the way of human beings. If you are careful, and stay out of the water during the evening and twilight hours when they are feeding, then you are at a very minimal risk of being attacked.

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