Fifty shades of grey

The gratuitous headline actually fits the photo below perfectly. This is February in the Midwest—cold, often cloudy, always monochromatic.

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Compare and contrast to the vibrant colors one experiences on the islands of Hawaii—reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, indigoes and violets. Yes, a rainbow of colors wherever one turns. Even in the rain, there is usually a rainbow to be discovered.

The minute you step off the plane it’s apparent. It doesn’t matter if you land in Honolulu on Oahu, Kona or Hilo on the Big Island, Lihue on Kauai, Kahului on Maui, or if your final destination is via a smaller aircraft to the Lanai or Molokai airports.

Kua Beach

This photo above, from March 2014, was taken at Kua Beach on the Big Island—officially known as Manini’owali Beach. It’s a gem of a beach with crystal clear waters, white sand, sea turtles, reefs for snorkeling. This photo, taken on a whim from my cell phone, shows the entrance area to a walkway to the beach. I love how a coconut near the rustic, weathered picnic table looks as if it was positioned there on purpose. When we returned from this trip, I sent this one off to Canvas on Demand, so that I could hang in on my wall for days like this when it’s 3 degrees outside.

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This quintessential beach above is in front of Mama’s Fish House on Maui. The palm trees provide just enough shade from the sun. If you stop for lunch or dinner, this is the view.

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On Kauai, home to one of the rainiest spots on earth at the summit of Mount Waialeale, beautiful color is everywhere—even in the rain. This photo is from a lookout near Princeville. I love the serene colors and landscape. So peaceful.

On Lanai, the landscape has its own beauty and is completely different on the shore as it is in upcountry Lanai. This view below is of the lush gardens at the Four Seasons Lodge at Koele. The air is crisp here. The manicured Japanese gardens are stunning. Icing on the cake is the orchid house they have onsite. Rain or shine, gorgeous.

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Pick an island, any island. Really, you can’t go wrong. Need. To. Go. Back. Soon.

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Hawaii’s fragile waters

The sad environmental news out of Oahu this week got me thinking about the beauty and fragility of Hawaiian waters.

A massive molasses spill off the Honolulu Harbor is wreaking havoc with the fish and the fragile coral reefs. An estimated 230,000 gallons of the thick and sticky substance has IMG_1053seeped into the waters and scientists will probably not know its entire impact for years.

If you have snorkeled anywhere in Hawaii, you know the mystery and beauty of these reefs. You look, admire and marvel from a distance. Even the slightest human touch is dangerous to the reefs, so the thought of a spill of this magnitude saddens me. These reefs are thousands of years in the making and the fish you find in the seas of Hawaii are colorful, diverse and fascinating.

The people of Hawaii take the beauty of the islands seriously. It’s one thing I admire when visiting. With waters and shorelines like this, it’s easy to see the importance of protecting it and keeping it clean for future generations.

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And speaking of taking care, don’t ever, ever take rocks or sand from Hawaii home. I’m not particularly superstitious, but this is one warning I would heed. It’s a common belief that it will be followed up by bad luck. More about that here.

Pearl Harbor

A National Historic Landmark, Pearl Harbor is one of the most visited destinations on Oahu and in the Hawaiian Islands. It’s a somber and unforgettable experience—one that will stay with you for years.
Scan 98The Pearl Harbor historic sites include the WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument, Battleship Missouri Memorial, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, and the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor.  You could easily spend a full day visiting, especially if you are a student of history. The National Park Service has information on hours, the various historic sites and helpful details on how to plan your day.
For a visit to the USS Arizona Memorial, you will begin at the Pearl Harbor Memorial Theater for an excellent 23-minute film, and will then take a Navy-operated shuttle boat to the USS Arizona Memorial. There are three areas of the Memorial: the Entry Room, the Assembly Room and the Shrine Room with the great marble wall with the names of more than 1,000 people who perished on the ship. Scan 101
It was more than 12 years ago since I visited Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial, but I think about it frequently, especially on the anniversary each year on Dec. 7. The attack in 1941, which propelled America into World War II, is something Americans learn about in history books. When you visit and reflect upon the lives lost, the heroic acts and the stories you hear, it really brings this history to life. This is a place to consider and reflect upon America’s history, the devastation, the pain of war and the price of freedom.
 

Oil still leaks from the wreckage of the USS Arizona

Oil still leaks from the wreckage of the USS Arizona

Tickets may be reserved online for the USS Arizona Memorial here.