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Tour Guide Hawaii, GPS-guided audiovisual tours...Take Me Along!

Tour Guide Hawaii, GPS-guided audiovisual tours...Take Me Along!

Heralding a new era in travel and guaranteeing to add immense depth and enjoyment to any trip to the Big Island of Hawaii, Tour Guide Hawaii’s unique location-aware, GPS guided audio visual tours are a fabulous way to be your own tour guide! Tour Guide even saves you time and gas and so it saves you money; this allows you to see more of Paradise.

Honestly, this is the most amazing travel product you’ve seen yet…here’s how the magic works: simply turn the unit on and deploy the GPS antenae, then launch the Tour Guide program. That’s it! The Tour Guide unit is loaded with over 600 hundred audio visual presentations about sites all over the island: cultural, historical, recreation, the beaches, the snorkeling, the bird watching–heck, they’ve even loaded in the public restrooms! And the GPS means it always knows where you are on the island, and where you are in relation to all the adventure and discovery, the culture and history, the beaches and the towns. So, as you walk or drive, the three sites nearest to you pop up on the screen–you decide if you want to watch the presentation by simply touching the screen. It’s just that simple!

Want to do a special search of how to see the flowing lava, or find secret snorkeling beaches, or perhaps you are interested in ancient temples, or maybe it’s lunch time and you’re looking for a nearby restaurant…Tour Guide has several handy search modes so you can find exactly what you are looking for by location, by what type of activity you’re interested in or you can just browse through the hundreds of fascinating places to go, sights to see, things to do. When you’ve selected the site you want to visit, the integrated Garmin GPS turn-by-turn software will effortlessly navigate you right to where you want to go–you save time and money…and see more of fabulous Hawaii! You can enjoy hours of informative and interesting commentary on the whole island whether on the road, in the comfort of your hotel, or at the lunch table; plan ahead, explore before you go, be prepared–Tour Guide will give you tips on what to take with you for specific sites and what to expect when you get there.

And did I mention they even have the Public Restrooms? They call it the Big Island for good reason, so this is a VERY handy feature!

Tour Guide Hawaii blends old time Hawaiian storytelling with modern satellite technology and puts the secrets of Hawaii at your fingertips. Enjoy their location-aware, GPS audio-visual tours; they make YOU the guide!

For more information about touring Hawaii in general or visiting the Big Island in particular, go to www.tourguidehawaii.com and tourguidehawaii.blogspot.com.

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Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

The Hamakua Coast, running up the windward side of the Big Island from just north of Hilo to the north tip island at Upolu Point, is one of the most magical, enchanting and memorable parts of the Big Island. To few people take the time to really see the depth and grandeur of the Hamakua District. Once the center of the sugar industry in Hawaii, Honoka’a, and the rest of District comprised of sweeping farm land, torrid jungle canyons and thousand foot lacy waterfalls, sank into pot-plantation era torpor, alowing the decades to simply wash over it. Experiencing a resurgence of energy, population and interest, Hamakua is remaiking itself as a tourist mecca and growing community of entrepreneurs, Eco-friendly industries and boutique agricultural businesses. You owe it to yourself to discover, explore and fall in love with this unique and special part of the Hawaii’s Big Island.

Pepe’ekeo Scenic Drive: Located just a few minutes north of Hilo on Highway 19, this “Old Road through Old Hawai’i”, a four-mile-half hour scenic wander, parallels Highway 11 but is removed worlds away from the traffic and hustle along the main road. Rolling along old cane fields, jungle-canopied in places, passing waterfalls and crossing creeks, the Pepe’ekeo Scenic Drive is a special treat for the visitor who may be thinking they waited a century too long to visit Hawai’i. On a sunny day, on a rainy day, it doesn’t matter; this scenic drive is a joy.

A scenic overlook of Onomea Bay, near the head of the trail, reveals the wildly scenic, untamed coastline and canyon mouth, beckons casual hikers to explore Onomea Bay.

Onomea Bay Trail: Only a few miles north of tame and sedate Hilo Bay, Onomea Bay is subject to the full fury and magic of the open Pacific Ocean. Rugged, jagged, majestic, the wickedly sculpted cliffs along the bay belie the easy 15 minute walk down to the beach. Accessible to most walkers of even marginal condition, the trail leads alongside a botanical garden (be sure not to wander through any their gates unless you are a paying customer) and falls forthrightly down to the canon mouth, past a tiny waterfall at the end of the stream and to the beach. A lovely walk and a wildly inspiration place; if you have an extra forty minutes to spare, this walk is well worth the time.

Photograph by Dr. Danald B. MacGowan

Photograph by Dr. Danald B. MacGowan

The fishing here is great but we don’t recommend swimming here due to the currents and rip-tides.

Akaka Falls: There is a reason that Akaka Falls rates as the most visited tourist site on the island of Hawai’i. Simply put, the 420 foot, free falling plunge of clear water down a fern festooned cliff is an amazing and beautiful site. Leaving the parking lot, the loop trail immediately splits. Going left through fern, ginger, impatiens and bamboo, one reaches Akaka Falls in 5-8 minutes of ambling. If you turn right, the trail loops up and down some hills, through a wonderful jungle of flowers, ferns, heliconia, palms and bamboo to 100 foot tall Kahuna Falls in about 15 minutes of walking; Akaka Falls is then reached by following the same path another 5 minutes and 5-8 minutes after that you are back at the parking lot.

Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Almost every town in Hawai’i has a “Wainuenue street”. From the Hawai’ian syllables “wai” meaning “fresh water” and “nue” meaning “colorful” or “dancing”, the word “wainuenue” refers to the rainbow seen in waterfalls. If you are lucky, and approach Akaka Falls on a sunny morning when the sun shines into to grotto, you may be blessed with seeing this lovely Hawai’ian icon, the wainuenue.

When visiting Akaka Falls, be sure to save some time to explore the shops, galleries and cafes of Honomu on the way back to the highway; it’s unlike anywhere you’ve ever been before…guaranteed.

Hakalau Beach Park: Oh, wow! Most definitely the tropical paradise you dreamed about visiting, this thick, lush jungle canyon is a stunning remnant of Old Hawai’i, leading along a rushing stream to a narrow canyon festooned with tropical blossoms, vines and palms to a sandy beach where the surf is nothing short of amazing.

Although locals surf and swim unconcernedly here, the visitor is advised to admire the water, but not go in. Not only are the waves, currents and tides lethally treacherous here, but stream mouths and murky water are prime hunting grounds of Hawai’i’s own tiger, Mano, the shark.

There are no services at Hakalau Beach.

Photograph by Donald B. MacGowan

Photograph by Donald B. MacGowan

Kolekole Beach Park: The river you saw magnificently leaping with such glorious abandon off the cliff at Akaka Falls ends its journey to the sea by sluicing down through this Koa-tree filled canyon and smashing into the surf at Kolekole Beach Park. Lawns, picnic facilities, a wild beach, a jungle canyon and a water-fall festooned swimming hole round-out the amenities at Kolekole Park.

This is another beach where the visitor is admonished to swim only when the surf is flat and even then with great caution.

Laupahoehoe Train Museum: Back in the day, built around the turn of the century, various train lines nearly circumnavigated the Big Island, carrying raw cane to refineries and sacks of sugar to quaysides dotted here and there around the island. The coming of a large military presence during the Second World War was marked by an era of road building which more or less obviated the need for the trains. Tracks and trestles were cannibalized for wood and metal in the war effort and slowly the Big Island train industry was groaning to an ignoble halt when the tidal wave of 1946 destroyed much of the remaining track; today the carcass of Big Island railroading is all but pillaged into oblivion.

Here at Laupahoehoe, preserved alongside the one-time loading platform, is the Laupahoehoe Train Museum, stuffed full of interesting artifacts and photos and staffed with enthusiastic, well-informed, fun— and did we mention enthusiastic?—docents. Look for “Old Rusty” outside the museum—a restored engine and caboose.

Laupahoehoe Train Museum and its associated gift shop, featuring many handcrafted gift items made by local artisans, are open daily, from 9 am to 4:30 pm on weekdays, and from 10 am to 2 pm on weekends. Public restrooms are available. Admission is $3.00 per adult and $2.00 for students and seniors.

Laupahoehoe Park: A place of great beauty, of awesome displays of oceanic power and of tragic memories, Laupahoehoe Park stands where 20 children and teachers at the Laupahoehoe School were killed in the tsunami of 1946. Inside the park on a small hill overlooking the jetty is a memorial stone inscribed with the names of those who died in the tsunami. There are restrooms, campgrounds, picnic facilities, pit barbecues and ball fields.

Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Photo by Donnie MacGowan

The pounding of the raw ocean on the jetty reminds one that not every beach in Hawaii is made for swimming, however the fishing here is excellent.

Kalopa Native Forest State Park and Recreation Area: A small park with numerous hiking trails, Kalopa showcases the upland, tropical forest of the northeastern part of Hawai’i Island. Amenities include picnic tables, tent camping and small, if somewhat ragged, cabins for rent, a wonderful forest ambiance and absolute silence. This a great place to escape the rattle and hum of East Hawai’i.

Honoka’a Town: Built in the era of great plantations and left culturally and economically isolated after the collapse of the sugar industry, until recently Honoka’a and the Hamakua Coast were content to drowse along through the decades. A boom in real estate and a return of vital human energy to the area has made a literal renaissance of the town of Honoka’a. A bustling hub, it boasts numerous wonderful restaurants, gift and boutique shops and the highest density of antique shops on the island. Be sure to stop to explore a little, have a meal or do some shopping in scenic Honoka’a on your way to or from Waipi’o Valley…it’s a fun, happening kind of place. Just remember, it’s a “happening kind of place” in the Hawai’ian sense—which means a little laid back, and always steeped with aloha.

Waipi’o Valley: Waipi’o Valley is arguably the most magical place on the Big Island. The steep canyon walls and verdant fields of the valley floor, the mile long black sand beach and numerous immense waterfalls that line the valley walls all call out to the visitor for exploration.

Always listed among the most beautiful spots in the State of Hawai’i, this valley is as hauntingly lovely as it is difficult to see in its entirety.

Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Although the mile-long black sand beach is gorgeous, the forest and jungle canyon floor and walls amazing and the numerous, high-flying waterfalls compelling, it’s a long and steep hike down in, and an equally long, but much more arduous, hike out. The road is windy and dangerous to drive…we don’t recommend it.

Tours down into the valley in vans, on horse drawn wagons and ATVs can be booked in Honoka’a. Over-flights in fixed wing aircraft and helicopters also offer fine venues from which to see this amazing piece of Hawai’i.

For more information on traveling to Hawaii in general or touring the Big Island in particular, visit http://tourguidehawaii.com, www.lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com and www.tourguidehawaii.blogspot.com.

About the Author: Popular television personality and award-winning independent filmmaker Dr. Donald B. MacGowan originally pursued a career in academics, earning two B.Sc. degrees, a dual M.Sc., and a PhD.; co-authoring over 5.2 million dollars in grants, and publishing more than 200 refereed journal articles, abstracts, etc. Gaining sanity somewhere in that process, he quit the academic rat race and began to live. Donnie is an accomplished, prolific alpinist, having climbed on 5 of the seven continents, putting up more than 150 first ascents on rock, ice and snow, and a dozen first ski descents. He has written, directed and produced short and feature length films on health, travel, mountaineering and life in a touring rock band. Donnie records and tours relentlessly with his Celtic Punk fusion band “Fatal Loins”–although nobody much seems to care for their music. A Hawaii resident since 2000, he quietly and humbly inhabits Kailua Kona, doing environmental good works, surfing the be-jeezis out of the local waves and frenetically producing somewhat bizarre and mildly disturbing programs for local television which have recently been lauded as: “Ignorant”, “Arrogant” and “Totally Insane”. You may say what you wish about him, Donnie does not care. For somewhere underneath those swaying palm trees, in those warm aloha breezes, he is far too busy praying for good surf to hear you…


The pullout at Halona Kahakai is at very near the crest of the Holei Pali fault escarpment. In Hawaiian, “Pali” means cliff. The viscosity of flowing oceanic tholeiite basalt, the lava that built Kilauea, is such that when it cools, rarely do slopes exceed a 6% grade. Any landform that is much steeper, such as the Holei Pali as seen from Halona Kahakai and the Hilina Pali directly north, generally has to have formed by faulting or erosion. In this case, Holei Pali results from what are called “normal faults”. All of the lava plain spread before you down below the pali has simply broken off the main slope and dropped. There is an amazing amount of throw on these faults, in places, as much as 1400 feet. Although appearing “volcano tough” to the casual observer, the Islands of Hawaii are terribly, terribly fragile constructions and, geologically speaking, don’t last very long.

Stop and take a moment to look down the pali. Generally, the explosion cloud from where the lava is entering the ocean is visible south east from here. Look at the intertwining lava flows marching across the plain below you and imagine what it must have been like to be here, only a few decades ago, when the lava was coursing down this cliff and through the now largely-destroyed Naulu Forest.

Written, filmed and produced by Donnie MacGowan and Frank Burgess, original musical score by Donald B. MacGowan.

For more information on touring Hawaii in general and the Big Island in particular, please visit www.tourguidehawaii.com and tourguidehawaii.blogspot.com.

Reprinted from here.

Point Forecast: Kailua Kona HI
19.63N 155.95W (Elev. 1217 ft)
Last Update: 4:58 am HST Oct 5, 2008
Forecast Valid: 7am HST Oct 5, 2008-6pm HST Oct 11, 2008
Forecast at a Glance
Today

Scattered Showers Chance for Measurable Precipitation 30%
Scattered
Showers
Hi 76°F
Tonight

Haze
Haze

Lo 65°F

Monday

Scattered Showers Chance for Measurable Precipitation 30%
Scattered
Showers
Hi 76°F
Monday
Night

Haze
Haze

Lo 65°F

Tuesday

Scattered Showers Chance for Measurable Precipitation 30%
Scattered
Showers
Hi 78°F
Tuesday
Night

Haze
Haze

Lo 66°F

Wednesday

Isolated Showers Chance for Measurable Precipitation 20%
Isolated
Showers
Hi 80°F
Wednesday
Night

Isolated Showers Chance for Measurable Precipitation 20%
Isolated
Showers
Lo 66°F
Thursday

Isolated Showers Chance for Measurable Precipitation 20%
Isolated
Showers
Hi 80°F

Detailed text forecast
Today: Scattered showers after noon. Widespread haze after noon. Partly cloudy, with a high near 76. West wind around 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Tonight: Widespread haze before midnight. Mostly clear, with a low around 65. North wind at 7 mph becoming east.

Monday: Scattered showers after noon. Widespread haze after noon. Partly cloudy, with a high near 76. West wind between 5 and 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Monday Night: Widespread haze before midnight. Mostly clear, with a low around 65. Light and variable wind.

Tuesday: Scattered showers after noon. Widespread haze after noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 78. Calm wind becoming west around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Tuesday Night: Widespread haze. Mostly clear, with a low around 66. Light and variable wind.

Wednesday: Isolated showers after noon. Widespread haze. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 80. Calm wind becoming west around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Wednesday Night: Isolated showers. Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a low around 66. Calm wind. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Thursday: Isolated showers. Widespread haze. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 80. Calm wind becoming west around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Thursday Night: Widespread haze. Mostly clear, with a low around 66. Calm wind.

Friday: Scattered showers. Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a high near 80. Calm wind becoming west around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Friday Night: Widespread haze before midnight. Mostly clear, with a low around 66. Calm wind becoming east around 5 mph.

Saturday: Scattered showers. Widespread haze after noon. Partly cloudy, with a high near 80. Calm wind becoming west around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

For more information on visiting Hawaii in general and The Big Island in particular, visit www.tourguidehawaii.com and www.tourguidehawaii.blogspot.com.

//www.astroday.net/BishopSky.html

Hawaii Sky tonight, Bishop Museum http://www.astroday.net/BishopSky.html

Reprinted from here.

Skywatch Article
July 2008
By Carolyn Kaichi, Bishop Museum

PLANETS AND THE SUMMER MILKY WAY

The interesting thing about sky-watching is the fact that although the seasonal constellations are predictable, what you may see at any designated time is not. Planetary movement and other recurring events take place on different cycles than the background of stars so we can’t always count on seeing the same combination of sights in the sky at the same times. That keeps me in business.

So what we will see in the sky this July is not unusual, but a fortunate arrangement of celestial constituents that will be easy and convenient to view. Four naked-eye planets dot the evening skies this month, with two staging a nice pairing together and beautiful Venus making its reappearance back into the night. Although it might be challenging to spot Venus low in the western sky after sunset during the first half of the month, by the end of the July it will be climbing higher out of the light and easier to spot.

A nice highlight will be the conjunction of Mars and Saturn in the constellation Leo on July 9 and 10. The rust-colored planet and pale yellow Saturn have been slowly creeping closer over the past weeks and will be at their closest on those two dates (although the 10th is technically the closest date, both nights are good for viewing). Included in the lineup is the brightest star in Leo, Regulus, which is on that planet highway called the ecliptic. As a bonus, on July 5 a small crescent Moon joins the group as Mars closes in. That evening going from west to east, you can see the Moon next to the star Regulus, followed by Mars and Saturn. Make sure you start early however, because this gathering will set by 10:00 P.M.

Jupiter is also impressive in the east as the sun sets. The giant planet is at opposition now, meaning that it is on the opposite side of our sky than the sun (think “Sun, Earth, Jupiter” in that order). It appears bigger and brighter in the night sky at this time and is visible in the sky the whole night. Now would be a great time to take out a pair of binoculars and look for the famous features that characterize Jupiter, like the Galilean satellites and the distinct bands of color on the planet. The monster hurricane, the Great Red Spot, is visible with telescopes but not necessarily with average binoculars.

While the planets steal the spotlight this month, don’t forget to pay attention to the summer Milky Way! The hazy band of light extending from north to south is part of the galaxy we reside in and offers many binocular and telescopic sights along the way. The area roughly between Scorpius’ stinger and Sagittarius’ “spout” is particularly wide since that direction is the bulbous center of our galaxy, approximately 26,000 light years away. Rather than individual points of light we see the accumulation of the millions of stars obscured by gas and dust. Right now you can see the Milky Way stretching from the southwest in the direction of the Southern Cross (early in the evening) through the Summer Triangle toward Perseus in the northeast in the early morning hours.

EVENING PROGRAM UPDATE

With so many objects to look for in the skies, it’s difficult to cram everything into one article every month. Consider our planetarium as the next best thing to the real sky, one with a personal “guide” to the stars. An evening program is held on the first Fridays of the month, with sky viewing if the weather is clear. However since it falls on the 4th of July this month, the program has been moved to Friday, July 11. It begins promptly at 8:00 P.M. and reservations are strongly recommended. Call 848-4168.

PHOENIX UPDATE

The Phoenix lander is busily performing its tasks since touchdown on Mars a little over a month ago. What the mission has already done for space exploration was demonstrated by the difficult EDL phase, or Entry, Descent and Landing. Many previous missions were lost in this critical phase, including the predecessor of Phoenix, and since one of the science goals of the mission is to prepare for human exploration, NASA had to prove that landing a craft on Mars has improved dramatically. It appears that goal is well on its way. See http://phoenix.lpl.arizona.edu/ for more information.

The Planets

Earth:

The second of two annual opportunities to experience Lahaina Noon comes this month. Between May and July the sun passes directly overhead for areas within the Tropics. During Lahaina Noon objects that are directly perpendicular to the sun, such as flagpoles or fences, have no shadows since the “shadow” would be cast “under” the object. Times vary by location, so check the website for more information: http://www.bishopmuseum.org/planetarium

Also, aphelion takes place on July 3, the Earth’s farthest point in its orbit around the sun. Coincidentally the Moon is in a new phase at the same time, so the effect of the tides will be enhanced. Higher tides than normal usually occur during this alignment.

Mercury:

Mercury is in the morning sky now, rising around 4:30 A.M. in early July. By the last week it will be too close to the sunrise to spot as it rounds around the backside of the sun to reappear in the evening sky.

Venus:

For the casual viewer, Venus will be very difficult to spot until mid-month, when it is a little farther from the sun in the western sky at sunset. However the “window” to see it will be short for this month since the planet sets before darkness by 8:00 P.M.

Mars:

Mars is cruising through Leo, meeting up with Saturn along the way and by the end of the month will pass through the constellation on the way to Virgo. The planet is slowly receding from us in its orbit and dimming as it goes, but is still easily visible to the unaided eyes.

Jupiter:

Jupiter reaches opposition on the evening of July 9, rising in the east as the sun sets. If the weather is nice, this is an excellent night to see the four evening planets in the sky. You will need to get somewhere you can see all the way to the western horizon, and starting from that point shortly after sunset (around 7:30 P.M.) look for Venus low in the west, followed by Mars and Saturn close together about halfway up in the western sky and Jupiter rising in the east.

Saturn:
Although Mars and Saturn are set for a rendezvous Saturn’s position changes very little with respect to the starry background. The ringed planet is much farther away than our neighbor Mars, therefore orbiting the sun at a slower rate of speed. Where Mars orbits the sun in almost 687days, Saturn takes 29.5 years!

Questions? Contact Carolyn Kaichi @ hokupaa@bishopmuseum.org or 847-8203.

For more information on visiting Hawaii in general or touring the Big Island in particular, go to www.tourguidehawaii.com or here.

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