The Thrill Of The Hunt – Geocaching In Hawaii

Posted in Environment on January 24th, 2009

I discovered I could incorporate several activities I enjoy within a single hobby. I like spending time with my family and friends, solving puzzles, seeking out new adventures, exercising and being environmentally “green.” Geocaching is treasure hunting with a GPS receiver. You can search for geocaches online by zip code and download the coordinates into your hand held GPS unit. You seek out hidden geocaches based on longitude and latitude.

Sometimes the jackpot is as small as a prescription pill container with a piece of paper rolled up inside so you can log your visit. Some containers are so tiny; you need to bring your own pencil. Other containers are as large as a Tupperware food saver or an army surplus ammunition box filled with trinkets. Our geocaching equipment includes a bag of tchotchkes (swag) that we swap based on the theme of the geocache.

For me though, the fun is not in finding the treasure, but the thrill of the hunt. We geocache while in Hawaii as an activity to challenge our brain and seek out new adventures.

This is a hobby that both family and friends can participate in. My husband and I often take others with us to introduce them to the hobby. We took keiki with us to the Honolulu Zoo to find their first cache. When we returned to the island, their first question for us is “Are you going to go geocaching?” Other times we need subject matter expertise. One of the geocaches in the north shore required solving a puzzle to figure out the coordinates. Ten car logos were pictured from different auto manufactures around the world. After identifying the car model and country of origin, the digits of the location could be determined. I recruited a couple of world traveling gear heads to help figure out that one out.

While geocaching we learn about local history. A geocache is hidden on the estate of the last reigning Hawaiian monarch, Queen Lydia Liliuokalani. The site overlooks the drainage canal built to convert water logged taro fields into dry land becoming Waikiki.

A multi-stage geocache requires several stops. At each site you visit, you find clues to identify the next location. We learned about local leaders during a 5 stage history tour to five statues along Waikiki. Each statue had a plaque which told a story. There is Father Damien, who came from Belgium, to Hawaii in 1864. He devoted the rest of his life to the leper settlement on the island of Molokai before succumbing to the disease himself. He has been nominated for sainthood. During the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy led by U.S. business men, Princess Kaiulani spearheaded a campaign to restore the throne. Beloved native son, Duke Kahanamoku, born of Hawaiian royalty, was a swimming sensation earning 5 Olympic medals. “The Duke,” starred in Hollywood movies and is known as “The father of modern surfing.”

You can get a good workout in a day hiking up Diamond Head, the extinct volcano which stands at the east end of Waikiki. If you have comfy shoes, cache your way around the volcano on foot enjoying a heart healthy work out and spectacular views of the Pacific, Waikiki and downtown Honolulu.

Get away from the crowds and cache in Kailua. There are finds along both the busy and the quiet parts of the beach. Don’t forget your sunscreen and snorkel gear. You’ll be hungry after a day of swimming and caching. Check out the yummy handmade cookie store in town for a snack.

When you are on Oahu, you don’t have to go far to find these treasures. There are hundreds of local finds. From the crowded pedestrian malls of Chinatown to the top of Diamond Head to the shores of Kailua, there is a cache for every interest and ability.

While we are getting our exercise, learning about the area and catching up with friends and family, we also pick up trash. We carry in a couple of empty garbage bags to snatch up any litter we spy while we are out. This is referred to as “cache in, trash out.”

You can learn more about the hobby at geocaching.com. I enjoy the opportunity to combine time with my family, brain exercise, and physical activity all in one hobby. If you like history, culture and the great outdoors, you should give geocaching a try.

A quick look at some geocaching in and around Honolulu: http://tr.im/higeocaching

About this guest blogger:
April M. Williams is a frequent visitor to Hawaii and a great friend of 808Talk.

Learn more about April by visiting her at the websites below.
LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/aprilmwilliams
Twitter http://twitter.com/AprilMWilliams
Blog http://cyberlifetutors.com/blog.html


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A Peek At Oahu’s Penguin Colony

Posted in Environment on January 5th, 2009

I can’t process that winter has arrived in Hawaii. It’s 85 degrees and sunny most days, after all. A few extra rain clouds do little to convince my internal barometer that the “cold” months have arrived to our islands.

So this year, I’m feeling the need to celebrate all things frigid. I cranked the A/C on Christmas Day so I could wear something long-sleeved. When it’s rainy, I secretly rejoice (sorry to all the visitors for the bad karma). I eat far too much eggnog-flavored ice cream.

And I finally went to visit the penguin colony at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Granted, these are warm-weather penguins from Africa so they’re probably more comfortable in a hot tub than on an ice floe, but allow me to indulge in the fantasy.


Penguin Colony

This absolutely FREE exhibit features about a half-dozen African black-footed penguins, happily frolicking for visitors. They’re so cute, you want to reach out and pet them. Males are banded on the right wing, females on the left. They’re fed at 8 a.m., so pop by in the morning and get an extra treat.

While you’re there, you’re not limited to just ogling penguins. Stroll around the Hilton Hawaiian Village grounds and you’ll see flamingos, noisy macaws and more koi than you can shake a stick at. My personal favorite was the wood ducks that let you get so close, you could almost pet them. But that would be bad. So just stick to looking, folks, and enjoy!


Penguins at Hilton Hawaiian Village

For more information visit http://tr.im/hiltonwildlife


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Oahu’s Gourmet Plate Lunch: Kaka’ako Kitchen

Posted in Food & Dining on December 19th, 2008

To find a new great place to eat, follow one cardinal rule: ask a local. On my very first weekend as an Oahu resident, I was steered to Ward Centers Kaka’ako Kitchen. And I’ve been there so many times, now I can actually pronounce it.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served out of “to go” containers, but don’t let that fool you. Every dish is turned out like it’s a gourmet plate at a five-star restaurant. I always try the fresh catch of the day, served with two scoops of rice and mac salad—just as it should be. Or if you’re more health-conscious, choose brown rice or a green salad (which comes with a stellar ginger dressing, much more than an afterthought).

I’d suggest ordering the calamari salad to share. It works nicely as an appetizer and they fry the squid to perfection—not rubbery like some places ’round here. And plate lunch purists, take heart! Kaka’ako Kitchen has your favorites too. Spam for breakfast. Chicken Katsu. Hamburger Steak.

Dishes rotate on and off the menu every so often (I was sad to see the arugula chicken salad go), which makes it a great destination to enjoy old favorites or find new dishes to challenge your palate.

But the best part? The prices are so reasonable, anyone can enjoy Kaka’ako Kitchen, and often. So get on down to their lanai and enjoy some great food and people watching.

Kaka’ako Kitchen, Ward Centers, 1200 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, (808) 596-7488


read the full article »

Oahu’s Gourmet Plate Lunch: Kaka’ako Kitchen

Posted in Food & Dining on December 19th, 2008

To find a new great place to eat, follow one cardinal rule: ask a local. On my very first weekend as an Oahu resident, I was steered to Ward Centers Kaka’ako Kitchen. And I’ve been there so many times, now I can actually pronounce it.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served out of “to go” containers, but don’t let that fool you. Every dish is turned out like it’s a gourmet plate at a five-star restaurant. I always try the fresh catch of the day, served with two scoops of rice and mac salad—just as it should be. Or if you’re more health-conscious, choose brown rice or a green salad (which comes with a stellar ginger dressing, much more than an afterthought).

I’d suggest ordering the calamari salad to share. It works nicely as an appetizer and they fry the squid to perfection—not rubbery like some places ’round here. And plate lunch purists, take heart! Kaka’ako Kitchen has your favorites too. Spam for breakfast. Chicken Katsu. Hamburger Steak.

Dishes rotate on and off the menu every so often (I was sad to see the arugula chicken salad go), which makes it a great destination to enjoy old favorites or find new dishes to challenge your palate.

But the best part? The prices are so reasonable, anyone can enjoy Kaka’ako Kitchen, and often. So get on down to their lanai and enjoy some great food and people watching.

Kaka’ako Kitchen, Ward Centers, 1200 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, (808) 596-7488


read the full article »

Oahu’s Gourmet Plate Lunch: Kaka’ako Kitchen

Posted in Food & Dining on December 19th, 2008

To find a new great place to eat, follow one cardinal rule: ask a local. On my very first weekend as an Oahu resident, I was steered to Ward Centers Kaka’ako Kitchen. And I’ve been there so many times, now I can actually pronounce it.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served out of “to go” containers, but don’t let that fool you. Every dish is turned out like it’s a gourmet plate at a five-star restaurant. I always try the fresh catch of the day, served with two scoops of rice and mac salad—just as it should be. Or if you’re more health-conscious, choose brown rice or a green salad (which comes with a stellar ginger dressing, much more than an afterthought).

I’d suggest ordering the calamari salad to share. It works nicely as an appetizer and they fry the squid to perfection—not rubbery like some places ’round here. And plate lunch purists, take heart! Kaka’ako Kitchen has your favorites too. Spam for breakfast. Chicken Katsu. Hamburger Steak.

Dishes rotate on and off the menu every so often (I was sad to see the arugula chicken salad go), which makes it a great destination to enjoy old favorites or find new dishes to challenge your palate.

But the best part? The prices are so reasonable, anyone can enjoy Kaka’ako Kitchen, and often. So get on down to their lanai and enjoy some great food and people watching.

Kaka’ako Kitchen, Ward Centers, 1200 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, (808) 596-7488


read the full article »
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