The Palms Cliff House Inn is a secluded getaway north of Hilo, on the opposite side of Hawaii Island from the better-known hotels that dot the Kohala Coast.Read more
National Park Service is marking the event by waiving all entrance fees for the day. That’s right. All day Saturday, any National Park Service property that charges admission will be free and open to all. That means Volcano National Park Is FREE this Saturday!
Tickets ON SALE NOW for MERRIE MONARCH Cultural Enrichment Programs at ʻImiloa April 24-26!
Don't wait too long!
John and I have made a point of 'getting to know' our Island during the 20 years we have lived here. It is a wonderful place to explore and was a joyful playground for our two sons when they were young. One of the places that has continued to draw us back time and again is the coastal shoreline from Kaalualu Bay to Kii. For those not familiar with the Big Island, I am speaking of the district of Kau, along the coast, near what is commonly known as South Point. We travel there several times a year, to camp, to fish, to hike, and to explore. Our last visit to the area was this past week.
Now, I must quantify that four wheeling in this area is not a riotous romp across the countryside. It is a slow and cautious journey across a'a' and pahoehoe lava fields. Usually we get distracted by something we see and hop from the Pathfinder to go explore on foot. But as I said, it was unusually windy on this particular day. As a result, we explored in our Pathfinder much farther than we had ever gone before.
Armed with both modern and really old maps of the area we pinpointed several locations by name, something we had been hoping to do for years. But the peak of our adventures was to reach the end of the tidal areas and come face to face with the southern end of the Kau Cliff line. What makes this area so special is that long ago it was home to a small fishing village, known as Waikapuna.
This area is actually privately owned, but we know the owners and land managers and ALWAYS ask before we go for permission. Asking first is not only the right thing to do, it is the local thing to do. We had a wonderful time exploring the remains of old walls and buildings and of course the beautiful bay and ocean.
Waikapuna is testament to the changing nature of the Big Island. Waikapuna had been a thriving fishing village with fresh water springs located on old lava tubes. A series of earthquakes in the area changed the water table and ended the fresh water supply. Thus ended the once thriving fishing village. This all happened in the late 1800’s. It is still a beautiful spot, though it’s remote And difficult location makes it a place few can enjoy. Hopefully you may enjoy it vicariously though our photos.
The winds swept the coast with more force than we were accustomed to (and the area is know for it's wind), as a result we did less hiking and more four wheel driving (NOT for the faint of heart or rental car) over sharp lava fields. Trust me, the last thing you want to happen in a remote area is to be blown over onto sharp lava.
The Palms Cliff House has the honor of being named the Best Bed & Breakfast in East Hawaii by readers of the Hawaii Tribune-Herald Newspaper for 2013. The Inn also won in 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2005. John and Michele Gamble share the honor with their hard working staff, some of whom are shown below.. “We are able to be so successful because we have such wonderful and dedicated staff that share our dream for this very special place” said owner Michele Gamble.
Celebrating fourteen years in operation the Gambles feel this is the perfect pat on the back for a job well done by their neighbors and peers. “We all work so hard to provide a quality experience while still providing value for the guest” commented John Gamble, “The economy is really tight for everyone, and yet, we are still providing value for every dollar a guest spends with us.”
“We are so thankful to the people of the Big Island for giving us this honor again this year. There are so many Bed and Breakfasts out there who are working hard and providing a quality experience, so we understand what a tremendous honor it is to be given this award by the people who live here” Michele said in conclusion.
April 21, 2014 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm Precisely 90 years ago—on April 21, 1924—residents of Kapoho were evacuated as hundreds of earthquakes shook their village. In the weeks that followed, explosions wracked the summit of Kīlauea Volcano, creating difficult challenges for staff at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and the Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. This evening, using USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory logs, geologic field notes, National Park Service reports, newspaper accounts, photographs, and other records from 1924, long-time HVO volunteer Ben Gaddis tells the tale of Kīlauea’s most violent eruption of the twentieth century from the perspective of the people who lived through it.
May 1, 2014 @ 3:15 pm – May 16, 2014 @ 4:15 pm This May, Lei Hulu of Hilo will delight Museum visitors once again with a special exhibit of traditional Hawaiian featherwork by the students of Kumu Doreen Henderson, a master crafter of lei hulu. Examples of featherwork on display include lei papa (flat lei often used as hatbands), kāhili, `uli`uli (feathered gourds and rattles), `ahu`ula (feathered capes), and even an elaborate crested mahiole (helmet). Practitioners of lei hulu have traditionally used feathers from endemic birds such as `apapane, `elapaio, `i`iwi, mamo, and `ō`ō, but with these either endangered, or in the case of mamo and `ō`ō, extinct, they now rely on feathers from ducks, geese, guinea hens, peacocks, pheasants, and quail. Aunty Doreen’s own red-and-yellow lei kamoe (headband) is made up of “regular” goose feathers.
Aunty Doreen learned the art from Kumu Mary Kahihilani Duarte-Kovich, herself a student of the late Aunty Mary Lou Kekuewa, one of Hawaii’s most renowned lei hulu practitioners and a second cousin of Aunty Doreen. An annual Museum attraction since 2006, this year’s special exhibit will be on display from May 1 through May 16, 2014.
Alika Tejada, pūkaua (war leader) for the High Chief at Pu`ukoholā Heiau near Kohala, presents a riveting program on the manufacture and use of nā mea kaua, the traditional Hawaiian weapons of war. What materials were used to fashion the pāhoa (dagger), niho manō pāhoa (shark-tooth dagger), newa (war club), ka`ane (strangling cord), ihe (spear), ko`o (staff), and niho manō hoe (shark-tooth war paddle), and how were they made and used? What are some of the other little-known, precontact weapons early Hawaiian warriors created and employed so effectively? Come learn from a true craftsman and practitioner of his culture!
April 7, 2014 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Cost: $3; Free for Museum members
I recently purchased this yellowed and faded photograph at Alan's Antique Shop on Bay Front in Hilo. I got it because it depicts a boy's day celebration on one of the sugar plantations. Unfortunately Allen did not know who the family was or which plantation camp the photo was taken, basically nothing about the photo. So I shelled out $5 for the photo and came home to work my magic.
The second photo is after about 3 hours of color correction and adjustments. Wow, right? I am always amazed what I can pull out of an old photo. So even if you think you have a ruined photograph, never give up hope. It is always likely you can salvage the image. But, like I said, this one amazed me. So I enlarged areas and was even more amazed. The central family looks fabulous, Mom in her Kimono and dad holding the honored son. Look, it took a while to get a boy, how proud he must have been that day. The boy is draped in a formal kimono, complete with Mon, family crests (those are the white dots) and crashing waves for strength. The girls are looking pretty fine too, see the one holding her purse? And two dogs! Gotta love the Chesterfields Cigarettes poster clinging to the building in the background. That building, given it's size and location, was likely the bath house that held the community furo (bath).
The group on the left side had some surprises as well. There's a man sitting on the railing with his leg on the hand rail, slipper about to fall off. Look what he is holding! A photo of, I think, a string of carp from another boys day. Cool. The girls are cute. Doesn't one look upset not to be in the center of the photo, she was probably told to stay on the lanai. The other girls seems giddy, she must know she IS in the photo and happy about it. Maybe families took turns getting their photo taken under the banner. On the plantations, ethnic groups tended to stick together. So this is probably an all Japanese camp.
Overall, well worth the $5 and three hours work don't you think? I can't wait to take it back and show Alan. Maybe we'll be able to figure out where this old plantation photograph was taken.
The Title quote for this post is credited to Mark Twain, a great admirer of our lovely string of Islands. So enamored with our Islands, he actually went "missing" for a period of time. Going Native we call it; but you can not dismiss the powerful effect the mere mention of the words, The Hawaiian Islands, has upon people.
When you mention visiting Hawaii many visualize Hawaii in the 1940's. It was a fun and glamorous time to visit Hawaii. It took 9 hours by plane back then, or four days on one of Matson's cruise liners: the SS Matsonia, The SS Lurline, or the SS Maraposa. Recently I had the good fortune to acquire a photo album that depicts a visit to the Islands of Hawaii in 1947. What a joy to see the islands of that time through the eyes of someone obviously enamored with all they were experiencing.
The Album begins with a wonderful inscription describing their arrival in Honolulu aboard the SS Matsonia:
"Will never forget our arrival! Small boats came out bringing lei; musicians singing and playing Hawaiian songs, and Hula dancers; [and] native boys diving for coins. When we docked, the Royal Hawaiian Band was playing, and everyone was there with more leis!"
How exciting it must have been to pull into the harbor next to the Aloha Tower and watch the small colorful boats arrive carrying locals greeting you with sweet Hawaiian songs and beautifully colored leis made from all kinds of exotic flowers. As if that were not enough, as soon as you disembarked from the ship you were greeted by the Royal Hawaiian Band, gloriously bedecked in White, red and gold. More exotic flower leis were given to so that each passenger had lei up to their ears! How fun! How adventurous it must have felt.
Well, gone are the days of diving for coins, and greeting passengers with armloads of lei. Luckily, however, all the airports still have lei stands and you will still see locals greeting their friends and family with lei, so not all is lost. But I confess, I do daydream about those lucky individuals who visited the islands during Hawaii's Boat Days.
Last weekend John and I happened to stop at a local garage sale and while rummaging through their "Trash" pile I noticed a large hunk of wood sticking out towards the back. Thinking I was looking at a large piece of mid-century monkey pod wood I freed the piece of wood from the pile. As soon as I grab a hold of it I knew I was about to reveal something special because my fingers were not feeling the smooth underside of a monkey pod wood item, but the 'chip carving' texture synonymous with the Kulani Prison Farm wood shop.
Sure enough when I turned the piece over the distinctive back of the item gave away it's origin. Sadly, the item itself was in really bad condition. The top surface of the shell shaped platter had been painted a brick red and then covered in a thick varnish.
On top of that some tar like substance had spilled on the piece and pooled in it's bottom.
There edges were chipped and broken. The back of the platter was in much the same condition. So when I asked about purchasing the platter it was no wonder I got an odd response. The piece was in such bad shape that the kind folks let me have it for $7.00. Happily I handed them some money and took my damaged treasure home.
I carefully examined the platter to determine as many of it's issues as possible before mapping out my place to salvage it. Nicks, chips, a large break on one end and the goo that was pooled in the center of the piece would be a challenge to overcome.
Undaunted I began stripping away the goo and various layers of paint and varnish. One day and a full can of stripper later I had revealed the natural beauty of the Koa wood that the Kulani Prison Farm was famous for using.
I then decided to hand sand out the chips and nicks so as not to remove too much wood and interfere with the back's 'chip carving.' The large break was a bit more difficult to tackle, but luckily the wood was thick in that area and I was able to re-shape the bowl to remove the broken area, again, without interfering with the 'chip carving' on the back side.
I put a sparing amount of oil onto the piece over the next few days and watched in amazement as the oil was soaked up as if on a dry sponge. After several days of oiling though, the shell platter looks spectacular. I am really happy with how the restoration turned out and really proud that I was able to save a piece of Hawaii's past for my guests to enjoy.
Kūlani Prison Farm was opened in 1946 near Kūlani Hill above Hilo. Inmates at the Prison Farm participated in logging, ranching, woodworking, and other activities. The Farm was constructed among “beautiful stands of Koa trees.” Today, the area surrounding the former prison farm contains dense populations of native birds and plants and is part of a protected conservation area. An important part of the program at the Kūlani facility was its’ wood workshop and sales venture. For years, inmates collected native hardwoods from lands around the facility, and turned it into art and utilitarian items for sale. A part of the income went to the benefit of the inmates themselves, and provides them with a trade skill. This Shell shaped platter exhibits the distinctive ‘Kūlani Prison Farm’ style of texturing the underside (Chip Carving) of the platter making it as beautiful as the top of the platter. ‘Kūlani Prison Farm’ items are difficult to find today, so bringing this platter back to life was well worth the effort.
In mid-2011 we re-opened the guest lounge after an extensive renovation. The walls were painted a comforting moss green trimmed in gloss white and we installed chestnut wood floors, gorgeous! But we were not finished, it took quite a while for the new bamboo and rattan tables and new mocha colored chairs to be shipped in from the east coast ( see, there are some drawbacks to living in paradise! ) but we are so happy that they have arrived with the New Year! Now our guest lounge is a comfortable and functional location for guests to eat, relax, meet each other, and stay connected through the Inn's wifi network. The guest lounge also has a small refrigerator filled with beverages, cheese, and selected meats and humus. The snack area offers light meal and snack options; and yes, that includes microwave popcorn!
Since the death of the renowned historical artist Herb Kane in March 2011, Bernard Noguès has been working closely with Herb's widow, Deon Kane, to organize works remaining from his studio. The results of that effort are remarkable.
Now, proudly, the Isaacs Art Center has assembled a ﬁne collection of Mr. Kane's drawings - never before seen studies for his major works - as well as a number of ﬁnished oil paintings and watercolors.
The Isaacs Art Center is located in Waimea (Kamuela) in the South Kohala district of the Big Island of Hawai'i, next to the HPA Village Campus. The Art Center is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Physical address: 65-1268 Kawaihae Road, Kamuela Hi 96743 Phone (808) 885-5884 http://isaacsartcenter.hpa.edu
While all the Hawaiian islands are beautiful, the Big Island holds a special place in our lives. Not just because we live here, but because this is the place that calls to our hearts when we travel abroad, this is the place that feels like home – even before it was our home, this is the place that fills my night time dreams and waking moments with thoughts and visions so beautiful and astonishing that words can sometimes fail me. This blog serves two purposes. One, to share our Inn with you. The Palms Cliff House Inn has been a living dream for more than ten years now, and honestly, we still love being innkeepers! So this blog is a place to share our Innformation and InnNews with you.
Second, This blog is a great place for us to share our Big Island with you. Yes, I could have started a separate blog for that, but frankly, I’m an innkeeper first and time is precious, fleeting, and not in abundance. My desire to share our experiences living and playing here on the Big Island is a priority so, my blog will serve double duty.
I hope you will find information about our Inn and our Big Island that will be both useful and surprising. My goal is to enhance your experience during your visit by sharing with you what our Inn and our Big Island have to offer. Let your adventure begin!
Lake Waiau is a high-elevation lake located at 13,020 feet (3970 m) above sea level on Mauna Kea, on the island of Hawai'i. It is the seventh highest lake in the USA, and one of very few lakes at all in the state of Hawai'i. It is relatively small, only about 100 m across, and varies in size as the water level rises and falls. This photo was taken when the water was very low, you can nee the water line on the opposite shore. The name means "swirling water" in Hawaiian, though it is usually rather placid. Legend has it that a mo'o lives in the lake and occasionally you can see it swim across the surface. I myself have seen something move across the lake, but as there are no fish in the lake, I guess it was the mo'o.
According to Hawaiian mythology, Lake Wai'au is bottomless and is the portal for spirits to travel to and from the spirit world. In ancient time, a chief would throw the umbilical cord of their first son, as soon as it fell off the infant, into the lake. It was to reserve the place for the child's afterlife as a chief. Rituals are still performed occasionally in present days.
My elders have told me that when they were growing up their fathers would go up to lake Wai'au and fill a water gourd with water from the lake. When someone in the home became sick they would drink some of the water and get better. They also said the water was always very cold, even on the hottest days, if you drank from the gourd it was always cold.
Lake Waiau is a sacred site. Visitors should not disturb, enter or drink the water of the lake.
We just got back from a mini-vacation to our favorite camping spot near South Point. We love it because, as you can see, there is never anyone there! Just us and the ocean and the wild goats and pigs…and the fishing is fine!
It’s a combination of dusty two rut roads and treacherous tire eating lava fields that comprise most of the two plus hours of bumping, bouncing, terrain (but if you love 4-wheeling, this is it!) to get there, but boy is worth the effort.
This trip we saw two of the Big Island’s FAD’s pretty close to shore. We guess they came off their chains after the tsunami, but thus far these two are not listed as “missing” so someone in Honolulu must know they have come off their chains and where they are. We’ll keep an eye on that.
As you can see the coastline is simply sublime. It is a combination of sandy coves, rocky lava flows reaching in to the ocean and thick coastal vegetation. Of course we are undo no illusions that no one else goes here. Plenty do, the evidence of other fishermen are literally and unfortunately everywhere. We we leave we usually have one or two bags of trash we have picked up during our visit. But we have been lucky enough to usually see no one but each other when we go.
I love cooking over an open campfire. We actually fight over who gets to do it…I usually win, yea for me!
Meals this trip were courtesy of Halau O Na Pua Kukui. We dined on the left overs from their week long stay with us at the inn…Onolishous! Fried rice with ham and Shou Chicken.
Our camping area offers lots of diversions. There is great opportunity to find fishing floats. This one we found on this trip and was as large as John’s mid-section. We also scored with the ever elusive glass floats and found 2! One was a small green on and one was yellow! I have never seen a yellow one before this one. Fantastic hunting.
The hiking is terrific along the coast with plenty of blow holes to see and deep pukas like this one to scramble into during low tide. Of course you should never turn your back to the ocean, even for a picture…shame on us. In the eleven years that we have been camping here the fishing has always been fantastic. The one shown here is a Noho, or false scorpion fish. Boy was it good eating too. All dense white meat and tasted like lobster. Love this fish!
The other thing I do when camping near south point is collect salt. It is where all our salt comes from and I ewven gift some of it away.
As I said the hiking is terrific. Nearby there are large petroglyph fields and really crazy lava flows like the one above, all drippy and you would swear that they were still dripping they look so alive. If you go, enjoy the beauty of this area and carry out some of the fishing trash left behind by others. No, I’m not going to say exactly where it is. That’s our little secret!
This one mike long looping trail through a hawaiian kipuka is rare in that it is filled with old-growth ‘Ohi’a and Koa trees and is home to three species of native birds. The forest itself is surrounded by recent lava flows from Mauna Loa.
This hike, while still within the Volcano’s National Park, is not inside the park gates. To get to the trail head you drive past the main entrance on Hwy 11 for 5 miles until you reach Mauna Loa Road. Take this to the trail head. There is ample parking and the trail is well marked and easy to hike.
On this trail you will find many signs identifying the native trees and plants as well as what they were/are used for. I find this kind of information really interesting and informative.
The park service does lead tours if you are interested, but I thought the trail information was easily presented and easily understandable. There is also a trail guide you can purchase at the park book store for $2.00.
Standing proudly at 13,796 ft (4,205 m) and ranked 15th in the world of prominent mountain peaks, Mauna Kea is the second highest peak in the United States (first being Mount McKinley or Denali in Alaska). Many here on the Big island, we included, call the slopes of Mauna Kea home. As a result we take our fair share of pride in quickly pointing out that while the elevation of Manua Kea is measured from sea level, the mountain actually begins far below the ocean making the true height of the mountain 32,808 feet (10,000 m) making it the tallest mountain in the world. So go ahead, visit the top of the world, you wont be sorry you made the trip.
Also known as Ka Mauna A Kea (Wakea’s mountain) and Mauna O Wakea (the mountain of the God Wakea) who is believed by Hawaiians to be the one whom all things in Hawaii are descended. There are nine Hawaiian Gods and Goddesses (that I am aware of, but I’m no expert) associated with this mountain, thus, it is a very sacred place for the people of Hawaii.
At the summit you will be moved by the expansive views, ok, my eyes got very damp it was so beautiful. The earth simply falls away beneath you no mater what direction you look.
Built originally in 1997 by the Royal Order of Kamehameha the lele at the summit of Mauna Kea is living proof of the people of Hawaii’s continued respect and devotion to the sacredness of Mauna Kea. Please respect the cultural and religious significance of the lele and do not disturb it’s contents. Offerings are made regularly by the people of Hawaii who go there for many reasons, but predominantly to experience the physical connection between heaven and earth, for this is where they meet, and connect with their ancient spiritual past, breathing life into their future. The original lele was vandalized in 2006 but rebuilt that same year.
A hike to the summit of this magnificent mountain is an experience not to be missed. But take the time to prepare before you begin your accent and you will have a much more enjoyable experience. As you will notice in our photos we are wearing hiking boots (not slippers or tennis shoes. While you can drive most of the way up the mountain, the summit can only be reached by hiking. The trail is well marked, but consist of loose rock and gravel and the incline is quite steep.
Because the elevation is so high you will have difficulty catching your breath as you make for the summit, take your time, rest and enjoy the view. Please also notice that we are wearing long pants, and wind-breakers. Though not a requirement and we certainly saw our fair share of shorts and t-shirts on the day we went, but the danger of hypothermia is quite real and should not be ignored. While it was sunny at the summit, the winds were recorded at 20 mph and the air temp was recorded at 7.2 degrees Celsius or 45 degrees Fahrenheit in the sun.
It can be interesting to check the weather periodically and you can do so by visiting the Mauna Kea weather center at: http://www.cfht.hawaii.edu/ObsInfo/Weather/ or http://mkwc.ifa.hawaii.edu/index.cgi
You should also have a hat, sunglasses; I wish I would have had gloves, sunscreen and lots of water. The University of Hawaii, which manages the summit, offers this advice as well because of the low atmospheric pressure and it’s effects on your body: visitors should be over the age of 16, please no pregnant women, or people with high blood pressure, heart, or respiratory conditions, and if you have been scuba diving within the last 24hours of your anticipated visit to the maintain do not go, you will get the bends. Also plan on spending at least 30 minutes at the visitor center to let your body adjust so you do not get altitude sickness and need rescuing. While these warnings may seem silly and easy to disregard, remember, medical assistance is at least an hour away. You can reach the visitor’s center at the 9,200 foot level in a regular car with no trouble, but you should only plan on reaching the summit if you have a four wheel drive vehicle, and of course, obey road condition warnings. In the winter months, Mauna Kea has ground blizzards with flying snow and ice that can reach 70+mph. I danced hula at the summit once for winter solstice and the temp was below -10 degrees Fahrenheit. Brrr, it was darn cold. (But amazing to see stars below me as I danced and awaited the sun rise above the horizon).
On Saturday and Sunday there is a free 4-Wheel Drive tour of the summit that starts at the visitor’s center at 1:00. Participants must be 14 or older and you will need your own vehicle. The highlight is that you can get into Keck 1 observatory! A rare experience as all the observatories are privately owned.
The 4th Saturday of each month is also cultural night on the mountain at the visitor center. Programs start at twilight and are free. For more information about Mauna Kea you can call the visitor center at 808-961-2180 or visit the visitor website at: http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/info/vis/