Category Archives: Hawaiian Islands

Blogs about the Hawaiian Islands culture, destinations, sightseeing activities and the beaches and beach lifestyle.

Waikiki Beach Weather Returns To Sunny Weekend After Flossie

Honolulu Hot And Full Of Sunshine In Wake Of Tropical Storm

Waikiki Beach
It's a great time to be on Waikiki Beach with warm and sunny weather.


Tropical Storm Flossie dumped rain on Hawaii and caused flights to be delayed, but that’s a thing of the past as Waikiki Beach will be bathed in sunshine this weekend.

Temperatures will be in the mid-80s and there will be plenty of suntanning by the shore. These conditions will hold at least thru Tuesday (and likely behind, for it’s the norm here in Hawaii).

It’s also a bit humid, so lots of people will also be in the water.

In addition to the beach, there’s plenty more to do in Waikiki, though most tourists seem to prefer shopping and dining at the restaurants.

But it’s the beach that is the main attraction, of course. Just be careful about getting too much sun because you don’t want to get sunburned and ruin your trip. Hawaii is only 19 degrees north of the equator and even for regular suntanners two hours can be enough to get red.

So don’t overdue it, especially on your first day. Keep in mind that, the only way to prevent a sunburn is to get a suntan.

In Pursuit Of Waikiki Beach’s Best Fried Rice At Blazin’ Steaks

One Time Is Better Than No Time For The Beach Blogger

 Fried Rice Blazin Steaks
Blazin' Steaks has great food, but don't ask for the fried rice.


 

My friend has been spending a lot of time in Waikiki Beach lately on business, and when I went there to join him for a few days on a weekend, one of the first things he told me was about this place to eat that has “the world’s best fried rice.”

It was a only a block from where we were staying so of course I was eager to give it a try. It’s called Blazin’ Steaks and this particular location – and there are a few of them in Oahu – is right behind the Hyatt Regency, pretty much across from the Duke’s statue.

I went for lunch on a Friday, alone, as my friend was at work. The place is small and was very busy. I looked at the menu – it’s an L&L BBQ type of place, serving traditional Hawaiian food of rice and grilled meats – and looked at what others were ordering. “The chicken is good, the steak is great and the shrimp is really good,” the guy at the cash register told me.

I was salivating but what I did not see was fried rice. When I inquired about it, the bro said, “oh, we don’t make that any longer.”

My wide-open, anxious eyes rolled in the back of my head. What!? My friend just had it yesterday!

Just then, the manager emerged from a side room and seeing my disappointment, said he would make it for me. He did and it was sensational. In fact, he comped me the fried rice! I had the chicken with it and the full lunch plate and was only charged 10 bucks.  You just have to love that Aloha spirit in Hawaii.

Still, I couldn’t understand why they would not make a dish that clearly is so spectacular.

 Fried Rice Blazin Steaks
The fried rice is no longer available but the rest of the food is great.

 

 Fried Rice Blazin Steaks
The Waikiki Beach location of Blazin' Steaks is behind the Hyatt.

 

When my friend went back in and few days later and ordered it for something like the 10th time in the last two weeks he was told, “we have a small cooking area, you always come in when we are busy (well heck, it’s lunchtime!)  and it takes up a lot of counter space. We’ll make it for you one more time but this is the last time.”

They are not at all like the famous Soup Nazi of the “Seinfield” episode –quite the opposite, in fact – but it was clear the we both had the last of that great fried rice.

At least I had it that once!

 

Tritium Lending Club Makes Gallant Run At Transpac Record

Gladstone’s Long Beach Owner John Sangmeister And Crew Come Close Despite Problems

Transpac trimaran Lending Club
Surfside Sam's ride aboard Lending Club was smoother than the boat had in Transpac.


Nobody said crossing 2,225 miles across the Pacific Ocean was easy.

And for the Tritium Lending Club skippered by Gladstone’s Long Beach owner John Sangmeister, it certainly was not easy. They faced a series of challenges and, despite a gallant effort, fell just short in their goal of setting the record in the Transpacific Yacht Race.

They were racing to beat the mark of 5 days, 9 hours, but when that time passed, they were painfully close – less than 50 miles – from the finish at the Diamond Head Lighthouse. They left Long Beach on Saturday at 1 p.m., July 13, and arrived in Honolulu on Thursday, July 18, at about 10 p.m.

They may well have made it in plenty of time to be at the post-event party having rounds of Mai Tais were it not for a stroke of very bad luck. They hit some debris that happened to be drifting in the middle of the Pacific Ocean that damaged their daggerboard. They had to stop and make extensive repairs, costing them several hours.

This was after they discovered one of the hulls was taking on water and they had to break out the bail buckets.

And, just as they were approaching Honolulu on the verge of setting the record – people at the receiving end were predicting the crew would arrive with about an hour to spare – when suddenly they slowed. They were reportedly taking on water and apparently hit some more debris.

But give the crew credit – an hour later they were back on their way and making an incredible 20 knots.

It’s pretty easy to realize how the record has stood for more than 15 years despite all the high-tech and high-speed sailboats that have been introduced in that time, and Lending Club was as high tech as any ever in Transpac. It was a test boat for a 2013 America’s Cup team, nearly identical (just a few feet bigger, in fact) than the actual America’s Cup boats.

“As many of you suspect, the boat has sustained significant damage from contact with debris in the water over the last few days,” Sangmeister reported from the boat just prior to reaching the finish line. “We have been pressing the boat to beat the record. However, we are now exercising prudence and good seamanship for the safety of our crew and to not risk further damage to the boat.

“To finish first, one must first finish.”

So they didn’t break the record but they sure earned their Mai Tais at the finish line!

Stand-up Paddleboarding With Dolphins One Of Hawaii’s Top Activities

SUP With Aquatic Animals, Plus Snorkeling And Surfing Part OF Adventure

Hawaii Activities Stand Up Paddleboarding Dolphins
Get up close to dolphins at the West Oahu SUP tour in Hawaii.


Stand-up paddleboarding is one of the hot new water and beach activities, largely because of its relaxing and calming pace.

But who can be relaxed and calm when there are hundreds – that’s no exaggeration, either – of dolphins swimming around when you are on a stand-up paddleboard!?

Yet that’s exactly what happens at West Oahu SUP. That SUP stands for Stand Up Paddleboard, for all you squids out there, by the way.

It’s two-hour tour in the morning session is greeted by the dolphins, who show up by the hundreds to play with the SUPs. And that could be you, because West Oahu SUP gives lessons, which means people of all ages and no prior skill level is required. In other words, you don’t have to a North Shore big wave surfer to participate. Squids are welcome!

Sessions are at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. To paddle with the dolphins, you have to be there at 9. And the location is about an hour from Waikiki, at Mauna Lahi lahi Beach Park in Makaha. Westside of Oahu, on the Waianae Coast.  Fortunately, there are  shuttle trips from Waikiki.

Stand Up Paddleboarding Hawaii Oahu
The stand-up paddleboarding sessions run three times a day.

 

Oahu Hawaii Activities Snorkeling With Turtles
In addition to SUP with dolphins, West Oahu has snorkeling with turtles.

 

And West Oahu SUP doesn’t stop with SUPs. it also rents body boards ($20/day), long boards ($25.day), short boards ($25.day),  kayaks ($25/hr., 50/day for and $60/day for two-person), snorkeling gear ($15/day) and even underwater cameras (for just $20 for all day).

You can go on your own or take lessons. The staff is made up of experienced local Watermen, Lifeguards, Professional Surfers, and Paddlers. All are CPR and First Aid certified.

Check it all out yourself at: westoahusup.com.

 

Be Careful Of The Dangers Of Hawaii’s Spitting Caves on Oahu

Natural Attraction Also Has Hazards From The Cliffs To The Churning Ocean

Spitting Cave Oahu Hawaii's Natural Attractions
People stand on the edge of the rocks at Spitting Cave in Oahu.


They are gorgeous and one of those things that seems unique to Hawaii. A natural attraction that’s nature just being, well, nature.

A rush of water rolls into a cut in the rocks and then “spits” the spray back out to sea. It’s a phenomenon that has earned this area a nickname, the Spitting Caves (though there’s really only one main cave where this occurs).

They are a huge draw for locals and a rush for visitors in the know. They are just 20 or so minutes from Waikiki Beach and less than 10 minutes from the blowhole and the famous “From Here To Eternity” beach.

But if you come here, be careful.

When you look into the gorgeous distance, or peer over the ledge to see the cave spit out the waves, watch your step and be aware of your surroundings. There are no ropes or a guardrail. The rocks on which you stand are solid but they are also uneven. And they can be slippery. It would be easy to trip.

On the day I was there, it was also windy, which is a common condition. I felt that at any moment, the wind could blow me off the ledge and plunge me into the churning sea. That is, if I got too close to the edge and on that day, I made sure to keep some surface below my toes.

Call me cautious, or even wimpy, but when I approached the edge I backed away cautiously. When I moved to the edge of the edge, I sat down.

As a confirmation of my conservative approach, there are a couple of religious crosses on the rocks where other people have met their untimely demise. That’s sad. And I had no interest in having flowers placed there as a memorial to me.

Later I learned a sad story about the place.

A friend who lives on the island told of the time when she watched one of her friends perish at the the caves.

Her friend, as some locals like to do from time to time, jumped into the water from the rocks. It seems a foolish thrill to me but “oh now,”my friend said. “Locals do it all the time.”

Except on that day, the sea was churning and the person could not make it back to a ladder that is hanging – precariously, if you ask me – from one of the rock formations down into the water. The suddenly struggling swimmer was being thrown hard against the rocks and by the time rescuers got to him it was, sadly, too late.

This is by no means meant to discourage you from going to the Spitting Cave. It’s just a warning to be careful.

Spitting Cave Oahu Hawaii's Natural Attractions
Spitting Cave is one of Hawaii's Natural Attractions.

 

Spitting Cave Oahu Hawaii's Natural Attractions
Be careful peering over the edge to see the Spitting Cave.

 

Spitting Cave Oahu Hawaii's Natural Attractions
Look closely; there are people at the top of the rock pretty close to the edge.

 

The Spitting Caves are one of Hawaii’s great natural phenomenons and it’s well worth a visit.

Just enjoy them with the proper caution.

RELATED STORY:

Driving Directions To The Spitting Caves

 

 

How To Get To The Spitting Caves In Oahu Driving Directions

Getting To One Of Oahu’s Natural Attractions From Waikiki Beach

Spitting Caves Oahu Hawaii's Natural Attractions
This is the end of the drive, the spectacular Spitting Caves.


One of the most beautiful – and overlooked – natural attractions on Oahu is called the Spitting Caves.

Below a tall and jagged rock formation, which is plenty large enough to walk on, as the Pacific Ocean roars into the rocks a small opening “spits” the waves back out to the sea. It’s incredible.

It’s also not easy to find.  It’s in a residential area off Kalanlanaloe Highway (Hwy 72), just before Hanauma Bay, the famous snorkeling spot, on Lumaha’i St.

But, unless you know where you are going, of course, and Surfside Sam provides these directions from Waikiki Beach:

• Take Kalakaua Ave. (that’s the main one-way road that runs parallel to the beach) toward Diamond Head

• Turn left on Kapahula Ave.

• Turn left, in 1.3 miles, onto Kaimuki Ave.

• Turn left, in just .3 miles, onto Kapiolani Ave. and enter the H-1 East freeway. You’ll stay on it for just 2 miles.

• Continue onto HI-72 and continue for 5 miles.

• Turn right on Lunalilo Street. There’s a shopping center across the street and an elementary school on the corner.

• Turn left at Poipu Dr.

• Turn left onto Lumaha’i St.  The Spitting Caves are at the end of the road on the right. You will see the trailhead.

• The trail to the rocks is down a pretty steep and somewhat slippery dirt trail. There are branches and a fence to grab hold of, and the trail is only a couple hundred yards in length.

Be careful when you pop out onto the rocks; they, too can be slippery and it could be windy. There are also no railings over the edge, so be careful.

Spitting Caves Oahu Hawaii's Natural Attractions
You can see the cave spitting over this point but be careful by the edge.

 

Spitting Caves Oahu Hawaii's Natural Attractions
People hang out on the rocks above the Spitting Caves.

 

Spitting Caves Neighborhood Oahu Hawaii's Natural Attractions
The Spitting Caves are in a residential neighborhood; look for this intersection.

 

RELATED STORY:

• Reasons To Be Careful At The Spitting Caves

 

 

 

 

 

How I Eat Cheap At Good Restaurants in Waikiki Beach

Happy Hours And Good Finds The Key To Budget Food In Hawaii’s Paradise City

Waikiki Beach Wolfgang Steakhouse
The steak tar tar at Wolfgang Steakhouse, a great Waikiki Beach Happy Hour restaurant.


When I mentioned to my Southern parents that I was going to Hawaii for a week – specifically Waikiki Beach – among my dad’s remarks were, “well that’s pretty expensive.”

Like most Southerners, my dad is respectful of the dollar. Well, Southerners are respectful of the dollar to a point, of course, If their college football team is not producing championships at an acceptable level, that is to say every other year, then they pour money into the alumni coffers fire the coach and bring in order to bring in a new one. Fortunately, my dad made sure his kids were fed and clothed before he made his modest alumni contributions.

Anyway, back on track, he had a point about Waikiki Beach. From his experiences, it was very expensive. And so it is for most tourists.

But if you know how to look around, you can find great deals, and in this article I am talking about cheap dining in Waikiki.

First of all, I avoid the Cheesecake Factory.

Why anyone goes there is always a mystery to any frequent visitor (such as myself and my friends), but every singe night there’s scores of tourists sitting outside waiting for a table. Perhaps they don’t have a Cheesecake Factory where they live but most likely they associate with something they know and trust. But you’re unlikely to ever find me there, at least in Waikiki.

One of my favorite places for cheap food is about a block from the Cheesecake. At the adjacent Royal Hawaiian Center, a multi-level shopping mall just a block off the beach, are a number of excellent restaurant/bars. By rule, any restaurant/bar in the Royal Hawaiian Center is required to have a Happy Hour.

And this is your best fine restaurant food deal in Waikki Beach.

My favorite spots are Doraku Sushi and Wolfgang’s Steakhouse.

At Doraku, you can get get sushi rolls and sashimi for around seven bucks washed down with a 16-ounce draft beer for $5 (or 10 ounces of sake for $10). The food is fantastic and the atmosphere great. Happy Hour goes daily from 5-7 p.m. And, like every place in Waikiki “daily” Happy Hours mean seven days a week.

Wolfgang’s Steakhouse – not to be confused with Wolfgang Puck’s – is a recent find. And what a find. This is a five-star steakhouse that offers skewers,  steak sliders (with a full compliment of skinny fries) among other menu items for around $7. Beers are $5 and the friendly bartenders gives out baskets of fresh-made potato chips when you order a drink.

You can, quite literally, get stuffed as a Thanksgiving turkey, and have cocktails on top of it, for $15-25.

In fact, there are Happy Hours at restaurants and bars all over Waikki Beach. There’s free pizza – yes, free – at the upscale Italian Giovanni Pastrami (3-7 p.m.) on the Waikiki Walk on Lewers Street (adjacent to the RHC) and right cross Lewers a more familiar Yard House with half-priced appetizers until 5:30 p.m.

Even on the beach, right about the famous Duke’s, the Hula Grill has a Happy Hour with “pu-pus, that is to say appetizers that can be turned into a full meal, in the $5-10 range (until 6 p.m.), that looks out to the ocean beyond the tiki torches on his balcony.

But there’s also a couple other places that I love for lunch.

One is L&L Barbeque. It’s a Hawaiian tradition with Hawaiian food. You get a large portion of meat on literally a bed of cabbage, two scoops of rice and a scoop of macaroni salad for about $7. It’s on Kuho, the other main street in Waikiki, just behind the beach.

And if you want an inexpensive but hearty sandwich, the best place is the smoothy stand at the back of the Food Court in the International Marketplace. I went there everyday for a turkey sandwich so full of meat I had to pull some of it out in order to eat it. The price: $4.50. You can get ham added for another quarter and the one-man worker in there also has a crab sandwich for $7. Be sure and tip the guy; he’s working hard, says, “thank you” and is always smiling.

So yes dad, you’re right. Waikiki Beach can be expensive. But it does not have to be expensive.