The Luxurious Grand Wailea At Night

For my 32nd birthday, my wife Michelle swept me away to Maui’s luxurious Grand Wailea. The Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, is known for its winding paths, world-renown collection of art, and open-air architecture.

We arrived in Maui late in the evening, and by the time we reached the the Grand Wailea, it was already dark. The first thing that catches your eye is a large sweeping waterfall to the right of the main lobby. To the left, is a large statue of King Kamehameha by local legend, Herb Kane. Both Michelle and I were eager to jump out of our Dodge Charger to check out what the resort had to offer. I was especially excited to see what our room looked like.

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An Impromptu Trip To Haleakala and the View From Pa Kaoao (White Hill)

Decisions, decisions. Decisions can be tough, but they have to be made. During a recent getaway to Maui’s Grand Wailea to celebrate my birthday, I was given the rough task of figuring out what to do for the last day of our visit. The options were tough, either a drive up to Haleakala National Park to see the sunset or a drive through the waterfall filled Hana Highway. Sometimes, the decisions that we have to make in life are rough.

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Haleakala: House of the Sun by Dan Douglas

In a few days, the Exploration: Hawaii crew, plus a few friends, will be backpacking into Haleakala Crater. I’m so pumped! And this video, shot by videographer Dan Douglas of Plug Video Productions, is making me even more excited.

On a recent trip to Maui, I had the opportunity to visit the world’s largest dormant volcano – Haleakala. The size of this volcano is massive – Manhattan could fit inside. I’m still in shock at how awesome this place is. Arriving before sunrise, I placed a few cameras out in hopes to capture what people refer to as, “The most beautiful sunrise in the world.”

People gather from around the globe to witness this kaleidoscope of shifting colors – known as the “House of the Sun”. My hope is to give you a small glimpse of the energy, excitement and elegance this natural marvel brings.

During my 4 hours of shooting, I captured more than 5,000 images from 4 cameras setup on different motion control systems. I want to thank Jeremy Canterbury from for providing some of the cool new technology that allowed me to capture some of these moving shots. Revolve allows a fast, quick way to setup moving track shots.

Pretty amazing stuff.

Cascade of Clouds Blanket Waimea Canyon

The plan was to do more than just the lookout. Joel and I had grand plans of experiencing Kokee via the 9.5-mile long Nualolo-Awaawapuhi Trail. Considered to be the most glorious ridge trail of the collection of trails that make up Kokee State Park. These plans would be scrapped, however, with the vicious rain and flash-flooding that attacked the island during our Spring Break stay. Meh. The mountains will always be there and we’re just an island away. We’ll save it for another trip. Maybe a day trip? We still found our way to Waimea Canyon, though. The drive up and the various lookouts would be our little glimpse into what we will, hopefully, experience in greater detail in the future.

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Things That You See While Driving To The North Shore of Kauai

While en route to the Maniniholo dry cave and the Waiakanaloa wet cave, on Kauai’s North Shore, we were treated to some very lush vistas. A recurrent theme that we noticed? Waterfalls. A lot of waterfalls. With so many waterfalls around, we found ourselves making frequent stops to gawk at them and soak in the views. One of the sweet spots was near Hanalei Elementary School. The students of this particular school are indeed very lucky. On any given day, they are able to step out of their classrooms and experience the majestic views of the three peaks that form Hanalei Valley: Hihimanu, Namalokama, and Mamalahoa. On the day that we were there, these mountains were free flowing with waterfalls. On your next visit to Kauai, look mauka (toward the mountain) from Hanalei Elementary, and you might see Waioli Falls, one of Kauai longest flowing waterfall. I didn’t have nearly as great a view from my elementary school in Kalihi.

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Peeking Into The Waiakanaloa Wet Cave

Located beyond the Maniholo dry cave is another one of Kauai’s north shore landmarks, the Waiakanaloa wet cave. This wet cave is located just before the Ke’e Beach parking lot. Waikanaloa, meaning water of Kanaloa, and its neighbor, Waikapalae, are said to have been dug by the goddess of fire, Pele. During a recent visit to Kauai, we decided to drive to the end of Highway 56 / Kuhio HIghway. At the very is end of the highway is Ke’e Beach and, more importantly, the trailhead to the famous eleven-mile long Kalalau Trail.

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Maniniholo Dry Cave On Kauai’s North Shore

The Maniholo dry cave makes for a short and fun stop if traveling to the north shore of Kauai. The cave is located at the bottom of Kaiwikui Ridge and across from Haena Beach Park. Maniniholo means “travelling reef surgeonfish.” You’ll often times here locals refer to small fish, or small things in general, as being “manini.” According to legend, Maniniholo was the name of the head fisherman of the area during the time the menehunes were leaving the island (Wichman, 1998). Apparently, a few of these little imps were caught stealing food from the fisherman and were subsequently killed. The rest of the menehune, well, jumped on their canoes at Makua Bay and was never seen again.

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Discovering The Art of Herb Kane at The Grand Wailea

I’m a long time fan of Herb Kane’s work. I can still remember visiting the Bishop Museum, where his artwork would bring life to the Hawaiian folklore that we would learn about in Hawaiiana class. If you grew up in Hawaii, then you can probably relate. Maybe not to seeing Herb Kane’s work at Bishop Museum, but surely you can remember sitting Indian-style in Hawaiiana class as your Kumu (Hawaiian teacher) taught you how to count in Hawaiian, play the ukulele, and told you stories about the ancient Hawaiians. Yes, going to elementary school in Hawaii is way better than going to elementary school anywhere else (if you can look beyond national standardized test score averages). Of course, I’m bias, but I digress. The point is, Herb Kane is not just a talented artist, but a living legend. Herb Kane is an author, historian, and cultural leader. So, I was very pleased when I stumbled upon his work during a recent stay at the Grand Wailea in Maui.

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Waikiki Historic Trail Hilton Falls

Waikiki Historic Trail: Conquering the Educational Honolulu Urban Hike at Night

Throughout the most popular spots in Waikiki exists 23 markers for an urban trail. While it is easy to stumble upon a few of them simply by chance, visiting all takes some effort. Most of the markers are wooden surfboards with both images and text that narrate the history of Waikiki. Building upon the efforts of Troy Solano, I was able to finish the whole trail over 2 days while also practicing long exposure night shots.

Troy became interested in the urban hike a few months ago after finding an essay documenting all the markers. Despite becoming the laughing stock of the hiking community for his ridiculous mission, Troy would finish the trail over 3 days. The final day of his hike also included me and allowed me to see a few of the markers before attempting the whole thing at night. The following will list all the markers locations as well as images from nearby locations. Detailed information about what is found on the markers can be found here.

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Hulihee Palace: The Home of Hawaii’s Second Governor and A Vacation Residence for Hawaiian Royalty

Hulihee Palace, not to be confused with delicious hulihuli chicken, is the former palace of John Adams Kuakini, the second Governor of the Island of Hawaii. The palace, which was completed in 1838, was built “by foreign seamen, of native lava rock, coral lime mortar, koa and `ohi`a timbers.” Later, it would serve as a popular vacation home for visiting royalty. Although not as opulent as Iolani Palace on Oahu, Hulihee Palace is still very rich in history.

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