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Big Island Visitors Bureau Announces Additions to Marketing Team

The Big Island Visitors Bureau (BIVB) is pleased to announce the appointment of Donna Kimura as marketing director and Teresa Cosgrove as sales manager, two industry veterans who bring more than 40 years of combined experience to the team. Both Kimura and Cosgrove will be based out of BIVB’s West Hawaii office.

Teresa Cosgrove

Teresa Cosgrove

“Having had the opportunity to work with Donna and Teresa in other capacities over the past two decades, I’m extremely pleased to have them join our BIVB ohana [family],” said Ross Birch, BIVB Executive Director. “Not only do they bring a solid track record of success and strong network of industry contacts to the team, but also a deep, personal understanding of Hawaii Island and the passion needed to take our destination to the next level. We’re all looking forward to keeping the momentum moving in a positive direction for our island.”

In her position as Marketing Director, Kimura will be responsible for development, budgeting and implementation of the BIVB’s annual marketing plan for all major market areas for promotion of Hawaii Island as a leisure travel and meeting/convention destination. This includes working with the BIVB’s sales team, advertising and public relations contractors, and the industry at large to identify markets and trends to ensure current strategies are in line with current market conditions.

With 25 years of experience, Kimura worked briefly for BIVB in 2009, managing the activities of its contractors, coordinating promotions, and working on other marketing initiatives before becoming a freelance marketing communications consultant later that year and eventually finding her way back to the bureau. Prior to that, she held public relations and marketing positions with the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, The Orchid at Mauna Lani, and The Ritz-Carlton, Mauna Lani. Kimura is a graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where she earned her master’s degree in linguistics.

Cosgrove brings more than 15 years of experience to her position as BIVB sales manager where she will provide support to the sales and marketing team in its mission to bring more meetings, conventions, and incentives business to Hawaii Island. Prior to joining the bureau, she was the Leisure Sales Manager at the Hilton Waikoloa Village for 12 years where she served as the liaison between on-property leisure sales and Hilton Hawaii’s regional sales team.

In that role, Cosgrove conducted site and familiarization tours for wholesale and retail industry agents, participated in industry tradeshows and educational seminars, developed leisure promotions for the FIT, military and corporate travel markets, and was responsible for contract preparation and rate planning for wholesale partnerships and tour group sales. She started her travel career at the Hilton Waikoloa Village in 1998 as its Sales Administrative Assistant and then became its Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator in 1999. Cosgrove is a graduate of The University of Texas at Arlington where she earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. She is the recipient of the 2002 Hilton Circle of Excellence and has earned numerous Quarterly Sales Goal Achievement Certificates of Accomplishment.

BIVB is a chapter of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, Hawaii’s tourism marketing agency for North America. For more information about Hawaii, the Big Island, visit www.BigIsland.org or call 1-800-GOHAWAII.

 

January Recommendations From the Big Island Visitor Bureau

Happy New Year! We say goodbye to 2011 and welcome the new opportunities and experiences of the coming year. Why not make one of them an adventurous, inspiring trip to Hawai’i, the Big Island? Celebrate the beginning of 2012 with these great specials and events.

ADVENTURES, ACTIVITIES AND EVENTS

Lava from Kīlauea‘s remote Pu’u ‘Ō’ō vent has again reached the ocean within Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park boundaries, at a location USGS scientists have named the West Ka’ili’ili ocean entry. The arduous hike from the bottom of Chain of Craters Road is about four miles one-way across an uneven flow field. Several streams of lava are pouring into the ocean, providing dramatic views, but conditions can change at any time. For more info, visit www.nps.gov/havo.

Lava touched the sea on December 9, 2011, and now you have the chance to view it up close and personal! Lava Ocean Adventures offers lava boat tours to see, hear and feel the heat. Visit its new website at www.seelava.com or call (808) 966-4200 to find about more about its menu of east Hawai’i Island tours and activities.

Spend the day at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center and enjoy its new planetarium offering: Wildest Weather in Our Solar System. This new show takes the audience on a spectacular journey to witness the most beautiful, powerful, and mysterious weather phenomena in the solar system. From a storm the size of a 100-megaton hydrogen bomb, to a 400-year-old hurricane, to a dust tempest that could engulf entire planets, you’ll be glad you live on Earth! Fly through the thick atmosphere of Venus, magnetic storms on the sun, liquid methane showers on Titan, and anticyclones whirling at hundreds of miles per hour on Jupiter. For more information visit www.imiloahawaii.org.

January 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO).  Volcano Art Center shares in the celebration by featuring an exhibition titled “Observation/ Inspiration” from January 7 – February 19, 2012, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. The show features artists who gather inspiration from the volcanic activity at Kīlauea, including Catherine Robbins, Tim Freeman, Alan Fine and Kimberly Dark. The exhibition takes take place at Volcano Art Center Gallery, located in the historic 1877 Volcano House in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.  Park entrance fees apply.  Call (808) 967-7565 or visit www.volcanoartcenter.org for more information.

Blue Sea Cruises now offers two ways to experience manta rays – wet or dry! The only Dry Manta Watch is aboard its 70′ Spirit of Kona. High intensity lights illuminate the underwater scene as giant graceful manta rays feed on the plankton forming near the lights of glass bottom wells.  Join the Wet Manta Snorkel aboard the M/V Makai for a cushy, comfortable cruise along the Kona coastline at night.  Large Kona manta rays will swim within inches of your viewing. Bring the whole family! Visit www.blueseacruisesinc.com or call (808) 331-8875 for more information.

Narrated by the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary staff from the Pu’ukoholā National Historical Site Visitor’s Center, a free weekly shoreline whale watch takes place Fridays from 9:00-11:00 a.m. until April.  The sanctuary lies just behind the Park’s shores and is where humpback whales gather to give birth, breed and escape the cold winter.  Presented by staff and volunteers who are well versed in whale biology and mo’olelo (legends).  For more information, call (808) 327-3697.

Join the Paniolo Preservation Society (PPS) and delight in its new First Friday Paniolo Kanikapila Jam at Pukalani Stables on Friday, January 6. From 4:00-7:00 p.m., celebrate the pleasures of life in the country when the work is pau (finished) with informal music, mea ‘ai (good food), and bingo. PPS will have non-alcoholic beverages and food available. Donation suggested: $5/adults; $3/Seniors; Free if you bring your own musical instrument.  Dress warmly.  For more information, visit www.paniolopreservation.org or call (808) 854-1541.

The Waimea Ocean Film Festival, a world-class film festival combining 30 wide-ranging films, breakfast talks with film makers and ocean people, receptions, art exhibits and activities will inspire, educate and engage participants in our ocean and island culture as well as celebrate the connections people everywhere share between land and sea. The second annual event will take place in two phases, first in Waimea from January 4-8, then the Four Seasons Resort Hualālai from January 10-13. For more information, visit www.waimeaoceanfilm.org or call (808) 854-6095.

The Iolani Air Tour Company is ringing in the new year with two new lava specials: 1) Party of Two? Take advantage of the Deluxe Air Tour for Two from Kona. Now, couples aboard can experience the entire Hawai’i Island in the privacy and comfort of the company’s brand new state-of-the-art Skyhawk. It is the only company offering a full circle island air tour exclusively for two people priced at $325 each. 2) $99 Air Tours from Hilo! See the Volcano in its Airvan at a price that cannot be beat. Rainbow Falls included. Visit www.iolaniair.com or call (808) 331-8308 for more information.

Hilton Waikoloa Village’s 62-acre Pacific playground made dreams come true this holiday season by granting a wish for Alexandra S. from the Make-A-Wish foundation. The Dolphin Blessing Ceremony on November 17, 2011 changed the life for Alexandra as she announced the much-anticipated name of the newest dolphin member of Dolphin Quest. Join Dolphin Quest Hawaii as dolphins leap, splash and amaze during its Tuesday afternoon dolphin shows! Stop by on January 17, 24 or 31 at 4:15 p.m. for a 15-minute dolphin show set to music. Bring your family and friends. Dolphin Quest Hawaii is located at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. Visit www.dolphinquest.com or call (808) 886-2875 for more information.

ACCOMMODATIONS

The view from my room during my most recent stay at the Hilton Waikoloa Village

Splash into the perfect vacation at Hilton Waikoloa Village and book the ultimate outdoor experience, Sail with the Whales for an unmatched family vacation. Starting at $269 per room per night for two adults. Each package includes one Ocean Sports Whale Watch Voucher, fun for guests of any age. A 3-night minimum stay and 3 day minimum advance booking are required. Valid through April 15, 2012. Visit www.hiltonwaikoloavillage.com for more information.

Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel recently made a big splash in its pool and beach area by enhancing its guest experience with brand-new cushions for all lounge chairs, five new cabanas ($50 full day/$30 half-day) as well as all-new beach umbrellas for its award-winning beach. The resort is also adding more beach activities to the line-up with boogie board rentals and snorkel gear at its beach shack. For more information visit, www.princeresortshawaii.com or call (808) 880-1111.

The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii, a luxury AAA Four Diamond resort located on the Kohala Coast of Hawai’i Island, is pleased to offer a variety of packages for discerning travelers seeking a luxury stay in paradise in 2012.  The resort’s signature Orchid Experience Package includes daily breakfast for two, a $100 Food and Beverage credit, a $50 Spa credit to be enjoyed at the award winning Spa Without Walls, complimentary self parking, in addition to complimentary internet access.  A $609 value, rates for the Orchid Experience Package begin at $369/night in Ocean View categories and above with a five-night minimum stay.   Visit www.fairmont.com/orchid or call (800) 845-9905 for more information.

TASTY TIDBITS

The CanoeHouse at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows is the first restaurant on Hawai’i Island to offer a high-tech way for guests to order wine during dinner. Instead of a printed wine list, guests are given an iPad with Tastevin software. Diners can view the restaurant’s wine list and menu pairings along with history of the wines, detailed descriptions, images and history of the vineyards. This new service takes the intimidation out of selecting wines and it’s an enjoyable way for guests to find a wine to suit their personal taste and budget. Visit www.maunalani.com or call (808) 881-7911 for more details.

 

Mayor Kenoi at APEC 2011

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi spent Thursday and Friday in Honolulu engaged in high-level talks with East Asian officials about investment and visitor industry opportunities on Hawaii Island.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi speaks to newsman Howard Dicus during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit Wednesday, Nov. 9 in Honolulu.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi speaks to newsman Howard Dicus during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit Wednesday

The mayor is participating in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation conference taking place this week in Honolulu. Leaders of nearly two dozen Pacific Rim countries, their ministers and other high officials are in Honolulu to discuss various economic opportunities and issues such as renewable energy.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi speaks to two reporters from the Guangzhou Daily News, the world's 24th largest newspaper in the world during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit Wednesday, Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi speaks to two reporters from the Guangzhou Daily News, the world's 24th largest newspaper in the world during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit Wednesday,

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi speaks to two reporters from the Guangzhou Daily News, the world's 24th largest newspaper in the world during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit Wednesday,

Mayor Kenoi has also been interviewed by various local and international media outlets, including the Guangzhou Daily News, which featured the mayor on the front page of the Thursday edition of this large southern Chinese newspaper, the 24th largest newspaper in the world in circulation at 1.6 million editions a day.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi speaks to reporters from the People's Republic of China, Russia, South Korea, Vietnam, Japan and other Pacific Nations during an event hosted by the Hawaii Island Economic Development Board and the Hawaii Visitors Bureau

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi speaks to reporters from the People's Republic of China, Russia, South Korea, Vietnam, Japan and other Pacific Nations during an event hosted by the Hawaii Island Economic Development Board and the Hawaii Visitors Bureau

“We want to let people know that there is an island called Hawaii, and that island is covered with natural wonders and great economic opportunity,” said Mayor Kenoi. “APEC is a once in a lifetime opportunity to do this on a world stage.”

On Wednesday, the mayor welcomed journalists from all around the Pacific Rim during an event in Honolulu hosted by the Hawaii Island Economic Development Board and the Hawaii Visitors Bureau. Journalists from the People’s Republic of China, South Korea, Russia, England and Vietnam as well as other countries had the opportunity to meet many county and state officials as well as leading businessmen from Hawaii Island.

“While we have extended invitations to these journalists to visit Hawaii Island, we understand that many of them came to cover APEC, so we did the next best thing to taking them to Hawaii Island,” said Kenoi. “We brought Hawaii Island to them.”

[youtube=http://youtu.be/OvpYmgHAvtE]

Hawaii Island is also represented by a display at the Hawaii Convention Center.  The Hawaii Island booth, which is being manned by county officials, features island products such as Kona and Ka’u coffee as well as island grown macadamia nuts and Kona potato chips.

Also represented from the Big Island was Business Innovation awardee Big Island Carbon, alternative energy company Sopogy, ocean thermal energy conversion technology developer Makai Ocean Engineering and a number of telescopes.

A Celebration of Hawaii Island… APEC Style

So APEC begins this week and I was scheduled to arrive on Thursday, however I have now changed my flight to Wednesday, thanks to Go!Mokule Airlines.

In today’s Hawaii Tribune Herald it was reported that the Big Island wouldn’t be visited by any dignitaries:

“..No visits from high-ranking dignitaries or official APEC events have been scheduled here, according to county officials, but that doesn’t mean Hawaii Island will be forgotten during the week, they said.

According to Mayor Billy Kenoi, on top of planning to send a contingent to Oahu this week, Hawaii County has been hard at work all year long in anticipation of the APEC summit…”

Well since no one is coming to the Big Island… it looks like the Big Island is going to Oahu!  I received this invitation from the Hawai’i Island Economic Development Board & the Big Island Visitors Bureau to attend “A Celebration of Hawaii Island: Featuring Hawaii’s Finest” at the Elks Lodge in Waikiki.

I’m not sure what will be going on there but I plan on checking it out for a little while.

The Tribune did report that there will be a contingency of folks manning a Big Island booth at the Convention Center:

…A partnership between the county, the Hawaii Island Economic Development Board and the Big Island Visitors Bureau will provide 13 people to man in rotating shifts an exhibit at the Hawaii Convention Center all week, said Randy Kurohara, director of the county’s Research and Development department.

“We plan to have two to three people in the booth at a given time to be able to respond to inquiries on economic opportunities, as well as potential newsworthy stories from our island,” Kurohara said. “Our mayor will be available for interviews and promotions with the international and local media throughout the week…”

And just in case anyone is wondering… I’m paying my own travel expenses and not getting paid to attend this APEC 2011 Conference!

Big Island Visitors Bureau Announces What’s Hot on the Big Island in October

With our incredible diversity of natural landscapes and seascapes, agriculture, culture, history, and places for visitors to call home while here, Hawai’i Island is clearly a BIG and inspiring getaway!

ADVENTURES, ACTIVITIES & EVENTS

McNeil Wilson Takes Over PR for BIVB. McNeil Wilson Communications (MWC), a Honolulu PR firm with a specialty in tourism marketing, has been hired to manage public relations for BIVB. MWC’s clients include Hawaiian Airlines, Hawai’i Visitors and Convention Bureau, Marriott Resorts Hawai’i, Prince Resorts Hawai’i, Polynesian Cultural Center, and USS Missouri Memorial. The primary PR contact is Noreen Kam. She can be reached at  noreen.kam@anthologygroup.com and (808) 539-3422.
Hawai’i Island Tour Companies Earn “Green” Certification. Hawai’i’s first-ever certification program for “green” tourism has validated the commitment to sustainability by five entities operating on Hawai’i Island: Atlantis Submarines Kona, Volcano Discovery, Jack’s Diving Locker, Pacific Islands Institute, and Hawaii Forest & Trail. The program was created by the Hawai’i Ecotourism Association to encourage more “green” tourism statewide, support conservation, and raise awareness among visitors. Each entity earned the certification following an evaluation of their ecotourism operations and principles. www.hawaiiecotourism.org.

The Humpbacks are Back! The first official whale sighting of Hawai’i’s annual humpback whale migration, which runs November through May, was reported by six lucky passengers and their captain aboard a Sea Quest charter on Monday. The early arrival, which appeared to be a yearling, was spotted slapping its tail on the surface in waters outside West Hawai’i’s Hōnaunau Bay. For more information on Hawai’i’s humpback whales, visit the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary website, http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov/. 

The Lyman Museum presents a special exhibit “Hawai’i’s Volcanoes: 1800s to Present” from Dec. 9, 2011 through Mar. 3, 2012, featuring historic paintings, photographs, film footage, oddities & curiosities. In celebration of Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s centennial, paintings from the museum’s collections by Hitchcock, Bailey and Furneaux will be on display, along with volcanic specimens and film footage of Kīlauea eruptions as early as the 1930s. Missionary Sarah Lyman’s written accounts of earthquakes and eruptions are also included. Visit www.lymanmusuem.org.

Oceans of Fun! The Hanamana is a sleek, 38-foot custom sportfishing boat out of Honokōhau Harbor that promises adventure and fun for everyone.  You and your party of up to six people can snorkel, see dolphins, fish and enjoy a special year-end discount of 15 percent off of the regular rate of $599. Your discounted price comes to $509.15, and does not include tax and gratuity. Call (808) 331-1742 for reservations, and mention BIVB. Visit www.hanamanaboatcharters.com.

Ocean Sports announces another new fantastic water fitness activity: Aqua Tahitian! Dance your way to fitness with this dynamic workout combining lively Tahitian beats with the gentle resistance of the water. And, best of all, you don’t need previous dance experience or your wallet to join this complimentary pool party. Offered Monday thru Friday at 11 a.m. in the Hilton Waikoloa Village’s Kona Pool. For information or reservations, call (808) 886-6666 ext. 103, or visit  www.hawaiioceansports.com.

Mmm! Edible Hawaiian Islands announces the launch of its new app for iPhone and iPad, available on iTunes, free until the end of October. Take the flavor of the Hawaiian Islands with you everywhere and access all the farmers markets, local dining guide, mouth-watering recipes and articles about the people, places and food of Hawai’i. Visit www.ediblehawaiianislands.com for details.

Reeling in the Savings. Enjoy a half-day, four-hour sportfishing charter in Kona with Humdinger Sportfishing for $340.  Want to stay out longer? Upgrade for $100/hour. Call Captain Jeff Fay at (808) 325-3449 to take advantage of this special rate. Must book and pay for charter by Nov. 31, 2011, charter must be taken by Oct. 31, 2012. Visit www.HumdingerSportFishing.com.

Looking for more to do? Click www.bigisland.org/calendar for detailed information about additional Hawai’i Island happenings throughout 2011, like this special hula performance:

Na Mea Hawai’i Hula Kahiko Performance (Saturday, Nov. 5) – See traditional hula and chant performed outdoors on the hula platform overlooking Kīlauea Crater featuring Halau Hula Ka Noeau, starting at 10:30 a.m.  Observe Hawaiian cultural demonstrations at Volcano Art Center Gallery, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Free; park entrance fees apply. Call (808) 967-8222 or visit www.volcanoartcenter.org.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Kilauea Lodge Now Offers the Ola’a Plantation House, a historic 1935 property, among its Volcano lodging offerings. This beautiful two-bedroom cottage sits just a block away from the main lodge and across the street from Tutu’s Place, another historic Volcano Village home. Both homes can be booked together for larger gatherings. The Ola’a Plantation House has two bedrooms, a large living room with wood burning fireplace, a sun room and spacious kitchen, heated towel warmers, TV, DVD player, free Wi-Fi, original art and spacious gardens. Contact Kilauea Lodge at www.kilauealodge.com for reservations.

Discover Hawai’i, the Big Island and receive an air credit on every room booked! Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa is participating in Starwood Hotels & Resorts Hawaii special air credit group room offer. For groups staying a minimum of 25 peak rooms, each room receives $100 in air credit. Blackout dates may apply as well as other terms and conditions. Offer expires Dec. 31, 2011. Visit www.SheratonKeauhou.com or call Brina Fritzsche at (808) 930-4875 for more information.

Prince Resorts Hawai’i Giving Away Free Nights This Fall. Rates at Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel start at $289 for terrace accommodations; stay for two consecutive nights and the third night is free! Valid until Dec. 22, 2011. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel rates start at $500 for mountain view accommodations; stay for three consecutive nights and the fourth night is free, valid until Dec. 17, 2011. Prince Preferred members receive 1,500 bonus Hawaiian Miles. Some restrictions apply. Call 1-866.Prince.6 or visit www.PrinceResortsHawaii.com/FreeNight.

Beautiful, secluded Kipuka Cottage near Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park announces an early Christmas present for guests who reserve dates between Dec. 1 and Dec. 25. Kipuka is offering a 15 percent discount on any stay of two nights or longer for these dates. Make reservation requests at http://kipuka-cottage.squarespace.com.

TASTY TIDBITS

Honu’s Restaurant Is Open in Historic Kailua Village!  Overlooking the white sand beach at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, guests will enjoy a wonderful selection of island salads and creative new seafood dishes, as well as lavish seafood and prime rib buffets, all in the style of Hawai’i Regional Cuisine.  Located right on Kamakahonu Bay with its historic heiau and bustling ocean activities, patrons can relax on the spacious lanai around inviting fire pits while sipping tropical delights.  For more information visit www.konabeachhotel.com.

The Fairmont Orchid Hawai’i is pleased to offer Lifestyle Cuisine Plus, a menu available upon request catering to guests with specific diet-dependent conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and gluten-free, as well as unique dietary preferences including macrobiotic, raw and vegan diets.  Guests can now enjoy delectable dishes such as Seared Ahi Penne Pasta (Diabetes), Kalbi Chicken Vegetable Fried Rice (Gluten Free) and Buckwheat Noodle Stir Fry (Vegan) at any of the AAA Four Diamond Resort’s award winning restaurants.  Learn more at www.fairmont.com/orchid.

For the ninth year, Mountain Thunder will serve as the official coffee mill and roastery for the 41st Annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, Nov. 4-13. In celebration of this esteemed position, Mountain Thunder is offering free USPS shipping to the mainland U.S. on orders of two pounds or more of Organic Private Reserve French and Vienna roast orders. Visit www.mountainthunder.com or call (888) 41-4Kona.

Special note to media: The Big Island Visitors Bureau (BIVB) recognizes the use of the ‘okina [‘] or glottal stop, one of the eight consonants of the modern Hawaiian language; and the kahakō [ā] or macron (e.g., in place names of Hawai’i such as Kīlauea). However, BIVB respects the individual use of these markings for names of organizations and businesses.

For more information on Hawai’i Island, please visit http://media.bigisland.org

September Specials on the Big Island

Don’t let the end of summer get you down – it’s summery year-round on Hawai’i, the Big Island. A slew of special offers, new direct flights, and a cornucopia of fall specials make it easy to fall for Hawai’i’s biggest (and best) island, in a big way.

BIVB

ADVENTURES, ACTIVITIES & EVENTS

Alaska Airlines Adds More Nonstop Flights to Kona International Airport! New daily nonstop flights from San Jose and Oakland, CA are en route to Kona, as Alaska Airlines increases its airlift to Hawai’i starting Mar. 12, 2012. Currently, the airline serves Kona with three flights a week between Oakland and Kona, and four flights a week between San Jose and Kona. Savvy travelers can fly for as little as $179 each way if they act fast: book by Sept. 3 for travel from Mar. 12 – June 9, 2012. A complete list of fares and daily routes is available at www.alaskaair.com or by calling (800) 252-7522.

Vote for Hawai’i Island! To celebrate its 30th anniversary, ISLANDS magazine is having a cover contest! Log onto http://www.islands.com/gallery/30-years-covers?pnid=128407&page=,5 and cast your vote for Hawai’i, the Big Island today! The island with the most votes will be featured as the cover photo for the December 2012 issue. Hurry, voting ends on Sept. 21. The Big Island graced the February 1991 cover, and it’s time to do it again!

Kohala Canopy Adventure Swings Into Action. Hawaii Forest & Trail and Kohala Zipline present a new, exciting adventure, the Kohala Canopy Adventure. Kohala Zipline, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hawaii Forest & Trail, opens Sept. 3. Built on Hawaii Forest & Trail’s 18 years of experience, this nature-based elevated inspiration is perched amongst the trees of Hālawa Gulch and features suspension bridges, soaring tree platforms and thrilling ziplines. Exclusive features, such as WhisperLines™ and smooth-stop braking, ensure guest safety and comfort and deliver an unforgettable experience. Visit www.kohalazipline.com.

Zoom and Smell the Flowers! Botanical World’s new Segway of Hawaii tours let riders glide silently through the lush rainforest, waterfalls and exquisite gardens at its World Botanical Gardens north of Hilo. Certified Segway guides train and assist visitors to ride the stand-up, two-wheeled electric transporters, with 30-minute to two-hour-plus tours available. Combine a Segway Botanical Tour with a Zip Isle Zip Line tour and double up on fun and save on admission. Reservations recommended, visit www.botanicalworld.com or call toll-free (888) 947-4753 for information. 

Ocean Sports announces its newest “twist” in water fitness activities: Aqua Hula! Under the guidance of an expert kumu hula (instructor), you’ll learn and perform authentic hula dance moves in this easy-to-follow, no-impact, shallow-water workout. Routines are set to lovely, lively Hawaiian music, and no experience is required. Classes offered daily at the Hilton Waikoloa Village, Mon.- Fri. For information or reservations, call (808) 886-6666, ext. 103, or visit www.hawaiioceansports.com.

Hawaii Island Retreat in North Kohala is expanding the natural spa services at its new Maluhia Spa. The new Papaya Delight body treatment is a highly exfoliating and healing treatment that begins with roasted ground papaya seeds to exfoliate and polish the skin, followed by a mask of fresh organic papaya, goat yogurt, honey, and geranium oil.  Once the mask is removed, a massage with papaya-pineapple lotion leaves the skin silky smooth and dewy fresh.  Call (808) 889-6336 to schedule an appointment.

The Spa Without Walls at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i introduces two new treatments from Hawaiian Rainforest Naturals, the Hiwahiwa and the Kane which incorporate lotions and essences drawn from flowers from Hawai’i Island. The 50-minute treatments, tailored specifically for The Spa Without Walls, are being offered for $159 in any one of the award-winning Spa’s waterfall or oceanfront hale.  Offer is exclusive of tax & gratuity and valid until Dec. 21, 2011.  Call (808) 887-7540 for more information and reservations.

Sportfishing Charter “Super Saver” Upgrade Offers. Book a half-day fishing charter with Kona’s Humdinger Sportfishing, and get upgraded to a ¾ day fishing charter, plus take an additional $100 off. This special price of $500 saves anglers $300! Or, book a ¾ day, get upgraded to a full-day charter, and receive $100 off for a total of $700, saving anglers $300. Six-passenger maximum, payment due in full at time of booking, and charter must be taken by May 15, 2012. For details, visit www.humdingersportfishing.com, or call (808) 325-3449.

Big Island Eco Adventures II is now open and ready to rock! Experience breathtaking mountains and gulches of North Kohala and soar on eight exhilarating zipline runs, ranging from 700 to 2,000 feet. Test your courage on a 200-foot suspension bridge overlooking a beautiful fern grotto. Enjoy light, local snacks at the Mango Hut, and zip out to finish the tour with views of Waianaia Gulch and the Pacific Ocean. Call (808) 889-5111 or visit www.thebigislandzipline.com.

Five-hour O‘ahu-to-Big Island Private Airplane/Helicopter Adventure. Private parties from one to six people start their day on O’ahu by boarding a private airplane with Makani Kai headed for Hawai’i, the Big Island. After arriving, they climb aboard with Paradise Helicopters to enjoy flightseeing over Hawai’i’s biggest island, with highlights like Kīlauea volcano, and landing in a secluded valley on the Hāmākua Coast for a Hawaiian-themed picnic lunch. Contact Rob Payesko, (808) 329-6601, or email rob@paradisecopters.com.

Manta Mama. A manta ray fondly called “Big Bertha” recently gave birth. Her underwater courtship and 13-month gestation period was chronicled by Fair Wind Big Island Ocean Guides’ videographer James L. Wing. Big Bertha’s underbelly markings and her 15-foot wing span make her easily recognizable among the giant rays often observed during Fair Wind’s nighttime Manta Snorkel and Dive adventure just offshore from Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa. Watch the video at www.mantarayshawaii.com and learn more at www.Fair-Wind.com.

The renowned Volcano Art Center presents “Dia De Los Muertos: Grievin’ and Groovin’ Fiesta, Procession and Art Exhibit,” Nov. 1-2. This two-day celebration honoring the dearly departed represents art, writing, and movement based on mortality and the passage of time. Based on the actual dates of the traditional celebration, it will close in a full fiesta on the evening of the second day. Visit www.volcanoartcenter.org for details, or to participate, contact Anne at community@volcanoartcenter.org.

Looking for more to do? Click www.bigisland.org/calendar for detailed information about additional Hawai’i Island happenings throughout 2011, like the 41st Annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival:

Praised for its fine, aromatic and memorable taste, Kona coffee is celebrated at the 41st annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Nov. 4-13. The award-winning, 10-day festival is recognized as the oldest and one of the most successful food festivals in Hawai’i, honors Kona’s cultural heritage and recognizes the accomplishments of Kona coffee pioneers, farmers and artisans. www.konacoffeefest.com.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Mark your calendar for the 2011 Kona Surf Film Festival happening Dec. 2 and 3 at The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows. The Fest is an epic weekend of international surf films, live music, local art and design and awesome food and drinks.  The weekend will benefit the Seathos Foundation, which promotes education and awareness of the human impact on the world’s oceans. Enjoy special festival room rates starting from $199 a night. For more information visit www.maunalani.com.

Guests at the Outrigger Royal Sea Cliff have a new evening activity to enjoy: movies under the stars. Every Thursday, between 7:15 and 9 p.m., the resort offers “Movie Night Under the Sea Cliff Stars” with movies either filmed in Hawai’i or about Hawai’i. Recent viewings have included Lilo and Stitch, The Ride, Soul Surfer, and Blue Hawaii. There’s even a concession stand with freshly popped popcorn and M&Ms to enjoy. Find out more at  www.outriggerroyalseacliff.com.

Vacation Homes for the Holidays. Need a holiday getaway? Hawaii Vacation Rentals, Inc. has availability in Puakō during the holidays in beautiful beach cottages and luxurious homes. Puakō is a charming residential beach community on the sunny Kohala Coast, nestled between the Mauna Kea and Mauna Lani resorts. Visit www.vacationbigisland.com  or call (800) 332-7081.

Enjoy the warmth of Hawai’i Island at Prince Resorts Hawaii with up to $100 daily resort credit used toward dining, golf, spa and more. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is offering $399 per room per night for mountain view accommodations with $100 daily resort credit. Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel is offering a $199 per room per night for terrace accommodations with $50 daily resort credit. Offers valid Oct. 1 – Dec. 17, 2011. For reservations or information, call (866) Prince-6 or visit www.PrinceResortsHawaii.com/fall.

Hale Makamae Bed & Breakfast in Puna offers warm hospitality, classic aloha spirit, plus a fall special! Enjoy a 10 percent discount for new bookings, valid now through Nov. 15, 2011, and mention the 2011 Fall Special. Comfortable, spacious suites are surrounded by two acres of serene tropical gardens. Families welcome, gourmet breakfast included, free Wi-Fi. Ten minutes to the lava flow, 30 minutes to Hilo and Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, five minutes to Pāhoa. Visit www.bnb-aloha.com for more info.

Hilton Waikoloa Village has a new name for its children’s program: Club Keiki. Club Keiki (formerly known as Camp Menehune), prides itself in providing a safe and fun environment for children five to 12 with day and night camp activities.  Each day includes themed crafts, games and water activities. Club Keiki counselors tell stories of the islands and teach children about Hawaiian culture. For information, call (808) 886-1234, ext. 1202 or visit www.hiltonwaikoloavillage.com.

Castle’s “Fall for Hawai‘i” Sale. Let Castle Resorts & Hotels help you Fall for Hawai’i for the first time, or all over again! Castle’s fall specials offer 55 percent off select hotels and condominium resorts on Hawai’i, the Big Island. Castle’s outstanding collection offers properties with full kitchens, washer/dryers, oceanfront swimming pools, restaurants, fitness centers and more. Visit www.castleresorts.com, or call (800) 545-3510 to learn more.

Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa is ideal for families, romantics, ocean lovers and island adventurers. It is also ideal when booking a room now through Dec. 23, 2011 at rates starting as low $129 per night. The “Book Now & Save” rate is non-changeable, non-refundable and subject to availability at time of booking. Applicable state taxes and daily resort service fee not included. Book online at www.SheratonKeauhou.com/specials.

Bougainvillea Bed and Breakfast in Ocean View offers a room, restaurant offer and three nights for two people at $89/night. Try the new eatery, Rock Island Roadhouse, with a $25 coupon, and enjoy remarkable food and reasonable prices in a pleasing, enjoyable setting. Offer valid now through Dec. 15, 2011. Call (808) 929-7089, and visit www.bougainvilleabedandbreakfast.com.

Aston Hotels & Resorts offer the Sweet Suite package for golf enthusiasts. Package includes two rounds of golf, plus cart, at the Waikoloa Beach Golf Course (Beach or Kings Course) and accommodations at the Aston Shores at Waikoloa with starting rates from $234 per night or Aston Waikoloa Colony Villas starting at $243 per night. Visit www.AstonHotels.com or call (866) 774-2924.

Four Seasons Resort Hualālai to Plant 500,000 Trees. Four Seasons Resort Hualālai at Historic Ka’upulehu, the first and only AAA Five-Diamond and Forbes Five-Star resort on Hawai’i Island, has partnered with Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods in planting up to 500,000 “legacy” koa trees in native Hawaiian forests. This initiative is part of a global effort of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts to plant 10 million trees around the world, in recognition of the company’s 50th birthday. More information available at  http://press.fourseasons.com/hualalai/hotel-news/four-seasons-resort-hualalai-to-plant-500-000-trees/.

TASTY TIDBITS

Wine Grapes Grown With Ocean Water? The innovators at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai’i (NELHA) in Kona are successfully growing Isabella-variety wine grapes with ocean water, and have been since 1997. Deep cold ocean water is used to create 24/7 condensate drip irrigation and nurtures three crops per year. This unique, patented technology was developed at NELHA, and has also been used to grow a variety of temperate crops in the tropics. Visit these one-of-a-kind wine grapes at the Gateway Center at NELHA,  www.energyfuturehawaii.org.

AKA Sushi is a new little eatery in Waimea, located in the Waimea Shopping Center in the heart of town. Kyaw Mo and his wife Akiko are the proprietors of this 22-seat sushi specialty restaurant. Traditional nigiri sushi, sashimi, special rolls and hand rolls are all part of the menu; rice bowls and salads with somen noodles, too. Open for lunch and dinner, Tues.-Sat., 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., (808) 887-2320. Email:  bigakasushi@yahoo.com.

KUDOS

Hawai’i Island Is #1! In its August issue, the readers of Travel +Leisure voted Hawai’i, the Big Island the top Hawaiian Island, and ranked the island No. 7 on the list of Top Islands Overall in the World’s Best Awards 2011 readers’ survey. Hawai’i Island is also home to the top resort hotel in the state: the Four Seasons Resort Hualālai is ranked No. 1 on the World’s Best Awards 2011 list of Top Resorts in Hawai’i! We’re still celebrating, and if you missed the news, read all about it here: http://media.gohawaii.com/big-island/press-room/news-releases/-articles-/2011/08/191086_1108250248-632.

Mountain Thunder Has Done It Again! Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation earned two gold medals at the Kona Coffee Council’s prestigious Cream of the Crop competition in August, one for “Chef’s Choice,” and the other for “People’s Choice.” On Sept. 4, Mountain Thunder will again be crowned Best of the West by readers of the West Hawaii Today newspaper. Visit the family-owned Cloud Forest Kona coffee plantation and mill for a free tour, or schedule a VIP tour and call (808) 345-6600. Japanese tours on Tuesday and Friday. Visit www.mountainthunder.com.

Big Island Visitors Bureau Presents Check to Hawai’i Island United Way

Media Release:

Representatives from the Big Island Visitors Bureau presented a check for $2,320 to the Hawai’i Island United Way this afternoon. The gift was a result of a follow-up promotion to meeting planners who attended PRIME2011 earlier this year at the Hawai’i Convention Center on O’ahu.

Big Island Visitors Bureau and Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods Present Hawai'i Island United Way With Donation

PRIME2011, held June 8-11, was attended by more than 100 qualified planners representing North America, Australia, China, Korea, Japan, the Philippines, and Europe. PRIME’s goal is to provide an opportunity for hospitality industry suppliers to conduct business and develop new business with these meeting planners, and to share all that makes Hawai’i the perfect meeting destination. Held on Hawai’i Island for the past three years, PRIME moved to O’ahu this year, leaving Hawai’i Island with a challenge to gain exposure in other ways.

This prompted the team at BIVB to come up with a post-conference follow-up strategy to reach out to the participants of this year’s event.

“Our goal was to create an outreach program that would leave a lasting impression, forever connecting these planners to Hawai’i, while promoting some of our island’s messaging,” said George Applegate, Executive Director of BIVB. “We worked closely with the County of Hawai’i and The Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative creating a program to plant a koa tree on the island in each meeting planner’s name. The gift was unique and shared a message of culture and sustainability. Each planner received a certificate with GPS coordinates for their tree, a letter from the Mayor, and a notecard and sales DVD from the Big Island Visitors Bureau,” he said.

“Response from the meeting planners has been very positive,” said Debbie Hogan, Senior Director of Sales for BIVB. “It definitely made a lasting impression and, as we hoped, forever connected them to our island home. It also created a ‘chain reaction.’ One planner is considering purchasing a tree for each of their conference attendees when they get to the island. Another is looking at how they can create a similar program in their area.”

It’s not the first time a group has given back to the local community.

“The CMI market impacts Hawai’i Island beyond the travel industry,” said Applegate. “Earlier this year, a convention staying on the Kohala Coast contributed thousands of dollars worth of new computer equipment and software to schools on our island.”

As a result of working with The Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative at Kuka’iau Ranch, a donation check was provided to the charity of BIVB’s choice, which was the Hawai’i Island United Way, an organization that supports Hawai’i Island charities. Nearly all money (98 percent) raised on Hawai’i Island stays on Hawai’i Island, benefiting specific programs that have excellent track records of service and positively influence the lives of the community, from keiki (child) to kupuna (elder).

Hilo “United” with the “Continental” Mainland Again… Mainland Flights Resume to Hilo

Tonight marked the inaugural “United Airlines” Flight into Hilo, Hawaii in more than 28 years and the local media was invited onto the tarmac of the Hilo Airport to capture pictures of the arrival of the plane.

The plane arrived a few minutes early and caught many of the photographers off guard.  I caught this picture as it was coming in and then realized my camera settings were off…

As the plane careened down the tarmac it was greeted by a couple of firetrucks that showered it with water.  Thanks Devany for taking a better picture then what I was able to snap at the time!

The plane gets showered by two fire trucks. (Courtesy of Devany Vickery-Davidson)

Of course Mayor Kenoi was on hand to welcome the first folks off the plane!

Also on hand was  Councilmen Fred Blas and Donald Ikeda.

There were many moving moments throughout the night as folks saw their loved ones for the first time in a long time…

For me personally the most touching moment was watching this grandfather break down in tears holding his grandson for the first time ever!

The pilot of this inaugural flight was local boy Lance Lau from the Big Island himself!

Also on hand was Miss Aloha Hawaii, Tatiana Boteilho, to greet the folks getting off the plane.

Some other facts about these flights:

HTA says the flights have the potential to bring 40,000 additional visitors to the island, and could generate $50.6 million in direct visitor spending annually.

The airlines folks are calling the new Hilo flights “United Airlines, operated by Continental Airlines” … although in the beginning, they were being flagged as Continental. As you probably know, the airlines merged awhile ago.

  Los Angeles – Hilo (daily)                                Hilo – Los Angeles (daily)

Departs

Arrives

Aircraft

Departs

Arrives

Aircraft

5:00 p.m.

7:40 p.m.

737-800

8:55 p.m.

5:15 a.m.*

737-800

 San Francisco – Hilo (Saturday only)      Hilo – San Francisco (Saturday only)

Departs

Arrives

Aircraft

 

Departs

Arrives

Aircraft

4:20 p.m.

6:40 p.m.

737-800

9:20 p.m.

5:20 a.m.*

737-800

                 *Arrival time is the next day.

MEDIA RELEASE:

A new nonstop flight from Los Angeles to Hilo aboard United Airlines (operated by Continental Airlines) touched down early tonight, bringing rousing cheers of aloha, and later, tears of joy, as the plane landed and passengers disembarked into Hilo’s balmy evening.

It’s Hilo’s first direct flight from Los Angeles since 1983, some 28 years ago. On Sat., June 11, the newly merged United Airlines /Continental Airlines will start a new nonstop from San Francisco to Hilo, Saturdays only, arriving at 6:40 p.m. That will be the first nonstop to Hilo from the Bay Area since ATA went out of business in 2008.

The 737-800 aircraft from Los Angeles was full, and its 160 passengers landed about 10 minutes earlier than the anticipated 7:40 p.m. arrival. They were greeted at first with a dramatic arching “water curtain” sprayed over the taxiing aircraft by fire trucks, then upon deplaning, passengers were adorned with orchid lei at Gate 3. As they rode the escalator down towards baggage claim, Hawaiian musicians and hula dancers greeted them on the ground floor, amidst a mighty round of applause. The Big Island Visitors Bureau and its supporters presented each passenger with a glossy red bag filled with Hilo goodies, including Big Island Candies, Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts, and more. Hilo Coffee Mill provided steaming hot cups of their special dark roast 100 percent Puna coffee as passengers waited for their luggage. Mayor Billy Kenoi, Miss Aloha Hawaii, Tatiana Boteilho, and Big Island Visitors Bureau Executive Director were among the local dignitaries greeting arriving passengers.

A few familiar faces arrived in Hilo, including pilot Lance Lau of Hilo, and revered Hawaiian musician Robert Cazimero. But when military wife Chanda Reyes and her young daughter Maya greeted Navy Lt. Carlos Reyes at the bottom of the escalator, there weren’t many dry eyes in the arrival area.  The family has been separated for six months while Lt. Reyes, a helicopter pilot, serves in Afghanistan.

“The Navy gave me this chance to meet my family anywhere for a reunion, and we chose Hilo. We’re from Colorado, and Hilo seems like a beautiful halfway spot between home and Afghanistan. This new flight made it easy to happen,” Lt. Reyes said, his arms woven tightly around his wife and baby girl. The family was headed to accommodations in lush, oceanfront Kapoho in Coastal Puna about a 40-minute drive from Hilo, but couldn’t help but linger and enjoy the talented hula performances at the airport.

Other families chatting to media around the baggage claim planned to visit Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, ‘Akaka Falls, ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, and downtown Hilo. Others planned to spend some time in Hilo then head to West Hawai‘i, like the Dunlop family, who are booked in Waikoloa for the latter part of their vacation. With the new flights, visitors can fly into Hilo and out of Kona, or vice versa, and take in more of Hawai‘i, the Big Island, while saving on driving time.

George Applegate, BIVB’s Executive Director recalled that after the loss of ATA’s nonstop from Oakland in 2008, no one thought another nonstop would happen for Hilo, but gave kudos to Mayor Kenoi for staying positive, and proactive to bring in another mainland/Hilo flight

“These flights don’t materialize like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow,” Applegate said. “There is a lot of strategic planning, convincing and commitment that does into it. I want to acknowledge the thoughtful and determined effort that Mayor Kenoi and his team put into making these flights a reality. And now it looks like we might have our pot of gold, near the end of Rainbow Falls you might say,” Applegate said.

For Hilo Coffee Mill co-owner Jeanette Baysa, she hopes that Hilo passengers will drop by Hilo Coffee Mill, which is along the Volcano Heritage Corridor, and sample the delicious, award-winning East Hawai‘i coffees before venturing to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and Kailua-Kona.

“This way, we can introduce visitors to a well rounded Hawaiian coffee experience,” she said.

For more about Hilo town and outlying areas go to Why Hilo.

The return flights to the mainland depart Hilo as follows: daily at 8:55 p.m. from Hilo to Los Angeles, and 9:20 p.m. from Hilo to San Francisco (Saturdays only).

Feel free to click on the pictures below for a better view:

Mainland Media Folks Experience Rare Occurrence at the Volcano

For the next few days a group of mainland journalists and bloggers are having the opportunity to do a few FREE or cheap things on the Big Island.

Today started off with a scavenger hunt at the Hilo’s Farmer’s Market where each of them were given $10.00 and were sent off to find food for lunch for everyone to make a picnic out of.

The highlight of today was being able to see the volcano here on the Big Island from both the top where the Halema’uma’u Crater is… to the bottom of the flow in Kalapana.

What they didn’t know was that they were going to be treated to a rare occurrence where the entire floor of Pu’u O’o collapsed into the crater.  Andrew Cooper, author  of the blog A Darker View,  wrote in his post today “Kilauea is up to Something“:

This afternoon the entire floor of Pu’u O’o has collapsed into incadescent rubble. For the last few months the crater at Pu’u O’o has hosted a lava floor that occasionally floods. This had formed a solid crust hundreds of meters across with spatter cones and small fresh lava flows across the floor. This has now completely collapsed. At the same time the rift has experienced a large number of small, mostly magnitude 2 earthquakes. At he same time there was rapid deflation at the summit caldera and at Pu’u O’o. Where has the lava gone?…

Well when I talked to Jessica Ferracane of Irondog Communications, she stated that the folks did in fact hear something happening at the time and it was quite spectacular!  Ferracane posted on her facebook account the following account:

Is listening to Halemaumau Crater boom and gasp as rocks fall into Pele’s home.  Amazing!

I met up with the mainland media folks in Pahoa and then we cruised down to Kalapana to see what was going on down there.

They were fortunate in that they got to go to a house down there on the lava flow and were treated to a spectacular view of the flow from there while remaining in a safe atmosphere.

As the sun went down… we could begin to see the orange glow of the lava making it’s way down the hillside.

Once the sun was completely down… you could see a nice flow from the top of the mountain down to the bottom of the hill.

It was a great day and evening for the mainland folks and they were treated to the award winning Kaleo’s Restaurant in Pahoa for dinner.

The media folks will be heading over to the other side of the island in the next few days to see some of the cheap and free things to do on that side of the island… it was great to meet them and I look forward to reading their media write ups on the Big Island when they return home.

Media Release:

Pu‘u ‘O‘o crater floor collapse followed by middle east rift zone eruption

USGS Image of Pu'u 'O'o Floor Collapse

At 1:42 p.m. HST this afternoon, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) monitoring network detected the onset of rapid deflation at Pu‘u ‘O‘o and increased tremor along Kilauea Volcano’s middle east rift zone.  At 2:00 p.m., Kilauea’s summit also began to deflate.

Between 2:16 and 2:21 p.m., the floor of the Pu‘u ‘O‘o crater began to collapse, and within 10 minutes, incandescent ring fractures opened on the crater floor a few tens of meters away from the crater wall. As the floor continued to drop, lava appeared in the center of the crater floor, the northeast spatter cone within Pu‘u ‘O‘o collapsed, and an obvious scarp developed on the west side of the crater floor, with lava cascading over the scarp toward the center of the crater.

At 2:41 p.m., the scarp on the west side of the crater floor appeared to disintegrate, exposing incandescent rubble.  Five minutes later, the collapse of a large block along the east crater wall produced a dust plume.

Webcam images showed that the Pu‘u ‘O‘o crater floor continued to drop through 4:26 p.m., when fume obscured the camera view.  HVO Webcam images can be accessed at http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hvo/cams/.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hl6bI5JOLBA]

Coincident with the collapse in Pu‘u ‘O‘o, an earthquake swarm began along Kilauea’s middle east rift zone in the area of Maka`opuhi and Napau Craters.  Tiltmeters showed east rift zone deflation, which continues as of this writing.

At 5:15 p.m., an HVO geologist flying over Kilauea’s middle east zone reported “an eruption in Napau Crater.”  The eruption is now known to be located between Napau Crater and Pu‘u ‘O‘o.

Updates on the status of this eruption will be posted on HVO’s Web site at http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hvo/activity/kilaueastatus.php.

According to Jim Kauahikaua, HVO’s Scientist-in-Charge, “This event is remarkably similar to a 1997 eruption in and near Napau Crater, which lasted less than 24 hours.”

Kilauea’s summit also continues to deflate, and the lava lake level within the Halema‘uma‘u Crater vent continues to drop, facilitating rockfalls from the vent wall.

In response to the current volcanic conditions, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park has closed the Chain of Craters Road and all east rift zone and coastal trails, along with the Kulanaokuaiki campground, until further notice.

Daily updates about Kilauea’s ongoing eruptions, recent images and videos of summit and east rift zone volcanic activity, and data about recent earthquakes are posted on the HVO Web site at http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov.

The USGS provides science for a changing world. For more information, visit www.usgs.gov.

Big Island Helicopter Tour with Howard Dicus

What an exciting week it’s been!  On Monday I got to go out on the ocean with the US Navy Destroyer USS Chung-Hoon and I thought that was a once in a lifetime experience.

Today, I did something that I have always wanted to do… and that is to ride in a helicopter!

CLICK ON PICTURES FOR BETTER VIEWS

I'm not jumping out of this buggah!

Fortunately, it’s Merrie Monarch week in town this week and there are a lot of folks from the media in town and I was lucky enough to be invited by the Big Island Visitors Bureau to go on a helicopter ride with Howard Dicus, his wife, and a cameraman from Hawaii News Now the “Sunrise Show”.

Posing with Howard, his wife and the camerman

Here is a short video of us lifting off:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnrxrtKR6Dk&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

If you haven’t seen the Big Island from the perspective of a helicopter, I highly suggest it to everyone.

One of MANY Waterfalls we saw

You see things that you never even knew existed on this island and you really get a feeling for the natural beauty of this land.

Hamakua Coast

We left at 11:45 and headed North down the Hamakua Coast.

The Mouth of the Waipio Valley

We went above and past Waipio Valley but not into the valley as the tour companies have an agreement with the residents down there to stay out of the valley.

Into a Valley

But then the next valley that wasn’t populated we actually flew into and hovered for a while.

Another Waterfall

We actually opened the doors to the helicopter so that I could get some better shots.

Valley View

The cloud cover was pretty low so we didn’t get to venture up Mauna Kea very high but it was still cool.

Had to stay below the clouds

After we got almost down to Waimea, we turned the helicopter back around and then flew back up the coast and headed straight out to Puna.

The Coastline

As we were flying towards Puna… I noticed a whale and asked about the whaling season… but what I didn’t realize until we got closer, was that it was a Momma whale and her calf which I thought was pretty special.

A Whale and her Calf

We flew over Hilo on our way out to Puna

Bayfront Hilo

We headed directly for the Halemaumau Crater and Pele was giving us a show!

Pu`u `O`o Crater

Steam Vent

Recent Lava Flow

Active Flow

We then flew over Royal Gardens and looked at the one remaining house that is still down there and someone still lives in the place still to this day despite the danger zone that he lives in.  (He’s stubborn and won’t move!)

The last remaining house in Royal Gardens

I have to admit… it’s a pretty cool house, but a 4 mile ride on a motorbike over lava kind of limits your abilities to have guests come around!

Another View of the Royal Garden House

We were up in the Helicopter for nearly 3 hours when it was time for the trip to end.  Coming back in, we flew by the Hilo Dragstrip which I had never even seen on land and our pilot remarked that it’s the only dragstrip in the world that’s in the middle of a rainforest.

Hilo Dragstrip

We got back into Hilo and I was pretty anxious to get my feet back on solid ground.  I snapped this last picture of Howard getting off the helicopter and although it looks like he’s about to puke… he was doing quite fine as he was just bracing himself from the wind from the propeller.

Getting off Helicopter

I wanted to thank Howard and his lovely wife for taking the time to show off the Big Island to folks on the news.  The episode will air sometime next week.  I’ll give folks a heads up on my blog if I find out what day the specific helicopter piece airs.

Howard, Cameraman, and Howard's Wife talk to Security Guards at the Hilo Airport

I also wanted to say thanks to the Big Island Visitors Bureau as well as Paradise Helicopter President and “Personal Pilot” for this trip, Calvin Dorn for telling us so much about the island from the air.

The Media Meets Madame Pele… Courtesy of Lava Ocean Adventure Tours

Today was the second of three days of a Big Island Visitor Bureau Adventure package for some mainland media as well as some Big Island Media folks.

Today’s trip, was an early wake up call and a visit to see Madame Pele (The Kilauea Lava Flow) from the boat “Lavakai” from the company “Lava Ocean Adventure Tours“.

We arrived at Pohoiki (Isaac Hale Park) precisely at 4:30 this morning for sign in and debriefing of what was going to take place and some of the general rules of the boat.

We got on the “Lavakai” at Pohoiki  and then they pulled the boat behind a truck to the launch ramp where they lowered us into the ocean for our adventure.

After what I thought was an exciting 20 minute ride that they warned us in advance that if you were prone to seasickness… this may not be the ride for you we finally arrived at where the lava entered the ocean.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZKD2v5eeT4&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&hd=1]

As the sun started coming up, we started to get an even better glimpse of Madame Pele at its best.

After about an hour of boating up and down the coast where it appeared that lava was entering the ocean in about 6-7 places all at the same spot, we finally turned around and made one last pass by the spectacles and headed back home.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3ILDH6qsQ0&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&hd=1]

Of course one of the questions they always get asked, is how hot is the water.

So of course the simplest solution was to dip a bucket in and let us feel for ourselves.  It felt very hot… but not scalding hot.  Of course this was about 50 feet away from the lava and the water was considerably cooled down.

It was a great time had by all and expect some media coverage of this in the next few days.

The weather was absolutely perfect and even someone who had been on the trip three times before, mentioned this was the best viewing she had ever seen.

Mahalo BIVB and Lava Ocean Adventure Tours

You can click on the pictures below for larger images:

The Best Hike I Have Ever Been On… Mahalo Hawaii Forest & Trail

As I mentioned earlier, today, I had the great pleasure to be part of an extraordinary group of individuals from the mainland that the Big Island Visitors Bureau has brought for a week of fun and adventure.

Today I got to join the pack on a Hiking Adventure Tour Around the Rim of Waipio Valley that was done by a Big Island Adventure company called Hawaii Forest & Trail.

We gathered at the Waimea Country Club this morning at 9:00.

Where tour guide Rob Pacheco met us promptly and gave us a brief run down of what was going to happen over the next few hours.

We all climbed into a Six-Wheeled PinzTrek and got ready for the ride of a lifetime.

I hung my head out the window risking getting my head getting chopped off to shoot the follow clip of us going down.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mzul469_ED0&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&hd=1]

After we got to our initial destination, we got out and Tour Guide Rob, gave us water and walking sticks and let us know a little more about what we were doing.

Our tour guide here explains one of the important traditions that one must do before crossing the sacred lands.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjBkWsI4psY&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&hd=1]

And we were off

The first little waterfall and pool that we came across was beautiful

So we stopped there long enough to take pictures of everyone

And of course we had to have a group shot

We pressed on further as we new we were not at the rim of the valley yet.

We came across one of the first openings of the valley almost everyone was impressed vocally.  Unfortunately it was a bit VOGGY today.

As we walked along the rim of the valley there were lots of little scenic spots along the way.

One of the scarier parts of the hike, was when our tour guide offered us a peak directly over the cliff of a waterfall.  I was a bit chicken and was only able to take the following two pictures as my heart was racing as I knew how much of a drop it was.

We continued on and passed a few more waterfalls and stream beds

By this time we were getting hungry and it was just about the perfect time as we ended up at a clearing with some picnic tables and they brought out sandwiches, chips, cookies and sodas to eat.

We got back into the Pinztrek and headed to the final destination which was the lip of the valley.  Unfortunately as mother nature would have… it was a very Voggy Day and visibility wasn’t the greatest.

I lost track of the time, but I would say around 2:00 or so the tour ended and we were brought back to the country club the same way we were brought into the back of the valley.

This was truly the best hike I have ever taken and I’m stoked that I had the opportunity to join such a great group of folks from the mainland.

I’ll be naming them in some upcoming posts… I know that’s what everyone wants to know… is who are they.

You can click on the pictures below for even more pictures:

Where I Am… NOW

Today marks what will be an incredible three days of excitement for me.

Today, I’m off on a customized Waipio Rim Hike Adventure courtesy of Hawaii Forest & Trail and the Big Island Visitors Bureau.

I’ll write more about my adventure when I get back home.  The following is just a picture I snagged off Flickr:

This is pretty exciting for me.  I’ve been down into the valley, but never had the the opportunity to walk around the rim of the valley.

What’s even more exciting, is meeting the folks from the magazines that I’m going on this 3 day whirlwind excursion with.

I’ll write more about who they are and what magazines/online sites they represent in the following days.

I’d just like to say thanks ahead of time for this once in a lifetime opportunity.

I’m not sure if I will have access to post to my blog from the rim of the Valley so I have pre set the timing of  this post to be posted to my blog at about the same time I think I’ll be hitting the Rim of Waipio Valley.

October Big Island Specials

Media Release:
Hawai’i’s Big Island (October 2009)
You’ll fall for Hawai’i’s Big Island all over again this autumn, as holiday events are presented, Hulihe’e Palace re-opens, luxury resorts and charming inns entice travelers, and more adventurous action awaits you than ever before!
ADVENTURES, ACTIVITIES & EVENTS
She’s BACK! After a $1.5 million renovation, Hulihe’e Palace in historic Kailua Village is open for public self-guided tours 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Wed. – Sat. Marvel at javelins that belonged to King Kamehameha the Great, a 70-inch table top crafted from a single plank of koa wood, steamer trunks used to attend Queen Victoria’s 1887 Golden Jubilee, pieces of fine Lokelani china and a rare mat made from the endemic sedge, makaloa.  Admission: $6 for adults, $4 for seniors and $1 for keiki under 18. Call (808) 329-1877 or visit www.daughtersofhawaii.org.
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To Fly For.
Hilo’s prestigious Big Island Candies has introduced a trio of luscious new products: Coconut Shortbread Cookies,  Macadamia Nut Toffee, and our favorite, the Hawaiian Red Chili Toffee: a fiery blast of Hawaiian chili pepper toffee  studded with roasted almonds and dunked in rich dark chocolate.  Don’t wait for the holidays, take these on a test taste now. Visit the Hilo store (the holiday decorations are most festive), or order online, www.bigislandcandies.com.
Got Golf?
Hawai’i’s Big Island offers the world’s most diverse golf experience: the southernmost course in the U.S., smoldering views of Kīlauea volcano, oceanfront holes on the designer courses along the Kohala Coast, and more. Missed the press release?  Check out Big Island Golf and get into the swing of things.

Journey to ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai’i and enjoy the Mystery of the Christmas Star, a holiday planetarium show that takes viewers to Bethlehem 2,000 years ago for a scientific explanation of the bright star that the wise men followed. Explore the cosmic events that may have prompted the vision of the bright star in the skies long ago. ‘Imiloa explores the stars through the lenses of both Hawaiian culture and astronomy, www.imiloahawaii.org.

New Partners In Paradise.
Frolic in the footsteps of ABC’s The Bachelorette and try this: KapohoKine Adventures & Paradise Helicopters new “Big Island Grand Fire and Falls” adventure. Take a guided road trip of the Big Island’s lush east side, with scenic stops at Rainbow Falls and Onomea Bay, then park it at a secluded oasis for a waterfall swim. Gourmet Hawaiian barbecue, champagne and local brew included. What’s for dessert? A helicopter flight to Kīlauea volcano! Contact Paradise Helicopters (866) 876-7422 or visit www.kapohokine.com.
The Shops at Mauna Lani opens Hawai’i’s first 4-D theater in November. The state-of-the-art attraction, dubbed “The Great 4-D Movie Ride” will dazzle audiences in a 24-seat theater, designed to showcase 4-D features and simulated “rides” on a 19-foot widescreen, projected from twin, high-definition digital projectors. The action is synchronized with full-range motion seats, a powerful surround sound system and 4-D effects, such as blown air and water spray, for a multi-sensory experience. Call (808) 885-9501 or visit www.shopsatmaunalani.com.
Want more?
Click http://bigisland.org/calendar for detailed information about additional Hawai’i Island events.
ACCOMMODATIONS
Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows re-opens Nov. 1 after being closed for brief refreshment.  New elements reflect a Hawaiian sense of place capturing the spirit of Kalāhuipua’a. Mauna Lani Spa will re-open, and the hotel’s new Executive Sous Chef, James Ortiaga, will be at the helm of the CanoeHouse Restaurant with a dynamic new menu.  In celebration, Mauna Lani’s Hawaii 5-O Package starting at $270/night, is available through Dec. 23. Visit www.maunalani.com.
Save with the iconic Mauna Kea Beach Hotel’s new Legacy Bonus Package, offering guests a fourth night free, plus a $500 resort credit. Rates start at $550/night for a Golf Vista view room. Valid for dates of travel between Nov. 7-21, and Nov. 28-Dec. 24. Visit http://www.princeresortshawaii.com/mauna-kea-beach-hotel or call (866) 977-4589.
White sand holidays, for less! Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel is spreading holiday cheer with its new Free Nights Promo, a fifth night free from Dec. 26, 2009 – Jan. 1, 2010. Rates start at $399 in Terrace category. www.PrinceResortsHawaii.com, or call toll-free, (866) 774-6236.
Kalaekilohana Bed and Breakfast courts romance with “The Natural Honeymoon” package, featuring romantic coastal hikes, locally grown gourmet food, luxurious suites, and the feel of historic Hawai’i. Added values include high-speed Internet, free parking, and gourmet breakfast. Want more? Fresh floral bouquet in your suite, deluxe gift basket with local coffee, jam or honey, and a Hawaiian keepsake handcrafted by the B&B’s artist-in-residence. Three-night honeymoon package for two is $199/night through 2009. Book the love at (888) 584-7071 and visit www.kau-hawaii.com.

Save at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel
.  Escape to Hawai’i’s Big Island before 2009 is pau (finished) and save 30 percent on one to three nights, or 40 percent off four nights or more, good through Dec.19. Enjoy the brand new rooms and pool at the only hotel with a white-sand beach in historic Kailua Village, and experience the fascinating history and culture of the region, plus the shopping, restaurants and ocean activities within walking distance of the lobby, www.konabeachhotel.com.

Kokolulu Farm & Cancer Retreats Center in Hāwī is taking $500 off the cost of a retreat of a week or more in length, thorough the end of 2009. The retreat program is designed for people who have been diagnosed with cancer, been through treatment, and are now identifying ways to rekindle their spirit and live with passion, purpose, meaning, and joy. For details call (808) 889-9893 or visit www.cancer-retreats.org. Request the Big Island special.

Artists of varying abilities are invited to join others for Kona Village’s newly introduced Hawaiian Art Journey (HAJ), directed by Robert Adams. HAJ facilitates drawing, painting and sculpting groups and classes. Anyone interested in learning is encouraged to utilize the flexible format of HAJ to create their own group for a week of their choosing.  Seven-night inclusive program rates begin at $2,222 per person/ double occupancy. Visit www.HawaiianArtJourney.com to learn more. Resort information at www.KonaVillage.com.

Nestled upcountry on the slopes of Mount Hualālai, the Holualoa Inn invites you enjoy their sweeping views, lush tropical gardens and generous aloha spirit , for a little longer. Spend seven consecutive nights or more and receive 10 percent off your reservation. Restrictions apply; rates from $260/night. Valid Oct. 1, 2009 to Jan. 15, 2010. Call (800) 392-1812, or visit www.holualoainn.com.
Retreat to the sunny Kohala Coast on Hawai’i’s Big Island for three nights or more and enjoy a His and Her activity at the oceanfront Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. Choose either an in-room Hawaiian Lomilomi or Deep Tissue Massage for her. For him, enjoy one round of golf at either the Waikoloa Beach or Kings’ Course. Rates begin at $411/ night. Valid through Dec. 24. Subject to availability, restrictions may apply. Visit www.waikoloamarriott.com.
Aston Hotels & Resorts is offering valuable Early Bird Discounts.  Guests who reserve a stay now through Oct.31 for travel from Jan. 3 to Mar. 31, 2010 will secure terrific starting rates: Aston Shores at Waikoloa (one-bedroom deluxe), $177; Aston Kona by the Sea (one-bedroom partial ocean view suite), $175; Aston Waikoloa Colony Villas (one-bedroom villa), $184. Blackout dates and restrictions may apply. Visit www.astonhotels.com or call 866-774-2924.
Hali’i Kai at Waikoloa Beach Resort is a lavish oceanfront villa resort that flows along the fairways of Waikoloa’s Beach Golf Course to the Pacific. Amenities include a lagoon pool, whirlpool, fitness cabana and stunning 180-degree ocean and sunset views from the Ocean Club.  Reserved exclusively for resort guests, the Ocean Club Bar and Grill serves a complimentary breakfast for two who book a luxurious one bedroom/two-bath garden view villa for just $249 per night until Dec. 21.  Visit www.CastleResorts.com or call (800) 367-5004.
The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i invites guests to celebrate the holidays with a fifth night free on any new booking during the festive season.  Self parking, the Keiki Aloha children’s program, daily poolside cooking demonstrations, the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony and Santa’s arrival in a koa canoe are just a few of the many complimentary offerings awaiting guests this season. For information contact your preferred travel professional, visit  www.fairmont.com/orchid, or call (800) 845-9905.

Enticing package options at Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa are now available through the end of 2009. If ever there was an ideal time to travel to the safe haven of Hawai’i, it is now. Ask about Sheraton Keauhou Bay’s Better Tomorrow’s™, Reserve & Relax and Endless Escape packages. Some rates at the oceanfront resort begin at just $179/night. Visit www.SheratonKeauhou.com or call (866) 924-8746 for more exciting packages to fit every traveler’s budget.

Waipio Wayside Bed & Breakfast Inn is located minutes from Waipi’o Valley and the historic sugar town of Honoka’a on the stunning Hāmākua Coast of Hawai’i’s Big Island. To celebrate 21 years in business, the Inn offers a fourth night free for guests who stay a minimum of three nights.  Or even better, stay one week, and get a second week free! Offers apply to new reservations only. Rates range from $99/night to $170/night. Valid through 2009. Call (800) 833-8849 or visit www.waipiowayside.com.

September’s Sizzlin’ News from Hawaii’s Big Island 2009

Hawai’i’s Big Island (Sept. 1, 2009) – Hawai’i’s Big Island is swimming with wild summer deals, and is already lining up awesome activities and specials for fall and winter. Here’s the lowdown on summer fun that lasts all year long!

ADVENTURES, ACTIVITIES & EVENTS

Cheers to Volcano Winery’s New Infusion Tea Wine ($30), a pairing of fermented macadamia nut honey from South Kona and Volcano-grown black tea. You can sip and see if this refreshing drink is your cup of tea at the winery’s tasting room just outside of Volcano Village. (808) 967-7772, www.volcanowinery.com.

Board the ocean-going Holy Grail for a super Sizzlin’ Special. Book a Sunset Cruise in search of the famed “green flash” through Dec. 20 at the regular price of $400 (for up to six passengers) and your cruise will be extended by a full hour to 3 ½ hours. Mention Code BIVB when booking. Holy Grail is a luxurious 51-foot cutter that provides excellent sailing fun along the magnificent Kona Coast, and great pupu too. (808) 987-9698, www.konasail.com.

Blue Sea Cruises has a tempting special for families. Two children under 12 per family cruise free on the Dolphin Adventure and Glass Bottom Cruise, valid Nov. 1 – Dec. 31. Mention code DOL002 and call (808) 331-8875, or visit www.blueseacruisesinc.com

Lokahi Garden Sanctuary in North Kohala offers full-moon guided walks followed by “talk story” around a campfire. Experience nighttime sights, sounds and tropical flower fragrances, 200 plant species, organic gardens of vegetables, culinary and medicinal herbs and a seven-circuit labyrinth. Nov. 2 – Dec. 2, $10 per person. www.lokahigardensanctuary.com.

One of Hawai’i’s most beloved artists, Herb Kawainui Kane, will be honored at the 2009 Bay Concert: A Celebration of Life at Kahalu’u Bay, Nov. 21 at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa Convention Center. Performances by Na Leo, Ho’okena, emcee Frank de Lima, and the Daifukuji Taiko Drummers. $25 advance purchase, $12 for children 12 and under. Call (808) 887-6411, www.kohalacenter.org/bayconcert09, Special room packages available, call (866) 837-4256 or visit www.sheratonkeauhou.com/bayconcert.htm.

Looking for more to do? Click www.bigisland.org/calendar for detailed information about additional Hawai’i Island events, and don’t miss these VERY special events:

Authentic Hawaiian music and dance at the E Mau Ana Ka Hula (The Hula is Perpetuated) hula festival honoring King David Kalakaua, Nov. 21 at the Keauhou Beach Resort. Free! Room rates starting at $130 include full breakfast buffet. (866) 326-6803, www.KeauhouBeachResort-Hawaii.com

Sacred Hula Retreat at Hawaii Island Retreat – hula classes, ceremonies, chanting, crafts, lomilomi massage, and time to connect with the land. All inclusive 5 night/6 day package from Nov. 8 – 12, $1,540 double occupancy. (808) 889-6336. www.hawaiiislandretreat.com.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Drink up the hot specials percolating just for the 39th annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival www.konacoffeefest.com. Nov. 6-15:

Ka’awa Loa Plantation Guesthouse and Retreat offers a package based on a “Plantation Camp” three-night stay, in ocean accommodations from Sept 15-Nov. 15. It includes Kona Coffee Country Welcome amenity, daily breakfast, a two-hour plantation tour and sunset Hawaiian Detox Steam. $525, based on double occupancy. Call (808) 323-2686 and mention “Kona Coffee Camp.” www.kaawaloaplantation.com.

The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Special at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel room & breakfast package starts from $119 per night for a newly renovated room. Includes complimentary wireless Internet, breakfast buffet for two, and a 20 percent discount on lunch or dinner. Book now through Nov. 14 for reservations between Nov. 6-15. (800) 367-2111, www.konabeachhotel.com.

Dragonfly Ranch, located near three excellent snorkeling/diving bays, is offering a special for Kona Coffee Cultural Festival enthusiasts. This unique treehouse hideaway is giving a fourth night free on all rooms during the festival, and half price on the Dragonfly Cottage. Guests receive a complimentary bag of Dragonfly Goddess Coffee (to “awaken the Godessence Within”) – 100 percent Kona beans, organically grown and freshly roasted in Honaunau. Visit www.dragonflyranch.com or call (808) 328-2159.

Sheraton Keauhou is also brewing up deals for guests during the annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival (Nov. 6-15): a progressive discount card for food and non-alcoholic beverages. Use the card once, a 10 percent discount applies, the second use gets you a 15 percent discount, third use, 20 percent and fourth use, 25 percent. The card can be used at Kai, Manta Ray Bar & Grill or Keauhou Bay Coffee Co. www.sheratonkeauhou.com or (888) 488-3535.

Plunge into the clear blue with Kona Village Resort’s five-night Dive Package. It includes gear, airport transfers, three two-tank dives, unlimited shore dives, all meals and more. Begins at $3,500, five nights, six days, for two in a luxurious, thatched-roof bungalow. (800) 367-5290, www.konavillage.com.

Aston Hotels know their guests want to get out and explore Hawai’i’s Big Island, so at the Aston Shores at Waikoloa or Aston Kona by the Sea you’ll receive an Aloha Book, which contains coupons worth up to $2,000 in savings on dining, shopping and activities. The book also serves as a guide to some of the best culture, history, cuisine and attractions on the island. (866) 774-2924, www,astonhotels.com

Recession rates are good until mid-December at oceanfront and oceanview homes and condos with Big Island Vacation Rentals. Just $125/night for oceanfront or popular, sunny Kapoho?  $85 for oceanfront condos in Hilo? You bet! All rentals are less than an hour from the volcano, close to snorkeling and swimming, farmers markets and some of the most beautiful natural scenery in Hawai’i. Book online at www.bigislandvacationrentals.com or call (808) 965-0400.

Bougainvillea Bed And Breakfast offers not just guestrooms, but experiences now at a 20 percent discount. Stargaze from the hot tub or pool. Enjoy a delicious home-cooked breakfast. Taste fresh-from-the-garden white pineapple. And let your host, Martie (a Certified Travel Consultant), share her island secrets. Rates start from $85/night, with your fifth night free, through 2010. Ask for the Sizzling discount. Call (800) 688-1763, or visit www.bougainvilleabedandbreakfast.com.

The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i invites guests to celebrate the holidays with a Fifth Night Free on any new booking during the holidays. Complimentary inclusions include self-parking, keiki aloha children’s program, daily poolside cooking demonstrations, the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony and Santa’s arrival in a koa canoe, and more! Contact your preferred travel professional, visit www.fairmont.com/orchid, or call at (800) 845-9905.

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai unveiled the results of its 15-month, $40-million enhancement in early August, showcasing 20 new suites, a sweeping spa transformation, a renovated beachfront bar, lounge and restaurant, and stylish new retail boutiques. Gloriously revitalized, the AAA Five Diamond, award-winning resort re-establishes its reputation as an unparalleled destination that honors the essence of Hawaiian design, culture and tradition. In celebration, the resort is offering guests a $495 promotional rate on stays this fall, beginning Sept. 15. (808) 325-8200. www.fourseasons.com/hualalai.

Now you can stay and dine for one low price at Hilton Waikoloa Village. The Inclusive Exclusive Package includes daily breakfast, lunch and dinner for two at select restaurants. Rates start at $399 per night for two with a minimum three-night stay. Cannot be combined with any other programs or discounts. Offer good now through Mar. 31, 2010. Blackout dates: Dec. 20-31, 2009. Reservations: (800) HILTONS, ask for Package Code P2.  Or book at
http://www.hilton.com/en/hi/reservations/index.jhtml?ctyhocn=KOAHWHH&spec_plan=P2&spec_plan_desc=Inclusive+Exclusive+Package.

The stunning Holualoa Inn has just the remedy for the cool fall chill: spend one more long lazy day at the beach – for free. Book three nights and receive the fourth night free. This applies to new reservations only, and may not be combined with any other promotion. Rates from $260/night. Valid Sept. 1-Nov. 30. Call (800) 392-1812, or go to www.holualoainn.com.

In celebration of Hawai’i’s 50th anniversary of statehood, Marriott Resorts Hawaii is giving social media enthusiasts two ways to win free trips to Hawai’i via Hawaiian Airlines with its “Tweet Yourself to Hawai’i” sweepstakes. Prizes include a five-night stay at Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa with a Hertz rental car, dining credit and Big Island activities. There’s also a bigger prize – a seven-night stay at two participating Marriott resorts in Hawai’i for a 12-person Hawai’i getaway. Visit www.marriotthawaiitweets.com.

The historic, newly re-opened Mauna Kea Beach Hotel offers guests $500 in resort credit for every three nights per room. Do the math and yes, that means a $1,000 credit for a six-night stay. Use it for a round of golf, spa treatments, the weekly lu’au or clambake, or to sip frosty cocktails by the pool. Rates starting from $550. Valid for travel now until Dec. 22. Reservations: (866) 977-4589. www.princeresortshawaii.com/mauna-kea-beach-hotel.

Dinner Is Served! Dinner is now being offered to guests at the gorgeous Waianuhea, a luxury inn in Ahualoa on the Hāmākua Coast. The three-course menu consists of soup or salad, entrée and dessert for $48 per person, plus tax and gratuity. The four-course menu offers an appetizer, soup or salad, entrée and dessert for $58 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Menus will be created based on local and seasonal availability and dietary preferences. (888) 775-2577, www.waianuhea.com.
KUDOS

Float into Ocean Sports, which has been voted Best Snorkel Sail and Best Sunset Sail by North Hawaii News and West Hawaii Today for 2009. (808) 886-6666 ext. 202, www.hawaiioceansports.com.

For the second year in a row, Hawaii Holiday Vacation Rentals has been acknowledged as one of the Fastest 50 Growing Businesses in Hawai’i by Pacific Business News. Check out their selection of properties on the Big Island at www.bigislandvacationrentals.com, (808) 965-0400.

For BIVB’s press kit, photo gallery, press releases and industry news, visit http://media.bigisland.org

So Much More Hawaii… Lucky We Live in Hawaii

So I’ve posted a lot of posts on my blog about the Hilton Waikoloa Village, and I have had a couple people question my intentions on my posts.

Just another view from my lanai at the Hilton Waikoloa

Just another view from my lanai at the Hilton Waikoloa

Any of you that live in Hawaii know that the economy is tanking.  I myself have had a problem finding full time employment after working nearly 10 years at a State office over on Oahu.

Inside the cave pool

Inside the cave pool

My family has always been a priority to me, even if it means being broke ass and working at jobs for less pay then what I was making on Oahu, I know that for the benefit of my son’s future, that it was important for me to move back home and be closer to him.

Playing Checkers on Giant Board

Playing Checkers on Giant Board

If you have followed my blog, you will know that my wife and I lived on Oahu but a year after my son was born, my wife got a job with the USDA on the Big Island and childcare was going to be a problem for us as we did not feel comfortable leaving our one year old son with someone outside of our family while we both worked during the days.

Hammock over looking the ocean

Hammock over looking the ocean

I understand that Hawaii’s economy is tanking right now and that we as bloggers can make a difference in the economy.

Just a casual cruise

Just a casual cruise

By spreading the word about how good things are here in Hawaii despite how tough things can be at times, we can all benefit in the future.

Just kicking back and reading a book, what more can you ask for?

Just kicking back and reading a book, what more can you ask for?

Hawaii will always be looked upon as the Tourist destination of the world.  Oahu is called the gathering place for a reason.  Many tourist dollars don’t ever leave Waikiki.

Did you know the Waikoloa has a concierge desk just for the Japanese Tourists?

Did you know the Waikoloa has a concierge desk just for the Japanese Tourists?

Even though the economy is tanking right now… I don’t think it will always be tanking.  I also don’t see my blog going away anytime soon.

One of the three towers at the Waikoloa

One of the three towers at the Waikoloa

By marking and tagging posts on my blogs about good things that happen in Hawaii, and hotels that have been really nice to me, hopefully these places will benefit in 2-3 years when people are doing their google searches on places to visit in Hawaii.

Lots of Exotic Birds all over the Waikoloa

Lots of Exotic Birds all over the Waikoloa

My blog is visited by nearly 30,000 visits a month.  You can watch the live feed of visitors on the bottom right.  People from throughout the world use google to find things on the internet.

Seaside Mini Golf Putting Green

Seaside Mini Golf Putting Green

I was very fortunate through some twitter friends and my blog that I was able to get a “Complimentary Room” at the Hilton Waikoloa the night that the mainland bloggers came in.

Bridge over Koi Pond

Bridge over Koi Pond

Not only was I able to meet with the bloggers personally, I will continue to discuss things and just entertain eachother with thoughts about random life for the rest of our lives.

Shade Cover by the Ocean

Shade Cover by the Ocean

About a week before the bloggers even arrived on the Big Island I through out the question on Twitter:  Does anyone know of a cheap hotel on the Big Island.

Karma?

Karma?

Within minutes I had responses coming from not only the Kona side of the island, but Hilo side, as well as a couple people from Oahu with suggestions on sites to visit for cheap places to stay.

Mirrored Corner

Mirrored Corner

My goal was to find a cheap hotel so that I wouldn’t have to drive so far after meeting with them because I knew they would be on Hawaii Time by the time they got to the planned Tweet up and I knew I wasn’t going to be in any mood to drive back across the island again after the tweet up.

Waikoloa View

Waikoloa View

I had pretty much given up hopes about any reasonably priced hotel when someone tweeted me and said… do you know that the Waikoloa is only $40.00 more then Uncle Billys for Kama’aina.

No, I didn't take flipper home with me

No, I didn't take flipper home with me

I thought wow… that’s a pretty good deal… but it’s still a bit out of my range, and I was just content to follow the Bloggers trip to the Big Island via many different sites.  So I prayed of a way to do this… j/k.

Nice statue figures

Nice statue figures

Next thing I know about 3:00 on Monday, the day the bloggers were to arrive on the Big Island, I got a message from someone at the Big Island Visitors Bureau telling me that they weren’t able to make the trip and that they would talk to the the public relations people at the Hilton Waikoloa and switch the name to my name.

Big Island Visitors Bureau

Heck, I was stoked… and I wasn’t going to turn this down.

waikoloa 242

Car parked at the Waikola

Car parked at the Waikoloa

Guess where I’m going next?  I’ll keep that a secret for now.