Zip Lining on the Big Island at Kohala Zipline… Like Living in an Ewok Village

Riding on almost all of the zip lines on the Big Island in the past few years has been quite thrilling and this past weekend I was invited to go zip-lining with one of the islands newer operations the Kohala Ziplines.

The headquarters is located in historic North Kohala at 54-3676 Akoni Pule Hwy, Kapaau, HI 96755

We were scheduled for a 9:00 am tour that began at their base located in North Kohala.  We signed release waivers and geared up there at the base.

The guides help gear us up

The operation itself is run by the well known local company Hawaii Forest & Trail, and after we geared up, we jumped in one of their six-wheeled Pinzgauers and took off for about a 20 minute journey down the North Kohala Highway until we turned off onto some land that used to be owned by King Kamehameha himself.

Our ride for the day provided by Hawaii Forest & Trail

We arrived at the Zip Lines and walked over a suspension bridge to the first zip line.

Just one of a few suspension bridges on the course

Our guides gave us an overview of how the dual zipline harness system works.

Our guide tells us how the zip lines work... and most importantly... how to stop!

This is the first Zip Line I have ever been on that the pulleys were attached to two ziplines one above the other.

You're literally attached to two ziplines for added safety

These Ziplines also had like a plastic type of coating over them which made them really quiet and a smooth ride… when they get a little wet… the ziplines go even faster!

Zipping down a Kohala Zipline

The Zipline “Canopy Tour” as it’s often referred to, has 9 ziplines in all and they call the first two… “Flight School” because if you get too scared or are not able to handle the requirements needed to be on the ziplines… they have a short little “Zipline of Shame” as my friend coined it before the third zipline where folks can bail on the rest of the trip.

"Flight School" the first two ziplines on the course are 220 feet and 230 feet respectively

About half way through the course you come across this area of suspension bridges and an inclined suspended bridge that are quite unique.

Entering Ewok Village

You are constantly strapped into ziplines whether it’s the pulley system or just the grappling clips.

Some folks even chose to walk backwards for added excitment on some of the bridges

They were calling this course a “Challenge Course” as you yourself have to do the braking by sliding your hands gently against the ziplines by gloves provided by the company.

There is an emergency brake in place at the end of each zipline for those that forget to brake

About three fourths the way through the course, they provided us with some light snacks that consisted of Macadamia Nuts and Granola Bars and then we took off for the last few zip lines.

The final zipline was this side-by-side zipline where you can race your friends down a steep run that is nearly a quarter mile long!

The final zipline is a side by side zipline

I myself think the ziplining part was the easy part… the scarier part for me was doing the rappeling down a couple of the towers like this final tower at the end of the course.

This is the tallest platform we had to rappel from and that was at the end of the course

I really had a great time and I’d like to thank the folks at Hawaii Forest & Trail for inviting me and an old high school friend to check them out.

Hawaii Forest & Trail brings you the Kohala Ziplines

Hawaii DLNR Announces Availability of Its 2012 Historic Sites Calendar

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) announces the availability of its 2012 Historic Sites calendar, “Traditional Hawaiian Sustenance.”

The rich color images, shot mostly by photographer Ric Noyle from the air or on the ground, feature examples of the achievements of Hawaii’s ancient kupuna in food production. Many remnants of ancient fishponds, taro loi, and auwai remain with us today, with a number being revitalized and placed back into production. Some lie hidden in the kuahiwi (upland forest) or buried under hundreds of years of accumulated sediment. However, many are visible to numerous Hawaii residents as they drive to work, or can be seen in a short walk from a public thoroughfare. Others are clearly visible during an inter-island plane ride.

These means of food production were accomplished through the transmitting and absorbing of kupuna (elders’) knowledge and experimentation. The Hawaiian food production systems were innovative and solution driven, developed within the context of a community instilled with a spirit of cooperation to accomplish large scale projects.

Our hope is that these ancient sites will survive and continue to be restored to once again bring people together to provide sustenance, both physical and spiritual, to their communities. They bring hope, admiration, and pride to all.

The calendar also features helpful boating safety tips, tide chart and phases of the moon.

Calendars are now available for purchase from the Hawai‘i Heritage Center. Interested parties can drop by the gallery located at 1040 Smith Street in Chinatown, between King and Hotel Streets or call (808) 521-2749 to order by phone.

The Center is open between 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Mondays to Saturdays and closed on all State holidays.

Calendars are $10 each for the first ten purchased. From the 11th calendar purchased, the price is $5 per calendar. There is an additional cost for shipping. Proceeds from calendar sales go to support current or future calendar costs.

The calendar is a project of the DLNR and the Hawai‘i Heritage Center, with funding support provided by the Alexander and Baldwin Foundation, Belt Collins, Chris Hart & Partners, Inc., Cultural Surveys Hawai‘i, DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, Fung Associates, Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc., Kuiwalu, Viki Nasu Design Group, Outrigger Hotels & Resorts, Takitani & Agaran, and Wallace Theaters Management Corp.

Photography is by David Franzen, design and production by Viki Nasu Design Group and printing by Edward Enterprises, Inc.

Astronomical information was provided by Hokulani Imaginarium at Windward Community College. Tide predictions were provided by EKNA Services Inc., Larry E. Browner, P.E.

Visiting Pearl Harbor USS Arizona Memorial and The Pacific Aviation Museum

One of my good friends from high school is currently visiting Hawaii and last weekend I met him over on Oahu the day I set the Tandem Skydiving Altitude Record with SkyDive Hawaii.  We had a few drinks at Dukes Canoe Club in Waikiki and then I let him and his girlfriend explore Waikiki while I checked into the Waikiki Resort Hotel and rented a car from Discount Hawaii Car Rental  for only $20.00 for 24 hours!

I woke up bright and early in the morning from my one night stay at the Waikiki Resort Hotel and we headed out to Pearl Harbor leaving the Hotel at about 7:00 in the morning.  I forgot that the Honolulu Marathon would be blocking off much of Waikiki so it became kind of a maze getting out of there and off to Pearl Harbor where we got there just in time to pick up free tickets on the first US Navy boat to the Arizona Memorial.

They issue free tickets to the USS Arizona Memorial

While I have done lots of interesting stuff with the Navy and I’ve seen Pearl Harbor as a guest on several embarks with the US Navy… this was the first time that I had ever gone to the USS Arizona Memorial inside of Pearl Harbor so it was quite special.

One of the displays in the Pearl Harbor Museum

We were going just four days after the 70th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and I wasn’t sure how busy or packed the place was going to be… but I was quite happy to get on that first boat without having to wait in a long line… as anyone that knows me… knows I hate long lines!

The US Navy provides a free ferry to and from the USS Arizona Memorial

Most of us have seen pictures of the memorial, but I can tell you now personally that it’s a whole different experience visiting it in person.

USS Arizona Memorial

As you enter the memorial, it’s lined with a few flags from around the world.

Flags in the USS Arizona Memorial

Then as you proceed forward into the chamber it opens up and there are 21 windows to view out of the memorial.

Inside the chamber folks can look down at the sunken vessel through a hole in the memorial

You really feel the aura of the place and it’s almost kind of a haunting feeling knowing that you are literally standing on the tomb of so many sailors that lost their lives on that fateful day.

Honoring the sailors that lost their lives

Of course I had to get the mandatory picture of the “Tears of the Arizona”.

"Tears of the Arizona" - Oil still leaks to this day

The memorial is staffed with folks that know anything you may ever want to know about the USS Arizona and are more then happy to discuss things with you.  The total tour of the place once you actually get on the ferry is about 45 minutes long.

One of the few remaining parts of the USS Arizona still above the surface

After touring the USS Arizona Memorial we took a shuttle across to Ford Island and went and got a private Aviators Tour at Pacific Aviation Museum.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor

This was also the first time I had ever been to this museum so I had no idea what to expect and was pleasantly surprised with the knowledge of our tour docent as he explained the history of the airplanes at the museum.

Inside Hangar 37

I learned some of the stories about the planes and the pilots that flew the planes during the war.

Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 21 Type 0 (Naval Carrier-based Fighter)

What was really impressive was the shape that some of these old planes had been remodeled to and I know it must take a lot to get them back to looking the way they were during World War II.

The Cactus Air Force

While the tour itself is about 2 hours long… we had a shorter more condensed tour because we had an appointment we had to make with the US Navy so we unfortunately didn’t even get to the other hangar.

Former President George W.H. Bush trained in this actual plane

We made our way to the Laniakea Cafe and had lunch and then made our way to a private submarine tour on the USS Cheyenne courtesy of the US Navy.

The newly restored Ford Island Control Tower

I just wanted to say thanks to the Pacific Aviation Museum for hooking us up with the free Aviators Tour.  Wish we would have had more time to spend with the docent!