Article and Photos By: Chris O’Byrne
THE WINDS and THE BLUES
The islands of Hawai’i offer greetings even before the adventure traveler is draped with a Lei of fragrant flowers. Deep and glorious shades of blue float up from the vast Pacific Ocean to dazzle the eye and sooth the nerves. Once the traveler sets foot in the islands, the Trade Winds are sure to be present, caressing the body and mind. Recently I was blessed to travel to the islands where these two constant companions worked their magic on over taught nerves, casting all concerns away to somewhere in The Blue Pacific. To travel to Hawai’i is to enter a different world, the world of Winds and Blues.
Hawai’ihas much more to offer than these first and lasting impressions; Outdoor activities in a wide variety of natural beauty. Sports for land and sea. Fishing in salt and fresh water. Surfing and paddling. Snorkeling and SCUBA. History that extends beyond recorded time, and cultures from around the world. Hawai’i is a popular destination for Andy Thornal friends and a repeat trip is on my Bucket List. Please allow me to describe some of our trip and offer some suggestions.
Our trip to Hawai’i began with long flights and the challenges inherent in air travel. A carry-on bag is a must to keep necessities and small luxuries safe and at hand. My North Face “Surge” back pack has been serving me well in airports and wilderness alike. All North Face products have demonstrated the heartiness of their mountain climbing roots, yet the Surge is gentrified enough for airports and khakis. I was able to carry my laptop for working on the plane and web surfing in airports, plus a couple magazines and the Orvis fly fishing catalog for pure escape, plus snacks to avoid starvation and poverty, plus a small travel emergency kit, plus travel documents, pens and pencils. The Surge carried all that and easily fit underneath the airline seat.
Browse North Face Backpacks
Since 9/11/01 a common sight at airports is travelers chugging water from prepackaged containers before going through the security check point. I have been that guy once or twice, but now rather than playing a scene from Animal House or throwing a bottle of water out, or not attempting to stay hydrated (big mistake,) I now carry one of our bpa free bottles and refill at leisure. These bottles are secure in the side pockets of my day pack and follow me on adventures at home and abroad. Browse Hydration
One of the highlights on our trip was a day fly fishing for Bone Fish on the flats of Honolulu. I brought my Costa Del Mar sunglasses specifically for this outing and they were indispensible, protecting my eyes from wind blown flies and the sun’s strong glare. I came to appreciate the role that superior polarization technology plays as the day wore on and my ability to spot the big, inconspicuous Bonefish of Hawai’i. My guide specifically mentioned CostaDelMar was his favorite brand of glasses for fishing, but I found that I wore them constantly, on and off the water. After all the bright sun of the tropics is assaulting the eyes of the sight seer and hiker as well as the angler. Browse the Costa del Mar styles!
In addition to this protection, quality sunglasses actually enhance the experiences that the adventure traveler finds. Hawai’ipresents an amazing pallet of colors; the yellows of the evening sky, reds and pinks on Hibiscus blossoms, greens, browns and blacks and of course those amazing blues. The operation of polarized lenses not only helps one see into the water but separates the various colors as well. More than once I stopped to study the differences in the tone of red from one Hibiscus blossom to another. And when I am in my rocking chair I will still be able picture the sight of four or five shades of blue in a vignette of the Pacific Ocean. You can read more about the polarization of Costa del Mar sunglass in a blog written by Allen Wyatt: Costa 580 Polarized Sunglass Lenses are Easy on the Eyes
A pleasant discovery of the trip was the Kilohana Plantation at Lihue’, Kaua’i, when a day trip without a destination turned into a family adventure with sight seeing, shopping, and dining. We skipped the organized activities like the ever present commercial luau, opting to guide ourselves through the sculpted landscape and plantation house. While wandering the manicured lawns of this former sugar plantation, we were caught in two rain showers and plenty of breezes. The North Face Venture jacket was a perfect wind breaker. It packed easily inside and outside of my day pack. It kept the rain off and the chill away. Later, in the plantation house, Gaylord’s Restaurant and the high end shops, the Venture’s appearance did not mark me as a hiker who should be in a tent.
Our trip took us up and down the island chain, from Ka Lae on The Big Island to Hanalei Bay on the north side of Kauai,Hawai’i. This is a distance more than 260 miles north to south, over this distance temperatures change a good bit. Moreover, local weather varies greatly as each island has areas where rain is concentrated, areas of more or less wind and areas with enough elevation to change temperatures. This fact made packing light a little tricky. I suggest studying the DeLORME ATLAS & GAZETEER to get a handle on what you are in for at your destinations.
When you make the trip to Hawai’i be sure to make time for water sports, after all, the place is surrounded by some of the best water on Earth. We enjoyed boat trips, fly fishing, snorkeling, paddle boarding, surfing and just plain swimming in the endlessPacific Ocean. But be aware; coral, lava formations and rocks line the sea floor ofHawaii’s beaches. Protection for your feet is more than a convenience here, it's necessity. Sturdy WATER SHOES are in order. I was not surprised to see vacationers wearing all manner of amphibious foot wear in the ocean, at the pools and while boating, but I noticed that a number of tourists were wearing these comfortable hybrids while traveling as well. The stiffer foot bed of modern water shoes makes these truly comfortable for all day wear and the adventure traveler can choose the amount of coverage they want from a wide variety of styles.
From flying to sight seeing to fishing to dining to hiking, the adventure traveler is in need of garments to fulfill a variety of roles. This does not mean that they need a steamer trunk and a team of porters. My new favorite TRAVEL SHIRT is Orvis’s Helios Caster. The wrinkle-free, synthetic fabric can be washed by hand and dry in a matter of hours, yet it has the feel and appearance of crisp, new cotton. This trip was a good example of the multifunction ability of this shirt; On day 1, I made use of the large pockets to hold my wallet and cell phone and boarding passes (passports fit too) securely and conveniently while traveling. On Day 2 it was worn to the beach and on day 3 it was tucked in, paired with khakis and worn to a nice restaurant.
Hawaii is paradise, not Utopia, security is important. When traveling always take security precautions. I choose various Eagle Creek travel accessories. Without explaining more than is prudent, my security pouch continued to provide great service on this trip.
One can’t help but have unique experiences in Hawai’i. The geography is unlike anywhere else, the people are from everywhere and there are activities for every taste. Or you can sit still and examine the varieties of blue in the ocean while the winds carry worries away. Hawaii truly is One Great Adventure, we wish you a wonderful trip. Aloha!
HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR TRIP
΅A visit to The Royal Hawaiian Hotel, Waikiki
΅A short hike on the Ala Loa Trail, Kaniku Lava Flow, Waikola
΅The zodiac sight seeing and snorkeling trip along the Kailua Coast , Kona
΅Bone fishing with Coach Duff, Honolulu
΅The pilgrimage to Pearl Harbor, Honolulu
΅Learning to surf
΅Playing in the Twin Falls waterfalls, Hanna, Maui
Enjoy some of Chris' Family Vacation Photos:
By: Elizabeth Hart
Now that the summer months are upon us the injury and death toll from outdoor marine accidents are on a rise. Already in Polk County alone there has been a number of drownings from marine activities and we can’t forget Sean Kingston’s recent run in with mishap in South Florida. According to the Coast Guard in an article of Popular Mechanic from this month (June 23, 2010) 700 people perish annually from recreational boating accidents. But, Mother Nature can also rain on the summer parade. Recently hundreds of jellyfish washed up on Florida shores resulting in hundreds of painful stings to beachgoers. And, being a Florida native, with very pale skin, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been sunburned or experienced sun poisoning…even with a whole bottle of sun screen slathered on my body!
Just because it’s summer, school’s out and the seasonal flock to the beach and lakes has begun doesn’t mean you should go out unprepared! So, here are some tips and information to keep summer fun and problem free whether traveling for vacation or staying local!
STAY AFLOAT: LIFE JACKETS SAVE LIVES
The most recent Polk County drowning of adults occurred because the individual was thrown from the boat with no life jacket. Sounds eerily familiar to seat belt debates, doesn’t it? All states hold some regulation regarding personal floatation devices (PFDs), or life jackets. Florida law requires children (under the age of 13) to wear a life jacket. Adults are not required to wear a life jacket, HOWEVER, Coast Guard regulations require there to be (1) life jacket in the boat for EACH person on board. These life jackets need to be Coast Guard approved, in good and serviceable condition, and the appropriate size for the wearer. Why is this really important? Because life jackets save lives. How? They are designed to keep a person’s head above water in a position that provides support for breathing. In addition to the life jackets, on board vessels 16+ ft in length a Type IV throwable floatation device is also required. So when the unexpected happens, be prepared.
We recommend wearing life vests during all water activites: boating, jet skiing, and our personal favorite: kayaking! We invite you to check out our ever-changing stock of kayaks – both new and used models! The PFDs that we carry and endorse are Liverty and Harmony, Type 3 Coast Guard approved.
For complete boating safety refer to the US Coast Guard website.
THE SUNNY SUMMER SEASON
Florida is not called “The Sunshine State” for no reason! With most of the days out of the year (I could not find a direct statistic) yielding beautiful sunny days, UV radiation is a pressing concern in Florida. And, contrary to popular belief, a couple applications of SPF 15 at the beach is not sufficient for all day protection!
Ultra violet rays, or UV, fall in the middle of the magnetic spectrum. They are larger than X-ray but smaller than visible light. Three wavelengths of solar radiation have been individually recognized by scientists: UVA, UVB, and UVC. In May of 2000 the National Institutes of Health added solar UV radiation (along with tanning beds and sun lamps) to the list of known carcinogens in America. Exposure to this group of wavelengths should be avoided as much as possible. But really, who is going to stay out of the sun during summer? Not this girl. So, in light of avoiding sun exposure all together, be prepared!
People would be surprised to know the amount of UV radiation that passes through regular clothing. Special brands are now testing their clothing in accordance with American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) standards for Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) – which includes testing for both UVA and UVB ray protection. Sun protection clothing comes in many names including UPF clothing, Sun Shield, and Costa Del Mar’s Solar System line. Every brand of sun protection clothing has it’s own identifying terms. The important factor in these garments is the way the fabric is woven: providing a shield from the UV rays while being lightweight and breathable. Important sun protection garments to wear are (from head to toe):
Of course, don’t forget the application of SPF 30+ at least every two hours AND immediately after getting out of the water (ocean or lake)!!
Be sure to protect your delicate eyes with protective sunglasses. For optimal eye protection see Allen Wyatt’s article on Costa Del Mar’s 580 Polarized Lenses.
You may have noticed I use both UPF (UV Protection Factor) and SPF (Sun Protection Factor)…and you may ask what the difference is between the two. They are both a measure of sun protection. However, SPF is the ‘Sun Protection Factor’ found in sunscreen lotion while UPF is the ‘Ultraviolet Protection Factor’ found in sun protection clothing. For clothing, dermatologists recommend a UPF of 30+, while for sunscreen…the highest available.
To see what UPF Clothing is available, check out Andy Thornal Company’s Sun Protection Clothing Collection.
Please add to my safety checklist - by commenting below - if you have a tip you find particularly helpful!
Have a Happy and Safe Summer!