Exploring Hawaii
February 2020

Stand up paddle & Aloha

There are good reasons why Hawaii is the first destination on my journey around the world.  Indeed that’s where everything has started:

Duration: weeks
Island: Oahu
  • Paddle 90% 90%
  • Sight seeing 70% 70%
  • Activities 80% 80%

Located in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, almost 4000 kilometers (2500 miles) from the west coast of California, this volcanic archipelago was once called Sandwiches Island. Hawaii is mixing numerous cultural influences between North American plus Asian borrow and also its own ancestral polynesian culture.
If Hawaii is synonymous of idyllic scenary and sunset beach walk, it’s also a multiface archipelago.  None of the islands look like each other, sometime wild and volcanic, sometime urban and hightly touristic.

Oahu might be the most emblematic Island of Hawaii.  Just by hearing the name of Waikiki, we’re transporting in the magic univers of surf.

My favorite

1. Artwise

The villa Shangri La

As an architecture lover, I absolutly had to visit Shangri La.
Built in 1937 as the Honolulu home of American heiress and philanthropist Doris Duke, Shangri La was inspired by Doris Duke’s extensive travels throughout North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, and reflects artistic and architectural collections and designs from these regions. 
Shangri La borrows architectural elements and artistic sensibilities from Muslim-majority cultures of the world, and blends them with a distinctly Hawaiian landscape that features sweeping ocean views, exotic gardens and a 75-foot saltwater pool.
First of all, I am blown away by the exceptional view of the Pacific and Diamond Head.
From the entrance, it’s a plunge into the Arabian Nights: turquoise and blue earthenware from Iznit, small Syrian table in carved wood inlaid with mother-of-pearl, multitudes of furniture and objects more refined than the others.

A great lover of Islamic arts, Doris Duke decorated this home with refined objects from the East and India. Fallen in love with the Taj Mahal, she commissioned her bedroom and bathroom in white marble decorated with floral motifs in the Mughal style.

2. Across the oceans

Matson Navigation Company’s – Honolulu – Sand Island 

Since my stay in Hong Kong, I’ve been fascinated by containers, the comings and goings of container ships and maritime infrastructure.

Created at the end of the 19th century, the leader in maritime freight for the Pacific, the Matson company now provides 80% of maritime transport in the archipelago. It is a very sensitive and vital site for the economy of the island. Cranes, freighters, trucks, various machines and thousands of containers: everything is adjusted, timed and operated to the nearest centimeter, like a chain of dominoes, the slightest incident or delay and the whole gear is affected.From the roof terrace of the operational center, the view of Diamond Head, the buildings of Waikiki and the volcanic peaks of Ko’olau is just incomparable.

It was in 1882, Captain Matson linked San Francisco to Hilo with Emma Claudina, a three-masted schooner carrying 300 tonnes of food, plantation supplies and general merchandise.
In the 1930s, ocean liners contributed to the development of tourism on the island. With the construction of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, Matson offered tourists luxury accommodation on board and ashore.

 Today, freighters and container ships connect Hawaii, Guam, China, Japan and the West Coast of the United States.

3. For snacking

Macadamia nuts
A little taste of fresh butter when you crunch it, macadamia nuts lend themselves to many uses.
It is eaten roasted and salted, as a candy, covered with chocolate, crushed, for recipes of fish or poultry.
My favorites: for the aperitif either salty or flavored with Maui onions and accompanied by a Longboard Beer …

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Rich in potassium and iron, and also in monounsaturated fatty acid, macademia nuts are an excellent anti-cholesterol.
It is also used as an oil. Macadamia oil protects the skin and hair, especially against UV rays, it is regenerating, nourishing and healing.
For the anecdote, the macadamia tree from Australia was imported to Hawaii in the late 19th century. Today, Hawaii is the world’s second largest producer of macadamia nuts after Australia.


4. For the sweet tooth

Shave Ice is another specialty of the island, in a large cup and shaped by hand from crushed ice like granita flavored with syrup with unimaginable flavors such as bubble gum, Huricane or cotton candy and colors ranging from neon pink to curaçao blue through apple green.
Just tey it for the fun, personally I am not fan because it’s a little (and I am nice) too sweet but my kids love it.

5. To feel good

A massage at the Hawaii Healing Arts College
After a long SUP session, nothing is better than a good massage to untie your shoulders and back. Smile and professionalism at the meeting for this small center based in Kailua. Unbeatable price (from $ 35 to $ 70). 

Drifting along the water,
drifting along the words

From Jack London, everyone has in mind the title of a novel from the Far North – White Fang or The Call of the Forest.
This tireless traveler, however, spent more time wandering the Pacific archipelagos than roaming the lost lands of the Klondike.
From 1906 to 1916, Jack London travels the Oceanic world, staying twice in Hawaii, from March to July 1915 then from December 1915 to July 1916. From this experience of the South Seas, he drew several short stories, including
The sheriff of Kona “.
In this story published in 1909, the writer describes at the same time an idyllic natural environment – the district of Kona, on the island of Hawaii – and the slow decomposition of human bodies, attacked by leprosy. One of the major themes of London’s work is outlined here: man’s vulnerability to the wild serenity of nature.

In the footsteps of Jack London by Emmanuelle

“You cannot escape liking the climate,” Cudworth said, in reply to my panegyric on the Kona coast. “I was a young fellow, just out of college, when I came here eighteen years ago. I never went back, except, of course, to visit. And I warn you, if you have some spot dear to you on earth, not to linger here too long, else you will find this dearer.”

We had finished dinner, which had been served on the big lanai, the one with a northerly exposure, though exposure is indeed a misnomer in so delectable a climate. […]

I looked through a screen of banana and lehua trees, and down across the guava scrub to the quiet sea a thousand feet beneath. For a week, ever since I had landed from
the tiny coasting-steamer, I had been stopping with Cudworth, and during that time no wind had ruffled that unvexed sea. True, there had been breezes, but they were the gentlest zephyrs that ever blew through summer isles. They were not winds; they were sighs–long, balmy sighs of a world at rest.

“A lotus land,” I said.

“Where each day is like every day, and every day is a paradise of days,” he answered. “Nothing ever happens. It is not too hot. It is not too cold. It is always just right. Have you noticed how the land and the sea breathe turn and turn about?”

Indeed, I had noticed that delicious rhythmic, breathing. Each morning I had watched the sea-breeze begin at the shore and slowly extend seaward as it blew the mildest, softest whiff of ozone to the land. It played
over the sea, just faintly darkening its surface, with here and there and everywhere long lanes of calm, shifting, changing, drifting, according to the capricious kisses of the breeze. And each evening I had watched the sea breath die away to heavenly calm, and heard the land breath softly make its way through the coffee trees and monkey-pods.

“It is a land of perpetual calm,” I said. “Does it ever blow here?–ever really blow? You know what I mean.”

Cudworth shook his head and pointed eastward. “How can it blow, with a barrier like that to stop it?”

Far above towered the huge bulks of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, seeming to blot out half the starry sky. Two miles and a half above our heads they reared their own heads, white with snow that the tropic sun had failed to melt.

Drifting along the water

SUP adventure starting from Kaneohe Beach park to Coconut Island
– Moku o Loʻe – 

Week 1 & 2

January 31 – February 14, 2020

Kaneohe Bay

Week 3 & 4

February 14 – 27, 2020

Kailua Beach and Lanikai

Week 5

February 28 – March 5, 2020

A little island tour

My favorite pics