Monthly Archives: January 2015

Ka’au Crater Hike on Oahu

This hike isn’t for beginners!  But WOW is it BEAUTIFUL!  This is for the adventurous, well rounded lovers of the challenge, and people whose bodies are conditioned for many inclines/declines and climbing.  If you are as mentioned, you’re going to LOVE this hike!  Nestled deep in the Palolo Valley, you’ll find the trail-head, BUT it’s hidden.  There’s no sign that says “Trail Head Here”.  So how do you get there?

Take Waialae Ave to 10th st, Take 10th st into the valley away from the H1, then make a right onto Waimao Rd.  You’ll know you’re going the right way when you pass by the MuRyangSa Buddhist Temple on your right.  You can’t miss it.  It’s beautiful.  Follow Waimao Rd all the way to the end of the pavement.  When you reach the end you’ll see a set of mail boxes &  a make shift car port on your left, and a gravel area on the right side.  If you can, parallel park in the gravel area.

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The trail head is behind the mail boxes and it’s almost like entering the dark forest.  Haha.  As soon as you enter, there’s a rocky climb down with a rope.  So you know this trail means business.  Follow the pink ribbons.  When you get to the top of the 3rd waterfall you’ll see the crater.  From here you can head back and feel that you had a great hike or you can continue on for the ridge hike and the summit.  NOTE: There is a return trail! Take a left at the top of the waterfalls and after a short distance you’ll see the return trail on your left.  If you decide to hike the crater go counterclockwise around the ridge!  You’ll have a better day.

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Tips:  Go earlier in the morning!  Easier to park and the hike can range anywhere from 4-6 hours. Don’t go while it’s raining.  It hadn’t rained for a while and it was still muddy and wet.  We’re avid hikers and we hiked entirely around the crater and the entire hike took us a total of 5 hours.

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Distance: Round Trip from the top of the waterfalls – 3.7 miles  Round Trip from the Summit of the crater – 5 miles.  Hiking entirely around the crater – not positive, approximately 6  (The hike feels longer than the mentioned distance due to the ups and downs as well as the climbing involved)

Elevation: Over 2,000 ft.

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What to Expect: Rocky + muddy = slippery areas (You will get muddy) Crossing the stream many times.  (You will get wet) Narrow trail areas along steep hills Steep rocky areas where you will need to use the rope provided to climb up/down 3 amazing waterfalls (NOTE: To continue on & get to the top of the 1st you must climb ropes on your left before the short trail that leads you to the base of it.  On the 3rd waterfall you will be using a series of ropes to climb up and traverse across it.) One of the best views on the island once you reach the summit of the crater!!

What to Bring: Sunscreen Bug Spray Bathing Suit (if you want to swim in the waterfall pools) Gloves (if you want extra grip) Good hiking shoes (that you don’t mind getting muddy/wet) 2-3 liters of water per person. Pants (if you decide to hike the crater / your legs will get nicely scratched up by the dry brush surrounding the trail)

Written by Johann Moguel

Employment Opportunities: January 2015

CDL Driver Training Program (Oahu, Maui) Interested in a new career? PolyAd is offering a CDL Driver Training Program. Get your CDL permit on your own, have an acceptable driver history and driver abstract, pass a PUC physical, have a clear criminal abstract and be able to pass a pre-employment drug test. PolyAd will pay you as you train, training takes 2-3 weeks.

CDL-B DRIVERS (Full-Time, Part-Time Oahu, Kona, Kauai) We are looking for full-time and part-time Drivers with CDL B licenses with passenger and air-brake endorsements to drive our fleet of motor coach vehicles. Applicants must provide their Driver Abstract and History Record.

MECHANIC (Full-Time Maui, Kauai) We have an exciting opportunity for a full-time Mechanic in Maui to assist in the inspection, service, and repair of the Company’s fleet of vehicles. They diagnose vehicle problems quickly, replace or repair faulty parts, perform routine maintenance, and restore each vehicle to its precise factory specifications. Qualified candidates should have at least three years of experience working in an automotive repair shop or related field. ASE/ICAR certification or Certificate of Completion from an accredited technical school is preferred. CDL B License and possession of own tools also preferred.

BASE DISPATCHER (Part-Time Maui) Come work for the company that provides the finest tour and charter bus service in the islands! Polynesian Adventure Tours is looking for a part-time Base Dispatcher to assist in our fleet operations. Some of the job duties include (but are not limited to) assigning vehicle units daily to our drivers, route management, updating tour information accurately, and reporting problems immediately to management. One year of customer service, administration, dispatch, and/or hospitality experience is required. Qualified applicants must be flexible to work as the station operates between 3:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. seven days a week, possess excellent communication and computer skills, and be able to multi-task in a fast-paced environment.

FIELD DISPATCHERS (Part-Time Oahu) Polynesian Adventure Tours is looking for quality individuals to join our field dispatch team. These positions are on a part-time basis. Applicants must be able to pass federal background security checks to access airport and harbor facilities. Strong communication skills, the ability to multi-task and maintain focus in a fast-paced work environment are essential. Exceptional customer service skills and teamwork are also requirements for this position. Applicants must be flexible as they are expected to work less than 20 hours a week in which shifts include early mornings and late evenings, weekends and holidays.

JAPANESE-ENGLISH SPEAKING ON BOARD AMBASSADOR (Part-Time) Polynesian Adventure Tours has an exciting opportunity for a full-time and part-time Japanese-English speaking on-board Ambassador to work on an ongoing private Charter. The Polynesian Adventure Tours Ambassador provides a superior level of customer service to passengers while ensuring their safety and well-being. The ideal candidate will be outgoing, a team player who enjoys the outdoors, meeting different people and is excited to share Hawaii’s beauty with our customers.

Be a part of the best tour and transportation team on Hawaii! We offer competitive salaries, advancement opportunities and a wide range of attractive benefits. Comprehensive medical, dental and vision plans are part of our benefits. We offer a 401(k) with a generous company match! Paid training, paid vacation after one year, and cruise discounts are also offered to all our ohana. Our corporate office is located at 2880 Kilihau Street, Honolulu HI 96819. You may apply in person at any of our facilities during regular business hours or email your resume with salary requirements to the Human Resources Manager here!

Download application in a Microsoft Word Document. Download Driver application in Microsoft Word Document. If you wish to mail the application to our Human Resources office please send it to 2880 Kilihau Street, Honolulu, Hawaii 96819.

Wild Pets on Hawaii

Most of the natural surroundings you see in Hawaii, plant and animal life, were introduced to the islands rather than being native.  Seriously, you point at it, and someone with knowledge will tell you, “oh, that plant is originally from so-and-so country”.

A nerd at heart, I geek out to seeing two types of lizards out here in the wild.  Both being introduced to the islands by the pet trade.  The Jackson Chameleon & the Gold Dust Day Gecko.  I’ll save you the pain of having to read their scientific names.  For all you lizard enthusiasts out there, you already know how spectacular these lizards look, but for the rest of you, you’ll most likely be blown away at the color and decoration these little guys display IF you’re lucky to spot one.

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The Gold Dust Day Gecko.  Originally from Madagascar is ordained in a beautiful display of bright colors.  Green, Red, Yellow, and Blue.  These guys that grow to a length of 4 to 5 inches can be easily confused with The Giant Day Gecko, also from Madagascar, which can grow up to 12 inches long.  Primarily due to similar coloration.  When they are the same size, the best way I’ve noticed to tell them a part is their tail and how many red stripes they have on their head.  The Gold Dust has 3 red stripes on its head with a more stubby rounded tail while the Giant has a specific red stripe from snout to eye with a more long pointy tail.  Both are active during the day and I have yet to see the Giant Day Gecko, but here are pics of a fully grown Gold Dust on a car in my driveway.  He wasn’t shy.  Probably trying to sell insurance.  Knee slap!

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The Jackson Chameleon.  Originally from East Africa and probably the coolest looking of all the Chameleons due to the male’s small scale impression of one of our favorite dinosaurs, the Triceratops.  And as you know, these guys can change color based on their surroundings and/or mood.  Not to mention how funny it is each of their eyes can point in different directions and during feeding time their tongue can extend about the length of their body!  I still haven’t seen one in the wild, but asking locals, they’ll tell you they see them all the time and are easily caught.  Although, as pets, they need lots of care.  They are a fragile species of lizard.

Written by Johann Moguel

A Scenic Inner Island Trail for Everyone!

Looking for that beautiful well manicured trail that’s kid, elderly, and pet friendly?  Try the Kanealole & Maunalaha Loop located in the Makiki Valley.  Head up Makiki Heights Dr and turn onto the dead end street where the Hawaii Nature Center is located.  All along that street is side street parking or, if you can find a spot, there is a small parking lot on the left.  After parking, walk to the end of the street, and you’ll see this.

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Head to your right and walk past the bathroom area.  You’ll see the Kanealole & Maunalaha Loop trail head.  When you get to the fork, head left for an easier hike, head right if you want the heavier incline.  Keep in mind the loop isn’t difficult.  There are some muddy rooted spots especially after rain.

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Overall, expect a wide well manicured trail full of scenic rain forest with several bridges over streams and rain run off.  You’ll see ginger plants, strawberry guava trees, banana trees, and magnificent Banyan trees.  The trail is busy with people and pets, but it’s wide enough so that it doesn’t feel clustered.  Definitely a place to take a stroll and calm the senses.  If you feel you want some rigorous exercise, it is jog friendly as well, just be careful when it’s gets muddy.

Written by Johann Moguel

The Warmest Waters on Oahu

Located in between Kahe Point Beach Park and Tracks Beach Park is Hawaiian Electric Beach Park.  Also known as E-Beach, this place offers the warmest waters on Oahu due to it being right across the street from a power plant.  Haha, it may sound bad, but it’s not.  Known as one of the snorkeling “hot-spots”, pun intended, the power plant emits clean warm water from a large pipeline just off the beach which just happens to attract a lot of fish.  Fish that love to play in the warm water current.

Bring your snorkeling gear and head on out from either Kahe Point Beach or E-Beach.  You’ll find all the coral structures you can handle in one day.  The quickest way to the pipeline is to get in from Kahe Point and swim straight out approximately 100-150 yard.  You’ll come upon this large rectangular structure completely covered  in coral.  The first time I saw it, I thought of it as a small sunken ship.  Then we swam to the other side and suddenly you feel the water temperature change and fish playing in the strong current shooting out of it.  Go have some fun and see if you can enjoy the warm waters!

 Written by Johann Moguel

Aloha Tower

Today Aloha Tower is one of the most recognized buildings in Hawaii and ranks with Diamond Head as one of the most popular landmarks. It is easily recognizable along the waterfront area of Honolulu. Aloha Tower was completed back in 1926 at a cost of $190,000 and was the largest structure in Hawaii at that time. Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Coast Guard ordered the USCG Cutter Taney to take up defensive positions to keep the tower from being taken over and occupied. A little known fact is throughout the remainder of world war II the tower was repainted camouflage so it would be able to “disappear” during the night.

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Aloha tower stands a massive 184 feet tall with an additional 40 feet for its flag mast, it also boasts an observation deck on the tenth floor. Aloha Tower is located on Pier 9 at the waterfront and can be seen as a welcome beacon to vessels entering the City and County of Honolulu, just like the Statue of Liberty stands at Ellis Island. It was originally constructed as a lighthouse, and was attached to three warehouse buildings, one on each side. Today  Aloha Tower stands alone as a proud symbol of Honolulu’s new waterfront.

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Even today, Aloha tower continues to act as the Harbor Master’s traffic control center. The Hawaii Maritime Center was opened near aloha tower in 1982, in order to benefit Hawaii’s commercial trade industry that was based at Honolulu Harbor. Aloha tower is owned by the state of Hawaii and is listed on both the State and National Register of Historic Places.

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The observation deck that is located on the tenth floor is open to the public and is free to access. Once you make your way up to the deck, vast sweeping views of Honolulu are available. There are even signs that help point out various landmarks that you are able to see from this area. The observation deck is open from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm. I would highly recommend that you take the time to visit Aloha Tower and take advantage of the sweeping vistas, and take photos so you will be able to share with your family and friends. On New Year’s Eve Aloha Tower is the site of an amazing firework display each year.

Written by James Bredeson

Kapiolani Park

One of the most prominent parks on the island of Oahu, and is very popular among tourists and residents alike. Queen Kapiolani Park, which is commonly referred to as Kapiolani Park is located near Waikiki and Diamond Head. Kapiolani park is the largest and the oldest public park in Hawaii. The park was granted from royal lands and was the first public space on Oahu. This park is always busy and is a beautiful place to participate in any number of activities. Its convenient location makes it a perfect place to meet up with family and friends.

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The park got its name from the queen consort of King Kalakaua, Queen Kapiolani. Kapiolani park is a 300 acre open air park. As the park continues south it becomes Kapiolani Beach Park which is right next to Kuhio Beach and Waikiki Beach. The park is also a natural division between the Waikiki and Diamond Head neighborhoods. The park is also home to the Honolulu Zoo, and the Waikiki Shell. The area was originally a mix of swamp land and a dry plain that was not deemed suitable for building. King Kalakaua was trying to find an area for a horse racing course in the 1870′s and since Waikiki was popular with the wealthy racing fans he decided on the dry plain at the foot of Diamond Head where the park stands today. The park was dedicated on June 11, 1877 as the first public space on Oahu.

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The Kapiolani Park Association was a group of businessmen, including Scotsman Archibald Cleghorn, that convinced King Kalakaua to allow them to have a 30 year lease for $1 a year. Archibald Cleghorn was a Hawaiian citizen that married into Hawaiian Royalty and was later Vice President and President of the Kapiolani Park Association. He was responsible for planning the parks landscaping including the massive and majestic Ironwood trees. The money needed was raised by selling $50 shares of the association, in turn shareholders could then lease beachfront lots near the park. By the 1880′s many shareholders had built cottages on their lease space. The Honolulu Cricket Club received their lease in 1893 and many top cricket players from San Francisco’s California Cricket Association then played for some of the local teams. According to the Guinness Book of Records it is now the oldest sporting club in the Pacific, and the only cricket club in Hawaii.

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Upon the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, many of the cottages were privately owned. Most were later returned to the city or condemned. The land was then given over to the Republic of Hawaii, and was governed by the Honolulu Park Commission. Legislation was passed that set the land aside permanently as a free park and recreation grounds. Sale or lease of the was strictly forbidden as charging an entry fee to the park. Since 1913 the park has been maintained by the Parks and Recreation Department of the City and County of Honolulu. The park has a large open green spaces, lily ponds, tennis and basketball courts, softball, baseball, lacrosse, soccer and rugby fields, as well as an archery range. Each year it is also host to many international rugby and lacrosse tournaments. The park is also a favorite for joggers who use its 2 mile circumference, and is also the start and finish point of road races in Honolulu including the Honolulu Marathon.

Written by James Bredeson

Scuba Diving Halona Cove on Oahu

This scuba diving sight isn’t for beginners.  It’s for divers who are certified and strong swimmers as there are strong currents and the deepest you go is around 60 feet.  Let alone entering the water from the cove beach can prove difficult depending on the tide.  It’s a tiny cove which means the waves can come in strong and out strong, and if you’re not careful, can throw you into a side rock wall.

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Once you enter, swim straight out, and then head right following the rock wall.  Twenty feet will soon turn into 60 feet and that’s where you start seeing huge coral rock structures full of sea life.  Floating through what feels like a gorge surrounded by tall cliffs we saw several octopus, green sea turtles, moray eels, frog fish, and a banded coral shrimp among many large schools of fish of course.  Be careful of the frog fish, those puppies are poisonous!  We were hoping to see a shark or two, but weren’t lucky this time.

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Can you see the Frog Fish?  They blend in well.

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Written by Johann Moguel

Tropical Hike on Oahu

Weighing in at 4.2 miles round trip from the Manoa Falls parking lot, the Aihualama Trail is that tropical trail you’ve always wanted to hike.  Full of bamboo forests, extremely large banyon and guava trees, you get your fill of what Oahu is like inland away from the beach.  Close to Honolulu, the trek to the falls from the parking lot is pretty simple.  At the falls you’ll see a sign on your left pointing to the Aihualama.

As soon as you begin, you’ll realize that the trail is full of rocks, boulders, and muddy areas.  So, it would be wise to wear some decent hiking shoes/clothes that you’re not afraid to get mud on.  Especially after a rain.  Oh, and step wisely on those rocks as they can get slippery!

There is a lot of beauty to be seen as you’re surrounded by tropical vegetation.  The highlight for me was spotting guava trees.  This tree’s bark is a smooth reddish brown so they can be easily spotted among other trees.  From there you will usually see round yellow plum to apple sized fruit on the ground.  Safe to eat, make sure they’re not soft or rotted out and you’ll be able to pull them open with your fingers.  So good.  Just don’t try to eat the green ones as they are not ripe.

After you’ve hiked all the way to the top for scenic views of the valley and made it back to the falls, it wouldn’t hurt to take a dip in the pool under the waterfall.  I certainly did and it felt phenomenal!  Understand that there are signs warning you that there’s a chance for falling rocks.  So enter at your own risk.

Written by Johann Moguel

Dole Pineapple Plantation

One of the most recognizable symbols of Hawaii is the pineapple. While you are visiting our little tropical paradise you have the chance to visit the famous Dole pineapple plantation. The Dole pineapple plantation is located near Wahiawa on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. You can find it on your way to or from the North Shore, and it makes a perfect place to stop and relax while sightseeing. You can visit the country store and perhaps sample some pineapple ice cream, or try your luck in the hedge maze.

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James Drummond Dole made his way to Hawaii in 1899 shortly after graduating Harvard with degrees in Agriculture and Business. He purchased 61 acres in 1900 that was located in historic Wahiawa and subsequently established the first plantation of his agricultural empire. James Dole had a unique vision at the time, that there would be a huge market for pineapples outside of Hawaii. The techniques and technology to make that vision a reality had recently been perfected. The ability to can food had been around for decades, but the new methods that were discovered made it the best way to keep it fresh over long distances. The first Dole Cannery was opened in 1901 in Wahiawa, and was later moved to Honolulu in order to be closer to the labor pool, shipping ports and supplies. In order to keep up with the demand for canned pineapples James Dole bought the island of Lana’i and transformed it into the the largest pineapple plantation in the world. The island of Lana’i supplied 75% of the worlds pineapples for almost 70 years.

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The Dole plantation in Wahiawa now offers a fully narrated rustic train ride through working agricultural lands and is home to the world’s largest hedge maze. The country store has many souvenirs and sweet treats to take back home with you to your loved ones. This is one spot that everyone should check out while sightseeing in Hawaii.

Written by  James Bredeson