Fall began with rain on Oahu today; rain heavy enough to require an umbrella for the morning trip to work or school. By mid-morning, the sun had reappeared although light sprinkles and mist fell intermittently throughout the day. Although the temperature variations are slight, it is beginning to feel different from summer.

The ancient Hawaiians pided the year into summer and winter. Around October each year, a four-month period called Makahiki began. This was a time of ritual gatherings, games and relaxation when warfare was forbidden.

For those who enjoy surfing in Hawaii, this is the beginning of the seasonal shift from the south shore to the north shore. The fabled big waves are a product of the winter months. It is warm enough to surf or swim comfortably year-round in Hawaii. The ocean temperature remains around 80 degrees in October, dropping to “frigid” temps of 76 in January, February and March.

Those wonderful water temperatures are some of what attracts whales to Hawaii each winter. They are not quite due yet, usually arriving in November or December. The peak numbers are between January and early April. Six to eight thousand whales are expected to visit Hawaii this winter.

That’s nowhere near the number of human visitors who travel to Hawaii each year. More than seven million people take a Hawaii vacation annually. Now, however, is a seasonal lull. School has started and it is not yet time for winter holidays. On my trip to the beach this Sunday, I noticed that it seemed calmer. Fewer people, less activity. The pace is more leisurely, even by Hawaii standards.

If you can get away, now is a great time to visit Hawaii, it is my favorite time of year here. It’s a relaxing respite when the leaves remain green and the tinge of gold comes from the sun setting on the beach.

(And if you’d like to be here for the winter holidays, it’s time to get arrangements made!)


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