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Hawaii H2O!

All Things Water in the Rainbow State

Summer is coming soon with its many trips to the beach, and the activities that are a daily part of life here in Hawaii take front and center on our wonderful coastline. All around the islands Hawaii Vacationers and residents have so many options for water-related activities that it seemed a trip into town to the Blaisdell Center for the annual Hawaii Ocean Expo was due to see what is in store for the up and coming season of all things H2O.

Walking in and taking in all the displays in one swoop, I could see that this show had a little more (for my taste) going on for the sportsman than for the wahine (woman), with a boat show of sorts and a large area on ping, kayaking and fishing supplies. Highlighted was a large stage with weights to see who brought in the biggest fish from a yearly tournament sponsored by the exhibit. I missed getting to see the weighting of the winning Ulua, one of the top gaming fish in the Pacific. Being part of the jack family, they are big and a $4000 prize was given for the largest, which weighed in at 83 pounds. There was also a poke contest for anyone who had a special recipe and wanted to go up against not only the public as judges, but also celebrity judges in a blind taste test. Poke is big in Hawaii, new ways to enjoy it are big, and so were the prizes for the best, with long lines for taste testing to prove it.

Poke & sauce, & fish of the pacific for game and for print. I love the art of making a life size ink print of your catch, as done here and for t-shirts.

But back to boats… When I moved here from coastal NC, I was amazed to see how few recreational boaters there were here. On the windward side, kite boarding and kayaking are kings of the bays and the wind. I was surprised to see very few power boats. I dug into some interesting statistics. Hawaii has 750 miles of gorgeous turquoise oceanfront and only 15,000 registered boats for a population of 1.5 million.

Compare that to Idaho, a state with a similar total population and no coastline, but 88,000 boats. No way I can explain that. So I’m going to assume that Hawaii’s boats are more for the fishing business rather than recreation. But visitors to local marinas can find opportunities for either pleasure at their disposal. And as a side note, I rarely see personal watercraft off shore (jet skis) on the windward side, but know that they are a little more available in the Waikiki area and Hawaii Kai, but don’t seem to be as popular an activity as at other vacation destinations like Mexico or the Caribbean.

Kayaks and gorgeous handmade wood paddles. Locally produced Makau 23, designed by fisherman. And men!: the builder does “Diesel In A Day Hawaii” workshops/engine classes you can sign up to attend while your other half shops or whateva’ !.

I did have fun walking down the food aisle of the exhibit hall. Funny how if you go to North Shore to get Giovanni’s famous garlic shrimp, there will always be a line, and here was no exception for their booth. But other local foods were well represented and I discovered a locally-made sauce I’d not seen before that was amazingly good on fish and salad.

Of course surfing in Hawaii is king. But this show was almost devoid of any exhibitors for this sport. That was disappointing because there are so many shapers on the island that showcase new technology in the sport. But that just means I’ll be doing a separate blog on just surf boards in the future. So check back and think turquoise thoughts as you prepare for your next/first trip to paradise.

Video: Hawaii Ocean Expo

Posted by: Bruce Fisher on Apr 15, 2011