Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Big Island of Hawaii – University of Hawaii at Hilo

University of Hawaii -- Hilo

One of the real advantages to living on the east side of the Big Island is the University of Hawaii at Hilo.  I have been fortunate to lecture at the school the past two years teaching Introductory Business to some 40-60 students, depending on the semester, and a management class in Organizational Behavior to about 30-40 upper class men.

The students in my classes have been heavily represented by the Hawaiian Islands but also came from the mainland, Guam, Tonga, Samoa, Micronesia, Japan, Korea, the Philippines and Sweden.  And their overall attitude and approach to learning is excellent.

The University is composed of six Colleges, and has received recognition for numerous academic programs including its marine biology, volcanology, astronomy, Hawaiian language, pharmacy, agriculture, computer science, and nursing programs.

Its College of Hawaiian Language, Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani, is the only school in the United States to offer graduate degrees for study in an indigenous language.
And the University’s College of Pharmacy is the only approved pharmacy school by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) in the State of Hawaiʻi and the Pacific Islands.

According to one survey by U.S. News and World Reports the University of Hawaii-Hilo ranks in the top ten for having both the most ethnically diverse and the lowest percentage of students with debt at graduation.

Seeing this University up close almost daily made me wonder about its origins.  The school was originally founded as the Hawaiʻi Vocational College (Hawaiʻi College) and in 1947 it became as an extension division of UH Mānoa (the main University of Hawaii campus).

UH Hilo enrolled 1,600 students by 1986. And since 1998, the university has increased enrollment every year. The Fall 2011 headcount of 4,077 is the highest enrollment in the history of the campus and a 150% increase since 1986.

Its Center for the Performing Arts is home to the Hilo Symphony as well as offering a full program of entertainers this year from The Billy Cunliffe Trio to the Bad Boys of Dance to the play Hairspray.

The University of Hawaii at Hilo is truly the jewel in the crown for those fortunate to visit of live near Hawaii’s second biggest city.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Hilo “Luau” on the Island of Hawaii

A luau is a Hawaiian feast or party usually featuring food such as poi, kalua pig, poke, lomi salmon, opihi and haupia, along with beer (and rum drinks); and often entertainment, like Hawaiian music and hula.

On July 4th we had some friends over to watch the fireworks over Hilo Bay and decided to turn it into a mini-luau.  For something special, my wife Devany and I wanted to prepare a Cuban style roasted pig, something similar to kalua pig which we have had at several Hawaiian celebrations here.

The word kalua literally means "to cook in an underground oven" and also describes the flavor of food cooked in this manner, i.e., “kalua pig.”  Kalua is an ancient Hawaiian cooking method that uses an imu, or underground oven.

At a traditional luau, a fire using kiawe wood (a species of mesquite tree) is built in a sand or dirt pit (the imu).  It is about six feet long, four feet wide and three feet deep. Rocks are placed in the imu to retain cooking heat after the flames have burned down.  Once the rocks have become extremely hot, the hole is lined with vegetation such as banana leaves.
Imu Ready for Firing
The meat to be cooked (in this case a suckling pig) is salted, rubbed with herbs, stuffed with more hot rocks, and covered with ti and banana leaves.  To maintain even heating and to retain the meat's natural moisture, it is covered first with wet burlap, then with a layer of sand or soil.  The meat is then left to cook in the pit for six to seven hours.

Since we did not particularly feel like digging up our yard, we did perhaps the next best thing which was to use a pig roasting box purchased from “La Caja China”.  The La Caja China is a box designed to accommodate the roasting of a marinated whole pig, butterfly cut.  The pig is placed inside the box, and charcoal is placed on top of the lid to roast the meat inside.  After about five hours the pig is well roasted and tastes amazing.

We were able to buy the big from a local abattoir in Hilo not far from our house.  It probably weighed about 60 pounds (80 pounds live weight) and barely fit in the La Caja China.

Devany had marinated the pig in a solution of sour orange and garlic with spices for 24 hours before the day of its cooking.  She also injected the pig with more of the marinade just before the coals were started.  Her recipe for the (marinade) is as follows:

2 gallons of orange juice
1 quart of lime juice
1 cup of dried chopped oregano
¼ cup garlic salt
3 cups of chopped garlic
½ cup of cracked black pepper

At the "Luau"
The results were well enjoyed by all, and while not quite a real luau, it certainly was a great feast.  I’ll discuss some of the other gastric elements to a traditional luau in subsequent postings.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Golfing on the Island of Hawaii (the Big Island)

Golf is a great game, in fact I have been playing it since I was twelve years old, but on some days it can be less than exhilarating – like when you shoot your weight rather than your age (Bob Hope's quote).  But for those who love the game like I do, there are few places better to live or visit than the Big Island.

Fairmont Orchid Golf
We live on the windward/East side of Hawaii Island in Hilo. While the best golf resorts are on the island’s other side (see my earlier entry All Around the Island),  the nearby Hilo Municipal public course is quite challenging with its multiple elevated greens and lava creeks that come into play on about twelve holes (slope: 121).  The course is well maintained and playing pressure is about average.  And unbelievably, if you are a resident over 60 years of age the monthly green fees are only $24 for unlimited play.
Courses on West Side of BI (Google)
Within 45 minutes of our house are two other public courses, one in Volcano and the other in Waimea, plus a nine hole course in downtown Hilo near the oceanside.  Volcano Country Club is beautiful and located at about 4,200 feet you can get some really nice drives (slope: 124).  Waimea Country Club is challenging for the beginner given its gorse-like roughs that make finding errant balls almost impossible, but a lovely course (slope: 132 ).
Four Seasons Golf
Most of the serious golf action is located on the drier west side nearer Kona/Kiluea and the luxury golf resorts around Waikoloa Bay.  The only three that I have been lucky enough to play have been the Hapuna Golf Club, Big Island Country Club and the Waikoloa Village Golf Club.  All were magnificent.

The Big Island course was designed by Pete and Perry Dye and features an island green (slope: 136).  Unfortunately, as I recall, no one in my foursome avoided the water.
Big Island Country Club
The other eight courses that I hope to play one day (listed from Kona northward):

+  Kona Country Club – Mountain and Ocean Courses
+  Makalei Golf Club
+  Hualalai Golf Club (near Hawaii’s only five-star resort, the Four Seasons) – designed by Jack Nicklaus
+  Waikoloa Beach Resort – Beach Course (Robert Trent Jones designed) and Kings’ Course (Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish Scottish links-style )
+  Mauna Lani Resort – North and South Courses (the favorite of Hilo’s golf guru George at Golf Treasures) 
+  Mauna Kea Golf Course

George at Hilo Golf Treasures
Numerous golf course vacation packages are available.  And for more information on these and other golf courses on the Big Island, check out the following link: Big Island Golf.  And, most important, if you are in town and need someone to play, let me know!  All of the above courses are closer than two hours from our Hilo home.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Deep Blue Sea

I grew up vacationing and fishing on a lake near Dayton, Ohio (Grand Lake St. Mary’s) that was about nine miles long by three miles wide and had a depth of less than seven feet.  So you can imagine my disconnect now when looking out our backyard and seeing humpback whales swimming past and ocean going cruise vessels entering  the Hilo Harbor.

"Valentine" in Backyard
This led me to wonder just how deep the ocean was off of our lanai, which in turn led me to the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) site which was brought to my attention by a friend of mine in Marine Science at the University of Hawaii - Hilo:  http://www.nauticalchartsonline.

So the ocean seems to be about 14 feet deep near our cliff, then increasing to 25 feet in depth and quickly to 34 feet.  Beyond that the water becomes about 90 feet in depth which must be fine for humpback whales.  It seems that humpback whales seem to prefer "shallow/protected" waters and spend the majority of their lives in waters that are 300 feet or less, and in this case, considerably less  than 300 feet.
Credit: Devany Vickery-Davidson

From deep water on the north, there is a ship channel to the inner harbor edge to the wharves in Kuhio Bay. A Federal project provides for an entrance channel 35 feet deep and a harbor basin of the same depth in Kuhio Bay. Channel and basin are maintained at or near the project depth. www.NOAA

As you can see, our weekly Tuesday visitor, the “Pride of America,” has a draft of only 26 feet.
Humpback whales and the cruise ships seem to coexist peacefully.  We have even seen whales swimming next to the ship and “porpoising” in and out of the water next to the boat. 
Interestingly, the 20-fathom depth (120 feet) curve is seldom more than one mile from shore in Hawaii and usually not far from the coral reefs that fringe much of the island coastline. The bottom generally pitches off rapidly to great depths from a narrow coastal shelf. Under normal conditions the color of the water changes from a deep blue in the open ocean to a blue-green between the 10- and 15-fathom (60 feet to 90 feet) curves; and bottom features become visible at 6 to 7 fathoms (36 feet to 42 feet).  www.NOAA

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"Coco Palms"

I do not usually post about my office's real estate listings.  But this is a special situation.  The property is owned by a good friend --and some of the finished carpentry work on the home was done by another.  Plus I believe it represents an outstanding buying opportunity for the right purchaser.  And not only that, it is walking distance to an "almost secret" white sand beach.
Known as “Coco Palms,” it is located on 1.4 acres and is a planned twelve-unit Polynesian-styled residential complex zoned 'Hotel and Resort'.  Cantilevered over an ancient fishpond located in the center of the property is a completed thatch-roofed three bedroom, three bath model unit. The property has a total of twelve Condominium Property Regime ('CPR') units with plans included in the sale for the eleven additional units.

Located by the beaches in Keaukaha, just three miles east of downtown Hilo, the future potential uses for this property are many.  You could live in the model home and enjoy the large natural fishpond all by yourself.  Or build a few units -- or build all eleven. (Plans are included for eleven other homes similar to the model home.) They could be used for friends and family or for vacation rentals – or you could build them and sell them.  As the new owner you would control the density and the build out.

The model home is environmentally conscious with a solar hot water system. And, obvious attention-to-detail is evident.  Spanning the Oceanside length of the main living level is a spacious ten feet deep lanai with ceiling fans and a granite counter outside of a kitchen pass-through. Inside a great room opens to a gourmet kitchen with granite counters, a cooking island and bar, Koa veneer kitchen cabinets and top-of-the-line stainless steel appliances.
Call me if you would like to learn more.  Land ownership is fee-simple and its listing price is $995,000.  The Big Island real estate market is gradually starting to improve, so with low interest rates, now might be the time for you to invest in this very special place.

               Hilo Brokers, Ltd.
               400 Hualani Street, Suite 296
               Hilo, Hawaii 96720
               Office: 808.969.9400 x19
               Cell: 808.315.5760 (preferred)
               Fax: 808.969.7900