Star Date:  February 2013
Hawaii - The Big Island


Hello Dear Family & Friends!

"Aloha E Komo Mai"

(Hello! Welcome.  Hawaiian)




"There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
(Albert Einstein)


Hawaii, a land of mystery and miracles.  These unique, remote islands in the middle of the Pacific ocean offer a true taste of paradise to all who end up on their shore.  Returning for our annual "Vacation from our vacation" as Joseph calls it, is a highlight of each year.  Spending time with family and friends, making more warm memories to carry with us around the world, is a true gift. Getting here is often a long trip from some far reaching corner of the globe and it is good to just relax and unwind in the warm loving arms of our beloved Hawaii and the chic, tropical apartment in Mariah & Shane's new home.

This visit was truly full of miracles, the main one being able to help at the home birth of Kaimana Mann, son of lovely Mother Mariah and great Dad Shane, brother of 3 year old Kayla.  Every morning started with a tap, tap on our door as Kayla yelled, "Tutu? Grampy? Want to play ?"  We had fun playing with this cute little ball of energy.  She certainly reminded us to lighten up & stay young.  Next year there will be more hiding, reading gardening and playing as Kaimana tries to keep up with his sister.  Kayla joined us visiting her soul mate, Great Grandma Gami, in her Hale in Honokaa.  With 86 years difference in age, they connect on a different level, on a level of life that few take the time to experience and enjoy.  It was always a trip full of tea parties, beaming Gami, painting our nails with gold sparkles, dancing and painting pictures; and our friends the 'llamas in pajamas' and miniature horses in the green rolling pastures of Waimea along the way.  Visits to see my Mom, Gami, road trips around the island, meals and outings with family and time shared with dear friends kept us busy for the 2 months awaiting Kaimana's arrival.  Did I say we were resting in Hawaii?  Well maybe more refreshing ourselves!

Uncle Kevin, had this year returned to the Big Island, where he was raised, and embarked on his very successful new career in Real Estate.  He seems to have found his niche, using his people skills to help happy clients find a home and settle in Paradise.  He is happy to be so close to family.  Much better to share dinner, hiking and beach outings than face the winters of Colorado.  One of his night jobs to make ends meet in Hawaii (the price of living in expensive Paradise), led to yet another mystery in the vibrant water off of Kona.

Mantas.  These mysterious, gentle giants grow to over 20 feet in length and weigh up to 1500 pounds.  They lack the dangerous stinging spike on their tail of the deadly sting ray but look quite ominous as they feed on plankton and small fish strained through their gaping mouths.  Working on a Blue Sea Cruises boat, Son Kevin invited us to join him on a Manta Night Snorkel.  The manta ray night snorkel was voted "one of the top 10 things to do in your life" by the Travel Channel!  Now I know why.  Going out on the rough seas, enveloped in the pitch black night certainly pushed my envelope.  The cold swells were totally forgotten as these colossal creatures attracted by the boats lights, performed a ballet; swooping back and forth, gliding within inches of the awe struck onlookers wearing only a snorkel and wetsuit.  The cold water was my only problem and I had to return to the boat to regain some body heat.  After experiencing this amazing encounter, the heat of the moment wasn't even extinguished by the cold rinse off before heading back into shore.  Kevin, being raised in Hawaii, was as at home in the ocean as on shore.

When living in Hawaii it is common to have incredible experiences outdoors and with creatures of the ocean.  Daughter Mariah, also at one with the ocean, went out with myself, Kayla and our friend Star to swim with dolphins.  At 9 months pregnant it was a fun experience as the dolphins, attracted by the double heart beat, came close for a good look at Mom to Be and no doubt have a talk with Kaimana, floating just a couple feet away.  The swell was starting to rise but we were caught in yet another other worldly Hawaiian moment.  On the way back into shore I will never forget a wave crashing on the rocks, splashing 4 stories high, and as the water receded the boat was momentarily perched precariously on the edge of the next 4 story high wave looking down to the rocks below.  We were in suspended animation as the Universe decided our fate.  Our clever captain floored it and rode the wave across towards the harbor entrance and soon we were snuggled into the safe little cove, still buzzing with excitement.

While swimming, boogie boarding, surfing, snorkeling and paddling outrigger canoes in the water surrounding Hawaii we have encountered many marine animals and fish (including a rare shark) and have many tales to tell.  Hawaii may be expensive but the best activities are outdoors and free; compliments of Mother Nature.  One such memorable outing Joseph & I were kayaking in Kiholo Bay in search of whales who come to birth their babies yearly.  We didn't have long to wait as 3 headed right towards us.  I yelled, "What do we do?"  Joseph replied, "Just keep heading straight."  We played an exhilarating game of chicken with these creatures the size of buses, now quickly bearing down on us.  At the last moment two of the whales veered on either side of our small kayak and the middle guy, as curious of us as we are of them, rolled over on his side and not 6 feet below the kayak was an enormous eyeball looking up at us.  We waved and continued on.  Later we jumped off the kayak and swam down to enter their realm, an underwater world full of astonishing singing and aquatic sounds. 

When we paddled back to shore we shared whale stories and our friend told us how he had promised a mainland friend that if he went kayaking it would be totally safe amongst these gentle giants.  To the horror of his land loving friend from California, one of the curious whales had surprised them under their kayaks and actually lifted his friend's kayak up out of the water on his back for an instant before he submerged!

With daughter Mariah's 35th birthday Dec 24th, Kayla's 3rd on Dec 25th, Christmas, Kevin's 30th Feb 2nd and now Kaimana's pop out day Feb 5th it was a time of non stop celebration!  We sprung Gami loose once again from her excellent care home to be immersed in the festivities, putting a bed right in the living room next to the tree.  We cooked, baked traditional Croatian 'povatitsa' bread, danced, sang, exchanged presents and had a real loving family time.

A pleasant surprise visit from a friend, Barb, in British Columbia found us exploring with Kevin's red 4x4 jeep to inaccessible Makleavena Beach.  This is still one of the most beautiful beaches in the world!  Sometimes you have to work hard to enjoy the rewards.  In Hawaii "Life is a Beach!"

Jump into the flow of life and ride it.  Another miracle or is it an 'ordinary'?  It all started one day as someone burst through our hotel room door in China, shocked to see us inside.  We spent over 6 weeks on a remote beach on Hainan Island escaping the icy fingers of winter during our 14.5 months in China. (see 2006).  Our new friend for life, Jianashe, a Qi gong master who had been looking for a place to move his retreat, apologized profusely and invited us to visit his Qi gong center a mile down the beach.  We shared a lively Chinese New Years celebration with hundreds of fireworks along the beach and I learned and practiced Qi gong for the next 3 weeks.  I also helped them with English and to set up a webpage, then making contacts with like minded energy workers worldwide.  This was one secret that needed sharing!

We corresponded monthly over the next 7 years.  A large group from New Zealand loved his center and spread the word.  Jianshe had wanted to travel and share the East with the West.  Seven years later he had not only been granted a much coveted passport but had taught and visited in 9 European countries.
While in Guatemala an excitement filled email arrived - "I am going to America"- not an easy achievement with more visas being denied than given.  So many times I have had foreign friends excitedly tell me they were going to visit the U.S. but it often doesn't work out as they attended a conference in San Francisco and we were in Hawaii.  What state I responded?  Hawaii.  When?  In January - just when we were there rather than off in Africa!  Which Island (a big concern with it costing $150 to fly between islands)?  The Big Island - our island!  Where?  Hawi - only 2 hours north of Kona.  The joyous day arrived and we spent the afternoon with our dear earth, sky, sunshine mind friend, Jianshe.  Qi-hugs dear friend.  What are the odds?  The Universe opens up yet again!


And so it goes.........................................Next flying back to Guatemala, to feed our addiction as market junkies!   Until then Keep Smiling and remember to slow down and notice the miracles of life around us.  Jump into the flow of life and connect right now.  Pause and remember.  Give Thanks for 2 seconds.  It's that easy.  We are glad you stopped by.  Thanks for keeping in touch.  After over 6 weeks with little outside chance for emails it was wonderful to return to an inbox full of well wishes!   Take care!



Love, Light & Laughter, 

xoxoox  Nancy & Joseph

See Joseph's interesting new article on the Origin of the Shaka on our homepage or click here.




Travel notes:

$1.00US = a little less each year!

Big Island of Hawaii:

 A NEW highly recommended, tropical apartment in Kailua Kona, HI, just minutes from the ocean and town.  Only $59/night in this top vacation spot is hard believe (discount for longer stays).  We had written that Hawaii, our home, was really expensive but not so with www.airbnb.  Make your plans now for an affordable vacation in Paradise 4 Less.


Interested in real estate in Hawaii?  Let hardworking, professional Kevin find the right place for you!

Kevin Walmsley - Realtor®,(S)

Connect on Facebook / Connect on LinkedIn


For a fascinating and inexpensive look "Under" Hawaii email
Ric or Rose at: for directions.

For a manta experience of a lifetime contact:   Phone # is: 808.331.8875


The Big Island of Hawaii is exactly that - BIG.  We have tried to highlight a few more of the spectacular beaches, hikes and drives to keep you busy while visiting.  Where else can you go swimming in the warm water and rest on a hot beach in the morning , drive up to 14,000 ft and throw a snowball in the afternoon and watch the sunset over a river of orange lava flowing into the ocean?  An island of diversity and true beauty.  (for more see Feb 2012).

Perfect Drives......................


Photos by Stephen and Donna O’ Meara; © Tanguy de Saint


One of the most popular drives on Hawaii Island is the stretch of Highway 11 from the old sugar plantation town of Keaau to lovely Volcano Village on the outskirts of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. How many places on Earth can you drive right to the edge of a live, fiery, erupting volcano? Not many. But here on the Big Island of Hawaii, there are several spots where you can drive up and experience nature at its fieriest.

Perhaps as a reflection of its popularity, more and more bed-and-breakfast operations have opened in the area, along the scenic drive known as the Volcano Heritage Corridor. Look for the brown and white signs along the highway, which indicate areas of historical interest.

Along the way, sights and points of interest include historic Keaau (with the modern conveniences of Keaau Village Market), an old coffee mill, a winery, nature preserves and several art venues featuring the marvelous creations of resident artists. For years, the mana (miraculous power) and legends of the Volcano region have been a source of inspiration for some of the Islands’ finest artists, including painters, woodblock printers, photographers and sculptors. You, too, may be inspired by the Heritage Corridor, one of several on this big, Big Island.

The entrance to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is just off of Highway 11, located 26 miles from Hilo, a 45-minute to one-hour drive. The admission fee is $10 for each private vehicle, which is good for seven days (not transferrable). Just beyond the park’s entrance, spend time at the Kilauea Visitor Center, where an introductory film and displays provide an excellent introduction to region. Current eruption news is also available here.

Visitors with limited time head straight for the Crater Rim Drive around the impressive Kilauea Caldera, which has been erupting almost continuously since 1983. Currently, the caldera is spewing giant clouds of sulfur dioxide, so the southern flank has been closed indefinitely. Still, several hours can be devoted to exploring all the sights along the northern portion of the road, including short hikes to Thurston Lava Tube, Devastation Trail and the Halemaumau Crater Lookout.  Also save time to visit the fascinating Thomas A. Jaggar Museum, featuring excellent information about volcanology. The museum is also a good spot from which to view Halemaumau’s fuming vent, especially after sunset when the massive pit glows red with fire.

For those with no time constraints, continue toward the coastline on the scenic Chain of Craters Road, which follows past lava flows from the heights of Kilauea down to the sea. At the point where the Chain of Craters Road begins to descend, there is a magnificent view of the coastline, and you can see plumes of steam whenever molten lava spills into the ocean. The road descends 3,700 feet in 20 miles, ending near the coastline where a lava flow cut off all access nearly 10 years ago. Except for restrooms and a shaded pavilion with picnic benches at the lookout on Chain of Craters Road, there are no other public facilities, so be sure you have adequate water, snacks and a full tank of gas.

Kilauea’s East Rift Zone eruption, which began in 1983, is the longest continuous rift-zone eruption in written history. Kilauea, which means “much sprewing,” is the world’s most active volcano. Volcanic activity, including oozing streams of magma spilling into the ocean, is always changing. Daily reports are posted at the visitor center for those who hope to view the dramatic nighttime sight of fiery lava meeting the sea, and the towering steam plumes it creates. Certain precautions must be taken for any hike into this area. The National Park Service has a four-minute video entitled, “Plan for Safe Viewing of Lava Flows.”

On your return to the park’s entrance, save time to visit the charming Volcano Art Center Gallery, which makes its home in the original Volcano House Hotel, built in 1877.  Just outside the park, Kipuka Puaulu Bird Park is a lovely side trip, and it’s free. Take Mauna Loa Road to the park entrance, which is located a short drive off Highway 11. In this vast area of volcanic activity, the park features a forest of koa trees that have escaped centuries of eruptions, with a wealth of bird life that make this oasis its home.

For the latest updates on eruption news, call the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park at 985-6000.




The Hamakua district is famous for its elevated coastline, once covered with vast fields of sugar cane, which are today being replaced by a variety of new diversified crops, including world-class coffee and colorful tropical plants. The fascinating heritage of the early plantation days is still evident in towns like Honokaa and Laupahoehoe, where a tiny museum transports you back in time. Rugged gulches spanned by old railroad bridges dot this wetter windward side of the island, a vibrant green jungle fed by streams and waterfalls flowing down the sides of 13,796-foot Mauna Kea, the highest point in the Hawaiian Islands.

Heading north from Hilo, keep an eye on the right for signs that lead to the lovely 4-mile scenic drive through Onomea, along a curving coastline draped in tropical jungle. Along the way, make time for a visit to Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. The garden of delights was created by Dan Lutkenhouse, who dreamed of making his Onomea rain forest accessible to folks who have never experienced the beauty of a flower-filled wonderland. A wooden walkway leads to coral footpaths down by the sea, where waves crash into the jagged lava coast of the pristine little bay. Admission is charged.

At the tiny town of Honomu, turn inland to Akaka Falls State Park, one of the most popular natural wonders along this coastline. A short, self-guided walk (less than half a mile) through the jungle of bamboo and towering tropical trees leads to two overlooks, one offering a view of the 442-foot Akaka Falls and the other to the 400-foot Kahuna Falls. Akaka Falls gets the more prominent billing because Kahuna Falls is off in the distance from a lookout along the pathway, whereas it seems you can almost reach out and touch Akaka Falls from its lookout. Parking is $5 for nonresidents. Restrooms and picnic benches are located at the trail’s headway, on the edge of the paved parking lot.

Other favorites in this area include World Botanical Gardens and Umauma Falls. Like Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, World Botanical Gardens was the dream of a man in love with nature and crazy about plants. Walt Wagner, a former Oahu high school teacher and botany major, got together a hui (partnership) to finance his dream, a phylogenetically (by family relationship) arranged series of gardens. “This is the northernmost continuously flowing river on the Big Island,” Wagner explains, “and this is what Akaka Falls would have looked like a million years ago,” before it evolved from a series of falls into a single falls.

Another side trip off Highway 19, in the direction of the sea, leads to the tiny peninsula of Laupahoehoe. This is one of the most scenic places along the vast Hamakua coastline, an outcropping of flat land surrounded by cliffs on one side and jagged black lava on the seaside. Years ago, the area was populated by a community of fishermen and farmers, who grew taro on the terraces below the cliffs. Tragically, an April Fools Day tsunami, which devastated both Hilo and Laupahoehoe, killing 20 students and four teachers who were at the peninsula on April 1, 1946. Miraculously, two children and one teacher survived.

Today, the community has moved to higher ground, but the peninsula is still a popular site from which fishermen launch their boats, and where residents come to the shoreline for picnics and to pay their respects at the memorial that commemorates the tragic loss of life here more than half a century ago.

In recent years, even more devastating tsunami have taken their toll on communities in Asia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, commanding an international call for more technically advanced warning systems. To learn more about Laupahoehoe and the phenomenon of destructive tsunami, stop into Hilo’s world-famous Pacific Tsunami Museum, located at 130 Kamehameha Ave., or visit

Near the town of Laupahoehoe, at the 25-mile marker, take time to visit the fascinating Laupahoehoe Train Museum, dedicated to preserving the area’s plantation heritage and the history of the Hilo Railroad, which operated from 1899 until the 1946 tsunami, when giant waves caused irreparable damage to the tracks.

There’s more to explore: the three seaside gulches, including Kaawalii and Maulua. Serious explorers can reserve a cabin at Kalopa Native Forest State Park and Recreation Area, or just stop by for an open-air picnic within the arboretum of native plants. This is one of the most scenic drives in the world, filled with magnificent views, spectacular waterfalls and a jungle of tropical flowers.

Take time to explore quaint Honokaa, a sleepy plantation town with some amazing little stores and restaurants that will take you back to the 1950s. For many years, Honokaa was famous for its macadamia nut orchards, an industry that flourished into the 1990s.

At Honokaa, follow Highway 240 to Kukuihaele and beyond to the spectacular Waipio Valley Lookout, the highlight of any drive along the Hamakua Coast. At the 800-foot-high grassy lookout, you can enjoy a picnic or snacks, while gazing down on the lush valley, its scenic black sand beach and the taro farms that dot the landscape. The hazardous, narrow road into the valley is navigable only by four-wheel-drive vehicles.

Compliments of
















The power of the ocean!


Mantas, gentle giants of the sea, have wing spans of over 20 feet
and weigh up to 1500 lbs.  The manta ray night snorkel was voted
"one of the top 10 things to do in your life" by the Travel Channel!
Now I know why. (photo - see below)


Snorkeling provides an up close look at the
magical world below.


Curious dolphins only feet away, coming by for a closer look .


A graceful sea turtle.


One of our local beaches.


These turtles spent the day lazing in the sand near us.


A graceful hula dancer.  Hula is part of every social event in Hawaii.


Unique tropical flowers are everywhere.


Kumu blesses the new classrooms at Kona Pacific School,
where Mariah works.


Hawaii has a unique Polynesian heritage
and language & culture is woven into
every day life.


Music and the ukulele are part
of the proud Hawaiian culture, that
fortunately is being preserved.


A friendly Jackson chameleon from a tree in Dan's yard.


Two days after our arrival Kayla and I started the organic garden.


(see the garden behind - everything,
 including baby was growing fast!)


The baby shower was full of friends and family.


Enjoying all the festivities.  It's great to be around
so many loving people.


Proud Mom, sister Kayla, Tutu and Grampy.
Kaimana was 5 hours old.


Four days old at his family
'birth day' party.  Already
a bright soul!


Kayla, 3 years old, is lively, fun and full of spirit!


She reminds us to Keep Young,
Live Young.
 Never be too old to roll down a hill.
  (We forgot how dizzy you get!)


"Let's hide - Lots!  Come find me!"


Shane and Kevin were finishing putting in a wooden floor.
Not wanting to disturb the fallen princess these "McIvers"
improvised and Kayla slept right through the pounding.


Bubbles are always fun.  We watered the garden together
every morning.  If she wanted to get sprayed her clothes
 would disappear and she would run by "naked butt-butt"!


Happy 35th birthday, Mariah!


4 generations on Christmas and Kayla's 3rd birthday.


Christmas dinner complete with turkey (vegan: tofu &
mushrooms) gravy, stuffing, cranberries, mashed
potatoes, British oven baked vegetables, salad, vegetables,
pumpkin pie and Croatian povatitsa (poppy seed filled
 braided bread).  Then we rolled over to the couch to open


A rainbow over Mauna Loa, 14,000 ft active volcano.


Llamas in pajamas!


Miniature horse.  Nice to have something your own size.
Just part of our quest through Waimea and on to
Honokaa to see Gami.


Painting outside on the lanai - in the middle of winter.
She misses Son Paul and friends but my Mom doesn't miss
Wisconsin's winters.


A drive around the island was always an adventure.  Taking
over 12 hours to drive 3/4 around, this BIG island has 21 out of
22 climate zones.


Our dear friend and Qi-gong Master, Jianshe, All the
way from China!  Just part of the 'way opening'.
Sunshine mind and Qi-hugs.


Colorful paintings abound, this one on an old wooden fence.


Old Town Hilo.


One of our favorite health food stores.  The organic produce
 reminds us of markets in far off lands.



Joseph body surfing a large wave at Kahena Beach in Puna.


Sunday afternoon drumming circle at Kahena Beach.


Long time friends from Puna, Star and Michael.
They open their home to us so that we can visit the
other side of the island.


We spent a delicious evening with friends, Rick and Rose,
 near South Point.  Great food and company (Thai food
followed by chocolate red wine) as we caught up on the
last 5 years.  Here we are in their Kula Kai Caverns.  For
something different in Hawaii explore a mysterious,
 miles long lavatube. (see below)


Makalawena Beach is still one of the most beautiful beaches
in the world.  This is where we backpacked in, then after he
finished surfing Bob married us 12 years ago.


Our friend Bob (who married us), still surfing in his
mid 70's.  Life is Good in Hawaii!


Off on a night Manta Snorkel, with Kevin.


Kevin's photo of one of the underwater manta


Glad they only eat plankton, especially when we are within
inches of them wrapped only in awe, a wetsuit and a snorkel.


Our friend Barb with a Samoan Chief!
She surprised us with a
visit from B.C.

We helped Kevin celebrate his 30th birthday.  Kayla in her
'princess party dress', a strawberry rhubarb crisp with candles,
friends, family and lots of smiles.


Did I say lots of smiles?  Kayla and Gami.
 These soul mates are 86 years apart
but connected in the Now.


The latest edition - Kaimana!




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