RIMS 2006 will be held later this month in Honolulu on the lovely island of Oahu. With any luck, you might find yourself with a free afternoon to take in the lush scenery or grab a bite to eat, such as a mixed-plate special--an island specialty. For a traditional way to soak up the island flavor, literally and figuratively, consider the Polynesian Cultural Center's Alii Luau, a traditional Hawaiian feast. You might even learn how to hula if you're not too full to wiggle your hips. But if you're looking for some alternatives to the standard tourist fare, here's a lively collection of ideas.
ALL OF THE ADVENTURE, BUT NONE OF THE RISK
Think of it as scuba diving without all that pesky equipment and training.
Aboard Atlantis Submarines, you'll get a rare glimpse of some of the most beautiful deep-sea life in the world--all without getting your clothes wet. The air-conditioned passenger subs dive into the ocean at depths down to 100 feet. You'll marvel at coral reefs, sunken ships and even wrecked airplanes. Every seat is a front-row seat onto a world filled with glorious multihued fish, as well as sharks, turtles, eels, and perhaps a whale or two.
Notes: Children under 36" will not be permitted aboard.
Atlantis Submaries, Hilton Hawaiian Village Pier, Honolulu; 888-349-7888
WE ASSUME NO LIABILITY IF YOU GET STARSTRUCK
Check out this sprawling natural playground in paradise.
Kualoa Ranch is noted for its breathtaking vistas, lush jungles and natural splendor, so it's easy to see why so many Hollywood directors have fallen head over heels in love with its 4,000-plus picturesque acres. Numerous movies and TV shows have been shot at Kualoa, including the risk-management-themed "Along Came Polly," "Jurassic Park," "Mighty Joe Young," "Pearl Harbor," "Tears of the Sun," "Windtalkers" and the TV drama "Lost." Many of these sets can still be explored--Kualoa offers a ranch and movie-set tour for all you silver-screen buffs who'd love to see a giant dinosaur footprint from the "Jurassic Park" set or the jungle battlegrounds of numerous war films, including a converted World War II bunker. Not big on movie trivia? Kualoa is still a great destination, offering horseback rides, ATV rides, a gun range, a jungle expedition tour, and a tropical flower, fruit and fish-pond tour. Or you can get away from it all and kayak over to Kualoa's Secret Island for a quiet beach retreat.
Kualoa Ranch & Activity Club, 49-560 Kamehameha Highway, Kaaawa; 800-231-7321
THE ONLY RISK MAY BE TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING
Get lost in paradise.
For an afternoon of fruit and fun, the Pineapple Garden Maze at Dole Plantation, officially recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records 2001 as the world's largest maze, is the way to go. Covering an area of more than 2 acres with a path length of 1.7 miles, it is made up of 11,400 colorful Hawaiian plants, including varieties of hibiscus, the official state flower. Dole Plantation's "Pineapple Experience" is actually more than just the maze. It's one of Hawaii's favorite visitor attractions--a great destination if you've brought the family, and still fun even if you haven't. Ride the Pineapple Express train, offering a 2-mile, 20-minute, fully narrated tour. You'll learn about the history of pineapple and agriculture in Hawaii, hear the fascinating story of James Dole and see some of the most beautiful scenery on the North Shore. Or maybe you'd rather take a walk through the beautiful Plantation Garden and learn of Hawaiian traditions and crafts. As you wander through the different gardens, you'll get an up-close view of a wide variety of crops being grown on the North Shore of Oahu. You'll also learn about the plantation villages and the contract laborers who came from all over the world to work in Hawaii's sugarcane and pineapple fields.
Notes: Open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily (maze closes at 5 p.m.)
Dole Plantation, 64-1550 Kamehameha Highway, Wahiawa; 808-621-8408
RISK MITIGATION, ISLAND-STYLE
Get to know the real Hawaii 5-0.
Retired Honolulu cop Eddie Croom is a history buff and--not surprisingly--a law-enforcement buff too. Combining those two hobbies is a labor of love for Croom, as curator of the Honolulu Police Department Law Enforcement Museum, tucked away in its own cozy corner of the Honolulu Police Department headquarters on Beretania Street. Croom isn't just the curator--he's the founder of the museum. He hatched the idea back in 1984. Over the decades, Croom has painstakingly gathered artifacts--archaic uniforms, historical photos, cockfighting equipment and exotic weapons. He has also researched the history of law enforcement in Hawaii, going back to the days when, if you violated a certain food "kapu" (taboo), you could be skinned alive as punishment. The museum has it all--famous local crimes are carefully documented, fallen heroes are remembered and there is something new to be learned at every turn. Did you know, for example, that surfing legend and Olympic swimmer Duke Kahanamoku was a sheriff for 20 years and ran the Honolulu jail? Or that the prototype for the fictional Charlie Chan was a 5'3" Honolulu police detective named Chang Apana, a former "paniolo" (cowboy) who carried a whip instead of a gun, and who once single-handedly arrested 60 men in a Chinatown gambling raid? To get the full effect, call ahead to schedule a guided tour with Croom, who is always happy to share his vast knowledge.
Honolulu Police Department Law Enforcement Museum, 801 South Beretania St., Honolulu; 808-529-3351
NOW THAT'S WHAT WE CALL FLOOD INSURANCE
A botany buff and shutterbug's delight, and a feast for all eyes.
Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden was designed and built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide flood protection for Kaneohe. Risk mitigation has never been so lovely. The park's name means "a place of peace and tranquility," and it is located along the dramatic Koolau mountain range in Kaneohe. The 400 acres are geographically laid out and represent tropical regions from around the world: the Philippines, Hawaii, Africa, Sri Lanka, India, Polynesia, Melanesia, Malaysia and tropical America. A network of trails helps visitors discover an abundance of endangered and rare plants. The collection includes more than 10,000 specimens. The park is also a recreational area and includes a 32-acre lake.
Notes: No swimming allowed.
Ho'omaluhia Botanical Gardens, 45-680 Luluku Road, Kaneohe; 808-233-7323
SPEAK LIKE A NATIVE (ALMOST)
If you speak French, Spanish or Italian, you're one up on learning Hawaiian. You know how to pronounce the vowels. Like speakers of those languages, the Hawaiians pronounce vowels "ah, eh, ee, oh, oo."
Hawaiian words can be intimidating because they sometimes appear fantastically long and composed entirely of k's and vowels. But rather than cross your eyes when you see "Kalaniana'ole," break it into parts and sound it out: Ka-la-nee-ah-na-oh-lay.
Hawaiian has only 13 letters: the five vowels and eight consonants (h, k, l, m, n, p, w and the 'okina, or glottal stop).
Some other rules:
* The "w" is sometimes heard as a "v" after "i," "e" and "a." Just go with the flow.
* When you see the same two vowels together, you ought to see an apostrophe, the "okina," between them. That tells you to break the breath, as in "oh-oh." So "Ka'a'awa" is pronounced ka-ah-ahva.
* You will never see two consonants together in the Hawaiian language.
* Besides the glotal stop, modern Hawaiian uses the macron, or "kahako," a line over certain vowels that lengthens the sound. So a kahako over the "a" makes the sound in "fall."
SOME HANDY HAWAI'IAN WORDS AND PHRASES
Aloha Kakahiaka -- Good morning
Aloha Ahiahi -- Good evening
Kala mai ia'u -- Excuse me
Mahalo -- Thank you
Ho'opa'a, 'inikua -- Insurance
Ho'opa'a waiwai -- Property insurance
Hui ho'opa'a -- Insurance company
Ho'opi'i, hihia -- Lawsuit
Poho, po'ino -- Damage
Kumulilo -- Loss
Ulia, pilikia -- Accident
Ulia ka'a -- Auto accident
Kahinali'i -- Tsunami
Wai halana, wai pi'i -- Flood
'Ola'i -- Earthquake
Hiki 'ole, kina -- Disability
Ku i ka hana hewa, kumu'ai'e -- Liability
koi poho, ho'opi'i poho -- Sue for damages
Maku'u, 'a'a, ho'a'o me ka nana 'ole -- Risk
FOR THOSE WHO RISKED IT ALL 65 YEARS AGO
Somber remembrance remains chillingly relevant in this age of conflict.
The USS Arizona Memorial is built over the remains of the sunken battleship USS Arizona, the final resting place for many of the 1,177 crewmen killed on December 7, 1941, when their ship was bombed by the Japanese naval forces. This loss of life represents more than half of the Americans killed on this "Day of Infamy," the worst naval disaster in American history. The site is managed by the National Park Service and consists of a shoreside visitor center, where the tours begin, and the memorial located in Pearl Harbor. The memorial is accessible only by the Park Service tour from the visitor center. The tour program consists of a brief introduction by a park ranger, Pearl Harbor survivor or volunteer. A 23-minute film on the history of the Pearl Harbor attack follows. After viewing the film, visitors board a Navy-operated launch for the memorial. The entire program takes 75 minutes. Wait times for the tour may exceed two hours, but an audio narrated by Ernest Borgnine can help keep you occupied, guiding you through the visitor center, museum exhibits and back-lawn exhibits.
Notes: Due to security concerns, no purses, handbags, fanny packs, backpacks, camera bags, diaper bags, luggage or other items that offer concealment are allowed in the visitor center or on the memorial. Strollers with pockets and compartments must be empty before being allowed in the visitor center. Baggage storage is available for a nominal fee.
USS Arizona Memorial, 1 Arizona Memorial Place, Honolulu; 808-422-2771
A CATASTROPHIC RISK IF YOU'VE BROUGHT A DATE
Save this one for after your meetings and sessions, please!
Ninniku-Ya absolutely has its own niche in Kaimuki's "Restaurant Row" and a rather unique claim to fame: It prepares all of its food--even desserts--with garlic. It's a little slice of heaven for true devotees of the so-called stinky bulb. Inside or out on the "lanai," enjoy garlic specialties like baked eggplant stuffed with sweet and spicy garlic, seared ahi with garlic, Chinese shrimp with garlic sauce and three-mushroom garlic pasta. For the even more daring garlic lover, Ninniku-Ya boasts an imaginative variety of garlicky desserts such as sorbet with garlic cream sauce and garlic gelato. Kaimuki is one of Honolulu's oldest bedroom communities and a short trip uphill.
Notes: Open 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday; 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday; reservations recommended.
Ninniku-Ya Garlic Restaurant, 3196 Waialae Ave., Kaimuki; 808-735-0784
TOO RISKY IF YOU FORGOT TO PACK YOUR HEART MEDICATION
You could always ask for a heart-to-heart with their risk manager first . . .
The Hawaii Shark Encounters experience is not for the faint of heart--or those with nervous conditions--although it's completely safe. On your shark encounter, you'll travel three miles out of Haleiwa Harbor, to the "shark grounds," where as many as 30 optimistic sharks show up once they hear the boat's engine approach. If you don't chicken out, you'll don a mask and snorkel and climb into a high-tech steel and Plexiglas cage for a nose-to-nose meeting with your new friends with the toothy grins. Most of the sharks are Galapagos and sandbar sharks, although you're also likely to meet tiger, hammerhead or gray reef sharks. As an added treat, dolphins often escort the boat out to the shark grounds and back. For you skeptics, Hawaii Shark Encounters guarantees an encounter, so there's no need to worry about the trip turning into a dud.
Notes: Advance reservations required.
Hawaii Shark Encounters, Haleiwa Boat Harbor, Haleiwa; 808-351-9373
TOP RISK: A BLOW TO YOUR EGO
Rule of thumb: Bring the same number of balls as your handicap.
Packed your clubs? Have we got a course for you! Nicknamed "The World's Most Challenging Golf Course," Ko'olau Golf Course is a 200-acre course carefully carved out of 1,500 acres of tropical rainforest on the windward side of the 2,000-foot Ko'olau Ridge mountain range. Even the locals talk about how tough this course is. Situated on eastern Oahu, the rugged landscape of this tropical jungle course uses ravines as the target for holes and boasts lush vegetation and huge sand bunkers. Ko'olau encompasses three distinct climate zones and features winding ravines and extreme elevation changes. Popular freelance golf journalist Tom Haynes once affectionately dubbed it "monster jungle golf," but he's not the only fan. Golf Magazine rated Ko'olau one of its "Top 100 Courses to Play" and Golf Digest named it the "No. 1 Golf Course in Oahu." FYI: The 18th hole (pictured) has two carries over a giant jungle ravine--both the drive and the approach. Sound daunting? Have no fear. If the course gets the best of you, the stunning surroundings will easily soften the blow, with gorgeous mountain views, cascading waterfalls, fairways surrounded by rainforest and breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.
Notes: Ko'olau is a par-72 course at 7,310 yards.
Ko'olau Golf Club, 45-550 Kionaole Rd., Kaneohe; 808-247-7088
April 1, 2006
Copyright 2006© LRP Publications