Where are you from?!

Pristine waters, breath-taking vistas, magnificent ocean creatures and warm people; it’s no wonder that Hawaii plays host to visitors from around the world!

One of the enriching aspects of working the Kona-Kohala coast, is that Kona is a popular destination so I have the wonderful opportunity to meet and engage with many of these national and international guests.

Just in the past week, I’ve had guests from Dubai, Canada, Japan, France, and Zimbabwe…  They all have questions like; “What’s a must do activity, while here?”, “Which restaurants have the best poke?”, and “What is a good beach for small children?”.  I give them some insight, and they’re thankful, but what most excites me is hearing about their perspective and culture.  Through our conversations and their stories, It’s kind of like the world coming to me!  Last month, I spent a day with a wonderful family visiting from Serbia.  They generously and passionately shared about the history of their country; Bosnian War, the dissolution of Yugoslavia and also the modern-day characteristics of the Serbian people and culture.  I enjoyed my time with them, while taking them to various Big Island locations such as South Point and Papakolea Beach (Popularly known as Green Sand Beach).

A lovely couple from Dubai expressed to me how much they were enjoying the sights and weather, here, on Hawaii Island. “It is simply beautiful here.” the wife said as if recalling the details of a dream.  I responded “Yes, it is.  I feel blessed each and every morning.”, I replied.  From the videos and photos, I’ve seen, Dubai is also beautiful.”, I continued.  “Yes, but Hawaii Island is the opposite of Dubai.”, the husband said.  “How so?”, I asked.  “As beautiful as Dubai is, it is all man-made… artificial.  Hawaii Island is mostly natural. You know?… Natural beauty.“, his wife added.  “Yes, that is a good point.” I said with a smile.  We went on to have an interesting conversation about renewable energy and Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City.  I love this stuff Haha!

On  my website, and the Facebook page, there is a considerable amount of traffic from around the planet.  The website stats indicate the following countries as the top five visitors of my page:

1. United States
USA

2. Japan
Japan Flag

3. Canada
Canadian Flag

4. India
Indian Flag

5. Australia
Australians Enjoy Visiting Hawaii

Where are you reading this post from?  Please, rep your city and country in the comment section below!

When you finally make it to Hawaii Island (or return ;D), make sure you give me a shout!

I hope to see you in the Kona Sun! Peace!

 

Time For Change?

 

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Happy New Year!
A New Year is always a good time to “start a fresh”, re-invent yourself, begin again…
The calendar year represents a new cycle for many things, why not jump on that wave of change and ride that momentum to your advantage!

I’ve noticed an interesting trend over the past few months, with some of my guests.  There seems to be an increasing number of people asking about the average cost of homes, and land on Hawaii Island.  I know that Hawaii has a way of making people feel like their visit is always too short.
I tell them “There are a few factors, but between 200k and a few million.”.  Appearing encouraged, some couples begin lightheartedly planning out how they would make their move to the Big Island.

Hawaii Island does not only seem to be an attractive option for international and continental U.S. visitors, but for the residence of the neighboring Islands as well.  With real estate prices on Oahu sky-rocketing, the lure of, relatively, inexpensive properties and land being offered on the Island of Hawaii, it most likely continue to be a growing destination.

Although the 2018 Hawaii County census data has not been released yet, the rate of growth in 2017 was 1.1%, braking the 200,000 mark.   If the increased talk and curiosity is any indicator, that number is sure to increase in the upcoming years.

Do you need to change your location? How about your job?, Perhaps just your attitude?  Whatever it may be, don’t be afraid, and go for it!

Hawaii hotel MLB

Mauna Lani Closes On Oct 1st!

A buzz topic amongst tourism industry personnel has been the forthcoming closing of The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows. In less than a month, October 1st, 2018 the hotel will close its doors.

MLB Mauna Lani entrance
Atrium at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel

Officially purchased last August by DiamondHead Land (a partnership between California based ProspectHill Group and Patrick Fitzgerald). The new owners have carefully assessed the property and have announced the plans for a 100 million dollar make-over. The renovations are expected to take 12 to 14 months to complete. “We are honored to carry on the legacy of the Mauna Lani – hailed as an unparalleled destination and frequently cited as a model of thoughtful stewardship – and bring it into a vibrant new era,”, said Mr. Fitzgerald in a statement. “We are confident we can build on the Mauna Lani’s reputation as a world-class resort to offer even greater value to our cherished guests.”  Mauna Lani is also steward of the ancient Hawai’ian  Kalahuipua‘a royal fish ponds.

Mauna Lani Bay Back Lawn
Mauna Lani Bay

Although the 400 workers of the hotel will have to find another source of income, while the renovations take place, the new owners have vowed to assist them with finding employment and to bring them all back when the hotel reopens. I truly hope so. For a great deal of those workers, Mana Lani has been their second home for 20-30 years. guests who’ve been coming for years have developed relationships with many of the staff members.

Foot bridge over water at MLB

Ocean front pool MLB
Pool Time at Mauna Lani

With great change, trepidation and anxiety is expected.  Let’s hope that the changes turn out to be good for all involved; the workers, the guests, the new owners, as well as the continuation of the ecological stewardship and historical preservation that Mauna Lani has been known for.



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Is The Coast Clear?!

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Is the coast clear?  For Kona, yes. For Hilo, not so much. Yes, Hurricane Lane, has been down graded to a cat 1 tropical storm, but the damage has been done.  Hawaii Islands’ East side experienced record breaking rainfall!

 

Hilo Bay map

The Waiakea Uka area of Hilo experienced a whopping 45.80 inches! Hilo International Airport (ITO) was soaked with 31.85 inches of rain.

The last 3 days have gone on record as the most rain Hilo has ever experienced in a three-day period. Wailuku river, overrun with rain, flooded Hilo’s Bayfront. The National Weather Service called the flooding “catastrophic.”.  Although Hurricane Lane has dumped the most rain that Hilo has ever seen, at 45.8 inches, the record for the most rainfall in the state, goes to Hurricane Hiki — drenching Kauai back in 1950 with 52 inches!

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More than 100 residence were forced to evacuate. 6 shelters, island wide, have been opened to assist those in need. To find out how you can support, contact the Hawaii State Chapter of the Red Cross (808) 734-2101.

Honu at Punaluu Beach

Kailua-Kona With D The Driver

The last blog I wrote was at the tail end of May. That was just before I took my trip back to the East Coast. It was on this visit when my laptop was stolen from my rental vehicle. Although I did not allow the theft to rob me of a good time visiting friends and family, it did impact, among other things, my ability to write my weekly blog. With a laptop, there’s freedom- Freedom to turn virtually any place into “my office”. Any of the beautiful beaches, parks, or cafés magically transform into places for me to manage accounts, do paperwork, communicate with clients, and consistently write my D The Driver Blog. A lot has gone down since I last shared.

The Volcano.
The breakout lava flow is still flowing- like a river, in fact! Fissure 8 has emerged as the dominant source of the lava activity. The Big Island is getting Bigger! For the latest maps and information, dealing with Kilauea and lava activity, please visit the USGA’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory site.
https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/multimedia_maps.html

Added a 12 passenger van service option.
Now, if you would like to apply my exemplary service to the delivery of your group, of up to 12, on an outing or retreat, I can take care of that!

12 Passenger Chevy Van

Absolute Ba;ance In Hawaii
Yoga Retreat Participants from Tokyo, Japan.

The cruise ships are back!
After the news coverage gave everyone a good fright, the cruise ships discontinued their stops to Hawaii Island’s Hilo and Kona ports.
When Norwegian Cruise Line announced it would be adding the ports back onto its Pride of America itinerary, here’s what they said:

“As we have always said, Hawaii is an incredible destination,” the cruise lines said. “We have visited its ports for well over a decade and we are very happy to be returning to Hilo and Kona. Please know that the safety and security of our guests and crew remains our first priority so we will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation.”

I had the privilege of driving a pleasant older couple from Fort Lauderdale, FL, last Tuesday. I picked them up at the pier. They told me that they wanted to drive around, see a few sites, and find themselves at a beachfront restaurant, for lunch. So we cruised South on Ali’I Drive, up to Keauhou Bay and the scenic lookout, and then we headed North to Hualalai Resort where they enjoyed a nice lunch at The Four Seasons’ Beachtree Restaurant, situated on the beach! Then, the final stop before returning to the pier- Kona Mountain Coffee- for some gifts. I returned them to the pier with a half hour to spare and big smiles on their faces. They thanked me for a wonderful afternoon and said “If you’re ever in the Fort Lauderdale area, give us a call.”. I just might do that. Haha!

With so many things to see and do on this wonderful island, what would you like to do or see?
Give me a shout, and we can work it out!

I hope to see you in the Kona Sunshine!

Hawaii Shores
D The Driver At Your Service!