September 5, 2006

We’re less than 3 weeks away from our Hawaiian cruise, a perfect time for the last installment in this series to find out the latest goings on in the one-time Sandwich Islands:

* This seems like an interesting program for kids, given the location.

* Judging from the shore excursions available to us during our cruise, volcano and lava viewing are obviously big Hawaiian tourist attractions. This story caught my eye – especially the latter part:

One of the main destinations is the ocean entry at East Lae`apuki, where lava, traveling through a lava tube from Pu`u `O`o, pours into the ocean. After being closed to visitors for nearly a year, the coastal plain adjacent to the ocean entry was reopened in early June. Significant hazards related to lava bench collapses still exist, however, and the National Park Service has erected a rope barricade to keep visitors from approaching too closely.

In spite of the barricade, countless tourists over the last several weeks have chosen to tempt fate by crossing the rope line. A number of them even walked down onto the active bench itself by way of a steep, rocky ramp at the western edge. This ill-advised trip can no longer be repeated, however, because the bench at the base of the ramp no longer exists.

If you click on the picture associated with the article, you’ll see what they’re talking about – a big mutha-sized hunk of lava fell into the ocean, which is what the dotted lines represent. Now maybe it’s just me, but I’ve GOT to think the park people knew what they were doing when they put those ropes up. I’ll tell you this: they won’t have to worry about TGWS straying too far. I get it.

* News item from the University of Hawaii: “UH scientists help produce mice from sperm of dead mouse“. What, there’s a shortage of mice in the world? Couldn’t they be focusing this kind of technology on real shortages? Like, say – healthy starting pitchers for the Red Sox? (BTW, did you know the UH sports teams are called “the Vulcans”? Pretty cool, no? Sure beats “the Hulas”…)

* My friend Jerome will like this: Hawaiian and ukelele music all! the! time!. One listen, and he’ll be in Brudda Bu’s ukelele heaven.

* Seems like us mainlanders are not the only ones dealing with a general slowdown in the housing market – they’re feeling it on Oahu too. Or are they? You see, the headline that accompanies this story doesn’t really reflect what’s happening at all (see my bolded text, below):

Honolulu realtors sold about 100 fewer homes and 250 fewer condos in August 2006 compared to the same month a year ago, but the median price in both categories remained relatively stable, according to statistics released today by the Honolulu Board of Realtors. In sales volume, August home sales were down 22 percent from a year ago and condo sales were down 30 percent. Meanwhile, the median home price fell slightly to $635,000 in August, down 3.8 percent from $660,000 in July, and the median condo price fell to $305,000 from $329,000, representing a 7.3 percent month-to-month drop. …So far this year, the total number of sales is down 10.7 percent for single-family homes and 15.6 percent for condominiums compared to 2005. But the median prices are up 10.4 percent and 22 percent, respectively, over the same period.

If the median prices for houses in the Gilbert area were up 10.4 percent, I think a lot of people around here would be pretty pleased.

* Ever wonder what you’d get if you tried to use Mapquest to get driving directions from Gilbert, AZ to Honolulu, HI? I know, it’s stupid, but aren’t you at least curious? Well, here’s what you get. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, eh?

———————–

One final note: if you’re interesting in guest-blogging for The Great White Shank while I’m vacationing in Hawaii (Sept. 24 – Oct. 2), please let me know. It’s a perfect way to try this blogging thing out on your own, or get more exposure for your own site. And, the WordPress software is VERY easy to use. If interested, drop me a line at darichard@att.net.

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