OpenRoad Television - Episode 102

We thank our partner-sponsors of OpenRoad with Doug McConnell, Kaiser Permanente , East Bay Regional Park District and Lake County, California for making the series possible.   

 -- Doug McConnell


I hope you enjoyed our recent broadcast journey to the Big Island of Hawaii, the remote Hawaiian Island of Midway, and our listing of top 10 Hawaiian beaches.   I love all the islands and the water around them and always feel good just looking at pictures of them.  But though we always do our best to capture the magic of the place, we can never quite do it.   You've just got to go and see for yourself.  Problem is, you'll probably have a tough time heading back home.

My first trip there was in 1976.   I was living in Alaska, and one winter I flew almost exactly due south from Anchorage to Honolulu.   As I got off the plane and walked down the staircase to the tarmac, and as the warm and gentle breeze carried the fragrance of flowers, I fell instantly and completely head-over-heels in love with it all.  It was sensuous and romantic and I vowed to return as often as possible.  It's a vow I did not break.

In those days, living in Alaska, it was cheap to get to Hawaii.  Western Airlines, long-defunct, had a special "Triangle Rate" for people flying roundtrip from Anchorage to San Francisco.   For only $25 extra, we could fly back to Anchorage through Honolulu.  That added about 3,000 or more miles to the journey, and left a pretty huge carbon footprint, but I couldn't stop myself from going.  Even if I only had a few hours to get off the plane and go body-surfing on Waikiki before heading back to Alaska, I'd do it.  I was addicted.

Over the years, personally and professionally, I've had the great good pleasure of exploring all the major islands many times.  Getting to Midway, as we did in the show, was a new and special treat.  I never tire of the islands and their incredible geographic, natural and cultural diversity and rich human history.  

In moments of personal transition, I've often gone to the islands to celebrate or heal.   When my father passed away unexpectedly in 1988, my wife, Kathy, put me on a plane to the Big Island.   I camped at a State Park and spent virtually every day all day snorkeling up and down the  Kohola and Kona coasts.  I love to scuba dive, but I didn't want to worry about technologies and down time.  I just wanted to be embraced by the water and watch the coral and the fish. I wanted to lose myself in time and space and my own disorganized thoughts.  It was just the life of the sea and the sound of my breathing and the gradual acceptance of my dad's death.  It was meditative and peaceful and I can remember almost every instant of it all these years later; fond memories that always bring my father to life for me.  I had never been to Hawaii with him, but he's always there with me.    

We'll have much more about Hawaii on our Public Television show in the weeks ahead.   We already have more here on the website.   And please send us your stories and ideas, too.   We'd love to post them and give everyone ideas about where to go and what to do and how to enjoy these gems of the Pacific.

Meantime, we've got links here to follow if you want to know more about what you saw in the show and if you want to join the efforts of conservation groups to protect the rich natural and historic heritage of the islands.  As impressive as they are, clawing themselves up from the depths of the ocean to the edge of outer space, in a constant state of dramatic birth and geologically swift decay, the Hawaiian Islands are delicate rafts on a vast and lonely sea.  Nature clings to them and needs our protection. And the cultural traditions of the past need to be honored in the present and nurtured in the 21st Century as well.   We encourage you to do what you can.   

One change on Midway: the service projects shown in our story are no longer active  but educational natural history trips and other research and service projects are once again being offered.   

Today, Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge is part of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, designated in 2006 to further protect the resources of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.  The refuge is still managed by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge first opened to visitors in August 1996, and in cooperation with the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Oceanic Society served as a cooperator to operate educational and participatory research programs at Midway.  In 2002, the Refuge was closed to the public until 2008 when the Fish and Wildlife Service announced the re-opening of Midway Atoll NWR for public visitation.  Oceanic Society was the first public group to return to Midway and once again is offering guided natural history trips and select service programs to the Refuge.  Anyone wishing to visit Midway Atoll must apply for a permit from the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument months in advance of their intended visit,  or travel with an organization such as the Oceanic Society who already holds the necessary permit.

The Big Island of Hawaii.  The remote island of Midway.  And our favorite beahes on all the Hawaian islands. 
Hawaii's Big Mystery

Find a legend almost lost in the wilds and hike to the heated summit of ...

Maui's Mountaintop Moonscape
Climb into the saddle and explore the unearthly landscape of Maui's lan...
Hawaii's Ocean After Dark
Mystery, majesty, manta rays (and a little mugging) in the nighttime sea....
Hawaii's Waipio Valley
See why Hawaiian royalty revered the fertile Waipio Valley on the Big Islan...
Honolulu's Landmark Volcano

Explore famous Diamond Head from the inside up, through history to grand...

Kauai's Garden of Delights
Take a quick look at the Garden Island's many treasures....
Lanai's Lovely Land and Seascapes
Explore the gentle wonders of Lanai where the crowds are few, the pace is s...
Oahu's Honolulu
Hawaii's legendary entertainer Do Ho introduces us to Waikiki's leg...
Earth Justice
Hawaii Conservation Alliance
Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bur...
Hawaii Volcanoes ~ NPS
Midway Atoll National Wildlife R...
Mt. Tamalpais State Park
Oceanic Society
USGS ~ Hawaiian Volcano Observat...

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