Archive for the ‘Adventure’ Category

Despite growing up on Hawaii island (a.k.a. the Big Island), I’m continually amazed and inspired by its rawness and awesomeness. It is not only home to that famous national park with its erupting volcano, but also two national historical parks, a national historic site and a national historic trail, all featuring dazzling natural and cultural riches that share Hawaii’s story like nothing else.

This video feature above produced for Hawaiian Airlines Hawaiian Skies inflight entertainment provides some “chicken skin” stories about Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park, Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site, and Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historic Park. It does a great job highlighting what makes each place so special and worthy of a visit.

I hope you enjoy this piece as much as I do. I’m already planning to visit all five parks and trails again the next time I visit my parents on Hawaii island.

-NKG

I had the incredible opportunity of embarking on the USS Santa Fe Naval submarine as a distinguished guest this past Friday with social media friends Melissa Chang and Burt Lum. I’ll be posting more about the experience over the next week. However, thought I’d post some video (taken with my Canon Rebel EOS T1i) of us spending some time on the “Sail” as we cruised in waters off Oahu’s south shore. This was definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me. After crawling up the hatch, we stood on an area that seemed no bigger than 4′ x 5’…not very much space. Our harness was connected to a safety latch on the sub so in case we fell, we wouldn’t plunge into the Pacific Ocean. It was a beautiful day and and an amazing opportunity.  Truly one of the most incredible experiences I’ve had (another being on an overnight embark on the USS Nimitz last year). Check it out!

Be sure to read about Melissa’s experiences aboard the USS Santa Fe on her Urban Mix Plate blog. Bert is sharing his perspectives on his Bytemarks.org site. I also have photos that I took posted to my Flickr account. Enjoy!

-NGK

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When our zipline guides George and Luke joked about it being Joe’s (pictured above) third day up on the mountain strapping guests into their harnesses and sending them flying high through the West Maui mountains, it only made our group of 10 first time zippers that much more anxious. The additional jokes about how the trees below will soften the fall in the unlikely event of an accident only compounded the butterflies in my stomach. But truth be told, we were safe and in good hands and “greenhorn” Joe was an excellent guide. By the time the group reached the third zipline, my butterflies and fear of heights had vanished. Adrenaline had kicked in. This was also the case for the rest of the group.

Let’s get a couple things out of the way. I’m not the biggest fan of heights and I’ve never ziplined before. Kelly and her family did the ziplines at Kapalua Adventures earlier this year and had a lot of fun. So my visit to check out a new client Skyline Eco Adventures on Maui a couple weeks ago was one of great excitement and fear. I’d been told by owner Danny Boren and others that their line was one of the more “adventurous” ones on the island. “What the heck did that mean?” I thought to myself. I soon found out after committing to do both of Skyline’s courses – eight zips in Kaanapali in the morning, followed by five zips up on Haleakala in the afternoon – for a total of 13 incredible zipline crossings in one day. Here’s a few photos I took at both courses and a video highlighting some of the fun we had.

As they say, go hard or go home, so I made the most my time on Maui. The three-hour Kaanapali Skyline Adventure course winds its way down Mount Kahalawai over verdant valleys at a leisurely pace with spectacular views of West Maui and Lanai. This would prove to be a great way to start the day. The eight ziplines progressively get longer and faster starting at about 350 feet and ending at over 1,100 feet. But the most exciting and unexpected thing about the experience was the harness system Skyline uses. You’re literally strapped in at you waist and given the freedom to control how you twist and turn down the line by steering with the carabiner.

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No two zips are alike…I went down a few straight, sideways, and backwards…which added to the thrill and excitement. The entire group had a great time and gave the tour 20 thumbs up. I documented my Kaanapali adventure on Twitter with commentary and photos which you can find here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

With my adrenaline still going, I jumped in my rental car and booked it up to the Hakeakala Skyline Tour for another five zips just after noon. This tour was much shorter at one and a half hours and featured a much tighter course in cooler mountain conditions. If you’ve been upcountry on Haleakala, you know the air is much crisper up there. The lines aren’t nearly as long as the Kaanapali course with the longest at just over 750 feet, but the thrill and excitement was just as intense. About a dozen of us took to the course. For most it was their first time. For a handful they had come back to do it again with friends.

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The first four lines prepare you for what was my favorite zipline of the day…the fifth and final run that you saw in the video above. Talk about WOW! Perched high above the final destination, this line featured quite a drop and a boomerang effect for extra excitement. You go pretty fast on this line too (someone said up to 50 miles a hour). As the ladies rushed off the platform, some of the men in the group (including yours truly) had a sudden rush of butterflies in our stomachs again. But when all was said and done, we all made it, enjoyed it, and left wanting more! Again, I documented this Haleakala adventure on Twitter here, here, here, here, here, and here.

So there you go. If you want to overcome your fear of heights while enjoying some serious adventure, consider a zipline tour. It worked for me. Hawaii’s got plenty of them on Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii’s Big Island. They’re all different in their own way so be sure to do your research before you book. Some have you seated in a swing type seat going straight down the line, while others give you the freedom to maneuver around. Whatever you chose, be sure to bring your camera and take lots of photos. The views are priceless.

And before saying aloha, I leave you with some helpful zipline tips from my friend Sheila Beal who authors the GoVisitHawaii.com blog. She had the opportunity to zip on Kauai and provides some great reminders about being in Hawaii’s great outdoors.

Happy ziplining!

-NGK

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This is the final video of my three part series showcasing the fun we had aboard the USS Nimitz. In this video, we explore the flight deck from back to front, visit the ship’s nurse to find out about medical capabilities, and visit a Magazine Room to learn about weapons. Truly an experience I’ll never forget.

-NGK

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Apologize for the delay in posting part 2 of my overnight embark on the USS Nimitz (@USS_Nimitz). Work has been pretty busy lately launching new tourism campaigns on the west coast.

But I’m a man of my word and glad to share with you this next installment of our overnight fun at sea. In this video, we check into “Hotel Nimitz”, explore the hangar, spend time in flight operations, witness insane nighttime landings on the carrier, and take a special “after hours” tour with MC1 David Mercil to visit the anchor room and other cool places.

I hope you enjoy this sneek peek of Navy life at sea. I’ll have the 3rd and final video up soon.

-NGK

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I hate to sound like a broken record, but I have to say once more that my experience aboard the USS Nimitz was incredible. As promised, I’m sharing the first of three videos that showcases some of the more interesting and exciting parts of our overnight embark.

In this video, we depart Hickam Airforce Base on a C-2A Greyhound (aka COD or Carrier Onboard Delivery aircraft) and head to the USS Nimitz. Once we landed, we were briefed and headed to the Bridge to watch the F18 Hornets land on the ship and watch flight deck operations from up above. We then headed to the flight deck to watch these amazing aircraft takeoff and land.

It’s an experience I’ll never forget. After we “boltered” (or missed all arresting cables on landing) on our first try, I finally experienced an arrested landing on the carrier. The only way I can describe it is like someone pushing on your entire body as hard as they can for 3 seconds. What a feeling! Spending time on the Bridge was surreal. Talking to the men and women in control of the ship, watching planes land, and observing deck operations was a lot of fun.

But being on the flight deck, standing 20 yards from a fighter jet, and watching it take off right before my eyes has to take the cake. The powerful smell of jet fuel, the deafening roar of the engines, and the heat coming off the deck was overwhelming.  Then, to witness the accuracy in which the pilots land these $80 million jets on a moving target was awesome.

I hope you enjoy this video. There’s two more to come, so stay tuned. I’ll continue my tour of the USS Nimitz into the library and hangar, check into “Hotel Nimitz,” and much more.

-NGK

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Group photo with Admiral Miller following our one-hour briefing.

As mentioned in my previous post, I had the chance to meet Rear Admiral John W. Miller, commander of the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group 11. He spent an hour with our group talking in great depth and candidly about the role of the Navy and its purpose today in defending our country and ensuring the freedoms we enjoy. I found the conversation so informative and interesting that I hit record on my FlipMino and recorded. Instead of me trying to explain in writing what was shared with us, I’ll let you hear it straight from the source.

In the videos below, Admiral Miller defends the relevance of and need for the U.S. Navy, discusses why no solider or marine has been killed in an air strike in 57 year, how the role of the Navy is changing and its overall mission, and why China’s emergence as a military power is potentially good for the United States and global economy.

We begin with a tough question posed by one of our group members – Is the U.S. Navy really necessary? As I soon found out, the answer is “hell yes.”

In my next USS Nimitz post, I’ll share video of the cool and interesting stuff we saw. Flying to the carrier in the COD and takeoffs/landings on the flight deck. In the meantime, my fellow embark bloggers have been keeping busy sharing their experiences. Be sure to check out their sites too.

Burt Lum —-> Bytemarks
Roxanne Darling / Shane Robinson —-> Beach Walks With Rox
Melissa Chang —-> Urban Mix Plate

-NGK

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