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  • Iolani PalaceIolani Palace Honolulu, Hawaii
    The Iolani Palace is located in the capitol district of downtown Honolulu, Hawaii and has become the only royal palace that is used as a official residence by a reigning monarch in the United States. It is also a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There were two monarchs that governed from the palace; King Kalakaua and Queen Lili'uokalani until the monarchy was finally overthrown in 1893. Then it became a capitol building for the provisional government, republic, territory and state of Hawaii until 1969 and was then used as museum in 1978. The building that sits on the ground today is the second palace to sit there; with the original being constructed during the reign of Kamehameha III and was a one story Greek revival structure made from coral block and was only a third of the floor size of the present palace. It was bought by Kamehameha III from Governor Mataio Kekuanaoa of O'ahu, who had constructed it for his daughter, Princess Victoria Kamamalu, Kamehameha III's niece, when he moved his capital from Lahaina to Honolulu in 1845. As were most of the traditional ail'i residences, there weren't any bedrooms, just throne room, reception room and state dining room. Other houses were built around the palace to serve as sleeping quarters, although Kamehameha III preferred the grass huts he put around the palace to sleep in. It was called Hale Ali'i that means the House of the Chiefs. Then, during Kamehameha V was the king, he changed its name to Iolani, which means royal hawk and was the royal residence during the reigns of Kamehameha IV and V, plus Lunalio and the beginning of Kalakaua's reign. It was a simple kind of home, more stately than palace, but at that time, it was the grandest place in the area. Kamehameha V was the first ruler to dream of a royal palace that befitted the ruler of a modern country like Hawaii and he commissioned the building of Ali'iolani Hale. It was built across the street from the Iolani and named after himself. During that period, the country really needed a government building, because those that were available were small and cramped. After a period of time, Ali'iolani Hale would become an administrative building instead of palace, that held the judiciary of the Kingdom of Hawaii and other ministries. When David Kalakaua took the throne, the original palace was in very poor condition and had terrible termite damage. He instructed the palace to be burned down. But he was the first ruler to travel around the globe, and when visiting those other monarchs noticed the grand and elaborate palaces that were residences to the other monarchs. He also dreamed of a grander palace to house the royal ruler of the country and commissioned a new palace to be constructed right across from Ali'iolani Hale and it would become the grand palace that was envisioned. It was finished in 1882 and cost $360,000 with electricity and telephones, even before the White House and became the official residence of the Hawaiian monarchy; until its overthrow in 1893.

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  • Rainbow Scuba HawaiiRainbow Scuba Hawaii Honolulu, Hawaii
    One of the most exciting venues that anyone could enjoy in Honolulu, Hawaii is the multitude of scuba diving spots around the many islands. One such company is Rainbow, which has various charters to take you around Honolulu and Oahu for many excellent diving experiences. They also help to get you certified in diving. Their charter boats will take you to various shipwrecks along the ocean floor, scuba along the many reefs or dive in the Hawaii sea turtles playground. They only take 4 people with each guide for safety reasons as well as making it all a little bit more personal. Their scuba diving lessons will help you to learn all about scuba diving, and the amazing fun that you can have doing it. Their certification classes cover the basic universally recognized PADI open water diver certification to the professional level PADI certification courses that you will be able to learn on your vacation. In Oahu, there are four areas that they will dive in; north shore, south shore, east shore and the west shore; with each one offering different experiences and the area is distinctly unique in its character and sights. In the Hawaii south shore, you will have the chance to dive into two of the most exhilarating ship wrecks in the area, going to the Kewalo Basin Harbor by van, which only is 10 minutes away. The Sea Tiger ship wreck is the deepest ship wreck by the island, sunk as an artificial reef in 1999, sitting in 122 feet of water, with an abundance of sea life and the boat itself is 189 feet long, so the dive is very exciting. The YO-257 and San Pedro ship wrecks are in the same site, with the YO being the more exciting. The San Pedro is 80 feet long and sits about 75 feet from the YO, which is 190 feet long. Here you can explore both ships to your heart's content. There are white-tip reef sharks, eagle rays and you can get your picture taken by those riding in the Atlantis sub; with maximum depth at 107 feet. On the Kewalo pipe reef is an easy enough dive and you might see the elusive dragon eel. Maximum depth here is 60 feet with an abundance of life swimming around in front of your eyes. Another is Nautical Reef, which is a horseshoe shaped reef that has a white-tip shark in residence there, as well as eels, butterfly fish, puffer fish and green turtles; with maximum depth at 30 feet. At Turtle Reef, there are so many green sea turtles swimming around here you could never count them all, as well as eels and cleaner wrasse. A very exciting way to spend your vacation or just a day or two of scuba diving in one of the finest areas in the world.

January 11, 2011