Sam’s Hawaiian Odyssey: Coral Reefs & Inner Peace


One thing I love about Philadelphia is the number of excellent parks, including the crowning jewel, Fairmount Park. Each Philly park is different, but they’re all above sea level! Not so for Hanauma Bay, one of Oahu’s most popular areas; it was declared a protected marine life area and underwater park in 1967.

Hanauma, meaning “Curved Bay,” is actually the crater of an ancient volcano, which flooded when the volcano’s exterior walls caved in. The bay features a large coral reef and attracts many snorkelers and scuba divers. The expansive sandy beach is also popular among sunbathers and picnickers and the many walking trails along the shore provide beautiful views.

As you can imagine, water features will be incorporated into the 2012 Flower Show in a major way. I don’t want to reveal all my secrets just yet, but I can tell you two things about the entrance exhibit: One, it’s focused on water. Two, it will blow you away!

Next I went to the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park. This site is the final resting place of thousands of Buddhist, Shinto, Protestant, and Catholic Hawaiians. The park’s vast, rolling green hills and natural amphitheatres of mountains overlook the ocean, providing an indescribable sense of peace and serenity.

The park is best known for the concrete replica of the 950-year-old Byodo-In Buddhist Temple of Equality, erected in 1968 to recognize the centennial anniversary of the immigration of the first Japanese to Hawaii. The Temple is seen several times in ABC’s popular television show, Lost. Surely you remember Sun and Jin’s wedding, right?

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