[ ISLAND HOPPING ]
This year, you'll want to mark Feb. 14 on your calendar as "Whale-entine's Day" -- the date for Pacific Whale Foundation's Whale Day, Maui's largest celebration of humpback whales.
Maui crafters, environmental organizations and restaurant owners will be at Kalama Park in Kihei from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the annual event that draws 8,000 visitors and residents.
There will be food for purchase, a silent auction and all-day entertainment in this benefit to raise funds for marine education programs of the foundation and Ma'aleaea's Ocean Science Discovery Center.
One of the day's highlights is the Parade of Whales featuring musicians, dancers, and school, church and civic groups. This year's theme is "Nemo and Friends."
For information about Whale Day call 808-249-8811. To participate in the Whale Day craft fair, call 808-244-8394. For a restaurant booth, call 808-244-8381. To volunteer, call 808-244-8395.
Star-struck on Molokai
On the island of Molokai, the absence of city lights is a blessing for stargazers, and the Sheraton Molokai Lodge & Beach Village is playing up this advantage by introducing a Stargazing Program.
Barry Peckham, owner and founder of Litebox telescopes sets up his portable telescopes among the canvas bungalows of the hotel's Kaupoa Beach Village two weekends a month, sharing astronomical sights with hotel guests and dining patrons who want to see some of the sky's heavenly bodies in all their detail.
Against the backdrop of Molokai's dark sky, Peckham said, "The Milky Way looks like a slab of white marble with black veins running through it."
For more information about the program, call 1-800-325-3589. Accommodations at the Sheraton Molokai Lodge & Beach Village range from bungalow stays starting at $285 per night, to Hawaiian ranch-style lodging priced from $389 per night.