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Astounding Honolulu

Weird, strange and intriguing things you didn't know about our Islands.


(page 5 of 7)

Most Amazing Surf Rescue:

Bear with me here but I love this story. The most amazing surf rescue happened in 1993 when 26-year-old tourist Hugh Alexander was knocked off a 20-foot rock ledge near Yokohama Beach on the Waianae coast and was trapped in a sea cave known as a “moi hole” for more than two hours as it was pounded by 10 to 15 foot waves. Legendary waterman and lifeguard Brian Keaulana, dodging the giant waves, attempted to drive a Jet Ski with lifeguard Craig Davidson on a rescue sled up to the cave to rescue the man. But the vehicle ran onto a rock which pierced the hull, disabling it. Davidson swam out through the waves and was picked up by a rescue helicopter. Keaulana swam to shore, raced to his house in Makaha to get another Jet Ski. This time, with new partner Earl Bungo, they gunned the Jet Ski back into the boiling surf and managed to pluck Alexander from the mouth of the cave. But then a big wave knocked both Alexander and Bungo from the sled and against the rocks. Keaulana, putting his own life on the line again, charged back into the watery mêlée, putting the Jet Ski between the men and rocks. Once the two were back on board, Keaulana shot the Jet Ski seaward, just as a new set of large waves came rolling in. Keaulana got an award from the U.S. Lifesaving Association in San Diego for the rescue. Amazing. (From the book, Rescue In Paradise, by David Doyle.)



has an official color (Golden Yellow) and an official flower(Pua ilima). Nobody knows why.


The Aloha Tower is actually a lighthouse.

Seriously. I’m not kidding. It’s a lighthouse that looks like a tall, skinny apartment building.

Photo: David Croxford


The Ls Have It:

L&L Drive-Inn evolved out of L&L Dairy, a milk depot on Liliha Street from 1952 to 1959. The “Ls” referred to owner Bob Lee and his son, Bob Lee. If Bob Lee had more sons the restaurant might have been named L&L&L&L&L Drive-Inn.



Royal Pets:

Queen Kaahumanu kept a taboo pet: a large, black hog which she named after herself. King Kamehameha V and his sister Victoria Kamamalu kept a spoiled and pampered parrot named Pahu who chattered constantly in Hawaiian and sat on a perch at Iolani Palace. Queen Liliuokalani had a pet tortoise. Reports that Princess Kaiulani had a pet wallaby are unconfirmed.


Photo: Courtesy of General Growth Properties

In 1959,

Ala Moana Center was the largest shopping center in the United States. A shopping center was something like the shopping mall of today except it didn’t have As Seen On TV stores or pretzel kiosks.


Photo: Istock

How many people die from eating fish?

It happens. Noted Hawaii ocean columnist and author Susan Scott says seven people have died in Honolulu from eating pufferfish. Known as “fugu” in Japan, the fish contains a poison, tetrodotoxin, which can be fatal. Small amounts of the poison can cause a pleasurable reaction to those brave or stupid enough to try eating a deadly fish. Food note: Cheeseburgers contain NO toxic poisons and they come with fries.


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Honolulu Magazine December 2017
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