In August of 1959, the United States granted Hawaii statehood, making it the fiftieth state. Hawaii is located in the Pacific Ocean and includes 137 islands. Just under a million and a half people inhabit the Hawaiian Islands, and on top of that, roughly ten million people visit Hawaii every year. While there are the countless Hawaiian Islands and each island has unique sights, adventures, and personality, the six major islands include Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and the island of Hawaii.
Average yearly temperatures in the Islands range from sixty-nine to eighty-four degrees. Ocean temperatures range from seventy-one to eighty-one degrees, making it an ideal tropical vacation at any time of the year, unless you are interested in witnessing humpback whale season. To experience the magic that is the whale migration is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and to witness it, you should plan your visit between November and early May. So which island should you visit?
Kauai - The Garden Island
Kauai, Hawaii, or the “garden island” is the fourth largest of the Hawaiian Islands. Named for its deep green valleys, mountains, and cliffs, Kauai is rich with tropical rainforests and stunning waterfalls that will make you feel like you’re visiting a wild, nature-filled dream. Kauai’s culture is laid-back and steeped in history and traditional values with lots to experience in all of its regions.
Hotels for every budget can be found throughout the island, and you will want to rent a car to allow you the freedom to explore the island at your own pace.
Kauai is a great vacation spot known for its:
- Relaxed lifestyle
- Native wildlife and plant life
- Smaller crowds
- Water activities
- Beautiful beaches
- Koke’e State Park
- Na Pali Coast
Oahu - The Gathering Place
Oahu, Hawaii, is also called “the gathering place,” and is the third biggest Hawaiian Island. The majority of Hawaii’s population inhabit Oahu, and here you’ll find a beautiful blend of Eastern and Western cultures draped in the spirit, values, and traditions of Native Hawaiian people. On Oahu, you will find everything from busy city-life to the laidback surf towns you expect when visiting Hawaii, and everything in between.
Oahu is the most visited Hawaii Island, and home to the busy state capital Honolulu. Most Oahu hotels are located in Waikiki or Honolulu, so you will experience bigger crowds than you will in Kauai.
Oahu is an ideal vacation spot known for:
- The site of Pearl Harbor
- Turtle Beach
- Ali’i Beach Park
- Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve
Molokai - The Friendly Isle
Hawaii’s fifth-largest island is Molokai, and though it is relatively small at only thirty-eight miles long and ten miles wide, it is home to the highest cliffs in the world and the longest continuous wild reef. Most of Molokai’s population is of Native Hawaiian ancestry, and they’re happy to have guests.
Molokai is a great vacation spot if you’re interested in the rich heritage and history of Native Hawaiian people and want a taste of the true Hawaiian spirit and outdoorsy adventures. Rent a car so you can experience all the island has to offer. Molokai is easy to navigate with just one two-lane highway, but much like the spirit of Molokai, take it nice and easy.
Molokai maintains the native energy and a laid back attitude, but there’s still plenty to explore, which makes it a great place to vacation.
Molokai is known for:
- Peaceful, empty white beaches
- Live Native music
- Laidback watersports
- Coconut Mail
- Molokai Forest Reserve
- North Shore sea cliffs
- Breathtaking sunsets
Lanai - The Pineapple Island
Lanai is the smallest Hawaiian Island inhabited by people, but it’s enticing to tourists because it combines luxurious resorts and amenities with rugged off-wheel adventures. Combine adventure and luxurious serenity when you visit Lanai.
Explore the ocean, take scenic tours by horseback, and relax on the beach in this Hawaii oasis.
Getting to and traveling around Lanai is a bit more challenging than the other islands of Hawaii, but you won’t find a single stoplight. Most roads are unpaved, and gas is costly, but you will have a once of a lifetime experience.
Lanai is known for:
- Hulopoe Bay
- Garden of the Gods
- Dolphin and whale watching
- Polihua Beach
- Lanai Cat Sanctuary
Maui - Valley Isle
Maui is the “Valley Isle” and is the second-largest Hawaiian island. It is home to world-famous beaches and amazing views of migrating humpback whales. Maui is voted “Best Island in the U.S.” by Conde Nast Traveler year after year, and for a good reason. Sunsets on Haleakala will burn into your memory for a lifetime.
Take in the sites on the beaches, explore the terrain, participate in water or air activities, and experience all that Hawaii has to offer on Maui. As “Valley Isle” indicates, Maui is relatively low and flat, making it easy to explore.
Maui is best known for:
- Haleakala Crater
- The Road to Hana
- Whale sighting
- Molokini Crater
Maui is also home to Lahaina, the town in which Whaler’s Locker resides! So if you choose to visit Maui, make sure to visit!
Island of Hawaii - The Big Island
The “Big Island” is the youngest and largest Hawaiian island in the chain, twice as big as all of the Hawaiian Islands together. Here, on the Big Island, you can experience several different climates on one landmass. Tropical, tundra, snow, and black sand can all be found on the Island of Hawaii.
Experience the culture of Hawaii, relax on the beaches, and get a taste for the adventure of water and land activities. Book a rental car in advance so you can freely explore the entire island.
The island of Hawaii is known most for:
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
- Waipio Valley and Overlook
- Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park
- Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden
- Farmers Market
Hawaiian Scrimshaw Art
Scrimshaw’s history in Hawaii began in Lahaina, a small whaling town on Maui. During the Whaling Boom of the 1840s, whalers put their artistic skills to the test in their downtime. Discarded whale bones and teeth made an exciting medium in which the artists carved and inked designs.
The word “scrimshaw” comes from a nautical slang expression meaning, “to waste time.” So between sightings and fighting with Moby Dick, whalers wasted time creating scrimshaw pieces for their loved ones back home. They had lots of time to waste, as whaling voyages could last five years or more, and go several months between whale sightings.
When the whaling industry died, scrimshaw art sadly died down too. Today, scrimshaw is carved on bone, but not the bones of whales. Many local artists in Maui, Hawaii, create beautifully detailed scrimshaw pieces.
For Hawaiian artists, scrimshaw is about more than just the carving. The medium on which they carve their designs holds great significance as well. A popular medium for Hawaiian scrimshaw is a carved hook, also known as a Maui hook. Carved hooks hold their own significance in Hawaiian culture.
The Significance of the Carved Hook
Carved hook pendants are pieces of jewelry that are very significant to Native Hawaiian people. Hawaiians are renowned for their love and respect for the ocean and the land. You will often hear the phrase “Malama ka ‘Aina,” which means “take care of the land.” The ocean provides islanders with food, money, and means to travel. Carved hooks represent this respect for the land and sea.
Carved hooks represent Malama ka ‘Aina, but they also create a unique and divine connection with the soul of the person who wears it. The connection between the soul and carved hook transcends time and space, and for those reasons, carve hooks become family heirlooms of great sentimental value and significance.
Hawaiian tradition teaches that wearing a carved hook can protect a person from harm on the land or the sea, and symbolizes the strength and tenacity wielded by ancient Hawaiian anglers.
There is plentiful goodness in the world, and carved hooks can attract goodness and luck to the person who wears it. While carved hooks are a very traditional part of Hawaiian history, they also make lovely Hawaiian gifts and souvenirs. They capture many of the values and beliefs held near and dear to Hawaiian culture.
Scrimshaw Carved Hooks
Scrimshaw carved hooks offer an even more special Hawaiian piece. They combine the meaningful carved hook with the laid back appeal of the scrimshaw style.
Imagine a Hawaiian artist relaxing in the shade of a coconut tree, spending precious time etching, and inking a scrimshaw design into a carved hook. Owning a scrimshaw carved hook embodies the Hawaiian lifestyle and values more than any other Hawaiian art piece.
Whaler’s Locker has an extensive, unique collection of scrimshaw pieces, including scrimshaw carved hooks.
Whaler’s Locker Scrimshaw Pieces
Scrimshaw Letter Opener
Letter openers are incredibly underrated. Once you own one, you won’t understand how you managed without it. If you’re going to get a letter opener from Hawaii, it might as well be adorned with the thoughtful and precise mastery of scrimshaw by a local Maui artist.
Each carving is done on a piece of bone, as tradition would have it, and this letter opener is available in a variety of designs, including a lighthouse, a whale, various ocean life, palm trees, and more.
Scrimshaw Brass Cuff Links
Complete the look of your formal dress attire with these beautiful brass cuff links featuring scrimshaw on bone by local Maui artist Doug Fine. These cuff links are approximately ¾” x ½”. You can choose from turtle scrimshaw, shark, and more.
Handmade Scrimshaw Magnifying Glass
This unique magnifying glass makes the perfect office accessory as it’s as functional as it is beautiful. Choose from ocean life or boats, but we are partial to the ship and all its detail on this magnifying glass.
Made from wood and bone inlay by Doug Fine, this beautiful piece makes a thoughtful gift for a loved one or adornment for your desk or coffee table.
Breaching Humpback Scrimshaw
Ray Peters, a local artist from Maui, created this masterpiece from warthog tusk and fashioned it to a piece of water buffalo horn before attaching it to a kiawe wood base. Peters used traditional scrimshaw techniques to carve the image of a breaching humpback whale carefully in the bone.
This piece beautifully captures the essence of the Hawaii islands in whale season. It is about three inches tall and would make a stunning piece of decor in your home or office.
Scrimshaw on Bone Brass Money Clip
A fancier take on a traditional money clip, this beautiful piece features hand-carved scrimshaw art by Doug Fine. It’s available in many different designs and fashioned out of bone attached to brass.
This brass money clip combined with a pair of our brass scrimshaw cuff links would make a wonderful gift to a groom or best man, or the whole wedding party.
Scrimshaw Round Money Clip
Less formal than our brass scrimshaw money clip is this round money clip featuring a hinge. It is a more casual option but still features the beautiful scrimshaw handy work of our local artist Derek Fine.
This money clip has the image of a whale carved into bone and is overall about two inches long by one inch wide. This casual but stunning money clip makes for a thoughtful Hawaiian gift for a loved one or a meaningful memory of Hawaii for yourself.
Hawaii is a fantastic place to vacation and an even better place to live. The islands are rich with history, and even in busy Honolulu, you will experience the Native Hawaiian culture. If you want to bring a piece of Hawaii home with you, stop in Whaler’s Locker and bring home a carved hook decorated by a local artist with delicate scrimshaw. As always, if you can’t make it into the shop, we’re always open online. See you there! Malama ka ‘Aina!