Tag Archives: Hawaii

Anna Maria among Top 30 Islands in the World, Palawan at top

Photo: sarasotawaterfrontspecialists.com
Photo: sarasotawaterfrontspecialists.com

Anna Maria Island has been named one of the world’s top islands, by Conde Nast Traveler Readers. The popular travel magazine recently released the winners of its annual Readers’ Choice Awards, which ranks top cities, hotels, resorts, spas and cruiselines in the world, based on readers’ votes. One of only 11 U.S. islands on the list, and the only representative from Florida, Anna Maria Island clinched the No. 26 spot, with a readers’ rating of 81.373.

Palawan island, Phillipines
Palawan island, Phillipines © Roland Nagy / Alamy

The list includes from the bottom to top- Aquidneck Island (Newport), Rhode Island, Vancouver Island in Canada, Isle of Palms in South Carolina, Hilton Head in South Carolina, Anna Maria Island in Florida, Bora Bora in French Polynesia, British Virgin Islands, Frisian Islands in Germany, Prince Edward Island in Canada, Skiathos & Sporades in Greece, Öland in Sweden, Maldives, Moorea in French Polynesia, Bali in Indonesia, Oahu in Hawaii, Sea Island in Georgia, Bermuda, Menorca in Spain, Boracay in Philippines, and Tasmania in Australia. In the top 10 are Big Island, Hawaii, Kangaroo Island, Australia, St. John in U.S. Virgin Islands, Santorini & Cyclades in Greece, Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands in Australia, Bazaruto Archipelago in Mozambique, Kauai in Hawaii, Maui also in Hawaii, Kiawah Island in South Carolina and at the top of list is Palawan, Philippines.

Anna Maria is described by Conde Nast Traveler as a “narrow band off Florida’s west coast, this barrier island has some of the softest, whitest sand on the East Coast. And as it faces west, it’s a stunning place to watch the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico. Pro tip: At seven miles long and two miles wide, Anna Maria Island is a great place for a leisurely biking trip along the water. By-the-hour cycle rentals are available at Beach Bums.”

Photo: aparadiserentals.com
Photo: aparadiserentals.com

This year, votes were received from more than 77,000 readers, and each entry was judged on a set of criteria related to its category and using a standard five-point rating scale from excellent to poor. The mean average of all ratings determined the final score. “This ranking confirms how special Anna Maria Island is to not only to our community, but to visitors as well,” said Elliott Falcione, executive director at the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Anna Maria Island is so much more than seven miles of beautiful sugar white sand beaches, it’s a community that is low rise, low key, with an old Florida setting that sets itself apart from other islands.”

The Bradenton, Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key area is located on Florida’s west coast between St. Petersburg and Sarasota. It is bordered on the north by Tampa Bay, and to the west by the Gulf of Mexico. Easy to get to, but off the beaten path, filled with “Old Florida” ambience brimming with opportunities to experience Florida at its most real and authentic, the Bradenton/Anna Maria Island/Longboat Key area is a part of the state worth discovering and exploring again and again.



Whales back to Hawaii

Pacific WhalesThe whales are back! An adult humpback whale did a “beautiful” fluke up dive in front of excited crew and passengers on Pacific Whale Foundation’s vessel Ocean Voyager at 7:36 am this morning. This is Pacific Whale Foundation’s first verified humpback whale sighting of the season off Maui.

With 7 vessels and over 15 whale watches per day during whale season, Pacific Whale Foundation puts its time in on the ocean! It has also introduced exclusive Whale and Dolphin tracker! This tool is updated every day and recorded in real time, displaying all sightings within the last 7 days. Captain Gabriel Wilson of Ocean Voyager reported that the humpback whale was sighted about two miles from Molokini towards Wailea heading north in the direction of Ma’alaea Bay.

“I was the first to spot a single blow on our way out on the port side,” Captain Wilson reported. “I couldn’t believe it, so I headed in that direction.”  “We got about 300 yards from the whale’s location and watched it blow a few times, and then do a fluke up dive,” he noted. Wilson said that the crew did not get any photos but some of the passengers did.

“This first sighting is right on schedule,” commented Greg Kaufman, founder and Executive Director of Pacific Whale Foundation. “Last year’s first sighting took place on October 15 and coincidentally was also by Ocean Voyager during a Molokini snorkel cruise.” “The majority of our other first sightings took place in October,” he noted.

Pacific WhalesThe dates of the earlier years’ sightings are:

October 6, 2011
October 20, 2010
October 20, 2009
October 8, 2008
October 7, 2007
October 11, 2006
November 11, 2005
October 23, 2004
October 21, 2003
November 3, 2002
October 31, 2001
September 16, 2000
September 30, 1999
October 13, 1998

Kaufman reports that the migrating whales do not arrive all at once. They begin to appear off Maui’s coasts in autumn, with their numbers increasing through November and December. Humpback whales migrate to Hawaii from their northern summer feeding area that extends from Northern California to the Bering Sea. The whales migrate to Hawaii to mate, give birth and care for their young. At least 12,000 humpback whales are believed to migrate to Hawaii each winter.

Pacific Whales1