How We Can Save Hawaii Reefs

I’m an advocate for building Coral Reef Cages when offered at my favorite beach resorts. It is one small way of saving important reefs in our ocean.

This is a personal shout out from my esteemed cousin, Mark Hixon, who is a Professor and Hsiao Endowed Chair in Marine Biology at the School of Life Sciences University of Hawai ‘i at Mānoa. 

His dad was an aviator in the Navy, which translated to a global lifestyle. My aunt & uncle traveled the world with their kids. When we were young, Aunt Margie & Uncle Ricky gave the best birthday gifts, pearls from Japan and trinkets from Morocco. Mark was always a. cool kid, and as an adult he is even more cool and accomplished!

My cousin Mark, is on the advisory board of #fishpono  How do we help?  We must begin now. For generations of Hawaiians, pono has been the practice of living in balance. And with Hawaiʻi’s coral reefs severely threatened due to various human activities, understanding our role in the fragile balance of our reef’s ecosystem has never been more critical. We believe if we live this practice of pono through our fishing we’ll ensure healthy reefs teeming with life for ʻohana to come.

Please take a minute to read and share the Fish Pono Site.

Fishing is part of Hawaiian Heritage. In Hawaiʻi. Some fish for sport. Others fish for food or income. We’re not telling people not to fish. (We fish ourselves.) We’re not here to regulate fishing either. We’re a growing ʻohana of ocean-lovers, scientists, watermen and women, and yes, fisher people, who care about our Hawaiian Islands, the culture, and the reefs that surround them.

And we all fish pono.

How and what we fish matters. Hawaiʻi is blessed with coral reefs that feed us, protect our coasts from erosion, provide many recreational and employment opportunities, and are increasingly a source of new medicines. When coral dies for any reason, it is replaced by either new coral or by seaweeds. If seaweeds prevail, then the reef dies and the fish leave. But if corals remain healthy, they will continue to grow and become more resilient to other major stressors such as ocean pollution and coral bleaching.  Herbivores such as uhu (parrotfish) eat the seaweeds, acting as lawnmowers for the reef, keeping the coral clean, healthy and resilient.

We can help keep Hawaiʻi’s coral reefs alive and beautiful by not taking too many of these fish, especially uhu. More of these lawnmowers means more healthy coral. Healthier coral means more shelter and food for all fish… and more fish means better fishing for all!


One of my diving photos.

No gardeners, no gardens. When herbivores — our reef’s lawnmowers — such as uhu, nenue, surgeonfish, and sea urchins are in low abundance, coral reefs get overrun with seaweeds, and begin to suffocate and die. These ever-important lawnmowers, especially the uhu, must be abundant and thriving for seaweeds to remain in check, our corals to survive and flourish, and our beaches to get their essential, desperately needed sand.

  1. We fish only what we need to feed ourselves and share with our immediate family. We fish for our table not the freezer. By taking only what we need and not what we can, we allow our fisheries to replenish.
  2. We avoid taking many uhu that help keep reefs clean and thriving. We also avoid taking too many other herbivores like chubs, surgeonfish, and sea urchin that play their part in coral reef health as well.
  3. We pass on our knowledge. When we see someone taking too many fish vital for reef health, we speak up and honor the opportunity to educate. It’s everyone’s kuleana to fish pono.

#FishPono  Scientific Advisors.

Dr. Alan Friedlander, Pristine Seas, National Geographic Society
Dr. Mark Hixon, School of Life Sciences, University of Hawai’i
Dr. Randy Kosaki, NOAA, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument
Dr. Kawika Winter, Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawai’i

Spread the word.

Share how you #FishPono and tag  @fishponohawaii on social media and let your friends and family know about our threatened reef ecosystem. There’s no better way to make an impact than to become an active advocate yourself.

Together we can save Hawaiʻi’s reefs. Join the #fishpono movement!

Save the reefs!

All Aboard Ultimate Whiskey Odyssey – Belmond Royal Scotsman

All Aboard Ultimate Whiskey Odyssey. From the moment the Royal Scotsman, a luxury Belmond Train, draws out of Edinburgh’s Waverly Station, you’re embarking on a truly unforgettable experience. Sail into a magic realm where, history, nature and whiskey combine! 

Life onboard the train is relaxed and indulgent, blending gastronomic dining with the unmistakable air of Celebration among good friends. An ecocative exploration of the ‘water of life’.

22 OCTOBER 2023. Join us aboard Royal Scotsman for an evocative exploration of the ‘water of life’ in collaboration with two iconic whisky distilleries – Glenmorangie and Ardbeg.

Your whisky epic adventure awaits. From Edinburgh, head north to reach Aviemore and Tain, where you will visit the Glenmorangie Distillery. Later, travel back to Dundee to take a private jet to Islay for a tour at Ardbeg Distillery. Get back onboard in Paisley and pass through Kilmarnock, before reaching your final destination Edinburgh.

Discover hallowed distilleries and time-honored heritage in the company of two revered whisky experts – Charles MacLean, awarded an MBE for services to Scotch Whisky in 2021, and Dr. Bill Lumsden, a pioneer in the malt industry and the genius behind the creations at both and Glenmorangie.

Journey across this spellbinding land in complete luxury, the Royal Scotsman your moving sanctuary of Edwardian elegance. Along the way, be immersed in rugged Highland beauty, age-old fables, and modern Scottish culture as you jet to islands for private tours, revel in exclusive tastings and taste some of the world’s best whisky.

Inclusions: 3 nights on board Royal Scotsman luxury train, with 24- hour steward service.  Clay pigeon shooting, fishing, or a guided tour of Rothiemurchus Estate. Special nosing and tasting with whisky expert Charles MacLean.

Your whisky epic adventure awaits. From Edinburgh, head north to reach Aviemore and Tain, where you will visit the Glenmorangie Distillery. Later, travel back to Dundee to take a private jet to Islay for a tour at Ardbeg Distillery. Get back onboard in Paisley and pass through Kilmarnock, before reaching your final destination Edinburgh.

EDINBURGH As you depart Edinburgh Waverley Station, prepare to embrace dramatic landscapes and vivid elements in all their glory. On board, elegant Edwardian interiors wrap you in the warmth of cashmere and tartan, allowing you to explore the Highlands surrounded by the finest modern comforts.

Your journey begins in the early afternoon as you travel north to the ‘Fair City’ of Perth. Enjoy afternoon tea as the train continues the Highland line through Dunkeld, Pitlochry and Blair Atholl with its imposing castle.

Make your way to the Observation Car for an exclusive nosing and tasting with whisky expert and prolific author, Charles MacLean. Whether novice or aficionado, Charlie as will guide you through the mysteries of the ‘water of life’.

Your destination this evening is the peaceful Boat of Garten on the private Strathspey Railway, where an informal dinner is served. Our Chef’s inventive menus use the finest local ingredients, such as day-caught wild salmon, hand-dived scallops and Aberdeen Angus beef. Chanterelles, wild garlic and bitter cress are foraged straight from Scotland’s wild larder. After dinner, enjoy lively entertainment in the Observation Car where musicians and performers will join you, blending sweet, slow Gaelic songs with lively folk melodies.

WHO: CHARLES MACLEAN MBE An old-school bon viveur and author of 18 books — including Malt Whisky, winner of the Glenfiddich Award — Charles MacLean’s grasp of the history and heritage of the whisky industry is second to none. The great raconteur will entertain your Whisky Odyssey as you travel north into the dramatic hills and valleys of the Cairngorms National Park.

DAY TWO ROTHIEMURCHUS AND GLENMORANGIE After breakfast, travel by coach to Rothiemurchus Estate in the heart of the Cairngorms — one of the largest and most important remnants of the native Caledonian pine forest. Choose from several activities including clay pigeon-shooting, fishing or a guided tour of the estate with one of the rangers.

Afterwards, enjoy a warm welcome from your hosts as refreshments are served in their hunting lodge and you discover some of the rich history of this family-run estate. Return to the train in Carrbridge for lunch as the train travels north towards Inverness. Late afternoon, visit Glenmorangie, the distillery that produces one of the whisky fraternity’s favourite drams across all corners of the globe. The gleaming swan-necked copper stills are the tallest in Scotland and play a vital role in allowing only the lightest and purest spirit to make it into the final malt. Meet Dr Bill Lumsden, a legend in the whisky world and the genius behind the creations at Ardbeg and Glenmorangie.

Your tour concludes with a private tasting in the 17th -century Glenmorangie House with Dr Lumsden. Re-join the train in time for pre-dinner drinks. Dinner will be served as the train travels south, retracing the route through Inverness and Aviemore. Afterwards, indulge in a nightcap while enjoying the evening entertainment in the Observation Car.

WHO: DR BILL LUMSDEN The man behind the Glenmorangie and Ardbeg whisky bottles, Bill Lumsden is a recognised name in the world of single malt Scotch — throughout his illustrious career, the pioneer has crafted whiskies that have truly changed the industry. Hop on an adventurous Whisky Odyssey journey and side with the expert as he offers a rare experience to learn about new developments at Glenmorangie.

DAY THREE ARDBEG After an early breakfast, leave the train and travel to nearby Dundee airfield to take a private jet to Islay. Here, you will enjoy a private tour and tasting at Ardbeg Distillery, sister distillery to Glenmorangie. Located in the south of the island, it is famous for producing a heavily peated whisky that is coveted worldwide. Abundant soft water, fertile soil and acres of precious peat make the island a place of pilgrimage for whisky enthusiasts. Once more, meet Dr Lumsden who will guide you through a masterclass and a tasting of rare, single-cask whiskies and distillery-only bottlings.

Lunch will be served at the distillery, followed by a chance to sample oysters on Ardbeg’s own private pier, breathing in the fresh sea air and Ardbeg’s peaty aroma.

Transfer to Islay airfield late afternoon to take your private plane back to the mainland, and re-join the train on the outskirts of Glasgow for your final night on board. Enjoy a Gala dinner as you journey south towards Kilmarnock for overnight stabling, followed by evening entertainment in the Observation Carriage.

DAY FOUR EDINBURGH After an early departure from Kilmarnock this morning, enjoy a leisurely breakfast aboard Royal Scotsman as you travel east towards Edinburgh Waverley Station and your Whisky Odyssey’s journey ends.

FINE DINING All meals aboard the train: full Scottish breakfast, two-course lunch, three-course dinner including cheeseboard, coffee, tea and petits fours. All beverages including alcoholic drinks.

ONBOARD ENTERTAINMENT Traditional ceilidhs, informal dinners, evening entertainments in the Observation Car and a gala dining experience

LIFE ON BOARD THE CABINS The Edwardian-style cabins, fitted with mahogany marquetry, provide a cozy opulent haven in which to relax. Royal Scotsman has four singles, fifteen twin and three double cabins available. All private cabins are equipped with an ensuite shower room, a wardrobe, a desk, and a picture window from which to savor the unfolding Scottish countryside.

THE NEW GRAND REFLECTION OF HIGHLAND EXCELLENCE A seamless symphony of timeless Scottish tradition and a pioneering vision of luxury, two new Grand Suites joining the rake will take your Highland adventure to new heights of indulgent excellence. The new Grand Suites will complement the existing Twin and Double cabins.

DINING The wood paneling and rich upholstery that adorn the two dining cars, Raven and Swift, set the scene for an unforgettable onboard dining experience. Their expert chefs use their inimitable flair to create imaginative dishes using the freshest local produce.

Life On Board ENTERTAINMENT Enjoy traditional Scottish entertainment after dinner in the Observation Car including music from local players.

OBSERVATION CAR The splendid Observation Car is your window on Scotland’s stunning scenery. Soak up the views from the comfort of the interior or breathe in the fresh air from the exhilarating open veranda. Choose from an array of drinks at the bar, including over 50 whiskies.

DIOR SPA ROYAL SCOTSMAN Highland-inspired and relaxing beauty rituals on the move. Completely dedicated to wellness, the spa carriage boasts two lacquered treatment rooms, styled with Christian Dior’s iconic burgundy toile de Jouy motif. Step into the Dior Spa Royal Scotsman to relish, unwind and rejuvenate in a tranquil space as the train meanders through Scotland’s awe-inspiring peaks and dramatic valleys.

Whiskey Odyssey is a single event, but golf tours can be added as well.