First Time: Korean Barbecue

Here in Hawaii there is a saying, Broke Da Mouth, which means food is so good that it literally broke your mouth. This would be the perfect explanation to how I felt about lunch the other day!

Each day at Keawe Adventures brings something new. I’ve done incredibly exciting things like go to fish markets and visit pearl harbor to not so exciting, but ever important, things like filling out paper work and answering phones. You never really know what you are going to get coming into the office and this day was no exception.

Usually our days start off ordering tickets for the Pearl Harbor USS Arizona  and then generally I do some office related thing, which is my forte so I really enjoy that, however this day Makani had other things in mind. He told myself and Jack* that we were going to being going on a few errands, which I immediately dubbed a field trip.

First we needed gas so while Jack finished up his office work we ended up running to the gas station where only upon parking in front of the gas pump did we realize we had a full tank of gas. I mean at least we went to take the car for a test drive, right?

Well after going back and picking up Jack we started our field trip. Our first stop was to foodland where we picked up some great wine for some of our friends for christmas. We love our partners in this business and we can only hope we show how much we appreciate them and all they do for Keawe Adventures.

After our extremely exhausting and difficult morning, I mean lugging around wine is just SO strenuous, we were on our way back to the office when Makani saw a Korean Barbecue Place he really liked, Budnamujip (try saying that one 10 times fast), so we pulled in for lunch.

Now, I don’t know if you guys remember but I’m thoroughly inexperienced when it comes to foods found here in Hawaii. I mean I’m a Chick fil A and Chipotle girl all the way so this Korean barbecue stuff was a whole new ball game for me. When we walked in the first thing I noticed were what looked like stove tops on each table and these large cylinder things hanging from the ceiling. At the time I didn’t know but those large cylinder things were my saving grace, they sucked all the smoke up so we didn’t leave smelling like walking Barbeque.

I will admit, at first this place was a little scary I mean all the pictures on the menu were of raw meat and I don’t know about you guys but I don’t like my cow moving when I eat it. Needless to say I was a little weary when Makani ordered about 6 different RAW meats. Luckily they brought out the big pot of steaming coals and a grill to cook the meat on. After it was all nice and dead cooked it was absolutely amazing. I think they use only the nicest quality of beef which made for some awesome barbeque!


During lunch they brought out some interesting appetizers. The waiter told us that all their sides and appetizers were homemade every day. They were eccentric but it was nice to try things I have never had before. 12463495_10153804624578908_1982786859_n

My first time trying tofu and I must say it was not bad at all. 


Successful use of chopsticks throughout the ENTIRE lunch. 



Jack was a little more adventurous than I was but I am happy to say I tried most of them. There was even tree bark, yes you read that right like from a tree, that I successfully tried. I mean you can’t get this stuff in Texas that’s for sure.


Jack trying all the sides and appetizers.

After our delicious lunch we stopped by a few more places before returning to the office. The thing I love about Keawe Adventures is that no two days are alike, I have probably done more in the last month than I have in the last 6 months combined and all while getting to learn about the industry that I want to work in!


*Jack is a marine veteran who has served two tours in Iraq. Makani found that veterans have a hard time finding a job after they leave the military so he has started a company around providing jobs for military vets and affordable tours of Pearl Harbor for guests, called Infamy Tours. Jack is the first veteran he has brought on to work with the new company.*



Why hiking with Keawe Adventures is a much better idea than going without.

Being pretty new here (I’ll hit my two year Hawaii anniversary in February) there is still a lot of things I have not yet done.

I mean of course I’ve hit a few beaches and done a few things but not nearly as much as I would like to do.

This past summer was actually the last time I’ve ever been hiking and I’m sure if I had gone with Keawe Adventures I probably would have gone back hiking.

So my very best friend came in to town from Texas and we had planned this week long trip filled with beach days and hiking adventures. The first day we decided to tackle the big one, Koko Head. I had been before but I guess this time I wanted to be all big and bad and hike super fast and get up to the top. BAD IDEA.

If you’ve never done Koko Head it is 1,048 steps of pure torture bliss. The views are incredible and generally on a good day its breezy enough to not feel like your dying sweating. However this day was exceptionally hot. We made our way up in a miraculous 45 minutes (which is a big accomplishment for two girls who’s idea of exercise is opening wine bottles). Once there we took selfies galore for about 20 minutes and then made our way back down.

Going down is always easier and we thought everything was going great. We walked back to the car and started our hour drive home and then the worst thing happened. My very best friend who had come all the way to Hawaii for adventures had gotten heat exhaustion, not enough water and too much heat caused her to start throwing up and we had to pull over in H1 5pm traffic so she could recover. It was not a fun time. Needless to say I haven’t been hiking since.

Now here’s where Keawe Adventures comes in. Had I listened to Kahana, one of the wonderful hiking tour guides at Keawe adventures, we would have been much better off.

After interning here for about 2 weeks I got to talking with Kahana about Hiking tours he does including Diamond Head, Makapuu, Manoa Falls and many others at undisclosed locations. He was telling me the three most important things to remember when hiking.


I mean you know what they say *curiosity killed the cat*


I’m going to safely say this is never go without a tour guide like Kahana because after telling him this story he was like, yeah sometimes you get so caught up in hiking and the views and you forget to drink water and that’s where I come in.


This was probably the most important one that I thought anyway. We spent the whole time trying to just get up the dang mountain that if we had just embraced the journey and enjoyed ourselves we probably wouldn’t have had that traumatic of an experience.

Overall, lesson learned. Always ask Kahana to go Hiking with you so you don’t get dehydrated and die pass out.

– Becca

There’s never nothing to do in Hawaii. There’s always an adventure waiting for you.

Aloha, my name is Chelsea. I am one of the new interns at Keawe Adventures. I’m from Southern California and am currently attending University of Hawaii at Manoa and majoring in Travel Industry Management.

Fresh out of high school, I came to school in Hawaii not knowing anyone. The first couple of weeks were rough. I really missed my family and friends back home. However, when I met a solid group of friends and we started exploring the island, I knew this is where I was supposed to be.

I’ve only been in Hawaii for about a year and a half now, but I’ve already done so much. Whether it’s a day spent at the beach or an afternoon spent hiking, there’s never nothing to do here. When you are in Hawaii, there’s always an adventure waiting for you.

My friends and I have made it a goal to go on an adventure every weekend. That is of course if we get our school work done first 😉

A typical weekend might start off as early as 5:00am. I know what you’re thinking. What college student willingly wants to wake up at 5am on a weekend?! Well, the way I think about it is you that you have to make the most out of every hour of the day. Especially when you are in Hawaii.

So after rolling out of bed at the crack of dawn, we start our morning of with a sunrise hike. One of my favorite hikes is Koko Head arch. For breakfast we make a trip over to Diamond Head Health Bar for some delicious acas bowls.


Of course at this point you may be a little tired from waking up early and hiking. So the next best thing to do would be to take a quick little power nap at the beach. My car is always packed and ready for a beach day so after we finish our acai bowls we head over to Makua beach (West side of Oahu) to hang up some hammocks and fall asleep listening to the crashing waves.


After our quick power nap we have all the energy we need to start off our beach day. From playing frisbee and football in the sand to catching a wave on a blow-up whale, before you know it, the sun is already about to set.  Everyone stops what they’re doing to sit at the edge of the beach and enjoy beautiful sunset marking the end of another successful day.


Although the sun may have set, the day full of adventure isn’t over just yet. The night has just begun.

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As the sky gets darker and darker, our only source of light comes from our blazing bonfire in the middle of our camp. With guitars and ukuleles in hand, everyone gathers around the fire to enjoy each other’s company while eating some delicious s’mores.

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As our beach day draws to a close, you may be thinking our day of adventure is finally over. But we’re not done yet.

As we make our way back to campus we make a quick pit stop at Haunama Bay to hike up the ridge. Yes, a night hike. I believe the key to a successful day is to start the day with a hike and end the day with a hike. Some say I am crazy but I like it that way. At the top of the ridge we sit under the bright stars and talk story into the night.

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Of course not every weekend looks like this. School and work are a priority, but when you get that break, you can never be bored here. There’s never nothing to do in Hawaii. There’s always an adventure waiting for you.

Thanksgiving, the Hawaiian Way.


Should we pick up a turkey or a ham? Well, on the day before thanksgiving Keawe Adventures decided to add another item to the menu. Ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and Oio, a local Hawaiian delicacy. Bringing Oio to the dinner table changes the norm of a traditional Thanksgiving and adds to the Hawaii spirit of having all your loved ones together to celebrate how fortunate we are.

With a camera crew in hand, well more like a GoPro operator, we stalked along the sandy, shallow coastline of Oahu’s South Shore, with a net in hand, in search of the elusive Oio. With the right tide and depth, we were gifted with one 8lb Oio and another 7lb Oio in 30 minutes. This is enough fish to feed the masses, and a usual Thanksgiving in Hawaii can bring in 10 to 20 people easily, the more the merrier.  A ton of people and plenty of food to share with your closest friends and family.

Life is short, spend time with your loved ones and be safe this holiday season.  From the Keawe Adventures family to yours, Happy Holidays.


Makani Christensen


Keawe Adventures

The Intern Likes Fish?


To start I’m the new intern here at Keawe Adventures! My name is Rebecca and I have been in Hawaii for about 2 years now. For a big city girl from Texas, Hawaii is a big change but an incredibly inspiring one. I spent the first 19 years of my life here and there with a very dedicated father in the military and then ended up here for my last two years of college. I’ll be graduating soon but wanted to have something on my resume that shouted adventure and experience.

I mean what better way to do that than by actually having the word Adventure in there, am I right?

I came into this industry not really knowing anything about tourism or hospitality and to say I was hungry to learn is an understatement. So, I applied for this internship hoping for something new, and boy did I get something new! I have to do 400 hours of my internship and I’m so excited to have the opportunity to do that here. This will just be a fun way to document my time at Keawe Adventures.

As for my first official day ‘on the job’ I learned more about fish, fishing, and the fishing community in three hours than I have in my whole 21 years of life. I feel like I’m going to be learning a little bit of everything with my time here.

I came into work this morning at 6:30 with my venti Starbucks coffee in hand. I’m definitely not a morning person however I was really excited to start my internship adventure. I was expecting to sit at a computer, answering phone calls and spending the day in an office, but let me be the first to tell you guys, that was not the case. As soon as I walked in Makani, the owner of Keawe Adventures, was ready to go! He told me that we were going to be spending the morning “taking people fish”.

Now being the naive city girl I am I assumed we were taking frozen fish, or already cooked fish to friends, and while half of that is true (everyone we took these fish to were friends) the fish was definitely not frozen or cooked. It was fresh. Like from the ocean, probably was alive 24 hours ago or less, fresh. I’ve never seen a real fish, because in Dallas about the closest thing we get to fresh live fish is a cow, so this was a real eye opener!

*No Pun Intended*



The first place we went to was a concierge friend of Makani to drop off some fresh fish he had caught. Keawe adventures is so appreciative of the relationships they have built with the local community and so far I’m learning just how to spread the Aloha Spirit and be thankful to all the people who make this industry successful.

*Sidenote: Keawe Adventures does do Fly Fishing tours! How awesome! I seriously might just need to take one myself because when it comes to fishing I knew nothing before today.*

Anyways after, we went to the fish market to really open my eyes to what the fishing business is truly like. (Pictured above and below) I can honestly say I have never seen so many fish in one place.

Like, what? This is actually a thing! IMG_2027 2


(Pictured above, fisherman boots, because apparently slippers are not acceptable in the fish auction, and for good reason it was freezing in there and there was fresh fish EVERYWHERE!)

Honestly, I felt like a fish out of water.

*Okay, Pun definitely intended.*

But overall it was so cool to see all of the fish and to see all the fisherman interact. Relationships are so important in this industry and being able to gift someone with fish and even just make connections with fishermen is priceless.

After the large scale fish adventure, we headed over to a small pier where Makani met with his friends who had just returned from fishing. Man did they have a lot of fish! The boat seemed so small but the amount of fish they had was a ton! Literally!


They were all so nice and they worked so hard for all the fish they had caught! Two whole days of fishing, but you know what they say hard work really does pay off. They were kind enough to give Makani some more fish and instead of just keeping it he decided to pay it forward and go to more concierges with gifts of fish! It was so much fun and everyone was so appreciative!


Overall today was great although I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not a morning person, I might need to start because look how productive we were, and mind you this was all before 9am!

I can’t wait to see what this next few months has in store for me and Keawe Adventures. And don’t worry, I’ll keep you all posted on what this new chapter brings.


The Internship


Most people hear the word ‘intern’ and immediately think of mundane paperwork, cubicles, and following strict orders without question from their demanding, impatient boss. However, Keawe Adventures blows every one of these stereotypes out of the water. My first day as an intern with this company consisted learning real life lessons applicable to living and working on a Hawaiian island and exploring Oahu’s North Shore with a client firsthand.

My day began as any day in paradise should, sun bathing on the North Shore’s famous Bonzai Pipeline beach, fresh acai bowl in hand, and a countless surfers providing awe inspiring entertainment as they rode the massive ten foot waves, Makani and his client, right alongside them. As I gazed around me, from the sand in my toes to the sun shining down on me to the waves beckoning me to jump in, I had to keep reminding myself that I was currently gaining internship hours, instead of just enjoying another day in paradise with good company.After about an hour, Makani and the client emerge from the waves, boards in hand, with that typical ‘after a good surf glow’ that you see on surfers after a particularly great session. They were joking and laughing together like old friends, and it astounded me that Makani was getting paid for this. I thought to myself, “If there is anyone that has mastered the piece of advice, ‘Do what you love and you will be successful’, it is this guy right here.”

As I was letting my mind wander, I gazed out into the ocean and at all of the surfers as they gracefully rode each wave with ease. I found myself desperately wishing I had the audacity to even jump in the water, instead of being held back by my incessant nerves. As if Makani was reading my mind, he looks at me, and says firmly, “Alright, your turn, we’re going in the water.” This was not a question, but a matter-of-fact statement. If anything was going to get me to swim in North Shore’s waves during winter, it was a direct order from my boss on my first day as an intern. I quickly jumped up, and said “Ok, just keep me alive!” and ran out into the water before I had enough time to change my mind. I had never come close to swimming in waves as big or as powerful as these, but with Makani’s guidance, I went from being terrified, to determined, to actually enjoying myself and diving under waves with my fear of being tumbled, pulled out by the current, or drowned almost diminished. Makani taught me how to always dive under the waves right before they hit and that the sand is there for you to grab if you must. I learned to never turn my back to a wave, and to most importantly, to stay out of the surfers’ way. Every wave, my fear lessened, as I applied Makani’s advice and dove confidently under each one, grabbed the sand, and listened safely from below as the waves crash down on top of me.

As I emerged from the water twenty minutes later with my throat, eyes and nose stinging from salt water, and about a pound of sand in my hair and bathing suit, I had seldom felt so accomplished. That day marked the beginning of me finally understanding and appreciating the power of the ocean, instead of fearing it. That will forever be the first and I believe, one of the most important lessons I have learned as an intern at Keawe Adventures.

After a few more minutes relaxing on the beach, we decided to head back to the client’s hotel to grab some dinner and catch the sunset. I felt as if I was with a group of friends deciding what do with their night, instead of it being a business/client relationship. It then dawned on me that this is why Makani and his company are so successful. He does not treat his clients as customers, but rather as old friends. It is because of this that his job so enjoyable for him and everyone involved, and keeps the clients comfortable, and wanting to return – which is the key to a successful business.

We pulled up to the Turtle Bay Resort just as the sun was beginning to set and all sat down at the restaurant by the beach, exhausted but fulfilled from the sun and ocean filled day. As the day turned slowly into night, we ate our delicious, well-deserved dinner, reminisced on the day’s adventures, and I could not help but feel like the luckiest intern in the world. I spent my first day surrounded by the real Hawaiian landscape, the ocean, sunshine, great company, and I learned how to keep myself alive amongst the North Shore’s infamous waves. You can’t learn that from a cubicle.


There is a lot to see on a cultural or historic tour of Oahu! Pictured above is the iconic King Kamehameha statue in front of the historic Ali’iolani Hale. Completed in 1874 and formerly the seat of government of the Kingdom of Hawaii, Ali’iolani Hale today is the home of the Hawaii State Supreme Court. (You might also recognize the building as the headquarters of the Five-0 task force on CBS’ remake of the Hawaii 5-0 TV series!)


New adventures everyday! We’ve had quite a bit of rain in Hawaii lately, so the mountain streams have been flowing. Waterfalls hikes are just one way to enjoy a day outdoors on Oahu!