Sunday, September 6, 2015

Surprising costs of an interisland move in Hawaii

Packing crates on the Big Island for Oahu
We always assumed that moving between islands in Hawaii would be much easier and cheaper than our move from California to Hawaii Island. The distance from Kawaihae harbor on the Big Island to Honolulu is only about 160 miles compared to 2300 miles from Oakland to Hilo, so we figured that the move would be less expensive and take less time. We were surprised to discover that the cost and complexity of an inter-island move is the same or more than our initial move to Hawaii from the mainland. 

The major expenses shipping between the islands include: 

  • the materials and labor to pack everything to survive an ocean trip, 
  • the labor to load a container or crates,
  • the cost of transporting the container or crates to the harbor,
  • the cost of shipping, 
  • and finally transporting the container to a residence and unloading. 

It turns out the fuel savings from shipping the shorter distance between islands versus from the mainland is only about $200.

In Hawaii, Young Brothers has a monopoly on all shipping routes between the islands. Young Brothers prices are based on weight with a set amount for different types of items such as cars, containers, cement, etc.. They publish their tariffs on their website. They do not offer the type of moving services Matson does, like dropping off a container at your residence and picking it up. 

So, to move personal effects you need, at a minimum, a moving company to deliver a container or  wooden crates and transport them to the harbor. The cost of loading a container or wooden crates (which have to be covered with plastic) and transporting them to the harbor is the same or more in Hawaii as on the mainland. In addition, the cost of packing everything for transportation, including the expense of boxes and wrapping material, is also the same or more on Hawaii as on the mainland. 

On the Big Island there are only six companies authorized to move between islands including Big Isle Moving, Royal Hawaiian, Kona Transportation, and Town and Country Moving. The moving companies provide door to door services including packing, loading, transporting to the harbor, pickup and unpacking. You can save some money by packing yourself. 

The moving companies send a person to estimate the total weight of your effects and overall moving costs. Regardless of their weight estimate, you are charged the actual weight of the container or crates weighed at the harbor for Young Brothers portion of the shipping costs. 

We had three local companies provide us an estimate and were shocked at the differences. Their  weight estimates ranged from 9300 pounds to 6100 pounds. Their cost estimates, after adding in packing, supplies, and delivery ranged from $10,000 to $4,621. 

Although all the moving companies use Young Brothers and their tariff rates are fixed, the actual rates they provided varied from $67 to $59 per 100 pounds.  Their moving estimates included only about 60 cents of insurance per pound. Additional insurance, which we required, was an added cost. 

The actual weight of the four crates was 6800 lbs. The crates took over a week to arrive in Honolulu from the Big Island, which was almost as long as our 20 foot Matson container took to get to Hilo from California. On the bright side, all of our things made it safely with no damage. 
Crates arriving in Oahu
Overall moving between islands in Hawaii was complicated, expensive, and time consuming.  Our  challenge now is getting all our stuff to fit into our much smaller apartment. 

In our next blog we will tell you about all the things, good and bad, that are different  living on Oahu than living on the Big Island.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Our Move to Oahu

Our Oahu Apartment
We loved living on Hawaii Island for the past 7 years.  We were able to experience the culture, climate, and life styles of Hilo, Kona, and Kohala.  The beaches, food, people, and amazing activities on the Big Island have been a constant source of entertainment and enjoyment for us.  Even so, our endless wanderlust, made us wonder what it would be like to live on the other islands in Hawaii.

Our son attended college on Oahu, so we visited the island many times.  Although the noise and congestion in Waikiki was too much for us, we marveled at the shops, restaurants and sights to see elsewhere on the island.   There is also the draw of jobs, particularly jobs requiring technical skills.  We started looking around and found a great job in West Oahu.  Last month, we moved from Hawaii Island to find out if living on Oahu is as much fun as it looks.  Our move kept us too busy and overwhelmed to blog; but we are back to it now.

Although we are in Oahu, we plan to continue to update our HiloLiving website and calendar.   We still own property on the Big Island and consider it our home. 

Our next blog will be about our move from Kohala on the Big Island to Oahu.  We always assumed that moving between islands in Hawaii would be  easier and cheaper than our move from California to Hilo.  We were very wrong.

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Big Island Independence Day weekend

Turtle Release Ceremony
If you are lucky enough to be on the Big Island for Independence Day, you may find it difficult to choose between all the amazing things to do on the fourth of July.

If you are in the Hilo area, the town is having a huge celebration on the bayfront called the Hilo Bay Blast on Independence Day.  The day’s finale will be a fireworks display provided by the Lehua Jaycee’s at 8 p.m. from Coconut Island. You can start early on Saturday, July 4th  by participating in "A Salute to Our Veterans" Hilo Bay 5K Run/Walk at Liliuokalani Gardens at 7 a.m..  There will be prizes for age groups for runners and walkers and special prizes for Fastest Male and Female, Most Patriotically Dressed, Best Decorated Wheelchair, Largest Group, Youngest/Oldest, and From Farthest Away. A donation of $25 includes a T-shirt, bag, bib, a chance to win one of 128 prizes and have lots of fun. Proceeds go to the building fund to build a commercial kitchen for VFW Post 3830. After the run, a “Hot Rides Expo” will start at 9 a.m. in the parking lots and soccer field makai of Kamehameha Avenue and will feature hundreds of vintage and modified classic cars. Games, cook-offs, and music will be happening along Hilo's bayfront throughout the day. The Hawaii County Band will perform in the Mo’oheau bandstand at 7 p.m right before the fireworks. Lihiwai Street will be closed throughout the day and Bayfront Highway will be closed from 6 to 10 p.m. Parking will be available at the Afook Chinen Civic Auditorium  and a  free shuttle service will take you to and from the bayfront area from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. You can call 961-8706 for more information.

If you are on the west side of the Big Island and want to see fireworks, there are two choices.  


Waikoloa Beach Resort is having a day-long family-friendly celebration with fireworks. The event starts at Queen’s marketplace at 11 a.m. with live entertainment. During the day there will be carnival games, face painting, balloon sculpting, and Zoo Choo train rides.  At 3 p.m. the 24th Annual Waikoloa Rubber Duckie Race will take place at the Kings’ Shops, which is a fund raiser for the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Hawaii. Adoption certificates for the rubber duckie race will be on sale until 3 p.m. on race day and offer a chance to win over $27,000 in prizes. Individual duckie adoptions are $5 each and Quack Packs are $25 each and include four duckie adoption certificates and one event T-shirt (while supplies last). There will be other festivities at the Kings’ Shops which start at 11 a.m. with a sidewalk sale, entertainment, and activities into the evening. At  4:30 p.m. the gates will open to Waikoloa Bowl at Queens' Gardens for the 4th of July Extravaganza. The free event will include live entertainment by Beyond Paradise and Johnny Shots. Bring a beach chair or blanket and enjoy a fun evening of music under the stars. Fireworks begin at 8 p.m.. This is a non-alcohol, non-smoking, and drug free event. 


In Kona, the 20th Annual Kailua-Kona Independence Day Parade will start at 6 p.m. at the Kekuaokalani Gym/Pool Complex.  The parade will proceed along Kuakini Highway to Palani Road, Alii Drive and end near Walua Road, just past Coconut Grove Marketplace. A fireworks show over Kailua Bay will start at 8 p.m.. 


Volcano Village will have a fourth of July parade and celebration starting a 9 a.m. at the Volcano Post Office and proceed along Old Volcano Road to Cooper Community Center on Wright Road.  The parade will feature the Hawaii County Band, floats, antique cars, fire engines, bicycles, horses, and animals in costume.  A Silent Auction Benefit will be held at Cooper Center from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m..  There is something for everyone at this event and the proceeds benefit the Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.  Music, games, food booths, a craft fair, and prizes will take place during the day in Volcano Village.  You can call 967-7800 for more information.


If you are looking for something more unique, you may find Turtle Independence Day at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel a perfect activity for the day.  Every year on July 4th, three and four year old turtles raised at the hotel are released into the ocean with big fanfare.  The beach in front of the hotel is gorgeous and everything is a celebration of the turtle.  The event will start at 10:30 a.m. and go until noon.  


A different sort of celebration takes place every year at Parker Ranch in Waimea at the Annual 4th Rodeo and Horse Races from 9 a.m. to noon. Big Island ranchers will participate in races and rodeo events with Parker Ranch cowboys. You will see ribbon mugging, ranch mugging, dally team roping, Po'o Wai U and more. Keiki activities including roping practice and pony rides. There will be lots of food and mementos for sale at the Parker Ranch Store booth. The events will take place at the Parker Ranch Rodeo Arena in Waimea. Tickets are $10 at the gate or available in advance at the Parker Ranch Store in Waimea (at Parker Ranch Square). 

If you want to extend the fun into Sunday, you can take the family to the 2nd Annual Sumerfest at the Shops at MaunaLani.  On Sunday, July 5th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. the shops will host a 100 foot waterslide, games, and activities such as mini Kendama, carnival game booths, and Go Fish for kids. There will be free Billabong flash tattoos, free popcorn, and cotton candy, a balloon artist, a photo booth and more. You can visit specialty food booths such as Tommy Bahama Restaurant, Under the Bodhi Tree Restaurant, Sweet Eatz Gelato Truck, Kona Ice Truck and Cupcakes N Things. There will be music with DJ Ed Geer and fun games with great prizes from the Shops at Mauna Lani!  The event is free to the public. 

Even with so many events to choose from, our favorite activity is to go to the beach and enjoy the sun and surf. Happy Independence Day!!