Hawaiian Origins: From the Depths to the Skies

May 13-19, 2015
Trip Description

Trip Leader: Glenn Starkman, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Director of the Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics,and Director of The Institute for the Science of Origins, CWRU and Patricia Princehouse, Director of Outreach for The Institute for the Science of Origins, and Director of the Program in Evolutionary Biology, CWRU

This trip includes ground transportation, most meals, and access to parks, wildlife areas, observatories, etc. More specifically, 7 days, 6 nights accommodation, 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 5 dinners including tax and all tips. The only things you’ll pay additional are a quick supper of your choice on the go on Friday evening, and your own lunch on Beach Day. And of course any supplemental activities you’d like to add to your beach day, such as swimming with dolphins or manta rays, helicopter rides over lava fields and waterfalls, boating, kayaking, snorkeling or paddleboarding. 

Aloha! Join a special group of scientists and like-minded fellow travelers for this amazing opportunity to travel the islands of Hawaii from a unique Origins Science perspective and experience all they have to offer with a depth of understanding usually reserved for professional scientists.  Enjoy the spectacular waters and mountains of Maui, the lush natural beauty of Molokai, and the stunning volcanic landscapes of the Big Island. Experience science up close and personal with special behind-the-scenes access at the telescopes of Mauna Kea on the Big Island and Pan-STARRS Haleakala on Maui. Star-gazing from the roof of our hotel on Maui and strolling along crystal blue waters on white sand beaches. Anticipate mild to moderate physical activity with plenty of opportunities to relax on Hawaii’s world-famous beaches or more demanding sports for those so inclined, such as kayaking, snorkeling and swimming with dolphins! Hike Volcanoes National Park with an expert geologist and dine by the glow of the famous Haleamaumau Crater’s fire pit.  Experience the unique ecology of Hawaii’s  flora and fauna. Appreciate the diversity of Hawaiian cultural traditions illuminated by anthropological and archeological contextualization, including fascinating petroglyphs dating back thousands of years! Our goal is not just to see but to understand. –all the while enjoying luxury accommodations on glorious beaches and excellent, fresh, Pacific rim cuisine! 

Estimated Fees (airfare not included): $4995


  • Hotel Moloka’I, Molokai Island
  • Royal Lahaina, Maui Island
  • Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, Big Island
  • Mauna Lani Bay Hotel, Big Island

Included Meals:

  • Breakfast: Six
  • Lunches: Five
  • Dinners: Five

Deposit and Cancellation Terms:

  • Deposit amount: $2,000
  • Final Payment Due Date: January 22, 2015
  • Written cancellation received by CWRU on or before February 2, 2015: full refund minus $550 per person administrative fee
  • Written cancellation received by CWRU on or between February 3 - March 27, 2015: $2,500 per person cancellation charge (includes an administrative fee)
  • Cancellations received on or after March 28, 2015: no refund 


Wednesday, May 13 -
Travelers fly to Maui independently. We ask that you arrive before Noon. We can meet you at the airport and bring you to the hotel or direct to the optional Whale Watch boat, which will depart from Lahaina Harbor at 2:15 sharp as long as whales have been spotted in the area that morning. If you need to arrive in the afternoon or evening you can arrange for a limo that can take you anytime. It costs around $30. Let us know your arrival plans well in advance so we can help you choose the best option.

Thursday, May 14 -
We will spend the entire day touring Haleakala National Park with a local naturalist and visiting Pan-STARRS for an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the telescope facility.

Friday, May 15 -
Today you will choose between 2 options. You may rise at 6 to catch the ferry to Molokai, or take a Beach Day. Relax on beautiful Kaanapali Beach, participate in the myriad resort activities or rent a car and explore the island at your own pace, perhaps visiting the Maui Ocean Center, a three-acre underwater tropical reef aquarium and marine science center. Or a drive to beautiful Maluaka beach, also known as Turtle Town because most days there will be endangered green sea turtles on the beach and you can swim alongside these gentle giants if so inclined. And there are plenty of more active sports available such as snorkeling and surfing at all levels.

Saturday, May 16 -
We will travel overland to Volcanoes National Park in our private vehicle Along the way we will learn about traditional Hawaiian lifestyles at the superb Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park. Then we drive along the Kona coast, stopping to observe exotic wildlife along the way.

Sunday, May 17 -
Kick back on the beach at the Mauna Lani or start early with a slew of cool activities ranging from a swim with wild dolphins off the coast ($140) to snorkeling and kayaking to a helicopter ride over the inner regions of the Big Island with its lakes and fields of flowing lava interspersed with tropical jungle with huge cascading waterfalls ($440).

Monday, May 18 -
We will take four-wheel-drive vehicles to the summit of Mauna Kea for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Observatory Complex with research scientists. We will watch the sunset from the summit, then descend to where the air has a bit more oxygen and stargaze through private telescopes after dark accompanied by an astronomer.

Tuesday, May 19 -
The final day of the trip allows time to organize and pack in the morning then drop the bags with the concierge desk and assemble for lunch.In the afternoon we will hike with a cultural expert to ancient terraced fish pools built by the earliest Hawaiians and still in use today. We will spend the late afternoon grazing at a terrific culinary festival before driving to the airport to catch overnight flights home.