Skip to main content

Chelsea Yamase chats Hawaii through a local lens

Chelsea Yamase looking at a fence.

Free diver, mountaineer, surfer, model, sustainability champion – it’s fair to say Chelsea Yamase is one busy lady.

If you hunt down Instagram on the regular for dreamy underwater shots and magical landscapes, it’s likely you’ve come across Chelsea’s imagery in the past. This girl knows how to take a picture, and is similarly beautiful when in front of the lens herself.

But Chelsea is way more than just your regular Instagrammer. For whilst others are happy to play on the shorelines, she’s free diving caves, scrambling down waterfalls, or spending weeks at a time roaming the desert. The definition of an inspiring female traveller? We think so.

When Chelsea isn’t roaming the globe, she returns to her homeland of Hawaii. So what exactly are her favourite things to do back home? We caught up with her to find out…

Whereabouts do you live in Hawaii, and have you lived here all your life?

I live on the island of Kaua’i, where I was born. I’ve also spent 5 years on Oahu and have visited most of the 8 main islands.

What does a normal day look like for you?

I usually wake up fairly early around 6:30 a.m., make some orange juice and avocado toast. I have a huge avocado tree and our neighbors have a huge grove of tangerine and banana trees so we like to trade. I work from home so I’ll do emails and photo editing from my office which overlooks the valley I live next to. I think Hawaii is all about letting the outdoors in, even in a work environment. In the afternoons I’ll surf until sunset or meet my friends at the beach for a slackline session.

Why do you think Hawaii attracts so many adventure seekers?

I think Hawaii is unique in the variety of activities available in such a small distance – world class surfing, diving, hiking, waterfalls, horseback riding, sky-diving, dirt biking, the list goes on… The climate means we can be outdoors year round and the beauty of nature here is always pulling you to explore more.

Where is your favourite beach in Hawaii?

I couldn’t choose, haha! There are so, so many. The entire north shore of Oahu is fantastic, the white sands of Lanikai beach, and Red Sands on Maui.

Best spot for snorkelling/diving?

Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island or Hanauma Bay on Oahu

Best spot for hiking?

Kokee State Park

Favourite local dish?

I’m a fisherman’s daughter so I love poke (raw cubed fish with hawaiian salt) and a side of rice.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about Hawaii?

That it’s always sunny, haha! The weather is always fluctuating and it rains almost every day. It’s still warm though! Gaudy Aloha shirts are also not the way to fit in

What would only a local know about Hawaii?

Local knowledge manifests itself in so many ways. We will know the best beach to go to given a particular wind direction, where to buy the freshest seafood, and what fruits are in season when. We’ll also know which No Trespassing signs are enforced and which ones aren’t…

Tempted to try out Hawaii for yourself? How could you not be! The good news is, Contiki has just launched a BRAND NEW Hawaii adventure. Want to know more about it? Head here.