Maui, Hawaii

Blog: A taste of what you may find on Maui

Big Island’s lava flow

It’s hard to miss Hawaii in the news these days. Big Island’s Kilauea lava flow is making headlines around the world. The pictures and video footage are incredible. Unfortunately some of the media coverage has been misleading, leading people to believe all of Hawaii is under siege.

Another owner at the Palms at Wailea complex told me yesterday that a family had cancelled due to the volcanic eruption on our neighboring island. She had done her best to convince the family that their Hawaii vacation was safe, but they cancelled, losing thousands of dollars in airfare and accommodations (guess what, the cancellation insurance told them no – they weren’t covering cancellation due to an event far removed from their stay). Bummer.

So, some clarification – what is this recent lava flow on Big Island all about?

Taking it back to the basics – Hawaii is comprised of multiple islands. Our condos are located on Hawaii’s second largest island, Maui. Big Island (also known as the Island of Hawaii) is the largest and newest island in the Hawaiian island chain. Hawaii’s islands were formed by volcanic eruptions out of the ocean floor. The Island of Maui itself has one extinct volcano (West Maui Mountains) and one dormant volcano (Haleakala – its most recent eruption dating back to the 1480s). Big Island – to the East of us – is comprised of five volcanos, of which Mauna Loa and Kilauea are considered active. Mauna Loa most recently erupted around 30 years ago, Kilauea has been having continuous volcanic activity for the past 35 years.

lava flow
Here is a helpful schematic I found on Facebook.

 

A year and a half ago I took our boys to Big Island for a helicopter tour of Kilauea and the Pu’u O’o Vent. It was fascinating. Here is a trip report from that experience.

What are the conditions on Maui – is Maui at all affected by the volcanic eruption?

I live in Kihei (in South West Maui) and these are the current conditions: the sky is blue, the air is clear, there is no effect from Kilauea’s current antics. The ocean temperature has not risen here (yes, this has been asked), we cannot see the lava, in fact, it’s business as usual here.

Can that change? Yes – the only effect that we may see is vog (volcanic air pollution). This is something we have experienced from time to time in the past 35 years since Kilauea has (most recently) been active. Hawaii’s prevalent trade winds are currently blowing the vog west and out to sea. However, every now and then the trade winds do subside. When that happens, southerly (Kona) winds can blow the vog up to Maui. The sky will appear hazy and we have the most amazing sunsets, but most people will hardly notice. If you have asthma, you will want to take precautions.

Should you be avoiding Big Island?

It depends. Yes, you should absolutely avoid the eastern-most corner (the Puna district of Big Island) as local residents are dealing with their own trauma. However, many other parts of Big Island are absolutely safe. In fact, I just read that the annual Iron Man Tournament is slated to go ahead next month (it takes place on the West coast of Big Island). Here’s another graphic I found on Facebook.

For good coverage on Kilauea’s lava flow I recommend Hawaii News Now.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Big Island’s affected residents. Praying for safety and that the current eruptions stop soon.

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Dale Zarrella art at the beach

This morning Sig and I went for a walk along Kamaole 1 beach. I love to kick off my shoes and walk on the packed sand, letting the ocean touch my feet as the waves come in. Sig not so much. However, he humored me as we went to investigate Dale Zarrella’s latest carving.

Dale Zarella
looking South from Dale Zarrella’s work station

We walked North towards Charlie Young where Maui sculptor Dale Zarella has his ocean-front work station on a rock outcropping. The scenery has changed a bit. Last time I walked by there, he took me and a friend to see his gallery tucked in behind his older-style bungalow. Today a tall construction fence blocks off the area where at least one condo building is under construction. Unsure what’s being built on his lot. Maybe he sold it – maybe he is building a new house. If so – good for him!

He is still working there, though. This morning there were two blocks of wood – the first tarped off. It was hard to get a decent picture of the second with his platform in the way, I shouldn’t complain but just be thankful that he allows others to come look.

Dale Zarrella
Do you see the embrace? The figure on the left, a mermaid, on the right a human perhaps?

 

Dale Zarrella
Some detail at the base of the statue ~ I see coral, a starfish…. and beyond, of course, the Pacific Ocean

 

I can’t wait to see the detail he will put into this statue. Other statues I’ve seen of his are amazing. Check them out on his website.

Where to find this? Park at Kamaole 1 beach (or across the road on the large open lot) and walk right along the beach to the very end. As you walk towards the rocky out cropping you should see a large block of wood or two perched up high. If he’s not working, he has them tarped off. If they are uncovered, he must be somewhere nearby. Enjoy – but please be respectful.

Dale Zarrella

Looking up at the sculptor’s work station

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Pineapples on Maui

Hawaii used to be known for its pineapple plantations. These days they are now mostly gone – replaced by cheaper imports from other places. However, there are still fields to be found on Maui and it seems more fields have been planted recently. Drive upcountry to Hailemaile and if you look carefully, you will see some pineapple fields. Plants are close together, creating a dense pineapple plant field. Note, please do not trespass on these fields, even if just to take pictures.

pau vodka
Hailemaile pineapple fields

From my experience growing pineapples from pineapple tops in my flower bed, it takes roughly 1 1/2 years to grow one fruit per plant – if you’re lucky.

pineapple
budding flower bed pineapple

My favorite growing stage is when they bloom. Each of those little notches on the hard skin represents where a tiny purple flower bloomed. Soooo beautiful.

pineapple
pineapple bloom in my flower bed

Costco stopped selling Maui Gold Pineapples this past year – replaced by fruit that is supposedly grown on Oahu (though I’m suspicious). However, there are a few local businesses that still grow and use Maui pineapples.

The Hailemaile Distilling Company produces Pau Vodka. Check them out in Hailemaile, go for a tour and see their tasting room. They also offer tours of their fields.

pineapple
Pau Vodka for sale at Safeway

The Maui Winery also uses local pineapple for their three pineapple wines ~ Splash, Maui Blanc and Hula. These are available at your Maui grocery stores or for sampling at the Maui Winery at the Ulupalakua Ranch.

If on Maui, look to buy a Maui Gold pineapple. Farmer’s markets should still have them available, even if Costco does not. They are unbelievably sweet and juicy.

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Maui Brewing Company

The Maui Brewing Company opened their Kihei production facility a few years ago. I took a tour of it a while ago – it was really quite interesting to see and learn more about beer. And, it included a flight of their flagship beers. Tours are offered several times daily.

Maui Brewing Company started in 2005 in Lahaina. They moved to their Kihei facility I think in 2016 (their Kahana brewpub is still open and popular also). The owners, Garrett and Melanie, were awarded the US National Small Business Person of the Year award in 2017. Quite an honor for a craft brewery in Hawaii. If you like beer, do check this place out and try a sample.

The brewing company has a tasting room where you can sample their 30+ beers on tap and their very own (non-alcoholic) rootbeer. The tasting room is popular, they have board games and a giant tic tac toe game to encourage patrons to hang out and have fun.

Maui Brewing Company
the tasting room bar

Until recently they had a rotation of food trucks parked outside the tasting room. This past February they opened their own on-site restaurant. The other day I stopped in to take a few pictures. I really like the way it turned out with a view into the brewery itself.

Maui Brewing Company
view into the brewery from the restaurant

 

Maui Brewing Company
view outside from the Maui Brewing Company restaurant

The Maui Brewing Company – brewery and restaurant is located in Central Kihei. To get there from the Piilani Highway, you turn up the mountain (mauka) on Lipoa. Drive past the Maui Nui golf course to the Maui Research and Technology Park. You will see the facility on the left hand side, across from another popular hangout – Cow Pig Bun (located in the black glass building).

looking up at the restaurant at the Maui Brewing Company
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Sunday drive

Today we took a Sunday drive to our favorite lunch spot. Can you guess where we were?

upcountry drive
one of the locals
upcountry drive
favorite burger
upcountry drive
jade blooms by the bathroom
upcountry drive
my hunny and I
upcountry drive
favorite purple flower

 

Did you guess where we went? – Ulupalakua Ranch. They have the best burgers. As so often, we ran into friends who had the same idea we had. I’m not sure if it’s that the burgers really are the best, but as you drive up there, you get increasingly hungry and are just thrilled when you get to the General Store. From Kihei it’s a bit over an hour’s drive. Long and towards the end windy, but worth it for the burgers and great view!

To get there you take the Haleakala Hwy upcountry where it becomes Kula Hwy. It winds its way along Haleakala between 2000 and 3000 ft elevation. Eventually you pass Grandma’s Coffee House (make a note to return there after lunch for desert) and then the windy part of the road begins. This is where I beg Sig to slow down so we actually arrive at the ranch hungry and not nauseous.

upcountry drive
Best upcountry place for deserts and coffee

While upcountry I discovered the purple jacaranda trees are starting to bloom. Yeah! I love their pretty purple blooms. Unfortunately it was overcast and we didn’t pull over, so this drive-by photo is a bit blurry and doesn’t entirely do the trees justice. You’ll have to drive up yourselves! The jacarandas bloom well into May.

upcountry drive
jacaranda blooms

 

 

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Maui Open Studios – explore Maui!

It’s February and that means it’s time for the free self-guided tour of some of Maui’s artists’ studios. This annual event is called Maui Open Studios. If you enjoy exploring and art – check this out. I promise you, you will find places on Maui you have never been before and meet some interesting people along the way.

Grab a copy of the print guide or browse the online PDF edition. Then each weekend check out some new favorite artists, watch them in action, talk to them about their art and maybe buy a very unique souvenir of your Maui trip!

Last weekend was their opening gala. Here is the upcoming schedule (weekends, from 11AM-6PM)

1st weekend: February 10-11 Upcountry

2nd weekend: February 17-18 West, Central, North Shore and Hana

3rd weekend: February 24-25 Kihei and Wailea

Did I mention the event is free?

 

One of my favorites

One of my personal favorites, Beth Cooper, is participating in the 3rd weekend event here in Kihei. Over the years I’ve bought a few of her paintings for our condos and many of our cards (prints of our paintings).

Maui Open Studios
One of my favorite Beth Cooper paintings provides color in our Maui Kamaole condo bathroom

 

You can also find Beth’s paintings in our Sugar Beach condo (her Tahiti scene in our living room) and at our Palms at Wailea condo (a small beach scene in the hallway). Here is another picture of one of Beth’s cards.

Maui Open Studios
one of Beth’s cards I’ve bought – when were you at the beach last?
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Death in Paradise

This past week has been crazy. In the past nine days six tourists have died in the ocean with another near-fatality this morning. No, the sharks are not to blame – these men in their 50s and 60s died while snorkeling/scuba diving. I’ve linked these short articles so you can read a few of the details.

My condolences to their loved ones. This is a tragedy. When we go on vacation, we plan for things such as bad weather, sickness, even poor accommodations. But certainly not death.

 

How common are water-related deaths?

While this string of deaths from the past week is unheard of, water-related deaths are unfortunately more common than most think. According to statistics compiled by MauiNow we average between 12-25 deaths/year by drowning on Maui, the majority of them tourists. For much more information, please check out this article filled with statistics from MauiNow.

death
This is a graph borrowed from MauiNow.

 

What should you do?

Should you avoid the ocean altogether? No. I am not trying to scare you. But, it is important to understand that while Maui is paradise, it’s not Disney. Bad stuff can and does happen, you need to understand risks and take action accordingly. Consider these suggestions:

  • If you can’t swim, you should not go snorkeling. As an alternative, check out all the local fish at the Maui Ocean Center. It really is well done.
  • Snorkeling may seem like an easy and relaxing activity, but in reality it can place a lot of stress on your heart. It is easy to ‘become panicked either from swallowing water, not getting enough air, or simply from fear due to strong currents or waves.’ According to this Maui doctor’s article, cardiac arrest is the main factor to snorkeling deaths in people over the age of 50. Please, take the time to read the article.
  • Never snorkel (or dive) alone. Always use the buddy system and keep an eye on your buddy.
  • Be aware of water and wave conditions. The waves pick up at a certain time in the morning – snorkel early in the morning (before 9) for best conditions.
  • There is some discussion online about full-face masks possibly trapping CO2 in the mask. While this is an unproven theory, ask the pros and be sure you know how to properly use your equipment, making sure it is working correctly.
  • Remember – yes, some people die in drowning related accidents. However, consider that in 2016 we had 2.6 million visitors come to the island of Maui. According to the graph above, thirteen of them drowned. While that in itself is awful, the odds are you will be just fine. However do use common sense and be careful.

 

What to do if you see someone not moving in the water?

Call for help (9-1-1), try to get help to move them out of the water as soon as possible and start CPR.

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Random foods

Recently I was sorting through pictures on my phone and found various random food photos. Pictures I’d taken with intention of blogging about them. Life has been busy and as you may have noticed, my blogging has slowed down. So, instead of four blog entries, I thought I’d just post them all together.

Fabianis

Fabiani’s is a cute little Italian restaurant with two locations – the main one (which includes an amazing bakery) in Kihei, the second in Wailea Gateway Plaza (same shopping center as Monkey Pod). I can’t remember anymore which pizza this was, perhaps the Kula Fields? Vegetarian nonetheless, and so good.

Fabianis

Monkey Pod

The Monkey Pod is a very popular Wailea restaurant. Personally, I’m not that taken by it, but have heard about their lilikoi foam mai tais from several people. Naturally I had to try it. It was good. Yum. By the way – lilikoi is a passion fruit!

lilikoi foam mai tai

 

Eskimo Candy

Poke is popular in Hawaii – raw marinated fish (often ahi). A poke bowl is poke served over hot rice. Eskimo Candy is a small take-out place tucked into industrial Kihei, across from NAPA Auto Parts. Their poke bowl is one of the best – I love that there are four different varieties plus a scoop of seaweed salad over rice. It is truly yummy and with the rice quite filling.

Eskimo Candy’s poke bowl

 

Bistro Molokini

We’ve eaten pupu (appetizer) and dinner here a few times. Slightly more casual restaurant at the Grand Wailea, right next to one of their pools. We’ve had several items on their menu, the poke nachos, the steak (so good), scallops and this is the ahi. Delicious.

Togarashi Seared Ahi
Brigit and Bernard’s

Maui’s only German/Swiss restaurant, this favorite is located in industrial Kahului. Brigit and Bernard’s lanai (patio) is loud with local traffic, but if you must have German food, you go anyway. Service is friendly and the food is good. I had the Wednesday chicken special – it was so good! Every week day they have 3-4 specials – go and check their board, they don’t update their website or facebook regularly. Oh, and they throw Oktoberfest parties all October!

Wednesday chicken special with roesti
Mystery slider

I wish I could remember where we had this – just looking at the picture, my mouth is watering. If you’ve ordered this, let me know. I’m guessing maybe Gannons Red Bar or Manoli’s, but…. I honestly don’t remember.

pork slider – sadly I can’t remember where we had this
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Upcountry walk

We enjoyed having family visiting this Christmas. Among other things we went for walks – we all enjoyed this upcountry walk.

I sure enjoy being upcountry – the cooler temperatures, the beautiful bicoastal views, the lava rock walls and the vegetation! Hope you enjoy…

upcountry walk
looking down towards Maalaea

 

upcountry walk
pasture land and grey skies

 

upcountry walk
beautiful bicoastal views

 

upcountry walk
a narrow road leading nowhere – or does it?
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Upcountry Farmer’s Market and hot sauce

I’ve been meaning to check out the upcountry farmer’s market for a while now. It’s a Saturday morning event, I’m not sure what time it starts, but do know that it ends around 11AM. My mission – to replenish my stock of HI Spice hot sauce.

Yes, HI (the abbreviation for Hawaii) Spice hot sauce is locally made small batch hot sauce. The owners live in Kihei, their commercial kitchen is in Wailuku (as a side note – I’ve picked up from their kitchen before – it smells divine). You can buy their sauce online and at a few local stores – the Maui Tropical Plantation has it, as does 808 Bistro in Kihei, and I’m told someone at the Shops at Wailea carries it too… but it’s cheaper when you can buy direct ($10 vs $15 at the stores).

Upcountry Farmer’s Market
Saturday morning upcountry farmer’s market

From Kihei the drive will take about 40 minutes. When you come up the Haleakala Hwy, continue on the highway until the Long’s Drugs intersection (just past Carden and King Kekaulike high school). Turn right, then take your first left and find parking. The farmer’s market takes place in a parking lot past and to the right of Long’s. There is some street parking, an empty field. Please don’t park in the store parking lot.

This upcountry farmer’s market is different from the ones in Kihei. Yesterday there were 40+ vendors, many claiming to sell organic or no-spray fruits and veggies. You can buy orchids, hot foods, kombucha and many other foods and drinks I’ve never heard of. You will also find more eclectic vendors – a few years ago there was a ‘Gothic’ veggie stand, yesterday two younger men had a Temple foods stand. I still wonder how one raises Gothic vegetables, but maybe I don’t want to know.

Yesterday I was a woman on a mission, with little time to spare. I found the HI Spice stand and bought five bottles of my favorite hot sauce. They have various kinds but my favorite is their Smoke Scorpion hot sauce. If you like hot sauce, you’ve got to give it a try! Yum.

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