Blog: A taste of what you may find on Maui

How to carve a pineapple jack-o’lantern

A number of years ago I discovered the joy of a pineapple jack-o’lantern, and frankly, we have not looked back! These little guys are so easy to carve and their crazy pineapple top hair make me laugh every time. Last weekend my son and I shot a short video on how to carve a pineapple jack-o’lantern. This video comes to you from the beautiful kitchen at our Kamaole Sands 2-206 condo. Hope you enjoy!

I wrote more about pineapples (how to carve and how to grow) last week – so check out that blog entry. I’ve also grown pineapples from pineapple tops in my flower bed, so search ‘Cara’s pineapple‘ on this blog for more pictures of that also!

A few tips for carving a pineapple jack-o’lantern

  • On Maui a pineapple jack-o’lantern will only last about a day before starting to mold. Save your carving for Halloween afternoon! For that matter, when I have carved pumpkins here on Maui, they’ve not lasted much longer than 2-3 days either.
  • Carving pineapples is significantly easier than a pumpkin – provided you trust your children with a knife, this is a fun activity for them to try!
  • Pineapple jack-o’lanterns are juicy. Unless they’re outside, put a plate under them!

Pumpkins on Hawaii

Why not carve a pumpkin? Honestly, pumpkins in Hawaii are expensive. The actual pumpkins themselves, but also canned pumpkin. Standard (15 oz)-sized tins average $3, the larger (29 oz) ones are usually $5-6. Our family loves pumpkin. My favorite recipe is this pumpkin swirl loaf. It is delicious – I triple the recipe, usually two loaves are polished off within two days, the third goes in the freezer for a treat. This year I bought a whole pumpkin from Costco, roasted it and made my own pumpkin sauce (and seeds). I may have regretted that by the time I started bagging all the sauce for the freezer. That’s a lot of pumpkin sauce! It also looks deceptively like frozen mango puree. Want to bet there will be some interesting ‘mango’ aka accidental pumpkin smoothies made at my house? Ha!

Have you been to the Kula Farms upcountry Maui? Every year they have a pumpkin patch, usually starting late September and running through Halloween. I love their farm stand.

This fall Mahi Pono harvested their first crop of Maui grown pumpkins. Mahi Pono is the owner of 41,000 acres of former sugar cane land here on Maui. Slowly but surely they are converting the dry former sugar cane fields into cropland. Their first plantings were potatoes, but they have branched out from that. Driving up Haleakala Hwy you can see fields of orange, lemon and coffee trees. Curious to buy their Maui grown produce? Per their website they currently sell under the Maui Harvest label at Foodland, Longs, Times and Tamura.

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How to get around vacation rental service fees

Have you booked a vacation rental recently? If you’ve booked through Airbnb, Vrbo or the likes, you will have paid service fees. We advertise through Vrbo and Airbnb, truthfully we get the majority of our bookings through these booking platforms. There are additional booking sites, but these are the two we use and are familiar with.

service fees

How much is the service fee?

Both booking platforms charge the travelers a service fee as a percentage of the rental amount. With Vrbo it ranges from 6-12% of the rental amount. The total used to cap at $499, however in the past few years that cap was quietly lifted. In reviewing my bookings, I have one where the service fee is $586 for a two week booking. In addition to that, owners pay either a flat $499/year or 5% of booking income. Airbnb is free to owners to advertise, but charges travelers a cool 14.2% service fee on the rental. Both platforms charge the owners a credit card transaction fee of 3%.

Each guest who books one of our condos signs a rental agreement. In it we detail the nightly rate, fees and taxes among other things. We do not list the service fee. It is not covered by our rental agreement (we do not receive any of it). Should you cancel your booking, it will depend on the booking platform if they refund their service fee.

What value do service fees provide you?

I realize that there are costs involved in running a booking site, absolutely. Here are the services the booking sites say they provide travelers for the service fee:

Vrbo states: ‘This fee helps cover the cost of secure transactions, product development, and 24/7 customer service. Additionally, when a guest pays through our site, they are eligible for the Book with Confidence Guarantee.’

Airbnb similarly: ‘To help Airbnb run smoothly and to cover the costs of the products and services we provide, like 24/7 customer support, we charge a service fee when a booking is confirmed.’

Should you avoid the service fee?

If you have an established relationship with the condo owner, I would suggest you book direct and save the service fees. My rates are the same on Vrbo, Airbnb and book direct, the only difference being the service fee (of which I have no control). If friends or family have **recently** stayed at this condo and have an established relationship with the owner, you are probably fine to book direct.

Do search online to see if and how Vrbo or Airbnb have helped travelers when problems have occurred. Do the booking platforms actually help?

Why doesn’t the owner offer to book direct when you inquire via Vrbo or Airbnb?

When I list my properties on booking platforms, I agree not to take any of their bookings off-site (as this will cost the platform their service fees). As much as I would prefer to take your booking direct, the booking platforms can (and will) delist my properties if I’m found out. At this time I depend on them for bookings, so I am unable to take this risk. However….. I sprinkle the condo’s name throughout the listings. Some travelers pick up on this, google the condo by name (‘Palms at Wailea 503’) and find my website, Facebook, Instagram or even Youtube channel – yay!

How to pay for your vacation rental

This is just common sense, but if this is your first time booking a particular condo from a particular owner, pay by credit card. This gives you some recourse should problems occur. Note that most credit card processors charge owners a 3% transaction fee. If you have a recent established relationship with the condo owner, ask about cash discounts and mail a check instead. I have a number of repeat guests who do this. Others prefer to collect the airmiles which is of course just fine.

A word of caution

Unfortunately fraud is a thing in the vacation rental industry. Criminals post fraudulent listings for non-existent properties, or properties they don’t own. You can find fraudulent listings on Vrbo, Airbnb, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace…. everywhere you look to book. Please be careful, use common sense.

Besides blatant fraud, there is also a problem of misrepresentation. Old photos, poor upkeep, shoddy cleaning, poor management. Read reviews carefully.

Take the time to phone the owner listed – you would be surprised how many people don’t!

Purchase trip insurance

Please do purchase trip insurance. When you book your trip, you never know what may happen. We’ve seen job loss, death in family, illness, change in circumstances, divorce etc. Read through the fine print as policies do vary widely – it can cover CFAR (Cancel For Any Reason), medical, cancellation, etc. Prices will vary based on what they cover. I do not sell trip insurance. I have personally purchased through Travelguard for a European trip a number of years ago, though we didn’t need to make a claim, so I can’t vouch for how good it was.

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How to cut a pineapple

How do you cut a pineapple? There are of course different ways. I learned mine from the tag on a Maui Gold pineapple!

I’ve had a lot of fun over the years growing pineapples in my flowerbed. I by no means have a green thumb. Sig keeps our yard at home looking beautiful, with the help of teenager lawnmowers (love having teenagers!).

Over the years I’ve posted pictures of our flowerbed pineapples which grow from tops here on this blog. Here is one with the new pineapple bud rising out of the plant.

how to cut a pineapple
pineapple bud in my flowerbed

Today I made two videos, both at our Maui Kamaole I-103 condo’s kitchen. One how to cut a pineapple, the second how to prep a pineapple top for planting. I hope you enjoy!

How to cut a pineapple

How do you like to eat your pineapple? You could eat the pieces just like this. Or you could use our condo’s Vitamix (each of our condos has one) to make a pineapple smoothie, or start a pina colada. You are in Hawaii, after all!

Do you have a favorite pina colada recipe? I’d love to have it!

How to prep a pineapple top for planting

Pineapples on Maui

Did you know, the island of Lanai used to be the location where Dole grew all its pineapples. Labor grew to expensive and so they relocated their farms to South America and/or South East Asia. But no fear, Maui Gold has their farm upcountry in Hali’imaile. As you drive from Haleakala Hwy towards Baldwin Ave (past the Hali’imaile General Store), you will pass their Pineapple vodka operations (on the left) and pineapple fields on the right (you need to crane your neck a bit to see them past the wild grass). Please be respectful and stay out of the fields.

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My experience traveling to and from Canada

This week it was my turn to travel – my first trip off Maui since July 2019. I flew to Canada to visit family and briefly experience fall weather (rain and cooler weather)! At this time to enter the US you need to show proof of a negative pre-travel test regardless of vaccination status. This will be changing come November (see below).

DISCLAIMER: this worked at my time of travel (September 2021). THINGS CHANGE REGULARLY so please double check the official government websites so there are no bad surprises.

Travel to Canada

Canada
Waiting at OGG for my Westjet flight to take off

I booked my pre-travel test to enter into Canada. There are a number of options on Maui, but the cheapest (and for me easiest) option was at the Clinical Labs of Hawaii at Kihei Wailea Medical Center (in the Safeway shopping center). I made my appointment in advance. You have to specify the test is for international travel (not the free community test). The cost of my travel test was $120US. I arrived at the lab, paid the fee and filled out a form. They took my nasal swab and I had an email announcing that my results were ready in under 24 hours. I set up an account to access my results, downloaded them to my phone and printed them as a backup.

The next step was to download the ArriveCan app. It won’t let you enter your info more than 72 hours prior to your flight. I entered all my travel info – flight and destination info, test result status (no upload required), stated my quarantine plan (should I test positive while in Canada). I uploaded a copy of my vaccine card. It was pretty straightforward. When you finish, the app sends you a receipt with a confirmation number.

Canada
first glimpses of Canada – after 26 months away

I wasn’t able to complete my online check with Westjet. At the counter they checked that I had an ArriveCan confirmation number and also verified my negative test results.

On arrival in Vancouver, the customs agent verified that I had the ArriveCan confirmation and test results.

Travel to Hawaii

To travel to Hawaii I set up an account with Safe Travels Hawaii. There is no app. Once set up, I registered my trip. Please see the official State of Hawaii Covid Travel website for very specific information.

Since I was entering the United States, I had to complete a pre-travel test 72 hours prior to my flight to Hawaii, despite being vaccinated. There are very specific approved ‘trusted testing and travel partner’ labs and at this time they are located only in BC, Alberta and Ontario. Hopefully that will be expanded soon. In BC Westjet partners with Lifelabs. I went onto their site, pre-purchased my test ($200Cdn+tax), then requested an appointment online. Within an hour Lifelabs contacted me to schedule the appointment. I had to bring my lab slip and passport to the lab, they took the swab. I received my results in just under 24 hours. Please check very closely that you get the specific Hawaii approved Covid test from the specific trusted travel and testing partner. If you take the wrong test, your trip will be very complicated (10 day quarantine anyone?).

Then I logged into my Safe Travels account. I clicked the ‘request testing exemption’. Unfortunately I uploaded the wrong form first, then the correct form (with the Hawaii State seal), and received an ‘identity mismatch’ error. I called the Safe Travels helpdesk person (hours are 10AM – 10PM Hawaii time). They had me email my test results and other info and within an hour I had an email that it was corrected on their end. Phew.

24 hours prior to my trip I logged in and completed the health questionnaire. The website then emailed me a QR code. I have both the code and my negative test results printed. Just in case.

What I experienced at the airport

The check-in line at YVR was short but took forever. Westjet agents looked specifically for the QR code and double-checked the test results sheet. A number of travelers didn’t have their QR code. The Westjet gate agent admitted she had not flown to Hawaii and gone through the process herself. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the Safe Travels program. You can phone Safe Travels – they are very helpful.

At the gate we had to show our QR code, test results and passport again. Then on arrival, we were routed to a screening location (at another gate), showed our QR code and passport again. The QR code was checked, we were then directed to take a photo of our ID with a laminated confirmation sheet. I then had to show that photo to another person before exiting the terminal.

All in all, if you have read up on what to do AND if you have followed the official government website instructions correctly, it’s pretty straightforward. More complicated than pre-Covid, but doable.

November 2021 changes

Enjoying fall foliage in BC

Last week the US government announced changes to the current travel policies. Currently Canadians need to pre-travel test to enter the US by air. Land borders are still closed to non-US resident travel. Many international travelers are currently not allowed to enter the US, such as travelers from England and the European Union.

In ‘early November’ the US will be changing its policy, opening up to more international travelers. The US will be requiring all foreign travelers (including Canadians from what we can tell) to show proof of full Covid vaccination in addition to a pre-travel test.

The US CDC (Center for Disease Control) will have the final word on which vaccines will be accepted.

“The CDC considers someone fully vaccinated with any FDA-authorized or approved vaccines and any vaccines that (the World Health Organization) has authorized,” said spokesperson Kristen Nordlund. That list could change pending additions by either agency, she said.

Reuters

Canada has a high vaccination rate, so for many the new rule in itself will not be a problem. However, per CBC News it is currently unclear if the US will be allowing people with mixed vaccinations to enter the US.

We are waiting for the US to announce the exact new rules. If you are planning a trip to the US and have received mixed vaccines, please keep an eye on this for further developments.

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How to slice a mango

Our mango tree has gone a little nuts this year. When we purchased our house 11 years ago we planted what we thought was a dwarf mango. The landscaper was mistaken. The tree is as tall as our neighbor’s two-storey house. For years it’s teased us with a just a handful of mangos. When I say handful, I am joking. One fits in my hand.

We have a Hayden tree. These mangos are breakfast candy. They are large, they are sweet, they are…. amazing. Mangos grow seasonally. Our tree begins flowering in February. The fruit begin ripening late July and will continue to ripen through October. Thankfully they don’t all ripen at once! Most years I have carefully hoarded my harvest, freezing any excess for smoothies and baking. This year I’ve been sharing with neighbors and friends. I’ve also frozen many bags for off-season. Mango off-season, that is.

I was showing our youngest how to slice one this morning. Mom, you should make a Youtube video so I can watch it next time I need to cut one. Like your Tommy Bahama beach chair video! That video went ‘viral’ with currently 5700+ views. I won’t lie, I currently have fifteen subscribers and am definitely not a youtube sensation!

Anyway, challenge accepted. Here is my ‘How to slice a mango’ Youtube video for your viewing pleasure. I hope you enjoy! We filmed it at our Palms at Wailea #503 condo. Oh yeah – we got some new livingroom furniture…..

What to do with all these mangos?

What a problem to have! Besides eating them, enjoying them as a peanut butter sandwich….

This mango coffee cake was amazing with mango (I presume the peaches called for in the recipe would be great too).

Mango sorbet (blend 3 cups frozen mango chunks, 1/4 cup almond/coconut milk, 1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice for five minutes, then freeze). This is delicious. I think it would be even better in a cocktail!

Mango bread (substitute the bananas in banana bread)

How about you? What is your favorite treat?

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How to make your Hawaii arrival easier

You are planning your trip. You’ve got the flights, the condo, hopefully the rental car all lined up. But how can you make your Hawaii arrival easier?

I’ve told you about the official Hawaii Covid Travel website of course.

  1. Sign up for your Safe Travel account. Schedule your pre-travel test, or if you received your vaccination within the United States, you will qualify for a vaccination exemption. See the website for so much more information and details. On a side note, if you have been vaccinated in the US but are re-entering the US from another country (such as Canada), you will need to pre-travel test regardless of vaccination status. This is a US government requirement, not a Hawaii requirement. Here is a video detailing the steps required.

2. Certain airlines offer a pre-clear option to avoid the check at Kahului airport. Sometimes the line at OGG is pretty quick. However, at times there are multiple flights disembarking at the same time, causing a backlog.

Sig’s ‘fancy’ Alaskan pre-clear bracelet

What is pre-clear?

Airlines offering pre-clear will check your documents and Safe Travels QR code at the gate and give you a wrist-band. I’ve heard that the pre-clear is not always at your flight’s gate, but can be elsewhere in the airport. I recommend arriving at your gate in plenty of time to find the pre-clear desk. Sig and our oldest son recently returned to Maui from Seattle and say it was a breeze. Airlines currently offering a pre-clear wrist-band program are: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines Delta, Hawaiian Airlines, South West, United Airlines. If you can, get it – it will make your Hawaii arrival so much easier.

Wrong tests or missing tests

Last weekend I chatted with one of the soccer moms. She works as a waitress at one of the airport restaurants/bars. I asked her, how often are people arriving without their Safe Travels QR code or the wrong test? You would think airlines, hotels, condo owners would be advising their guests of the rules (I certainly do). She says she works five shifts a week. Every shift she sees at least one person crying in the restaurant, waiting for a return flight.

If you arrive on Maui without your valid Safe Travels QR code, you will be flagged as having to quarantine. You will either need to book a room in one of the approved quarantine locations (NOT a vacation rental) and agree to stay within your room for 10 days, line up food and services you may need to be delivered. Or, you are asked to leave. You book a return flight to the mainland. At that point you can either get an approved test and return, or call the vacation over. What a mess.

Make your Hawaii arrival easy. Please make sure you take the correct test. Some approved labs have done unapproved tests. Double check!

Rental cars

In March 2020 tourists started leaving the islands as we became aware of Covid. At the time some 18000+ rental cars needed a place to go. They were temporarily parked in the fields surrounding the airport. Once Hawaii began reopening with the pre-travel test option to avoid quarantine in October 2020, those rental car graveyards began to empty. In the mean time we’ve had severe car shortages. Some cars were shipped back to the mainland or sold, and tourism numbers came back significantly stronger than anticipated.

Imagine my surprise as I was driving the back way (past the heliport) to Costco’s gas station and came across rental cars in fields. This was just a few days ago. Yes, tourism numbers have slowed again. I assume these are extra cars that don’t fit in the airport rental car facility. Talk about a flashback.

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Safer Outside Vaccination Requirements

Maui’s mayor Michael Victorino announced the County’s new ‘Safer Outside’ program, beginning September 15th. The County will review it 30 days from then and adjust if the County’s Covid numbers have come down.

Here are the details for the ‘Safer Outside’ program as announced at Tuesday’s press conference and reported by Maui Now.

  • If you are 12 and older, you need to show proof of vaccination for indoor dining at restaurants. Note, you can still eat on outdoor patios, get take-out and drive-thru without proof of vaccination.
  • Gym patrons will need to show proof of vaccination at gyms.
  • Restaurants, commercial boats and tour operators are reducing capacity to 50% (this is down from 75%). Check with your activities provider if your planned activities are impacted (luau, dive boat, snorkel cruise, sunset cruise, organized hiking trip etc.)
  • Restaurants and bars have to close by 10pm.
  • Non-commercial outdoor gatherings are limited to ten, indoor social gatherings to five people.
  • No spectators at indoor and outdoor sports events.

The State of Hawaii and Maui County are currently grappling with the Delta surge. Hawaii is located in the middle of the Pacific, with the nearest continent (out of state hospital bed) 2200 miles away.

The State of Hawaii continues to have a strict indoor mask mandate. At this time 64% of Hawaii’s population is fully vaccinated, 72.6% with at least one shot).

Hawaii Covid Travel

Please remember to check out Hawaii State’s official Covid Travel website for the most up to date information on travel requirements. At this time you still need to sign up for the Save Travels app, enter your trip information and upload a copy of your vaccination card or your test results. If you choose to pre-travel test, there are very specific rules regarding which tests and labs you use. Please review carefully and double check (yes, there are changes from time to time).

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Upcountry roadtrip and restaurant update

Last weekend we went for an upcountry roadtrip. One of the kids had a tennis game in Kula, so I thought…. why not combine that with lunch at the ranch? There is something about going for a drive and eating a picnic bbq lunch.

The ranch, you say? Ulupalakua Ranch is located above Makena and Big Beach. As the bird flies, it’s not that far. However, the private ranch road is not open to the public. Years ago there was some significant flooding upcountry which took out a section of Kula Hwy. At that time the ranch temporarily opened their gravel road to upcountry residents. The only way to get the ranch is to drive to Kahului, up Haleakala Hwy, Kula Hwy and just follow that road until you get there – in about 80-90 minutes’ time. But not to worry – it’s a beautiful drive!

The ranch’s General Store sells some picnic supplies, clothes, and touristy items. In the back they have an order counter for their bbq (open between 11-2). If you follow them on Instagram, they often post food photos which make me hungry every time. Maui Wine (and the visitor restroom) are across the road.

This weekend we timed our lunch trip just perfectly, arriving about 10 minutes before a large group. It was pouring rain at the ranch, but we snagged a table on the lanai. There are additional picnic benches with umbrellas on the lawn. We had an hour to spare before the game. I suggested a walk along Thompson Road to stretch my legs. I was overruled – carrot cake was calling.

Grandma’s Coffee House

When we pulled up at Grandma’s Coffee House there were no cars up front or parked on the road. I wondered if they were even open. Turns out we got lucky a second time, ordered our carrot cake and lilikoi cheese cake and sat in one of the booths. Then a large group of people arrived. Unfortunately my phone camera flaked and didn’t take the cake photo. Sorry! Both cakes were delicious. I did pick up a pack of their home grown and roasted espresso beans for at home enjoyment. Yum.

Mauna Loa changes

This past year my favorite Mauna Loa macadamia nuts updated their packaging. They also changed their chocolate recipe on their individual nuts. While the mac nut cluster chocolate seems largely the same, the other has changed significantly. The milk chocolate individual nuts are a lot more dark chocolatey than they used to. They are still great – just different! I have discovered a new favorite – kiawe smoked bbq mac nuts. Yum.

Restaurant news!

With the ongoing Delta surge, Maui’s mayor announced yesterday a vaccine passport type program for restaurants. Details have yet to be announced, but I’ll update the blog when we know more. It is supposed to go into effect September 15th.

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Delta variant on Maui

The news is full of Covid updates, warnings about the Delta variant. Here is a short snapshot of where Maui is currently at.

Yes, Hawaii is also experiencing a surge in Covid cases thanks to Delta. We’ve had a real surge, going from averaging 5-10 cases/day, to the new average of 70+/day. Our island’s population is 145,000. Maui’s mayor Victorino announced this morning that Maui’s hospital – Maui Memorial – is now at capacity. The hospital has 219 beds and has the ability to add some as needed, however, they are short-staffed. Starting Monday 550 relief health care workers are coming to 19 Hawaii hospitals, Maui Memorial is expecting 40 of those relief nurses. My nursing friend says she and her fellow hospital staff are thrilled. They are pretty burned out. The relief nurses are scheduled to stay 60 days.

Maui’s mayor issued a call this morning to ‘not engage in dangerous activity’. Basically, try to avoid behavior that may result in needing hospital care. Well that’s great.

In good news, Lt Governor Green announced 69.5% of Hawaii residents (82.3% of those eligible, 12+) are partially vaxxed, 61.5% fully vaxxed as of today.

Restaurants

Restaurants are currently at half capacity. The best way to get a reservation (per my son who is part-time hosting at a Kihei restaurant) is to walk in and make a reservation for a few days out. Some restaurants allow for online reservations. Late June I blogged about some of my favorites – check it out!

Rental cars

Beat of Hawaii has announced that rental car prices have dropped. Unsure why – but if you have a rental car reservation, check back to see if prices have dropped. If you haven’t paid, rebook at the lower rate and don’t forget to cancel your other booking. Turo car rentals continue to be strong here on Maui. My concern is, what happens if your Turo car rental is an accident prior to your arrival – I assume your reservation is cancelled, and then you are back to square one.

The Canadians are back!

The Canadians are back! In fact, our sister and brother-in-law visited from BC end of July – it was so nice to be able to see family again! Paul went scuba diving and I included his whale shark video in a blog post! Sig and our eldest are currently in Canada visiting family. If you are Canadian and have a trip scheduled for Hawaii, be sure to get those pre-travel Covid tests scheduled while they are still available. And do remember, you also have to pre-travel test to return to Canada.

Covid requirements for Hawaii

Yes, Hawaii still has the mandatory 10 day quarantine in place for travel to Hawaii. If you are traveling from within the US, you can currently get an exemption by showing proof of vaccination (plus 2 weeks) or do a pre-travel Covid test. Note, all this is up to change especially as Delta continues to surge around the world. Please CHECK THE OFFICIAL HAWAII COVID TRAVEL SITE repeatedly pre-travel to make sure you have all the current information.

Masks are mandatory when indoors and on shared transportation.

enjoying the afternoon at Kamaole 1 beach

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Scuba diving on Maui and a whale shark!

Here’s something I have never done before – scuba diving! Fortunately for you, our brother-in-law is a diver and he has shared a few of his videos from this trip’s dives.

This is Paul’s third time diving on Maui. His preference is to dive from shore with a dive partner. Unfortunately for him, we don’t have any divers at our house, so he books group dives. He’s been diving for 11+ years now, but it is always a good idea to have a dive partner when you go in the water. Just in case you run into trouble. Incidentally the same also goes for snorkeling.

He has booked group dives with Scuba Shack, Maui Diving and this year, Dive Maui, depending on where he wanted to dive. He brings his own gear, but you can rent from the many dive outfits on island.

If you are interested in diving, check out Dive Maui’s blog for local dive tips and information!

This week Paul went on two scuba diving trips. His first was an off-shore dive in Lahaina. The second was a dive in the Molokai channel. The Molokai Channel dive was incredibly choppy with 15-20 foot waves. While conditions were less than ideal, he saw a rare whale shark!

a rare sighting of a 22 foot whale shark off Molokai

What is a whale shark?

Did you know – a whale shark is the largest living fish and can grow up to 40 feet long. Thursday’s whale shark was likely around 22 feet long. Unlike other sharks they are relatively harmless to humans, feeding mainly on tiny plankton. It is pretty rare to see whale sharks in Hawaii. Note, humpback whales are mammals as they give birth to their young. Whale sharks eggs hatch while still inside the female (strange?).

Running into trouble in the ocean

Did you know the most common cause of visitor death on Maui is drowning? In the past few weeks there have been two incidents of drowning on Maui. On July 23 a California visitor fell off a cliff at Wainapanapa State Park (along the Road to Hana). On July 16 a scuba diver was pulled out of the water at Makena Landing. He had been swimming with a friend, but lost sight of him. Unfortunately these incidents are not uncommon on Maui. Sometimes it’s lack of common sense, but often it’s accidental. Our condolences to the families.

Just this week a 51 year old woman was found after spending the night drifting at sea on her paddle board. While exhausted, she should be ok.

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