Maui, Hawaii

Blog: A taste of what you may find on Maui

July 10 brush fire

A week ago we had a pretty bad brush fire here on Maui. It started on Wednesday July 10th near Waikapu and spread rapidly across the Central Valley coming very close to North Kihei (and our Sugar Beach condo). The fire ended up burning 9000 acres of brush land. This is mostly former sugar cane land.

As you may recall, A&B finished their sugar cane operations on Maui with their final harvest in December 2016. Since then the land has mostly been fallow, with sugar cane regrowth, weeds and of course kiawe trees growing wild. During their sugar cane operation A&B would irrigate the fields regularly, keeping them nice and green until about 2 years in, when they would have controlled burns and then harvest the sugar cane. These controlled burns would of course generate their fair share of ash particularly in North Kihei. Locals called it ‘Maui Snow’, black ash on cars and roads in the morning. However, A&B would then work up the fields within a few days and things would settle down again.

Last year A&B sold 41,000 acres of sugar cane land to Mahi Pono, a joint venture between a California agricultural group and ironically one of Canada’s largest pension funds. They have very slowly been starting to work up some acres and planting. Unfortunately it’s been an incredibly slow process. We were so used to the green central valley. It’s been brown and dry ever since cessation of the sugar cane operation now. In fact, there have been brush fires the past few summers, prompting the landowners to work up or disk buffer zones near roads as a form of fire break.

On July 10 the fire came so close to North Kihei, our guests at our Sugar Beach condo were evacuated. The Mokulele Hwy (now known as Veterans Hwy) and North Kihei Road to Ma’alaea were both closed due to the fire and heavy smoke and people missed their flights (including me – we had an inter-island flight to Oahu for a hockey tournament). The community pulled together, opened shelters and eventually everyone got to where they needed to go.

Driving from North Kihei towards Kahului on the Mokulele Hwy (also known as Veterans Hwy)

In wonderful news, there was no damage to inhabited buildings at all. To our knowledge, noone died in the fire. The police have an ongoing arson investigation for both this fire and a smaller fire which was started between the new Kahului Safeway and Target and the Sugar Cane factory on July 11.

What to expect when you come to Maui?

You’ll noticed the burned area in the central valley as you fly in – in fact, I would love to see your pictures! You’ll see the burned area as you drive across the central valley. You will see the dust blowing badly in the central valley and into North Kihei during certain times of the day. Here in South Kihei we are still getting some ash on our lanai.

However, fire fighters brought the fire under control within two days and are working to put out any flare ups that occur. We are so thankful for these men and women!

Our Sugar Beach condo is fine – no damage. There is still a lot of dust, we apologize. Join us in praying for rain. I’m not sure what else to do to help calm the dust down.

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We just bought a new condo!

Yesterday we closed on our new Maui Oceanview Condo – Kamaole Sands 2-206. First order of business, a number of hard-working housekeepers came and took all the furnishings included in the purchase. Happy to help local families out! Out with the old!

It’s official! I have the key to Kamaole Sands 2-206!

Next order of business: many many renovation-related decisions. The cabinets and floor tile have been selected. I’m humming and haw-ing about the quartz counter tops and bathroom shower options…

Our contractor has submitted his plans to the Homeowners Association…. Once approved, construction begins!

This is so exciting! More details and pictures will follow in the coming months.

All dates are currently available for rent. Including Thanksgiving, Christmas, whale season, spring break…

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Upcountry Walk

This weekend one of the kids needed to be upcountry for a 7 AM cross country run. To put this in perspective, we needed to leave our home in Kihei at 6:10 AM to meet at Grandma’s Coffee House which was their chosen meeting point. The coach chose one of my favorite upcountry walks for the run, so I made coffee and headed up the mountain with my athlete.

We made fantastic time, getting there early. I left the teens to do their run and started off on a walk, stopping regularly to take pictures of trees, flowers and of course the view. It is just breath-takingly beautiful upcountry. And cool. I am always warm, so I particularly enjoyed cooling down a little from Kihei’s heat.

The narrow, winding and hilly road is lined by traditional lava rock walls and offers gorgeous views.
Look to the left, down the mountain, and see Kihei, the ocean and West Maui Mountains in the distance.
upcountry walk
Look to the right and enjoy the meadows on Haleakala’s volcanic slopes, looking for cows, horses and goats.
upcountry walk
It is the tail end of jacaranda season, but there were still blooms to enjoy.
upcountry walk
I always smile when I see these peeling trees shedding their bark.
upcountry walk
Colorful blooms along the side of the road
upcountry walk
These giant leaves were catching discarded jacaranda blooms.

Grandma’s Coffee House

After my beautiful walk (and the team’s run), we all gathered at Grandma’s Coffee House for some breakfast. This is a small mom and pop shop, one of few restaurants in the area and consequently a bit of a gathering place. The coach struck up a conversation with an older gentleman reading his paper. Turns out he’s Grandma’s son. His own son, Alfred Franco, now runs Grandma’s Coffee House. He talked story with us for a while, telling of the coffee growing/roasting they do.

I had a small black Americano – one of the best coffees I’ve had in a while – and a pineapple coconut muffin. It hit the spot!

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Our new Kamaole Sands condo

We are excited to announce that we are purchasing a new Maui Oceanview Condo! We close on our new Kamaole Sands property next Monday (June 3, 2019).

This is a 1 bedroom 2 bathroom oceanview condo in the popular Kamaole Sands complex in South Maui. Kamaole Sands is located across the street from Kamaole Beach III, a short walk from our Maui Kamaole condo.

The condo will be undergoing a complete remodel in the next few months.

On our to-do list:

  • Remove all existing flooring, cabinets, bathrooms.
  • Remove popcorn ceiling texture.
  • Install tile plank flooring throughout.
  • Install new white kitchen cabinets with light-colored backsplash, quartz counter tops and all new appliances.
  • Install new walk-in showers and bathroom cabinets.
  • Install a new split A/C system (livingroom and bedroom) and ceiling fans.
  • All new furniture and art work, 2 new wall-mounted TVs.

The condo will be available for rent starting late August 2019. In the next few weeks we will have a new condo link on our website complete with calendar and pricing. As of right now ALL dates are available. Yes, that includes Christmas, whale season, spring break…. the calendar is OPEN!

We won’t have beautiful condo pictures available for a few months, but I promise to post updated pictures as we progress through the remodel.

Kamaole Sands
the view from our new Kamaole Sands condo
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Missing Person Amanda Eller – FOUND

Update: I am absolutely thrilled to announce that Amanda Eller was found, alive, after 17 days of being lost in the forest. There are numerous news articles and press statements about her ordeal. It is quite the story.

If you are on Maui, you will have seen some of the hundreds if not thousands of missing person posters. Local physiotherapist and yoga instructor Amanda Eller went missing on May 8th, eleven days ago. Police found her car the next day at the popular Makawao Forest Reserve. Since then family and friends have mounted a large search and rescue operation. For much more information and daily posts by the search and rescue volunteers, check out the facebook page FindAmanda.

missing person

Makawao Forest Reserve is a popular hiking, off-road biking and horseback riding area in upper Makawao with a series of trails, gorges and pools. It is a large area. From what I gather volunteers have been systematically searching the area. Unfortunately searchers discovered Amanda’s phone in her parked car. If you read through the many comments on the posts on the FindAmanda site, you will see that there are several theories in what may have happened. Officially police have not released any information indicating that there may be foul play involved. If you want to help, check out the FindAmanda page – they are looking for volunteers to help in their efforts, and also food donations for the volunteers searching.

Praying that Amanda is found – very soon!

Missing Persons on Maui

Ironically the Missing Person wall on the weird building at the World War II era airport site along the highway was painted over a few months ago. For as long as I can remember, this building has always been covered in graffiti. About two years ago or so, someone painted it black and then covered it with the names of Maui’s missing persons. In recent years two missing persons cases really stick out, Moreira (Mo) Monsalve and pregnant Charli Scott who went missing months apart from eachother in 2014. Heart-breakingly Mo is still missing. Charli’s jaw bone was found and her ex-boyfriend convicted of a horrible crime.

missing person
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Video walk throughs of two condos

I must admit, I am more active on Facebook than on this blog. If you are on Facebook, do follow us at Maui Oceanview Condos. Recently I did two video walk throughs of our condos (on Facebook), showing potential guests what the condos look like. The posts were pretty popular and generated a lot of hits. I thought my blog readers may enjoy seeing the condos also.

Seeing a video of a condo gives you a different perspective than just looking at pictures. Now keep in mind – these are my amateur videos taken on my phone. Nothing fancy, in part a little blurry. But I hope you enjoy.

Maui Kamaole I-103

The first is of our Maui Kamaole I-103 condo. We still have some 2019 availability remaining for late summer and fall. Would love to have you come stay. This is a 1030 square foot condo with a large master bedroom with attached master bath and a very large living room which features a Murphy hide-a-bed (it folds in and out of the cabinetry). The lanai off the living room has a nice oceanview. This condo is in South Kihei, just up the hill from Kamaole 3 beach park and about a 10-15 minute walk from shops and restaurants.

Video walk through of our Maui Kamaole I-103 condo

Kihei Surfside 405

The second video walk through is from our Kihei Surfside 405 condo. This is our one bedroom, 1 1/2 bath oceanfront property with the amazing ocean view. This condo has I think one or two weeks left late August/September. Note, it has no A/C, so do consider that before booking. Summer highs can be around 93, night-time lows around 83 that time of year. We usually get good trade winds, but if they go away, it’s humid. Of course we have high quality ceiling fans and extra fans. As you can see from our calendar, this condo is very popular with our guests.

video walk through of our Kihei Surfside 405 condo

I’ll take videos of our other two condos soon. We’d love to have you stay – check out our condos for your next Maui trip!

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This weekend – Maui’s own hockey tournament

Do you love hockey? Let’s be honest, you probably didn’t come to Maui for the hockey. You probably don’t even think Maui has hockey (besides on TV screens in bars). However, Maui has its own group of hockey playing enthusiasts. Yes, we have a rink, but it’s not necessarily what you’d expect.

Maui’s own (and only) inline hockey rink in Kihei’s Kalama Park.

Kihei has its very own oceanfront sports area located at Kalama Park. Free and open to the public to use, we have tennis and basketball courts, multi-purpose fields used for baseball, kids soccer and kids football practice, a skate park and – yes – an inline skating rink. This is all Maui County owned property, however the County has an agreement with the Maui Inline Hockey Association (MIHA) regarding use of the skating rink. Volunteers run 3 free public skate nights/week (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings) and in return MIHA has inline hockey practices and games the remaining nights.

This weekend (April 26-28 2019) MIHA is hosting their first (in quite a while) inter-island hockey tournament, the Maui Outdoor Classic. Maui’s own hockey leagues are just finishing their winter season this week (rec league has their championship games Thursday night). Then Friday evening the fun begins. Since this is the only rink on Maui, players are excited that there are a number of kid and adult teams flying over from Oahu (look for the KIHA Warriors – Kapolei Inline Hockey, and HI Old School teams on the schedule)!

Admission to the Maui Classic is FREE. Come on down, enjoy some hockey, cheer on the teams! Here is the schedule. Note there are different divisions – kids games are 9U, 12U, 14U. Then for adult leagues there are rec league, 35O (35 and over) and ‘adult’ (elite).

Hockey Season

Love hockey but missing the tournament? No worries. Monday nights are pick-up nights (for older teens and adults), come around 7:30, sign a waiver, borrow some gear and join them. I believe there is a fee ($5 or $10, I can’t remember). We are heading into summer, the adults will play a summer season, details have yet to be announced. Fall season typically runs late September through early December, winter season late January through April. Adult games typically begin around 8PM, the rink closes with lights off by 10PM.

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I just love those purple jacaranda trees!

If you’ve driven upcountry Maui, you probably will know what I’m referring to: those beautiful purple flowering jacaranda trees.

Jacaranda trees are actually not endemic to Hawaii but are native to South America. If you go for an upcountry drive, they are just starting to bloom. They are so beautiful.

Maui’s only paint party place, Island Art Party, is located here in Azeka Shopping Center in Kihei. Yesterday’s paint theme was ‘upcountry drive’ which included some of the beautiful purple blooms. I’ve been eyeing up this painting for some time now and lucky me, my friend suggested we go painting.

If you’ve never gone to one of these paint parties, no worries. It is a fun social event, where they give you step by step instructions on how to paint the painting (everyone paints the same thing). Worst case, you throw out the painting when you’re done. Best case, you have an amazing souvenir of your stay on Maui.

Here are a few pictures of my painting. I’m about 90% happy with it. But I had a fantastic evening!

Do check out their website for their event calendar. Island Art Party has new owners and is currently waiting for their liquor license (no alcoholic beverages available at this time). They are hoping it’s a matter of weeks. On the walls and unused tables you can admire upcoming art projects.

Island Art Party
Upcoming art projects – isn’t that sunset sail one (3rd from right on bottom) amazing?

Seabury Craft Fair

If you are on Maui around Mother’s Day, do check out Seabury Hall’s annual Craft Fair on Saturday, May 11th (the day before Mother’s Day). It’s a fantastic craft fair with juried crafts, a wonderful food section, kids games etc. But in my opinion the best thing about this craft fair – it’s the setting: beautiful bicoastal views, white tents under purple blooming jacaranda trees on a beautiful college prep campus. Don’t miss it! Parking across the road at the rodeo grounds is free, admission is $5.

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Waihou Spring Hike

Last weekend we went on a family hike. One of my favorite hikes on Maui is the Waihou Spring Trail in Olinda. I should qualify, usually we just do the 1 mile loop in the pine forest and call it a day. It’s an easy stroll and generally not busy at all. There is an off-shoot from the loop leading to the Waihou Spring Trail which we always walk down. But – there’s always a but – then you get to a danger sign, warning you of certain death.

hike
The experimental pine forest

The thing about hiking upcountry Maui is that it very often rains up there, so the switchback trail to the springs is often wet. This past Sunday however it was dry. Add to that, we had family along that are generally more adventurous than we are, so we thought – well, why not. Down a series of switchbacks we carefully walked to the bottom of the gorge where we found a sweet waterfall with caves behind it. And a rooster. Don’t ask me what the rooster was doing in the middle of nowhere at the bottom of the gorge. I didn’t see any chickens around. I can only presume he got lost, or accidentally went down there. Who knows. The hike out of the gorge was steep, but we all made it back out and lived to tell the tale! I would not recommend this hike if it’s wet.

hike
You’ve been warned – I would not go down this trail unless it’s completely dry. It’s a steep one.

Where is the Waihou Spring Trail

This trail is located upcountry Maui. To get there, drive up to Makawao. Turn right onto Baldwin and just follow the road up the mountain. The road will get narrower and narrower. Slow down, take your time and enjoy the views and watch for traffic. Eventually you pass the Maui Bird Conservation Center (to your left) and enter into a pine forest. You will shortly see parking on the right side. It will take you about an hour to get here from Kihei.

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the waterfall at Waihou Spring
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My favorite restaurant

We recently went out for lunch for my birthday. I love celebrating birthdays. My favorite lunch restaurant is this wonderful place called Gannons.

Unless you are a golfer, it is possible that Gannons is off your radar. It is located in the club house of the Emerald and Gold Golf Courses in Wailea. You come up their long private driveway, past two of the nicer golf courses on Maui to an impressive white stucco building. There is ample parking (though sometimes you have to walk a little). Then you come in the doors, across a large courtyard and the restaurant is on the left (across from the pro shop).

Gannons

Gannons is one of two restaurants belonging to Bev Gannon – the other being the Hali’imaile General Store (also worth checking out).

Why is this place my favorite restaurant? Three reasons really:

  • the amazing restaurant space
  • the wonderful food
  • the beautiful view across the golf course at the ocean and Molokini

You just can’t beat it.

Gannons is open for lunch, happy hour and dinner. Brunch/lunch items range from $15 to $28 or so. Happy hour is also great with 20+ entree items, priced from $13-18 (they are smaller portions, so you may want to share a couple depending on your appetite). You do need to specify that you are here for happy hour at the Red Bar. Basically you want to sit at any table with an orange candle (otherwise you order from the dinner menu which is much pricier). I’m sure dinner is lovely – but quite pricey. And really, part of the attraction is the view, so come and eat during the day!

I do recommend making reservations, particularly for happy hour.

Gannons
Sig and I waiting for my birthday lunch at Gannons

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