Maui, Hawaii

Category: life on Maui

Quarantine for all arriving in Hawaii

Another day, more news. Yesterday the governor of Hawaii announced a mandatory 14 day quarantine for all arriving in Hawaii starting this Thursday (March 26, 2020).

As you know from mandatory quarantines being instituted elsewhere, in Monopoly terms this means ‘do not pass go’. No stopping at grocery stores or running other errands, just go to your home or condo and order groceries in. The point of the quarantine is to protect others on island in case you have Covid-19. If you are returning home to Hawaii, you have a support system of people to help you with this. If you are coming to Hawaii on vacation – frankly, this is not a vacation. As nice as the condo is, it’s not that nice that you want to spend 14 days in it. Internet speed on Maui is pretty slow.

While it may seem harsh to some, please remember that the Covid-19 situation is a lot worse in other parts of the US. Hawaii is the most isolated center of population on earth, 2400 miles away from the nearest landmass (California). The government feels they have the opportunity but also the obligation to isolate to protect our population as it takes significant time for help and supplies to arrive, if they are even available to come.

What does this mean for you

If you are already on island, the mandatory 14 day quarantine does not affect you. However, on Maui for instance, the social distancing mandate went into effect on Friday (March 20). Return flights are being cut – Westjet I believe stops flying its regular flights today. Hawaiian Airlines has announced they are cutting their flights. My friend’s son just returned from his year abroad in Spain yesterday (yes, he is in quarantine), and I’ve been seeing pictures of very empty airplanes. Please check directly with your airline about your return flight as I’m sure other airlines will be cutting flights in an attempt to preserve funds.

If you are still hoping to come to Hawaii on your vacation, please keep a very close eye on Hawaii news. Things are changing on a daily basis. Great sources are Hawaii News Now for Hawaii news, Maui Now and Maui 24/7 for Maui specific news. If you are staying at one of our condos, please email or call me.

The government sites to check are

Loss of Aloha

There have been reports of sign-wavers near the airport, rudely telling those arriving to go home. This is embarrassing and uncalled for. However, please understand that as everywhere in the world, people are stressed and panicking about their health and our already fragile health care system. Covid-19 has been brought to the islands by those arriving from other places. Ironically the majority of cases are locals returning home, but that fact is lost on the sign-wavers.

Of course, concern regarding visitors is not helped when they are seen blatantly violating social distancing rules (keeping 6 feet distance from others).

Almost everyone I know here in Hawaii is affected by tourism. Social distancing, tourists staying home and mandatory quarantines is creating economic hardship for all on the islands.

Clearing my head

sunset beach activity

Yesterday after an early dinner I went for a walk. If we are healthy, we are still allowed to leave the house and go for walks. It’s been seemingly forever since I went to the beach for sunset. It appears others had the same thoughts as I. One local family was having a beach bbq at the County beach park (I didn’t count to see if they were following the ‘groups of 10 or less’ County rule). Many were standing or sitting on the beach, enjoying the view while a few kids still played in the water.

another day another beautiful sunset

This too will pass. I don’t know when. But it will.

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Outrigger canoe paddling

High school paddling season is coming to an end on Maui. In fact, today is the state championship regatta on Big Island. The winning teams from Maui, Oahu, Kauai and Big Island all compete for the state title.

This was my family’s first experience with outrigger canoe paddling. Turns out, it’s quite the sport.

Our high school’s team had 50+ kids participating, boys, girls, mixed, JV (junior varsity) and Varsity teams. They practiced daily after school, either at Kahului Harbor where the cruise ships dock (the water is kinda nasty, definitely not a swimming beach) or in the school’s weight room. Then Saturdays they had paddling regattas. The actual event would start around 8:45AM with an opening ceremony. This would include Hawaiian chanting and always the singing of Hawaii’s anthem Hawai’i Pono’i. The regatta (and ensuing meal) would usually be over by 1PM.

While our kids have participated in a variety of high school sports, this has definitely been the most Hawaiian experience. Students and parents arrived at each regatta at 7AM to prepare and serve breakfast to the team. Sometimes it consisted of muffins and fruit, other times parents went all out with fried rice. After the regatta was completed, we’d serve lunch also – the two times I was involved it was shoyu (soy sauce) chicken and then sweet and sour pork, cooked in a campfire setting. I must say, in a way it reminded me of our German heritage – keep everyone well fed at all times 🙂

Did you know?

Canoes weigh about 400 lbs. This means everyone pitches in whenever a canoe needs to be moved. Canoes can be connected with two beams to create a double canoe (you take off the outrigger for this) – which then weighs 800 lbs.

They are teams of six. The rear member is the steersman. The first three paddlers are the strongest with the best form.

Transporting a 400 lb canoe across the road to the water. All hands on deck

Want to give paddling a try?

Curious to give outrigger paddling a try? Both the Kihei Canoe Club across from the North Kihei ABC store and also the Maui Canoe Club just North of Sugar Beach Resort have visitor paddling opportunities. Check out their websites for more information. Disclaimer, I don’t think they feed you, but you could head over to the Sugar Beach Bake Shop after your morning paddle for a second breakfast.

Hawai’i Pono’i

Did you know – Hawai’i used to be a monarchy? You can still tour the palace – Iolani Palace – in downtown Honolulu. Compared to European palaces, it is a small affair, but nonetheless, it is the only royal palace in the United States.

The lyrics to Hawai’i Pono’i were written by King David Kalakaua in 1874, the music by Henri Berger, the king’s royal bandmaster at the time. It served as the national anthem and now is the state anthem and is sung in the Hawaiian language. Even now, after annexation, becoming a US territory and then obtaining statehood in 1959, Hawai’i Pono’i is sung at many events throughout the islands. For much more information on the controversial overthrow of the monarchy, check this link.

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What’s new on Maui?

Here are a few of the new things happening around the island.

Nakalele Blowhole News

On Sunday morning I saw an article about Maui’s sweetheart rock having crumbled into the ocean. Of course, that’s not the actual name of the rock – I don’t know what it is, but it’s located on West Maui by the Nakalele Blowhole. I always intended to go check out but never did make it there. Too bad.

Maui Whale Day and Parade are back!

It’s back on! The popular Maui Whale Day and Parade are back this year on February 8th. The parade takes place from 9-10AM between Kamaole 1 beach and Kalama Park, then to be followed by various events at Kalama Park from 10AM-3PM. Live music and hula, a keiki (kids) carnival, educational booths and vendors.

Jake Shimabukuro is coming to town!

A number of years ago we went to see/hear Jake Shimabukuro, Oahu ukulele genius, in concert here on Maui. He’s coming to Maui March 14th. If you are on Maui, get your tickets!

Wailea Village Shopping

Have you checked out the long awaited new Wailea shopping area next to Manolis (just above the Shops at Wailea)? It’s called Wailea Village and when they started building it, they were marketing it as high end shopping. Specifically of interest is the Paper Garden (a cute stationery store), Akamai Coffee’s second store location (the first is across from Times in Central Kihei). But the one place I want to check out is Maui artist Philip Sabado’s store and studio. Four years ago when we remodeled our Palms at Wailea condo, I found a Philip Sabado art rug which was at the time being sold at a framing store in Kahului (Mr Sabado’s son worked there). To this day I love that area rug. It’s bright and colorful and truly unique (compared to the typical blah Home Depot rug). I bought Sig one of his Hawaiian shirts for Christmas. I’ll have to talk him into wearing it (it’s pink). It’s really nice.

Palms at Wailea #503 living room
The living room with the Phillip Sabado art rug
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Maui author Toby Neal

This past weekend my favorite local author Toby Neal held a book signing at Barnes and Noble in Kahului. Naturally I had to go.

I came across Toby Neal’s mystery romance novels a few years ago at the Kihei public library. I have loved reading these mysteries, set in the Hawaiian islands in many places I have been to. It makes it just so much more personal.

I met her a few years ago quite by accident and had the opportunity to chat with her. Since then I’ve followed her on facebook and when she’s blogged over the years. And I’ve read all her books on my kindle (many are ‘free’ if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited).

This past year she published her memoir Freckled – A Memoir of Growing up Wild in Hawaii. It is Toby’s incredible story of growing up as the daughter of hippy surfers on the island of Kauai, spending much of her childhood either homeless or living off the grid. It also touches on some of Hawaii’s social issues. I highly recommend it!

Unfortunately for Maui, Toby and her photographer husband Mike Neal moved to California a few years ago to take care of an aging family member. This person has since passed away, and I keep hoping they will move back to the islands. Maybe one day.

She has a couple murder mystery series. I overheard her telling another reader that her personal favorite is ‘Unsound‘. It’s been a while since I read this one, but it takes place in Haleakala crater valley. Have you ever driven up Haleakala (Maui’s dormant 10,000 foot volcano) and gazed into the crater valley? Did you know you can day hike but also camp (in designated huts)?

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Hurricane Season 2019

It’s that time of year again – hurricane season. In the Central Pacific (as in the Caribbean) hurricane season runs from June to November. However our most active months are definitely July – September.

With that in mind, we have two hurricanes currently on their way to visit Hawaii. We’re just such a popular vacation destination. I kid.

Hurricane Erick looks like it’s set to miss hitting us and is forecast to pass to the South of the State of Hawaii. However, they are forecasting dangerous surf, some wind and possibly rain.

Hurricane Flossie is on Erick’s tail, possibly arriving Sunday or Monday. She was recently downgraded to a tropical storm. has a much more direct forecasted path which currently looks like it will pass across the Hawaiian Islands, or at least very close. However, as at last night’s new forecast model, it looks like she may cut to the North of us.

hurricane season 2019
Hurricane Flossie as at as at 7/31/2019

What does this mean for Maui?

In 9 years of living on Maui, we have been very fortunate and have not experienced a direct hurricane hit. Numerous hurricanes have been obliterated by Big Island’s two large shield volcanoes (Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa). Also, hurricanes have in the past typically slowed down and dissipated prior to actually arriving. Of course, every storm is different and so you do need to watch and monitor them and be prepared.

Possible rain: to be honest, we are praying for rain. Rain would be wonderful as Maui is so dry (hence the fires we’ve been having recently). However be aware that rain can cause run-off into the ocean, creating murky water conditions at the beach. If the water is murky, stay out! There is an increased risk of getting an infection should you have any cuts/abrasions (who knows what is in the water) and sharks come closer to land to check out the run-off.

Expect storm surge and changed ocean currents. Besides getting pummeled by unpredictable wave action, ocean currents can drag you unexpectedly out to sea. Best to stay out of the water. If you must, go to a beach with life guards present and ask them for their advice PRIOR to going into the water. If in doubt, please don’t go out.

Definitely expect humidity. Storms passing Hawaii block our wonderful trade winds which often keep the worst of the humidity at bay. Without those winds, the humidity can be here in full force.

Should you change your travel plans?

Not necessarily. However, do monitor the local news. I recommend MauiNow and their Maui-based weather specialist Malika Dudley (you can follow her directly on Facebook and/or Instagram. For specific Maui-based coverage, check out Maui24/7 on Facebook, they are fantastic for reporting up-to-date coverage of what’s going on here on Maui. HawaiiNewsNow is also good, but they are more Oahu based. And for the very most up-to-date forecasts, check the Central Pacific Hurricane Center website. They update several times a day.

Additionally, stay in touch with your airline just in case a storm changes path and flights are being cancelled.

Disaster Preparedness

A few years ago I wrote a blog post on disaster preparedness. Do check it out. Also, if you are staying in one of our condos, check out the Emergency Preparedness write-up in our condo binders. You are welcome to call/email or text me with specific questions. I respond best to email and text.

Stay safe!

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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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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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It’s Winter!

For the past few weeks we’ve been hearing about winter stories on the US mainland and Canada. My cousin in Edmonton looked up the temperature in Antarctica and told me Edmonton had matching temperatures the other day (one day I would love to go on a cruise to Antarctica – not for the temperature, but just to SEE it, even just from a distance).

Here on Maui we heard about your suffering and decided to join the club. Well, not that we had anything to do with it. There is some sort of low pressure system to the north of us bringing cool temperatures and strong winds. This morning the temperature was a frosty 60F (roughly 15.5 Celsius). Those of you who know me know that I hate heat (I know, I live on Maui – what am I doing?). I am cold. I am actually wearing a hoody and have closed the windows in an effort to preserve heat.

Maui County has closed the South Maui (Kihei) beach parks because of danger of large swell. North Shore beach parks have also been closed. Apparently we are expecting waves up to 60 ft (that would be on the North shore, not in Kihei). Today is a good day to stay inside or go shopping.

Haleakala National Park is closed due to high gusts of wind (up to 80 mph). Also apparently it’s snowing with a forecast of up to 3 inches. Remember your rental car does NOT have decent tires, please don’t drive up there. There are no emergency services, snow plows, salt/sand trucks. Plus there will be local families eager to see snow – some for the first time 🙂

We aren’t going to die.

Yes, this is unusual, even for Maui winter. But we aren’t going to die. We aren’t even going to freeze. Since we don’t have a furnace, we’ll just dress a little warmer. If you are on Maui, please stay out of the ocean until the storm dies down and waters have stopped churning. Remember, stay out of the ocean if it is brown or murky. This is particularly when sharks come out to feed. Plus you could get a nasty infection from run-off in the water.

I’m sure the weather will go back to normal and warm up soon. At least that’s what we’re hoping for!

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I Survived Costco

Let me preface this post by saying this – nearly everyone on Maui has a Costco card. Our store is considered one of the busiest in the US, with both locals and tourists stocking up on groceries, liquor and gas at this discount warehouse store.

Maui Costco my spot in the Costco gas line

Yesterday afternoon was my Costco-time. I’d been running errands all morning, and now it was finally time to hit Costco. When I got there just after 2pm, there was not a parking spot to be had. None. I don’t actually remember that happening before. Usually at least the unpopular stalls on the other side of the drainage area or in back by the gas station entrance are at least still open. But not yesterday. Everyone and their dog and their neighbors’ dogs was at Costco. I kid, I don’t recall seeing a single dog in Costco, but it was just a little nuts. I do suspect, based on the groups of adults shopping in the store, that a few airplanes’ worth of tourists were in the store. But who knows.

I decided to hit the gas station first. At $2.79/gallon this is the cheapest place to fill up on island. After putting in my time in line, I did find a spot close to old Kmart. My list wasn’t long. I needed a new blender for one of our condos plus a few groceries.

Considering all the cars in the parking lot, it wasn’t too horrible. The main traffic jams were caused around the sample ladies and of course by tourists not familiar with our store’s layout. And then ‘those’ people who insist on going against the flow of traffic (you know who you are).

I do have to give Costco employees credit. No matter how crazy the parking lot, how bad the jam-ups in the grocery department, they always have the right number of stalls open (usually ALL) and the lines move quickly and smoothly. All the check-out stalls were open, with no more than 2 or 3 shoppers per line. Thanks Cos

What are my favorite things to buy at Costco?

I love my Costco coffee – more specifically Kauai Coffee. Sig has been to this coffee farm several times on the island of Kauai. And did you know, often you can get this coffee in Western Canada Costco stores also.

Pineapples. They used to carry Maui Gold (which are amazing). A year or two ago they switched to Dole. Hint – yes you do judge a pineapple by its color (yellow) and smell (if it doesn’t smell ripe, find one that does).

Chocolate Mac Nuts – my favorites are the Mauna Loa brand macadamia nuts (we visited their factory on Big Island a few years ago).

This is also a great place for dairy, meat, some seafood, alcohol…

What is Costco

Costco is a members-only discount warehouse store. You do need to be a member to shop and buy gas at Costco. The membership cost is $35 annually. If you do not have a membership and there is no store near where you live, just skip this. I don’t know that I would bother. Also, please note that everything sold at Costco is in HUGE sizes. If you are just here for a week, shopping at Costco will leave you with many leftovers and a lot of waste.

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Family style Christmas recitals on Maui

I love this time of year – getting together with friends and family, the lights, decorations and all the Christmas music, reliving memories. Yesterday we attended two family style Christmas recitals. I know – it seems like a little much, but both were held in really neat locations and we went to support family and friends.

Keawala’i Church in Makena

The first was a local piano teacher’s piano recital held at the historic Keawala’i Congregational Church in Makena. If you have the opportunity to attend a church service or a concert at this church, do. This church was built in the mid-1800s (exact date unclear to me) out of coral and wood. Nowadays we know not to even step on the reef, but back then people sometimes used coral as a building material. The walls are a foot or more thick and white washed, and there are beautiful native wood floors. The church itself is quite plain, and yet just beautiful. Decorations consisted of two Christmas trees and poinsettias – plain but beautiful. Outside the church you can find a small cemetery (please be respectful) with a beautiful view of the ocean. Check here for an interesting history of the church.

This is an operating church and no, it is not open to visitors during non-service hours. If you stop by when it’s closed, just admire from the road.

The Grand Wailea Resort

In the evening we attended another concert in an entirely different setting, the Grand Wailea hotel lobby. A friend and his neighborhood ukulele band (mainly retirees) performed various Christmas and Hawaiian songs with a few other audience favorites thrown in. It was a family style Christmas concert – our friend is one of the higher ups at the Grand Wailea performing for his employees and friends, another employee danced hula to several of the songs. The band recruited members of the audience to play tambourin now and then. It was overall a lovely evening.

The setting in the Grand Wailea is of course beautiful. Totally different than at the church, the Grand Wailea hotel is one of the fancy hotels here in Wailea and decorated to the nines. If you have the opportunity, do wander through the hotel grounds. Check out the giant ginger bread chair in the lobby, the beautiful decorations and (my favorite) the more than 7 miles of Christmas lights wrapped around trees in the driveway.

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