Maui, Hawaii

Tag: adventure

Hurricane Madeline and Hurricane Lester

There are two hurricanes headed towards Hawaii. Hurricane Madeline is scheduled to arrive Wednesday/Thursday while Hurricane Lester will be here for the weekend.

It’s hurricane season in the Central Pacific (June through November). Hey Cara, I thought El Nino was over and this was supposed to be an easier summer. Yeah, I thought so too.

Hurricane Madeline has now been upgraded to a Category Four storm and is headed for Big Island, currently showing to veer off to the South of us. It is scheduled to hit Big Island Wednesday, which means it could be impacting us on Maui then or by Thursday.

hurricane madeline
Hurricane Madeline’s current track

She is closely followed by Hurricane Lester (currently still in the Eastern Pacific), which is currently a Category Three storm and scheduled to arrive in Hawaii Friday/Saturday. Note, this storm is still a ways off and a lot can happen between now and then.

hurricane madeline
Hurricane Lester’s current track


What should you expect?
The past few years all our hurricane warnings have ended up being non-events in Kihei area. Yes, we have gotten humidity, but rain and wind have been negligible. The Big Island usually blocks and tears storms apart, with the high mountains messing with their wind patterns. Big Island has been dumped on and seen some damage the past few years. I in no way want to minimize this. But while we feel very badly for them, we are hoping the systems change course or see a similar thing happening again.
In the mean time: be prepared
1. check the hurricane information in the binder in your condo (if you are staying in one of our condos).
2. be prepared by filling the rental car with gas, making sure you have water to last you several days and food supplies. Often in a storm power can get knocked out and in a bad situation, it can take a few days for it to be restored (make sure all devices are charged, check the batteries in the flashlight – bedroom closet, let us know if you need batteries, we have lots). Our water treatment facility on Maui is located in the flood zone, so that can also be an issue. Emergency people say to have at least a gallon of water per person per day for several days on hand, so you can drink and wash. (fill jugs and pots and go buy some gallon jugs if need be). Check that you have enough food to get you through a few days in case you can’t make it to a grocery store (or they are closed). Have some cash on hand (again in case of power outage).
3. stay out of the ocean once the storm hits and for several days after. Not only do we get a lot of run-off from the islands when it rains a lot, but these big storms can change the dynamics within the ocean (currents etc) and it increases the risk of shark attacks. Best to just enjoy the ocean from shore.
4. stay informed. While the main news on TV focuses largely on Oahu, you can get Maui specific news online: MauiNow and MauiWatch on facebook are good sources.
5. just before the hurricane is scheduled to hit, bring in all the lanai furniture and secure (close) the windows.
If you are staying at one of our condos, please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.
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Oh thank heavens El Nino is over!

I saw a headline on HawaiiNewNow this morning that El Nino is officially over. Can it be?

What is El Nino? El Nino is a weather pattern that warms the sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. Warm sea surface temperatures increase the likelihood of storms and hurricanes. Yes, the Pacific has a hurricane season also – it lasts from June-November.

This was one of 2015’s tropical storms – Hilda.

This most recent El Nino pattern started in 2014, though according to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) it didn’t fully develop. In 2014 we had around 7 named tropical storms/hurricanes pass by Hawaii. In 2015/16 we got a full-blown ‘Super-El Nino’, one of the three strongest on record. In 2015 it sent us in Hawaii 15 named storms. Honestly, as a resident it was a little stressful as one storm after the other rolled past. Several got close and we hauled in lanai furniture at our home and the four condos and buttoned down the yard. Thankfully there was no damage here in Kihei, though one of the storms in 2014 did cause some damage at Ulupalakua Ranch and knocked down 60+ palm trees at the Wailea golf courses.

last night’s sunset at Kalama Park

While we were fortunate and the 2015 storms caused no real damage on Maui, all these storms mess with the islands’ trade wind patterns, increasing the humidity and temperature. Summer temperatures in Kihei/Wailea are typically in the high 80s with perhaps two or three days in the low 90s. In 2015 we had an unusually warm and humid summer.

So the good news is – summer of 2016 should be a calmer and less humid summer! I am excited and relieved. Yes, we may still have tropical storms and hurricanes – scientists are predicting around 5-7 but those would be spread out across the entire Pacific.

The other good news is…. there is a 70% chance a La Nina (El Nino’s cool weather twin) will follow and you’ll have a ‘real’ winter on the mainland. Don’t you hate coming to Maui on vacation when it’s warm at home? Time to start booking those Maui winter getaways before all the good condos get snapped up!!

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A Hawaiian Food and Culture show

Have you seen the cool new 30 minute Hawaiian Food and Culture TV show? It’s called ‘Search Hawaii – Where Food Meets Culture.’ In it we follow the Grand Wailea Resort’s Chef Michael Lofaro and Hawaiian cultural practitioner Kainoa Horcajo as they travel to various Hawaiian islands to hunt, fish and pick local ingredients, and prepare unique meals based on the Hawaiian moon calendar. The meals are then prepared in someone’s home (no fancy chef’s kitchens) and then served to those who assist them.

Chef Michael Lofaro recently won Maui’s Chef of the Year Award (selected by his peers and published in the Maui No Ka Oi magazine). He is the Chef at the Grand Wailea’s ‘HumuHumu’ restaurant where the show’s own Mike and Kainoa also host Ka Malama dinners with foods inspired by, fished and gathered based on the Hawaiian moon calendar!

This is a great show to learn more about Hawaii, local traditions and see some great scenery from around the islands. Oh, and the chef and his cultural advisor are easy on the eyes, too!

Hawaiian Food and Culture
Time to fish!

I’ve watched the first four episodes now – my favorite has got to be episode 3 where they go wild boar hunting on Kauai! A little trivia from my friend Yvonne, who is the Executive Producer of the show: on filming day there were four teams looking for a wild boar, just to make sure they caught one for the show! I had to laugh when they showed Kainoa give the boar a piggy back ride out of Kauai’s rain forest! FYI, wild boars are not native to Hawaii and are considered a pest as they endanger native vegetation and animal species.

Hawaiian Food and Culture
preparing dinner

Where can you watch the show? Check out the ‘Search Hawaii: Where Food Meets Culture’ website or look them up on Youtube. If you’re in Hawaii, local TV station KHON2 will be airing their adventures this summer Saturdays at 9PM, repeating Tuesdays on CW93 at 9:30PM.

‘Search Hawaii: Where Food Meets Culture’ has been nominated for two Emmys (for episodes 2 and 3) in the Lifestyle – Program/Special category. Very exciting!

Special thank you to my friend Yvonne Biegel, Executive Producer of ‘Search Hawaii: Where Food Meets Culture’ for the pictures!

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How about rappelling down a waterfall with Rappel Maui?

Are you content with sitting on the beach or going for a beach walk? Or are you an adrenaline junkie? If you crave an adrenaline rush, you may be interested in Rappel Maui. One of our neighbors was telling me about this new business that she has recently become involved in. Personally, I am a beach walker, but this does look pretty cool!

When you drive along the Road to Hana (believe it or not, I have never done this), there are many hikes and waterfalls you can check out. Rappel Maui takes this to the next level, giving you the opportunity to explore some of these vertical terrains with use of fixed ropes. Specifically, some of their runs involve rappelling down water falls. Rappel Maui provides you with all the gear and teaches you how to do this. No experience is necessary, though I would check with them regarding restrictions prior to booking.

Curious? Jody was so excited about this, that I had to look it up and watch some youtube videos. Here is a good one from a few years ago, showing the process.

Note: the Road to Hana is on the rainy side of Maui. When it is raining, creeks and water falls can become quite dangerous. Rappel Maui has alternate locations they use when necessary.

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A few whale season openings!

We still have a few whale season openings! Whale season? Have you ever seen a 60,000+ lb whale do a belly flop? It is truly amazing!

Kihei Surfside #405: April 4-20, 2016. This condo is right on the ocean, you can watch the whales jumping and splashing from the comfort of your lanai! We have a pair of binoculars, in case you want to get a close-up view! This property also has stunning sunsets.

Sugar Beach lawn
Ahhhh… what a place to enjoy the view and work on your tan!

Sugar Beach #104: March 26-April 4, 2016. This is a ground floor condo, located in the courtyard at Sugar Beach Resort. While you have a sliver of an ocean view, you are merely 50 steps from the beach. There are plenty of lounge chairs on the grass area for you to enjoy, or watch the whales while going on an early morning or romantic sunset walk!

The view from the lanai at Maui Kamaole I-103
The view from the lanai at Maui Kamaole I-103

Maui Kamaole I-103: March 29-April 7, 2016. This property is located up the hill from Kamaole III beach, and the Kihei boat launch. You have an ocean view from your lanai. Our neighbors recently told us about their amazing whale cruise with Blue Water Rafting which leaves right from the Kihei Boat launch (a short walk away)! Blue Water Rafting are best known for their snorkel and scuba trips, but during whale season they also put on whale watches. Yes, you sit on a raft, experiencing the rush of being right on the water while enjoying whales (prepare to get wet!)

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How to find humpback whales!

It’s that time of year again – whale season! The humpback whales are back in Maui for their annual mating and calving season. Alaskan humpback whales travel 6 weeks to Hawai’i (they particularly love the shallower waters between the Maui County islands – Maui, Kaho’olawe, Lanai and Molokai) where they spend approximately 6 weeks calving or mating before returning home. Believe it or not, they do not eat while they are traveling nor when they are in Hawai’i. We have no krill. Then they journey back up to the cold Northern waters of Alaska where I imagine they begin a feeding frenzy. Talk about a diet plan!

humpback whale 2
whale about to raise its tail

Humpback whales are large – they are roughly the length of a school bus. A calf is between 10-15 feet long at birth (compared to 40-50 feet for adults). Keep in mind, when whale watching, you only actually see the portion of the whale that pops out of the water, often only the water action associated with it.

If you have never gone whale watching, I recommend first learning a bit about humpback whales and their behavior.

  1. The visitor center at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary in Kihei.
  2. The Maui Ocean Center also has an interactive display which is great for kids.
  3. At minimum, check out this great Humpback Whale fact sheet from the Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.
humpback whale 2
left is spray from the whale’s blow hole, right is his arched back

Then I recommend going on an organized whale watch. There are numerous boats/companies that will take you out. I like the Pacific Whale Foundation, but have heard good things about other boats also. One thing to keep in mind, the discounted whale watches tend to be fuller which means more people jostling for a spot at the rail for best viewing.

This time of year (January – March especially) you only need to look out at the ocean to see whale spouts (where they blow water up to 20 feet out of their blow hole), splashing, breaches, tail slapping, head lunges etc.

Also, if you go out snorkeling early in the morning, listen for whale song. It can be heard from up to 10 miles away.

Here is a really cool drone video of humpback whales I posted a year ago. Keep in mind, you must keep at least 100 yard distance between your boat/kayak/paddle board and the whale and immediately cut the engine on your boat if you notice a whale closer.

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Even in paradise outdoor adventures can be dangerous

Sunday’s Maui News had a front page article entitled ‘Dangerous Paradise’. In it, they again hi-lighted ‘common sense’ dangers, with County rescue personnel renewing their calls for a mandatory safety video to be shown on all incoming flights into Hawai’i.

For example, this past month, emergency personnel rescued over 20 hikers in separate incidents along various hikes along the Road to Hana. If I understand this article correctly, most of these hikers needed rescuing due to flash flooding. Flash flooding occurs when there is heavy rain causing water levels in streams and waterfalls to rise. It can also create temporary new streams and rivers as water rushes off the mountain towards the ocean. Sometimes the County will issue flash flooding alerts, but as you know, weather forecasting isn’t super exact, so flash flooding can occur with no warning at all.

When out and about, please pay attention to your surroundings. Be aware of the potential for flash flooding. Listen to warnings. If locals warn you not to go, take their advice.

Here is a drone video of a dramatic Maui rescue that was posted on Youtube two weeks ago. This rescue took place at a pool above Commando Trail – which, by the way, is private property, so going there without the property owner’s permission is trespassing (despite what guide books or tripadvisor may say).

According to the Maui News article in the past 10 years 17 people have died from hiking related deaths. According to emergency personnel, the numbers have been rising in recent years, due to an increase in tourists numbers but also an increasd popularity of guide books and of course internet resources which make certain hikes more popular.

More interestingly, in the past 10 years 125 people have drowned doing ocean-related activities, 73% of those non-residents. The beaches with the most drownings – Kaanapali and Kamaole-Oneloa (Big Beach).

Should you cancel your trip? Should you be afraid? No, but you should educate yourself to possible dangers when visiting a tropical location. For instance, how to deal with undertow in the water, or how to deal with flash-flooding. Be aware of your personal limitations, and never go hiking (or snorkeling for that matter) alone.

We want you to have an awesome vacation! Again – please watch this County of Maui safety video. We hope State and County officials will be able to convince airlines to show this or similar safety videos on all incoming flights to increase awareness and help keep the visitors to our islands safe.

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The 93rd Annual Maui Fair – Sept 24-27!

What is your favorite part of a fair? I must admit, I hate crowds and you typically will not see me anywhere there’s a crowd. Fairs and parades included.
But, many love them – so please, tell me your favorite thing at the fair!
A few years ago the kids did talk me into going, and I must say, there was a robotics competition in the Baldwin High gym (which is at the far side of the fair grounds). I really enjoyed watching the teens battle it out with their robots 🙂
I attended a marching band parent meeting last night, so you guessed it, this year I will be attending the Maui Fair parade on Thursday September 24th! 
The actual fair hours are:
Thursday, Sept 24th – 5pm-11pm
Friday, Sept 25th – 5pm-midnight
Saturday, Sept 26th – 10pm-midnight
Sunday, Sept 27th 10am-11pm
For more information, check out their website!
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Hurricane update – Post #Guillermo and Pre #Hilda

Hurricane #Guillermo was a bit of a non-event in South Kihei. We had some trade winds which was nice as I’m sure it cut the humidity, but no rain. However, other parts of Maui definitely did get rain. We are thankful the system fell apart. This morning it is hot and humid in South Kihei.

Please remember, storms can change underwater currents in the ocean. Even if it hasn’t rained where you are, there can be storm run-off coming into the ocean and making water murky. If the water is murky, stay out. Watch the waves, and if in doubt, don’t go out. If you do go into the water, NEVER turn your back on the waves. Always watch those waves, being knocked down by a wave can be very dangerous.

Now we have Tropical Storm #Hilda tracking our way in the East Pacific. She is expected to reach hurricane status tomorrow. We will see what she ends up doing. Currently forecasters are showing her veering north and missing Hawaii.

June through November is considered hurricane season in the Central Pacific. This year as well as last the ocean temperatures have been warmer than normal, As a result we have had more active hurricane seasons than normal. For more information on what’s going on, check out the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.

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