Maui, Hawaii

Tag: adventure

Shark attacks on Maui

If you’ve been watching the news these past few days, you may have heard about the three recent shark attacks off Maui waters.

What on earth is going on?? I’ll tell you – very simply, murky water. We did just have Hurricane Ana pass through which sent us a lot of rain (though to my knowledge no storm damage). Rain runs off into the ocean, creating murky water (washing things into the ocean you probably don’t want to swim in either). Additionally a storm passing through will whip up the water, creating weird currents and what-not.

picture taken at the Maui Ocean Center‘s shark tank

Noone was injured in these shark attacks, the sharks left bite marks on the surf/stand-up paddle boards involved.

Please please please let this be a reminder, do not go out in murky water. You may be fine (shark-wise), but you may be asking for trouble. If you get in trouble, someone will (hopefully) rescue you, putting their own life at risk.

When in doubt, please do not go out.

Should you worry about sharks (other than in murky water)? Honestly, there is a much greater chance of you having a car accident while on Maui than being bitten by a shark. Do use common sense and if you are concerned, stay at beaches that have life guards (who keep an eye out for sharks and can help you).

More information on ocean safety.

A year ago scientists tagged a number of tiger sharks off Maui to track their travels – check out this website (unless you are prone to worrying, then don’t). Please keep in mind, this is not real-time information, so don’t use this as a tool to see where the sharks are. Additionally, they did not tag all the sharks swimming in Hawaii waters, just a few off Maui’s waters. It sure is interesting to see where these sharks have traveled. Some have stayed close, while others have explored great distances.

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Zombie Run and Haunted Hayrides (Paint Ball!)

Run For Your Life… I received the following email from Maui Paintball just now! This is for all Friday and Saturday evenings in October. Could be a lot of fun!

Zombie Run

Morey, Inc.
in conjunction with Maui
are featuring a family friendly half mile obstacle
course packed with Monsters, Ghouls and Zombies.
Traverse mud pits, towers,
fences, tree forts, burning cars, concrete fortifications, hills and mazes all
while running from your worst nightmares.
Pre-Register and save $10,
tickets cost $30 online and $40 same day. 

If you aren’t so keen at being shot at, check out the Haunted Hayride

Ride in the back of our ZERT (Zombie Emergency Response Truck) with fixed guns as we drive though our haunted forest shooting ghouls, ghosts, and zombies. Help us traverse the field and it’s many obstacles as we eliminate the monsters of the night. $39 will give you access and 350 rounds of glow-in-the-dark 50 caliber paintballs. Additional paintballs are $10 per 100 shots of glow-in-the-dark paint. Safe and fun for ages five and up! Last years events planned with less then a month notice but we’ve been planning for this one all year long. It will be an event not to miss, you’re going to love our final boss fight!
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Weather warnings

There is trouble in paradise – did you know it’s hurricane season? Usually hurricane season (June-Nov) is a non-event in Hawaii. We’ve lived here four years now and in four years have had one tropical depression (Flossie 2013) come through in July 2013. We had some wind, over an inch in rain and some thunder storms, but other than that, it was pretty tame, particularly compared to what you see on the news about hurricanes in the Atlantic. We carry hurricane insurance for our home insurance policy, and honestly, our neighbors mock us for it. It’s expensive and has a huge deductible, but I feel better having it.

Today we are watching two storms approach the Hawaiian Islands. Iselle was a category 4 hurricane as of yesterday but has now been downgraded to a category 3 hurricane. It’s still a very powerful storm. As of right now, it’s still on track to hit Maui early Friday morning. Forecasters are predicting that as it crosses cooler waters before getting to Hawaii, it will fizzle into a tropical storm (we’re hoping).

photo from the National Hurricane Center 8/5/14 at 6am HST

Closely behind follows tropical storm Julio. The jury is still out on what Julio will do, though it could hit as soon as Sunday.

photo from the National Hurrican Center 8/5/14 at 6am HST

Here is the official hurricane ranking system from the Central Pacific Hurricane Center:

Saffir-Simpson Scale

  • Tropical Storm – winds 39-73 mph (34-63 kt)
  • Category 1 – winds 74-95 mph (64-82 kt)
  • Category 2 – winds 96-110 mph (83-95 kt)
  • Category 3 – winds 111-129 mph (96-112 kt)
  • Category 4 – winds 130-156 mph (113-136 kt)
  • Category 5 – winds 157 mph and up (137+ kt)

What will a tropical storm mean to Hawaii? Heavy rain (and flash flooding that comes with it – stay clear of low lying flood-prone areas, don’t cross ‘rivers’ on the road), winds (please move patio furniture inside, stay clear of windows etc), thunder storms. Prepare for the possibility of the power being out for a few days (happens with most wind storms in Hawaii), possibly not having drinkable water. Fill up the bathtub for water to use for washing, have water for drinking, food, first aid kit, sanitation items, batteries etc. Here is a list of what to have in a hurricane preparedness kit. And watch the news. Here on Maui, watch HawaiiNewsNow. If on facebook, follow ‘MauiWatch’ for current up-to-date Maui news.

DO NOT GO INTO THE OCEAN. Guess what heavy rain and wind do to the ocean? It whips things around, changes currents and makes the ocean an unsafe place to be. Please do not go into the ocean. When the remnants of the last tropical storm passed through two weeks ago, a snorkel boat chose to go out anyway. Sadly one snorkeler drowned and a crew member was critically injured trying to save him. It is important for you to make the assessment for yourself. Please use common sense.

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Fantastic Hawaiian Ocean Safety Video

Little known fact: “drowning is the leading cause of death for visitors in the State of Hawaii, and the activity in which we have the most fatalities in the ocean is snorkeling” – Jim Howe, Chief Operating Officer of Ocean Safety

Everyone who goes into the ocean in Hawaii should watch this short ocean safety video by Malika Dudley, Maui meteorologist. Please take the time to watch and don’t become a statistic. Click here if the video doesn’t load.

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Continuing education for your condo owner!

Wednesday was continuing education day for me. I sit on two Boards of Directors – at both our Maui Kamaole and Kihei Surfside complexes. They like to send us board members to seminars, this week’s was on Disaster Preparedness. It sure was a good one!

Assistant Fire Chief, Maui Civil Defense Emergency Mgmt Officer, Kihei Police Captain

Did you know, there are four different natural disasters we plan for on Maui:
earthquakes/tsunamis, tropical cyclones (hurricanes), flooding and wildfires.

After sitting through this session I am happy to report that it sounds like the County has good plans in place in case of disaster. Each of the properties our condos are located in has its own disaster preparedness plan which varies depending on whether the property is located within the flood zone (Sugar Beach and Kihei Surfside are, Palms at Wailea and Maui Kamaole are not). I also have a plan for our condos, which involves calling our guests and telling them what to expect. Thank goodness in almost all instances (with exception of a local earthquake) we have time to prepare (from a few hours to days). I am now in the process of putting together an information sheet to place in each of our condos.

The two most important things to remember – don’t panic and use common sense.

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Possible Tsunami following the 8.2 Chile earthquake

As you may have seen in the news, Chile had a big earthquake a few hours ago. Experts at the Pacific Tsunami Warnings Center are currently evaluating to see if Hawaii is to expect a tsunami sometime early morning on April 2nd. Please check the local news for up-to-date information.

This is a good time to review what to expect in case of a tsunami and what to do. A year ago I wrote this post on tsunami awareness. I thought this is a good time to refresh our memories…

April is Tsunami Awareness Month

April is Tsunami Awareness Month in Hawaii. The likelihood of there being a tsunami while you are on holiday is very slim, and yet, it’s a good idea to know what to expect.

Tsunamis are caused by displacement of ocean water, usually by earthquakes. There are two types of tsunamis – those caused by a local earthquake and those caused by earthquakes far away.

If it is a local earthquake and you are at the beach, there will be little time for warning. Here are the signs to look for:

  • sudden pulling back of the water
  • earth moving for at least 20 seconds, possibly knocking people to the ground
  • hearing the ocean roar

If you experience any of these while at the beach, you should move away from the beach to at least 100 feet above sea level (one mile inland or in a pinch at least to the fourth floor of an apartment building). If it is a local earthquake, the tsunami waves could arrive within minutes.

If it is a far away earthquake, there will be more warning time. The NOAA Pacific Tsunami Warning Center tracks all earthquakes and monitors their DART buoys for possible tsunamis. Should there be a tsunami headed our way, they issue alerts via local media (radio, local TV stations etc). You can find warnings on facebook and twitter (try hashtag #hitsunami).

The most obvious warning will come from the tsunami sirens located wherever there is danger of flooding (if you are in a remote location, there may not be a siren). When there is a tsunami warning, these will start wailing (steady three minute tone), fortunately not non-stop but at regular intervals (note: there is amonthly emergency systems test the first day of every month at 11:45 – don’t panic!) If the sirens start wailing, listen to the local news and follow their directions. Warnings will always tell you when the first tidal wave is expected to arrive. Please listen to these warnings and obey them.

How do you know if you are in an evacuation area? Here are two evacuation maps for Kihei/Wailea, you can also look on the County of Maui website in the phone book (we have them in all our condos). If you are staying in our Kihei Surfside and Sugar Beach condos, you are in the evacuation area. If you are staying at our Maui Kamaole or Palms at Wailea condo, you are NOT in the evacuation zone (you do not need to evacuate).

If you need to evacuate:

  • pack your valuables and documents.
  • pack food and drink, a flashlight and blanket. Bring some beach chairs along too, evacuations can take a while.
  • close windows and lock the condo behind you.
  • head out of the evacuation zone. There are churches (Kihei Lutheran and Hope Chapel) along the Piilani Hwy that open their parking lots to those who need to evacuate. I’ve also been told the Safeway parking lot becomes a town party. County shelters don’t open until after a tsunami has occurred.
  • do not return into the evacuation area until officials give the go-ahead. Remember, it isn’t just one tidal wave, they come in sets for several hours. If there is damage, it may not be safe to go back – so please wait.

If you are not in the evacuation zone:

  • avoid unnecessary driving (the roads get really clogged).
  • make sure you have working flash lights (there is always the possibility of a power outage).
  • make sure you have lots of drinking water and also water to wash (clean and fill the bathtub for non-drinking water purposes).
  • listen to the local news – before the tsunami wave is expected to arrive, the County shuts down the sanitary sewer system. Avoid using the toilet once that happens – when the sanitary sewer is shut down, all sewer will go directly into the ocean.

    It will be very difficult to find local Maui specific tsunami information. Most of the news will be about Oahu (this is frustrating).

    Please do not put your life and that of others (who may have to save you) at risk by going to the beach to watch!

    Here is a great list of frequently asked questions from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

    Here is a cute and yet informational video from San Diego County explaining about tsunamis (use this link if it doesn’t load).

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    Crazy surf expected for Wednesday!

    Are you a surfer? Are you on Maui this week? This may just be your week (if you’re a seasoned pro). If not, this may be the week to watch the pros do their thing as forecasters are predicting super-sized surf, the largest seen in the past 10 years, crashing into the Hawaiian islands this Wednesday. Hawaii News Now is predicting 30-45 foot waves hitting the North shore. Here is some more Maui surf-related information courtesy of the OMaui website.

    So, you may be just confused – when they talk about high surf on the ‘North Shore’, where exactly do you go to watch that? Where is the North Shore? Up past Kaanapali?

    Actually, Kahului/Wailuku, Pai’a, Haiku, and part of the Road to Hana are all considered North Shore. The most epic place to see the waves roll in would be the infamous Jaws. However, while the beach itself is public, beach access is across private property (not recommended). Instead, check out Ho’okipa, just East of Pai’a, and park at the beautiful look-out there. I am guessing parking there will be a zoo the next few days, but you can always try!

    Ho’okipa lookout on a calmer day
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    Dragon’s Teeth at Kapalua!

    Today’s mission was to see something new-to-us. A bit of research (courtesy of Maui Revealed and Tripadvisor) and we found a few interesting places to check out. Our first stop was the Olowalu Petroglyphs. We weren’t exactly sure where we were going and ended up passing that up (we’ll try again).

    Our next destination was the Dragon’s Teeth rock formation at the Kapalua golf course. Wow. We have, of course, been to the lava fields at La Perousse Bay. These were totally different and so cool!

    Our plan was to explore the Kapalua Coastal Trail. We parked at the public parking near the Ritz-Carlton to be closest to Dragon’s Teeth (turn left on Office Road and park at the end by the t-intersection). Then walk towards the ocean (alongside the golf course). You will pass an ancient Hawaiian burial site (it is clearly marked, please stay clear).

    Here are a few pictures for you! The drive is over an hour from Kihei, but if you’re up there anyway, check it out!

    map of the Kapalua Coastal Trail next to a Hala tree
    Dragon’s Teeth!

    looking back towards the beach at the Ritz
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    First time paddle boarding!

    Today was the day – my first day of stand up paddle-boarding (SUP)! It was awesome! My sister and brother-in-law are really into SUP and brought their inflatable boards along (more on that in another post).

    I’ve always wanted to try, but have been too chicken to try on my own. I’m not a great swimmer and figure going with a stronger swimmer and near life guards can only be a win-win situation for me.

    Look what we saw!

    Just joking! I took this picture when we stopped at Eskimo Candy after for an ahi poke bowl (so good). We did have 5 turtle and 3 spotted ray sightings though! How cool is that! (though I suspect it was just one ray that we crossed paths with several times).

    Getting ready to come in! I paddled from Kamaole 1 to 3 beach, on the way back my sister gave me a ride! Next time I’ll try standing!

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    Cool new shark tracking tool

    You may have heard about the recent increase in shark attacks on Maui. For those of you terrified of sharks, let me say this: it is extremely unlikely you will bitten by a shark in the ocean. In 2012 we had 2.3 million visitors on Maui (with the numbers increasing for 2013). In 2013 we’ve to date had 6 shark attacks (one resulted in a death, the first shark-related death since 2004). Statistically that is a 0.00026% likelihood you’ll get bitten. Should you choose to avoid the ocean when the water is murky (typically a day or two after rainfall), this likelihood decreases substantially.

    So, please keep sharks in perspective. Their target foods are turtles and monk seals. When the water is murky, you may look like a snack. So please stay out. I know this ‘bites’, especially if you are here for just a week, but do you really want to be shark bait?

    Given the increase in shark attacks, the State of Hawaii has recently commissioned the University of Hawaii Manoa to undertake a shark study. Researchers have completed the first phase of their project, tagging 15 tiger sharks found on the South side of Maui. No, sharks don’t exclusively hang out in South Maui, they can in fact be found anywhere the ocean water is salty (anywhere in the ocean). This is simply where they have started their research.

    Researchers (and you too) can now track the sharks’ movement as they go (or should I say ‘swim’) about their every day lives. As I understand it, the GPS transponders transmit a signal whenever the dorsal fin breaches the surface.

    I don’t know about you, but I find this fascinating.

    The website warns, this website does NOT provide real-time monitoring. Please do not rely on it for safety advice.

    How to best avoid a shark encounter (some common sense advice)?

    1. Do not go into the ocean if the water is murky – sharks generally avoid humans, however if the water is murky, they may mistake you for prey.

    2. Do not go into the ocean when it’s raining or right after (again the murkiness factor). But also, the water could be murky because of run-off from land, so it is a sanitary concern. Plan a different activity until the water is clear again.

    3. Avoid swimming/surfing at dusk and dawn (they may mistake you for prey).

    4. Do not go into the water if you have an open wound or are bleeding – apart from sharks being attracted to blood, you could also get an infection. Be careful if there is sharp coral or lava rock in the water – best to wear water shoes.

    5. Do not wear high contrast clothing or jewellery. Sharks see contrast very well.

    6. Swim, surf or dive with other people. Don’t move too far away from assistance.

    7. Don’t swim near people fishing or spear fishing.

    8. Avoid swimming near dolphins – they are prey for some types of sharks.

    9. If fish or turtles start to behave erratically, move quickly and calmly out of the water. Refrain from excessive splashing, sharks are attracted to that type of behavior.

    10. Check with the life guards. They will post signs and close the beach if there is a shark sighting. Don’t go into water if sharks are known to be present.

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