Maui, Hawaii

Tag: adventure

Kite boarding

Have you tried kite boarding (aka kite surfing)? The other day we were sitting with a number of other people in the oceanfront hot tub at our Sugar Beach condo. A teenager and his dad had been watching one of them kite board and they were full of questions. Turns out the kite boarder has been doing it for about 16 years and is an instructor. While I admit most of the conversation went in one ear and out the other (for me at least), a few things stuck. Take a few lessons to begin with so you know what to do, and learn how to self-rescue. Self-rescue? Ok, I’ll admit, I’m a little intrigued…

I watched this guy kite boarding off Sugar Beach yesterday!
We’ve had several kite boarding guests stay at our Sugar Beach condo. The resort has storage facilities you can rent to store your gear while here on vacation. According to what I’m seeing online, the kite boarding season is mainly May-September. There are apparently a few kite boarding schools on Maui’s North Shore (in or near Kahului) you can take lessons at, if you’re interested.
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Are you looking for a bike to rent?

Have you thought about renting a bike while on Maui? While I don’t know how handy it would be for going grocery shopping (probably not at all), there is some great biking to do here. One of our cousins brings his own bike along when he comes to Maui. Last week he biked all the way from our Palms condo in Wailea to the top of Haleakala (just over 10,000 ft elevation)! I didn’t know you were allowed to bike inside the national park gates other than for the annual Cycle to the Sun event (the road has no shoulder once you get inside the park), but apparently you can, as long it’s not with a commercial group. You may want to confirm that with the park.

There are several rental places in Kihei, one near Kalama Park, South Maui Bicycles. We’ve bought a couple of bikes there and they do our bike maintenance for us. Always very friendly and efficient service. They rent out adult bikes and gear (but not kid bikes). 
Another place is Boss Frog’s – they have three locations in Kihei. 
While bicycle helmets are not mandatory on Maui, they are always a good idea! South Maui Bicycles includes a helmet in each bike rental. And another piece of advice – steer clear of the keawe trees’ thorns, they will do a number on your tires!
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Sports-fishing on Maui

Have you gone sports-fishing on Maui? If yes, I’d love to hear your recommendations. In fact, if you have a great experience on an excursion or at a restaurant, shoot me a quick email. I’m always looking for something new to try or recommend to our guests. Also consider writing an online review on yelp or tripadvisor – these days online reviews are hugely important, especially for small local businesses.

A friend of a friend went out with Die Hard Sport Fishing with Captain Fuzzy last year and this year again. This boat is based in Lahaina, and from reading the reviews, it’s something you definitely want to pre-book. He highly recommended it and came home with a cooler full of fish. Last year he went near the end of his trip and ran out of time to eat it all (we were the lucky recipients of some of his leftover fish!)

photo borrowed from Tripadvisor

If you go on a fishing excursion, check if you get to keep some of the fish – if yes, you might want to schedule it for the beginning of your trip, so you have lots of time to enjoy your catch! I recommend freezing the extra fish so it stays fresh.

Have you tried any other sports-fishing trips? Let me know what you thought!

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High Surf Warning in Kihei

Did you read that right? High surf in Kihei? That’s right! The Maui News is reporting that we’ve had 4-8 foot waves at the Kamaole beaches in Kihei yesterday. That’s unusual – usually these Kihei beaches are pretty quiet, you may see 2 footers, but nothing bigger.

These conditions are forecast to stick around until Wednesday.

So what to do? Please be careful. Watch the waves roll in for a while before you decide to go out (always a good idea). Never turn your back to the ocean (a wave could easily cause some spinal damage if it catches you off guard). And I’d probably stick to beaches with life guards (such as the Kamaole I, II and III beaches).

Here’s a link posted by the Pacific Whale Foundation – standup paddle board SURFING near Makena!

at the edge of Kamaole II  beach in Kihei
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“Hawaiian – the Legend of Eddie Aikau”

Have you heard of the Eddies, that famous Hawaiian big wave surf competition? There is a new movie about Eddie Aikau (yes, the Eddies are named after him), the life guard pioneer and big wave surfer. It will be showing opening night of the 2013 Maui Film Festival (June 12th at 8pm). Movie under the stars anyone??

The trailer looks really interesting (click here if it doesn’t load)

If you are on Maui, do check it out!

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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 a monthly 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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Travel with kids – revisited

In June last year I wrote a blog entry with 10 suggestions to make your flight with kids easier… One month later we got to re-visit some of those lessons with our three year old. Oh boy.

The previous time we had flown with him, I had brought the car seat and strapped him into that. It went so well. So here we were again, and it was a no-brainer… bring the car seat on board for our 5 1/2  hour red-eye flight to Vancouver. He really tried to sleep, he did. For the first hour he tried to sleep. But then he got frustrated and started swinging his feet. Now the car seat didn’t just keep him in his seat, it also brought him three whole inches closer to the seat in front of him. Which was fully reclined because a woman was trying to sleep in it. Kick. I felt so badly for her. I did my best to catch his feet and talk quietly with him, trying to calm him down. But a few kicks did make it to the seat in front of him. And she did glare at me and mutter under her breath. (I’m sooo sorry).

I gave up. Here it was, one o’clock in the morning our time, but I hauled out his brother’s i-touch. He then proceeded to play his Thomas the Train game (thankfully on silent-mode) for 3 hours until he finally fell asleep as we were descending into Vancouver. Yes, I stayed awake too, in case he started kicking again…

You know what I discovered as we got up to get off the plane? There was an empty seat between the lady in front of us and her husband…. It sure would have made my flight easier had she moved a seat over! Ah well.

We de-planed, two sleepy adults, two drowsy (but awake) kids and one dead-weight heavy three-year-old. You know how kids are when they’re completely out? They don’t even pretend to hold on to you when being carried, so you absolutely need both hands to balance them. We also had the car seat, his stuffie, our hand luggage, his backpack… a stroller would have been nice, but we’d left that at home…

Was the flight worth it? Absolutely! We wouldn’t have missed visiting our family and friends! How was the flight back? Much better, thank you for asking! We checked the car seat with the luggage, planned for his being awake, packed plenty of toys and snacks to try to keep him busy for the flight home.

Will we do it again? You bet! And guess what – he’ll be a whole year older on his next flight. Every year it gets easier… you just have to plan! Don’t skip out on a fun family trip, just make sure the trip is long enough to be worth the effort!

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What’s your favorite local coffee?

Are you a coffee drinker? What kind of coffee do you drink when you go on vacation? Do you stick with what you know, bringing your own can of Timmy’s coffee? Or do you experiment?

Generally, I like to stick with what I know… but when we moved to Maui, I couldn’t get my ‘usual’ coffee anymore (and no, it wasn’t Tim Hortons coffee)… So we’ve been trying our way through different coffees, and I’ve discovered that my former ‘usual’ wasn’t that great! I’ve also discovered that I prefer to grind my beans every morning. We’ve added coffee grinders to all our condos last year so you too can grind your coffee if you like.

We are currently drinking Pekelos Hawaiian Coffee’s 100% Maui Red Catuai medium roast. There was a friendly gentleman from the Hawaii Coffee Association at the farmer’s market at Queen Kaahumanu Mall this week, selling a variety of beans. This one is quite lovely. The beans are grown on West Maui and Upcountry Mountains and sold by the Vineyard Food Company Catering.

This is the coffee we usually drink – the 10% Maui Coffee Blend from Maui Coffee Roasters. We buy a 2 lb bag at Costco for under $18 (you’ll find it next to the Starbucks and Kirkland brands). Of course, I realize it’s just 10% Maui coffee. Maui Coffee Roasters have a store in Kahului, close to the airport. Go have a look, try some of their 100% Maui coffees and see which of their coffees is your favorite.

Another coffee we’ve enjoyed several times is the Kihei Sunrise Rotary Club’s 100% Maui Red Catuai roast. It’s a fundraiser for the local Rotary Club, and yes, you can order it online, or arrange to pick it up here in Kihei.

If you’ve stayed at one of our condos since this past September, you will have found a small one-pot packet of Coffees of Hawaii whole coffee beans for your first pot (those coffee grinders in our condos will come in handy) or to take home with you. This coffee is grown on Molokai. You can buy more online, or pick some up at Hilo Hattie’s.

Here is another coffee that I’ve had tucked away in my closet for a while, saving it for a special occasion. I know, you coffee connoisseurs out there probably would say it’s ruined as it’s been sitting so long. I’m sure it will still be fine for my non-gourmet taste buds. Keokea Farms won 2nd place for the Maui district at the Hawaiian State Cupping Competition this past July with this roast. It is grown in Kula, upcountry Maui.

So how about it? Which coffee will you try when you come to Maui? Let me know which new favorites you find!

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Hawksbill turtle nest

Our neighbors invited us to join them in the unearthing of a hawksbill turtle nest this afternoon. The hawksbill turtles are on the critically endangered animal list. During nesting season, volunteers comb the beaches, looking for turtle tracks that would indicate nesting. Once a nest is found, it is staked, and watched (I’m not sure on the details). Then when the turtles are due to hatch (after about 2 months), volunteers camp out by the nest, through their presence scaring away predators… This particular turtle nest on Oneloa beach (Big Beach) had hatched a number of turtles a few days ago. This afternoon they unearthed the nest, checking for any other live turtles.

carefully opening the nest

They found egg shells, dead turtles and 6 live turtles. Once everything was recorded, they took the baby turtles to the beach where they slowly crawled towards the water, eventually being swept away by one of Big Beach’s giant waves. It truly was the coolest thing to see. Reminded me of a kids movie (Turtle Tale?) I recently watched – and yet, not.

look who we found – a little guy quite eager to head towards the ocean

the live turtles waiting for their release into the Pacific Ocean. Safe swimming, little guys!
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