Sunday, October 19, 2014

Geckos geckos everywhere

I just had to share this picture taken in my kitchen this evening. We have this tiny baby gecko (an inch head to tail) in our house - I tried to catch him in the bathroom yesterday (to release him outside), but he was determined not to be caught. Tonight I found him trying to use my laptop! Now he's peering over the edge of the counter, trying to determine if the drop to the floor is safe. Probably not little guy.

Should you be scared of geckos? Nope. Geckos are pretty harmless, and though they probably will startle you, they are considered good luck here in Hawaii! They also eat bugs - nature's pest control. But yes, I agree, I'd rather he go outside!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Hurricane Ana update - looks like we dodged the bullet on Maui!

The Central Pacific Hurricane Center just released their latest Hurricane Ana information at 5am. Big Island and Maui County are no longer under a tropical storm watch. What does this mean exactly? It means that the storm is too far away for meteorologists to expect us to notice hurricane or tropical storm strength winds in these two counties. However, we can still expect rain and some wind. Currently in South Kihei there is no rain. It is just very humid. It looks like we dodged the bullet this time. We are really very thankful.

Please do not go into the ocean today. There will still be high surf, run-off from rain and a category 1 hurricane passing by which messes with currents and ocean conditions. Best to stay out and do something else today.

Deep Island Hawaiian Rum

Ocean Vodka, a Maui-based distillery, has started selling their very own rum this past month. It's called Deep Island Hawaiian Rum, and is a clear rum made from their organic sugar cane and deep ocean mineral water. It is produced at their farm & distillery in Kula.

How is it? We added it to pog (passion orange guava juice), wow! That went down really smooth. Not sure about their label design - somewhat pirate-y perhaps.

Also, Ocean Vodka has recently changed the design of their vodka bottle. Look for the new bottle on store shelves shortly.

Curious about these Maui-made spirits? Book a farm/distillery tour at their farm on Omaopio Road in Kula. It's really interesting!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Kihei Caffe

After ten years of either vacationing or living on Maui, I finally made it to Kihei's famous Kihei Caffe, located at the Triangle across from Kalama Park on South Kihei Road.

Kihei Caffe is known for amazing breakfast, long lines, cash-only payment, and did I mention amazing breakfast? They also serve lunch.

this is the 'make your own omelette' with potatoes right in it - amazing presentation!

the #6 on the menu - buttermilk pancakes - is enough to feed two adults

the infamous cinnamon roll French toast. Yum.
Yes, we left with several carry-out containers of food we didn't finish. So good.

Hurricane Ana update and list of closures this weekend

Aloha all, Ana is approaching but her path has been shifting away from Maui County (so thankful!!) and currently the sentiment is, yes, be prepared, but we think it won't be so bad after all (but this is an ever-changing difficult to predict event, so please stay informed). For more information, check out the MauiNow newspage.

Central Pacific Hurricane Center Oct 17th 5am update
However, as this is an ever-changing weather event, there are a number of closures this weekend (see this list). Most notably beaches - please please please stay out of the ocean Saturday for sure, maybe even Sunday. Even if the weather seems fine, big weather events change currents in the water and have been known to sweep people out to sea. Please do not put other people's lives (who may need to rescue you) in danger by going out. Additionally, if there is a lot of rain, there will be run-off into the ocean. Run-off attracts little fish which in turn attracts sharks. Best just to stay out.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hurricane Ana Watch

My favorite Maui-based meteorologist Malika Dudley took a new job yesterday at the Maui Now and Big Island Now newspapers as their chief meteorologist. What does this mean to you? If I've been advising you to watch MAUIWatch on facebook, still do so for Maui news itself (it will be helpful as people on Maui post what is happening around them during and after the storm if we have power), but for weather forecasts, go to the MauiNow site or MauiNow facebook page. If you are watching Hawaii news online or on TV, please be aware that it is mostly Oahu-specific. Good to watch, yes, but for the Maui specifics, you will want to look at one of these Maui newscasts.

Regarding Hurricane Ana - it is still a tropical depression (slower winds) and not actually a hurricane. Forecasters are now saying it should become a hurricane by Friday. The current forecast is showing the track has shifted slightly to the south and a little away from Maui. No, don't let your guard down, this still means we'll get wind and rain, but perhaps not as intense as during a Category 1 hurricane. Keep in mind, this is all very much in flux and can (most likely will) change.

Central Pacific Hurricane Center's 5am forecast
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)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Today's turtle picture from Keawakapu Beach!

Our cousin Kevin Birkholz took this awesome picture while snorkeling at Keawakapu Beach next to our Kihei Surfside condo today. He said the water was choppy - but what a great picture (taken with his GoPro camera).

thanks Kevin! Awesome underwater turtle shot!

How does a Hurricane get its name?

I had heard there are lists for naming hurricanes, so after having Iselle and Julio 'visit' Hawaii in August, I wondered why our current hurricane-in-waiting Ana was starting with letter A again.... Have there been that many hurricanes in the Pacific that we're starting at A again?

Am I the only one wondering this at 3 AM? I wish I were sleeping.

I am obviously not an expert, but after looking around on the internet, I've found there are two lists. Iselle and Julio are on the Eastern North Pacific hurricane name list for 2014. 

Hurricane Iselle's Hawaii visit in August 2014 -
her name was on the Eastern North Pacific hurricane list
Ana is on the Central North Pacific hurricane list. So, it appears this hurricane's name starts at A again because of where it is formed.

Hurricane Ana is on the Central North Pacific hurricane list
Looking for more information - check out this website on storm naming by the World Meteorological Organization.

Hurricane Ana is headed for Hawaii this weekend!

Here we go again.... yes, it is still hurricane season in the Pacific, and yes, it appears we will be getting a second kick at the can this season around. We had Hurricane Iselle in August, which thankfully left Kihei itself unscathed, though other parts of the island (including parts of Wailea and upcountry) had significant wind damage. Big Island's Puna district bore the brunt of it during Iselle, with remote parts of Puna without power for weeks on end.

This week we are experiencing a 'sneak attack' from Tropical Storm Ana. While forecasters had been tracking Iselle from a long ways off, Ana just kind of appeared in the news (from my perspective at least) on Monday.

There is a fair bit of uncertainty with Ana (which is scheduled to become a hurricane later today), please note that the storm could end up anywhere within the white 'cone of uncertainty'.

If you are in Hawaii or coming, please follow the news (KHON2, KITV, HawaiiNewsNow etc). If on facebook, the most up-to-date source for Maui specific news is a facebook page called MAUIWatch.

If you will be on island for Ana, please stock up on emergency kit supplies. These should include a 7 day supply of food, 3 day supply of water (per person, remember you need water to wash, not just drink - fill a bathtub), a battery operated radio (most alarm clocks have this function), flashlights, batteries, first-aid kit etc. We live on a beautiful island in the middle of the Pacific - plan on it taking a while for help and more supplies to arrive.

If you will be arriving or leaving the Islands this weekend, check regularly with your airline regarding flight cancellations. Monitor the storm and contact your condo owner/representative for information.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Maui Oma Coffee Company

I love coffee. I grew up in Austria where drinking coffee is a huge part of the culture. Coffee and amazing cakes ('Kaffee und Kuchen'), might I add. When I find a 'new to me' local coffee company, I can't help myself - I have to try their coffee.

A few weeks ago, I met a friend at Cafe a la Plage, a Kihei internet cafe in Dolphin Plaza. Although I'd walked past it many times, I hadn't ever gone in. Guess what - they sell Maui Oma Coffee. If you have a hint of German in you, you will know that Oma means Grandma in German. I just had to pick up a bag.

I've been enjoying the Maui Oma Coffee house blend the past few days. Yup, this is good coffee. I'm thinking this would make a nice Christmas gift for our kids' Omas. Where can you get it? Check out Cafe a la Plage in Kihei's Dolphin Plaza (across from Kamaole I beach, there's a PizzaHut and also Maui Gelato in this strip mall), or check out their online store.

Mmmmm coffee. So glad it's coffee time!