Friday, August 28, 2015

Maui Ocean Safety Video

I posted this link a few months ago, here it is again. This video is shown in the baggage claim area of Kahului airport (OGG), however due to the location of the TV screens playing it, I suspect most people don't even see it.

Please take a few minutes to watch it, as it includes information on both ocean safety and flash flooding.

We want you to enjoy your vacation, but please do it safely!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

This isn't usually the weather channel but....

Did you know this is hurricane season? Yes, usually we hear much about the Atlantic/Caribbean hurricane season, but this year the Central Pacific is having a particularly active hurricane season too.

So far we've dodged Guillermo, Hilda and Kilo (we are so thankful). But guess what! We now have Hurricane Ignacio and Tropical Storm Jimena headed our way. Seriously? Oh brother. We are starting to experience hurricane-malaise around here, the dreaded 'yeah yeah, whatevah, stop fear-mongering' talk.

Wait a minute - aren't those storms supposed to be in alphabetical order? Yes they are, but depending on where the storm originates, there are two different lists of names to draw from (Eastern North Pacific and Central North Pacific).

Please, do take the warnings seriously. If you are planning a trip to Hawaii, please do follow the news (MauiNow is best online for Maui specific news and weather warnings).
current storm tracking in the Pacific (National Hurricane Center)
Also, even if the hurricanes don't end up hitting us, there has been a lot of rain particularly on North and East shores. Please be sure to heed flash-flood warnings! It may not be raining where you are, but if it's raining nearby or above you rivers can swell and become impassible. Now is not a great time to go hiking along there. Just yesterday two groups of hikers needed rescuing due to swollen creeks/rivers, one in the Bamboo Forest and the other on the Commando Trail hike (Commando Trail is by the way on private property, please do not trespass).


So here's a question we sometimes get - what is a luau, and should we bother going?

A luau is a traditional Hawaiian feast, typically scheduled to celebrate an occasion (such as a baby's 1st year birthday luau). It will include lots of food and music and sometimes hula.

There are several good tourist-oriented luaus on Maui. These will typically be served buffet style, include an imu-roasted pig and other Hawaiian ethnic foods and include a cultural presentation in form of song and dance. Usually they take place next to the ocean at sunset. They are really neat. Our first year on Maui we attended three (yes three) with family who visited us. Three luaus (all at the Grand Wailea) in four months was a little much. But the food was awesome!

Picture taken at the Honua'ula luau in Dec 2010.
It's a fun way to experience a bit of Hawaiian culture (even if it is totally geared to tourists). If you don't care so much about the food but want a bit more of the culture, check out the 'Ulalena show in Lahaina. It's an indoor (no ocean setting) live show with song and dance, definitely worth seeing!

According to online polls the most popular luau is the Old Lahaina Luau which takes place near the Lahaina Cannery Mall at 1251 Front Street. Friends just went on Sunday and said it was very well done. Keep in mind, from Kihei/Wailea you need to plan on at least an hour's drive to get there. Please do not drink and drive.

Closer to home, we currently have two luaus in Wailea. The Grand Luau at Honua'ula (at the Grand Wailea hotel) is on an oceanfront lawn. The second is the Te Au Moana Luau at the Wailea Beach Marriott. A friend posted a recent review with lots of pictures for the Marriott luau.

There goes the Honua'ula's imu pig to be carved for dinner - yum!
Yet another option which is a sit-down dinner as opposed to buffet is the Feast At Lele (also in Lahaina).

How to choose? Read up on the different luaus - Tripadvisor is often a great source of information. Look at the pictures and read the reviews. Our friends really enjoyed the Old Lahaina Luau, however, they preferred the Honu'alua luau which they had seen two years ago as it included fire dancers (they have boys).

So how do you book a luau, and do you need to book ahead? Yes! If this is a must-do on your list, please book ahead! Luaus are typically not held daily, and particularly in high season you may be out of luck if you wait until you arrive on Maui to book. Luau tickets are typically in the $100+ range which usually includes a large buffet dinner (come hungry), drinks and entertainment. You can either book directly or through a concierge which may offer special deals. Do be wary of 'luau tickets for $20', there will usually be a hitch, such as a time share presentation involved. Some people don't mind, others do. Costco offers discounted tickets for the Honua'ula luau (Grand Wailea). You can buy these online or in the store, but then will have to call the resort to confirm a date.

Monday, August 24, 2015

It's Raining in Kihei!

If you're on Maui you are likely aware of tropical depression Kilo that has been passing to the south of us. It looks like Kilo will not be looping back to hit us as a hurricane as originally forecast. So that's a relief!

Kilo's latest track - currently a tropical depression, expected to become a storm later today.
In the mean time, we are getting some heavy moisture from Kilo, though. The past few nights we've had some spectacular thunderstorms on Maui, and in Kihei it has been raining since sometime last the night.

Our kids were excited - is school cancelled today Mom? Nope, no such luck, though there are a few that have been cancelled here on Maui, I suppose because they've been getting a lot more rain than us on the North and East side of the island. It's always fun looking around for wet-weather clothes on days like these because it rains so rarely here in Kihei. We found jackets and umbrellas for all, though I did have to teach my youngest how to zip up a jacket. He's just never had to do it til now. Reminds me of last winter when his hands were so cold walking to school. That day he had learned the life lesson that he could warm his hands in his pant pockets. Funny how things we think are normal because we grew up with them are not normal here.

I was explaining to the kids that this (grey skies and rain/drizzle) is what fall, winter and spring was like when we lived in the lower mainland in British Columbia. Ok, and lower temperatures, it is after all still in the mid-70s here today (a welcome relief from the low 90s we've been having). For today I am loving it, it is a welcome break from the intense sun beating down on us. By tomorrow I will be ready for sunshine again.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Another hurricane on its way

We sure have had our share of hurricane news these past few weeks. Special thanks to MauiNow meteorologist Malika Dudley who is awesome at giving us Maui-specific weather forecasts (I hardly bother watching the Hawaii ones, they really are mainly Oahu-specific).

First we had Guillermo (which veered to the North of us and fizzled), then Hilda (which veered to the South and fizzled). The new one predicted to arrive next week is Tropical Storm Kilo, currently forecast to have hurricane strength when it hits Hawaii.

Please keep in mind, it is very difficult to accurately predict where these storms will pass through, as there are many factors at play. The current path takes Kilo over Kauai, however, the margin of error could get it in Maui range. 

If you are planning a Hawaii trip next week, keep an eye on the weather!

By the way, curious as to who names these storms? The Central Pacific Hurricane Center has a list... from what I remember, the list from which the name is chosen depends on where the storm originally forms.

August 21st is Statehood Day

On this day in history..... in 1959 to be exact, Hawaii became the 50th State in the United States. In 1893 US sugar plantation owners and business men had with the help of the US Army overthrown the sovereign Hawaiian monarchy and forced Queen Lili'uokalani to abdicate. They then formed an independent republic before Hawaii was officially annexed as a territory to the United States in 1898.

Why did the United States want Hawaii? Well, the simplified version is that sugar growers sought to avoid heavy import taxes into the United States and the US really wanted that deep sea port (Pearl Harbor) in the middle of the Pacific.

To this day the annexation remains a sore subject for Hawai'ian sovereignists. The Honolulu Star Advertiser calls it 'Hawaii's silent holiday'.

What to expect today? State and County offices are closed as are public schools. But unlike other States, there are (to my knowledge) no official ceremonies on Maui today. Generally people will go about their daily business as usual.

Happy silent holiday! I guess.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Westjet sale!

Canadian travelers! Are you planning a Maui trip?

Westjet is currently offering a 20% discount to Westjet Rewards members.

The Promo code is REW03, Coupon code LTDT7W1

Book your flights by August 20th, 2015 (9:59pm MT) for travel dates from August 18, 2015 - February 3, 2016.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Kihei Restaurant news

Another restaurant has opened next to Ace in Azeka Makai (ocean side of S Kihei Road). This used to be an Ihop more than a decade ago. It seems a new restaurant opens here every 18 months or so, but never lasts long. The new restaurant is Nalu's Southshore Grill. Sig and the kids tried to go about a month ago, but the lineup was out the door. One of my friends has been and says the food is good. You order at the bar, then find a table to sit (they bring it to you). Apparently it's a dog-friendly restaurant.

In July Maui Pie opened next to Ono Gelato also in Kihei's Azeka Makai. I have yet to check this one out, however, I know my sweet tooth will bring me here sooner rather than later! They serve both sweet and savory pies!

A restaurant on my to-visit list is Roasted Chiles also in Azeka Mauka (mountain side of S Kihei Road). They are currently celebrating their 1 year anniversary. Sig went a few months ago and said the pupu (appetizers) and drinks were very good.

Saltimbocca in Maalaea Harbor has closed its doors. Too bad, we had been for lunch a few times and it was good. However when they closed for lunch and were only open for dinner, I guess the writing was on the wall. They had an awesome waterfront view (this is the location of the former Waterfront restaurant). Rumor has it the owners will be re-opening somewhere with better foot traffic.

And as announced on August 19th Joe's Nuevo Latino (formerly Joe's of the Gannon's family of restaurants) has suddenly closed its doors with Bev Gannon regaining control of the facility. Unsure if it will reopen.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

My late-blooming mango tree

As you may recall, our mango tree bloomed later than all the other mango trees around Kihei, or so it seemed to me. My friend brought us wonderful mangoes off her tree months ago (in May), in the mean time, I am sitting here, still waiting for my late-bloomers to ripen. She admitted to me that her giant tree which towers over her house STILL has mangoes ripening. It's been like 3 months now. That's crazy. I guess it kind of makes sense, our tree continued to bloom for a month or so, so I assume our mangoes will ripen over the course of a month?

We had several stages of blooming (it went on for over a month), and the first ones are turning yellow-orange and starting to smell like mango. I couldn't wait and picked one, letting it sit in the bowl on my counter overnight. This morning the amazing smell was too much and I cut into it. Yup, it's as good as I remember it from TWO years ago (remember, the mango tree had a stand-off with Sig last year over a severe pruning). The mango is AMAZING.

Yes, I'm saving 1/3 of the mango for Sig to enjoy! What do you mean I should share fairly?

our 5 year old mango tree. Not a huge harvest, but more than two years ago

the mango on the left is almost ripe

the mangos on the left will be ripe sooner than the reddish ones