Thursday, September 18, 2014

First humpback whale sighting of the season!

The first humpback whale for the season has been spotted off the coast of Kauai. Every year humpback whales (adults are the size of a school bus) migrate from their cold water feeding grounds in Alaskan waters to Hawai'i. They will spend an average of 6 weeks in our warm waters to breed and calve. During their journey and time here they do not feed, instead waiting to return to their favorite krill at their feeding grounds off Alaska.

Can you imagine not eating for a few months?

Humpback whales do not all arrive at the same time. While you typically see a few outliers in late September and October, the majority of humpbacks arrive between November and April, with February and March being the most favored months. In February and March it is literally 'whale soup' in the warm Maui water (between Maui, Kaho'olawe, Lanai and Molokai) - you really can see them jumping and splashing from shore (if you know what you're looking for).

What else do you need to know? Humpback whales are endangered and it is against the law to approach a humpback whale. By law you need to stay at least 100 yards away from humpbacks (this applies to all boaters, swimmers, kayakers, divers, ocean users in general). Of course, a humpback may approach you. If one does, if you are in a boat, turn the engine off immediately, if you're in a kayak etc, hold on (to your kayak) tight!

It truly is a magical experience to watch these giant animals!

Picture from my 'best whale watch ever' in February 2013 with Pacific Whale Foundation. In this picture a pod of 6 adult males is swimming directly to the boat, they then dove under the boat in unison (it was like synchronized swimming), coming up on the other side of the boat. On this tour our boat sat still while a pod of 9 males showed off for a few females. It was a truly remarkable experience!

Monday, September 15, 2014

There's no beer in Hawaii!!!

Do you know the German song, 'Es gibt kein Bier in Hawaii' (there is no beer in Hawaii)? Austrian folk music singer Andy Borg sings a great version of it. I get a real kick out of it - because well, I like Austrian folk music and.... there is LOTS of beer in Hawaii! So don't worry about it!

Check out the first part of the video, and in case you don't speak German, here is a loose translation of it:

Marianne is my girlfriend,
we've been engaged for years.
She would love to have me as her husband
and has threatened to sue for it.
The wedding would have happened long ago
if it weren't for the honeymoon
because she wants to go to Hawaii
but I just can't go because.... 

There is no beer in Hawaii, 
there is no beer!
So I'll never go to Hawaii,
I will stay here.
It is too hot in Hawaii,
no place to cool off
And hula alone won't quench your thirst.

Still worried despite my claim otherwise? Here is a blog with some of Hawaii's beers. And yes, you can get many US mainland beers and even some European beers here. You can even buy some of them in bulk at Costco!

You can also celebrate Oktoberfest on Maui! I'll post info on the various Oktoberfest options once I find it, so check back! Brigit & Bernard's Garden Cafe in Kahului (Swiss-German restaurant in an industrial part of Kahului) is always a safe bet for Oktoberfest celebrations and good German food!

Checked bag fees now also on Westjet

Ahhh Westjet, the airline so many Canadians love to love.

We knew it was bound to happen, but it still doesn't sit well.... Westjet announced today they too will be joining the ranks of those airlines charging guests for that first checked piece of luggage. This $25 fee will apply to all flights within Canada and between Canada and the US.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Matteo's Osteria review

After a busy week of projects at our Kihei Surfside condo, Sig decided I needed to buy him lunch. Haha. Ok, it was an excellent excuse to go for lunch, and I said - hey, let's try a new place and then I can blog about it (see how we made going for lunch all about you, our guests?).

Crema Rosa pasta
Friends had told us about Matteo's Osteria, and so we decided to give it a try. Sig isn't a big Italian food fan, he doesn't like pasta (ok, he thinks it makes you 'fat' - puhlease!), but he was a good sport and so off we went.

Matteo's USED to be located just up the hill from the Shops at Wailea (just to confuse you, that place is now Manoli's Pizza). In that location Matteo's was a pizzeria, now it is a 'Cucina Italiana and wine bar'. It has moved and is now located in a small strip mall by the Wailea tennis club.

The food was fantastic, service very good also. We sat on their large patio which was nicely in the shade. They currently have a promo lunch menu which includes an appetizer, an entree and one glass of wine for $21 (regular lunch entrees are in the $10-$14 range, dinner more). We both started with the zucca (Kula greens, butternut squash, goat cheese, candied pecans and a balsamic vinaigrette). I had the Crema Rosa while Sig had the Bianca Pizzette. We were both very happy with our selections.

Bianca Pizzette
Will we come again? I definitely would, Sig might though he would prefer 'meat and potatoes'. ha!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Kihei Surfside updates

Do you enjoy shopping? I love looking through magazines and admiring home decorating. I have been looking for a 'new look' for our Kihei Surfside 405 bedroom for a while now. Guess what - I found some great deals on Labor Day weekend.... here is the updated Kihei Surfside #405 bedroom. This is just a cell-phone picture (not professional).

If you are like me, you may not know what the brown blanket at the base of the bed is. I've come across them in hotels and always wondered.

Guess what - it's not a blanket for you to use, nor is it a 'foot warmer'. It's called a bed scarf or bed runner and its specific purpose is to protect the bedding from dirty luggage.

The bedroom at Surfside is a little crowded because of the big cal-king bed (it is so comfortable that I am willing to give up a little extra space). So rather than a luggage rack, we have this bed runner for you to hoist your suitcase onto while you unpack into the dresser at the end of the bed (this protects our white duvet cover from getting marked up). Once you are done, please fold the bed runner and place it in the closet or out of the way.

Unless of course you like a foot warmer!

By the way, if you prefer to live out of the suitcase, the hallway is nice and wide. Some of our guests just leave their suitcases laying along the wall in the hallway. It's up to you.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

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 Paintball 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!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

say it ain't so....

this looks like.... another project?

the shower floor at our Kihei Surfside condo
just another day in the life of owning a vacation rental condo!

UPDATE: now the shower floor looks like this! Much better:

Monday, September 8, 2014

Coming up in less than a month!

Coming up in less than a month - the 92nd annual (yes, talk about some history here) Maui Fair 2014!

The first fair was held in 1916 (looks like in this long history they skipped a few years). Today this fair is known as a fun family-oriented event (drug, smoke and alcohol free).

Come sample Maui's multi-cultural food-truck 'grinds' (aka eats), check out the rides, the flower, garden, crafts exhibitions, live music and my personal favorite - the 5th annual Robo Tech Maui Expo & Competition!

The event starts off with the annual parade on Thursday October 2nd. Fair grounds (War Memorial Complex) are open Oct 2nd and 3rd late afternoon through evening, and October 4&5th all day. Check the website closer to the date for more information.

If you're on Maui, check it out!!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

How to take great underwater shots!

Do you enjoy snorkeling? Do you take a camera with you? How do those pictures turn out? Many that I've seen are grainy, fuzzy and not that impressive.

The Maui Ocean Center posted a great blog by Pride of Maui on how to get great underwater shots! Here you are, for your reading pleasure!

this is the extent of my under-water photography.... through the glass window
at the Maui Ocean Center!
garden eel staring contest - are you looking at ME?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Preparing for winter

What? No no no, let's not start talking about winter yet. I can't believe we're already in September. One of the moms at school told me yesterday, 'only 16 Mondays left til Christmas'. Oh stop it already! Let's enjoy the seasons while they last, right?

My husband Sig sent me a link from Hoards Dairyman yesterday. Yes, we are former Canadian dairy farmers, and yes, my dear hubby still reads a variety of farm magazines with a passion. You will at any given time find cow, animal nutrition, cropping and yes, manure magazines on our living room table. By the way, if you are on island and would like some 'light reading', let us know - I will happily recycle some of the read issues your way.

The article he sent me yesterday was on the 2015 Old Farms Almanac weather forecast for the US. Apparently the forecast for most of the US mainland (with exception of the West Coast) is for 'another frigid winter.'

Farmer's Almanac 2015, taken from Hoards Dairyman website

By the way - do you notice any states missing? Yup - Hawaii and Alaska. Alaska - well, we expect it will be cold - I mean, it is Alaska, right? And Hawaii? The climate is so temperate and hardly changes between seasons, so I expect it will be a lot more of the 'same old same old' - namely, temps in the low to mid 80s, dropping to around 70 at night. Sigh. I look forward to 'cooling down'.

Just what you wanted to hear? Welllll..... now would be a great time to book that mid-winter Maui trip to warm up a little. The winter months, particularly Christmas through mid April, are high season months on Maui. Condos are filling up fast, so especially if you aren't flexible with your dates, it's a good time to start looking and nail down a condo soon.

On a budget but looking to escape winter? Have a look at the first two weeks of December! Traditionally this is a very slow time of year, and therefore you are looking at LOW SEASON prices. Plus, you are still escaping cold weather back home. So finish your Christmas shopping up early (or do it on Maui) and enjoy a restful Maui break! By the way, yes, we still have December 'low season' availability at our Palms at Wailea condo.