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Archive for the ‘Maui’ Category

I don’t think I can explain this without sounding demented so I’ll just say, sometimes on my evening walks I think to myself: “I miss those squashed frogs in Maui.”

Walking around my neighborhood in Maui, either up the hill or into town, I was sure to see an almost paper-thin shell of a frog from time to time. There they were – on the road, the side of the road, in the gutter.

I’m not saying I like seeing poor smooshed frogs on the road, but it was amusing to me how incredibly flat they were. I think frogs are the flattest roadkill in the world. Usually, by the time I see them, there are no guts involved. It’s just something that looks like a cardboard cutout of a frog on the ground. It’s kind of funny. Right? Funny.

Nowadays, I walk around the flat terrain and sometimes, up ahead in my field of vision, I will see something flatly splayed out on the road or sidewalk ahead of me. I walk towards it thinking I will again be amazed and amused by the sight of a poor unfortunate frog. But no. It’s just a rag or something like that. Boring.

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I miss being able to get a flower lei everywhere.

The traditional lei, made of flowers or shells or other material, is a great way to express love, welcome, congratulations, or honor.  It has become a truly enduring symbol of Hawai’i.  http://www.hawaiiflowerlei.com/leitradition.aspx

On Maui you can buy a fresh flower lei almost everywhere.  Whenever I would pick someone up at the airport for a visit, I would stop first to buy a lei to greet him/her/them.  You can buy them at any Safeway store or, better yet, get a two-pack of purple orchid lei or a fancy tuberose lei at Costco.  Leis are a simple yet elegant way of recognizing someone special.

I miss them.  I miss being able to run to the grocery store and picking up a lei to share.  I miss giving them away.  I miss having them in the house.

*sigh* 

I think this topic will be a continuing series here as I re-adjust to life in California.

What?

You didn’t know I’m moving back to California?  eh? 

Oh – go see my entry about all the poor blogs stuck in draft.  I’ll try and finish the one that explains what I’ve been doing since the end of February. 

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I enjoyed a couple of new experiences the last few weeks with our latest house guests.  One guest requested a trip over to the northwest side of the island to see the Nakalele Blowhole.  I had to admit that I had never been over there.

So, off we went.

The blowhole is north of the whole Lahaina/Napili/Kapalua shoreline area of West Maui.  Most people drive up from the south because the road narrows to one lane shortly north of the blowhole.  That’s about as far as most drivers go.

Turns out, the day we decided to drive over was a pretty huge surf day.  The blowhole was exploding!  We didn’t hike down to the base of the blowhole because the waves coming over the rocks next to the blowhole were huge.  As it was, we stayed up above the blowhole on the rocky ledge and we still got soaked from head to toe.  More fun than your average water park!  I got to do quite a bit of rock scrambling which makes me happy.  My buddy was talking to me, then he turned around and when he turned back I had already lifted myself on top of the next rock ledge above us.  He observed: “You’re very climb-y!” 

The outing was so enjoyable, I suggested to my next house guest that we drive over for a quick walk down to the blowhole.  One of my former housemates had stopped over from Oahu and had a free afternoon.  So, off we went.  This time, the surf was big but not nearly as huge.  We walked all the way to the bottom and I got more close-ups of the blowhole.

Then, with M. driving, we did the top-of-the-West-Maui drive.  Whew!  That is one long stretch of winding narrow driving.  There are two spots of road on Maui where, if you look at the map, the road seems to disappear.  The hard part about driving around the southern edge of the island is the road is not paved.  I’ve done it once with Sweetie.  I don’t remember that road being super narrow.   But there were some pretty huge craters of potholes in the dirt.  On the northwest side, this small portion of road from the north of the blowhole back around to Kahului is narrow!  It’s paved but you have to pull over for any cars coming the opposite direction.  Luckily – not many people drive it so you don’t really see that many cars.

Not my favorite way to travel on a road, but I’m happy I can now say that I have, on separate occasions, driven around the entire island. 

And here’s some Nakalele Blowhole for ya:

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Hawai’i Tsunami Warning [Update 4]

Hey folks,

New event for me while living in Maui.  We heard the tsunami warning sirens this morning.  Definitely not the monthly test.  There are waves coming from the huge 8.8 earthquake from Chile. 

Maui is not under any evacuations orders.  They are just running the sirens to keep people on alert and telling folks near the coasts to be on the watch.  The local news is showing long lines at all the gas stations.  Some gas stations are starting to turn people away.  And they are evacuating (voluntary) people from coastal areas to shelters.

The first waves are supposed to hit the Big Island around 11:05 a.m. our time (we are currently 2 hours behind west coast time).  I think Tahiti got something like a six-foot wave.  I think it will just be a swell – honestly, probably smaller than the huge waves we had on the beach when my mom was here.  Of course, tsunamis are not nice waves – just a large push of water.  The local news is telling people to stay out of the water. 

Guy from the Tsunami Warning Center is now saying Hilo may get a one-meter wave.  Soooo….I think we’ll be fine.  Our house would be fine even with a huge wave since we are on higher ground.  However, I think we may force our house guest to stay put today since traffic may suck at different places around the island.  You pretty much cannot drive anywhere in Maui without at least driving partway on a coastal highway.  Our local news says they are getting messages from people around the world worried about friends and family in Hawai’i.  Local news coverage is streaming online at www.hawaiinewsnow.com 

Aloha.

UPDATE

The first waves are about 20 minutes out from Maui.  Several areas have been evacuated and most of the roads are closed now.  We are watching the live news coverage as the first waves are about 8 minutes out from the Big Island.  We’ve been asked to stock up on water.  Our power generation and wastewater treatment plant are at sea level so they are worried about sewage washing out. 

UPDATE 2

Live cams from the Big Island are posted on the local news coverage.  Not much happening yet.  Helicopter just swooped down to an idiot in the water on Oahu to yell at him to get out of the water.  Here on Maui, there is a line of cars near our home as people are driving up from lower areas.  Our biggest towns on Maui are at sea level.  The airport at Kahului is still open.  A couple of our neighbors are on their roofs, but I don’t think we’ll be able to see anything from here.  

Update 3 (12:01 p.m.)  

We are watching the live cam from Hilo Bay on the Big Island.  The most dramatic parts are when the water gets sucked out of the day.  Beach areas and rocks are exposed for a couple of minutes.  Then, the water comes back over.  The surge coming in doesn’t look that big.  Someone calling in from Kahului Harbor here on Maui says the water is getting sucked out but, again, I don’t think the incoming waves are big at all.  Not noticeably different than normal waves. I think our biggest wave will be 6 feet.

UPDATE 4 (1:30 p.m.)

Well folks, looks like the worst of the tsunami event is over.  The cars have returned to their homes.  The uninterrupted news coverage is off the air.  The first official measurements show that Kahului had the biggest wave surge at……..wait for it…….wow……..3.2 feet.  Yup.  That was our tsunami.  3.2 feet.  I am happy to say that the ocean was kind to us today and I am happy to know that all of our early-warning systems work well.  Some people may grumble about being evacuated today but you know what? They would complain louder if they stayed home and were swamped with a giant wall of water.  So, good job Hawai’i.

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Nice day in the water today on Maui.

I took my buddy Ice on a whale watching trip with the Pacific Whale Foundation.  As I have mentioned before, out of the whole whale season (roughly November to April), the best time to see whales is full moon February to full moon March.  That is according to one of the naturalists on a boat a couple of years ago.  Well, here we are in late February and the whales were hopping and breaching today!

We started off with a little greeting by a couple of dolphins.  They swam past the ship soon after we left the harbor.  I’m not used to seeing the dolphins, but I managed to get off a good shot as they swam under the boat and appeared right beside us.

 

Then, on to the whales.  We saw several whales “logging.”  This is when they are just kind of floating horizontal on the top of the water.  Just hanging out.  We saw some blow from a mom and calf.  We saw some whales from far away.

My buddy made some comments like: “Well, at least the boat trip is nice,”  and “We saw more whales from the beach.”  But, true to form – the whale watch provided plenty of breaching whale shots.  In fact, one whale breached several times right off the side of the boat and it was the closest I have ever seen a whale breach. 

Ta da!

and……….

 

and……..

 

Finally, as we made our way back to the harbor, the captain suddenly slowed the boat.  For……no….not another whale.  A little Honu was about to cross our path!  I barely got him with his little head sticking out of the water.  You can see him at the bottom of the picture.

 

All in all, a good whale watching day.  Aloha!

I’ll leave you with some more visuals from today.

And, one more video to completely bore you.  Same whale breaches twice!

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…..and I have the scrapes and the headache to prove it!

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Books, Travels, and Sleep

Tonight is a hodge podge of randomness.

I am home!!! Woo hoooooo!  Back in my own kitchen and my own living room and my own home office.  Back in my spider-infested bathroom and muggy bedroom.  Back in shorts and no socks! 

Sweetie and I had an uneventful trip.  I was worried about possible slow lines at the airport so I made us leave his mom’s house earlier than usual.  He gave me a bit of crap for being at the airport over an hour and a half early, but I was happy to grab a poppyseed muffin and sit and munch at the terminal.  The Oakland Airport wasn’t too crowded this morning around 6:30 a.m.  I would rather be early and have time to sit and do nothing than to scramble and fret in front of a bunch of TSA agents. 

I managed to get a grand total of – zero minutes of sleep last night.  Which is stupid because I was exhausted.  We drove back to my mom-in-law’s house yesterday and made a quick trip over to Santa Cruz to see some friends who had been sick the week before.  We left when the kids went to bed and I was almost stumbling over my feet I was so tired.  So, we get back to the house, pack our bags, and dive into bed.  And………nothing.  No sleep.  I still can’t fall asleep.  I toss and turn, go out to the couch, turn my computer back on, turn it off, count sheep, recite state and capitols.  And nothing.  It was a relief to me when Sweetie’s alarm went off at 4:45 a.m. this morning just so I could get up and get ready to go.

So – zero sleep for me last night.  But I did manage to sleep on the plane.  In between the seatbelt alert beeping on (Please sit down and fasten your seatbelts) and off (looks like we have calmer air folks) and on (Sorry, we’re at 30,000 feet and still turbulent) and off (feel free to move around the plane) and on……..and….you get the picture.

But now we are home!  And I suspect I will sleep well tonight.  And I’m starting the first book of my 2010 Read Your Own Book Challenge.  Fun!

I finished reading “Her Fearful Symmetry” by Audrey Niffenegger.  She is the author of The Time Traveler’s Wife which I loved.  I suppose it’s hard to follow up such an original work with anything as intriguing.  This little ghost story was interesting and I like the realistic way Niffenegger weaves together her characters in an unreal story.  But the characters themselves didn’t grab me like Time Traveler’s and I kept expecting the story to really grab me and pull me in.  It never completely did.  But it’s a good ghost story and, of course, one of the best characters is Highgate Cemetery itself.  Good but not necessarily a must-read.

And with that, I should dig into my books.  I received about five other books for Christmas, including TWO poker books that I am looking forward to reading.  Dan Harrington has some great poker tournament strategy books.  After playing for so long, I find that I already know most of the basic concepts he talks about (and by “basic” I mean – seriously in-depth minutia of every aspect of poker play but essential minutia for any good player), but this particular book adds so much more information.  I’m gobbling it up.  So, as I predicted, there will be plenty of new books to distract me from my old books.  Which just means I’ll have to put in double reading time.  No better time to start then now!

Or maybe – as soon as I get some sleep.

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