Friday, April 29, 2011

Last Day In Paradise

Time to start packing ... it's my last day in Maui for this year.  Heading out to find a few more trinkets, but am seriously short of packing space.  I already sent off one box and am having a little trouble stuffing 36" fins into a 30" backpack.  Since my camera battery died, I don't have many more pics to post.   I did find a charger for $69, only to discover that I need a new battery altogether.  Thankfully one of my friends has the same camera that broke a few months ago.  She says I can use her battery, which still seems to be working.  I guess the little ones really are throwaways ... a new battery costs more than the camera did originally.
This bunch of fresh bananas right from the tree were stashed by the front door to ripen.  No wonder everyone around here makes banana bread!!  They ripened just in time for a nice banana smoothie for breakfast.

Lastly there are these beautiful little flowers right outside my front door.  I never took a good look until yesterday ... those camera phones do come in handy ... both these pics came from mine.
They say you can't take good photos with an I-Phone, but I'm thinking you can!!  I like this one.

I have two days to finish my photo project when I get back, then 3 days dog sitting in Sacramento while I plan my next trip.  See you soon!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Seven Sacred Pools (The Dreaded "Road to Hana")

I broke my record yesterday .. got 16 cars to pull over and let me by!!!  Yup, I'm the one that will tailgate you if you are going 10 mph when the speed limit is 25 and you don't pull over when you have 5 cars behind you.  The road to Hana is a tough one, mostly one lane with straight stretches of about 50 feet.  It took us 2.5 hours to go 50 miles.  Past Hana on an even worse road is the Seven Sacred Pools at the Unpronounceable State Park.  A short walk from the parking lot lands you here!
I think this is actually pool 2 or 3.  The water runs from pool to pool over waterfalls 20-30 feet high.  This pool is at least 35 feet deep, so jumping off the rocks is the game of the day.  Peter, having done this before, got quite an ovation ... I think it was a dare for the other guys to do the same, as they were shortly climbing up the cliff wall to the top.
Peter and Lauren give some perspective to the height of the falls.  The water was cool, but not real cold.  To get to the ocean end of the pools you have to crawl over the lava where you end up at a small black sand beach.  Last year there was much more beach and much less water.  This year the waves were 15-20 foot high and one right after another!!
The black sand is actually small particles of crushed lava.  Not a good place for swimming!!!  But I did talk Peter and Lauren into posing for a picture.
Peter was watching the waves so much he cut off my legs!!  He probably should have cut off a little more!!
That was it ... long ride back, but stopped at a roadside stand for homemade lemon bars and pineapple smoothies.  Good end to a beautiful day.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Lazy Pool Days

Since we all have gotten a little too much sun over the last couple days, we decided to stay by the pool all day.  Hahahaha .... we were still in the sun, but easier access to the sunscreen/tanning lotion.
After a LOT of cajoling, 7 year old Lauren finally decided to try out the awful black things we put on her feet.  "They hurt! .. I can't walk! .. "  That lasted until she got in the pool.  As she kicked for the third time, her face lit up and she went crazy over how fast she was swimming.

Needless to say, it was really hard to get them off her feet to come inside.  She LOVED them.  Next came the mask, which she has worn before, and finally the snorkel (which was exceedingly more difficult).  The idea in the end is to go snorkeling at Black Beach.  No such luck yet.  We did spend quite some time at the beach teaching her how to deal with the big waves (not normal this time of year) and by the end of the day she was rolling and playing in the biggest ones.

I had decided not to bring my fins due to lack of luggage space, but rent some here.  No such luck, because the kind they have here will not stay on my feet.  I went to the dive shop to find something relatively inexpensive ... Oceanics ... and it even looked like they would fit in my backpack for the return trip.  I only buy ScubaPro equipment because of their good construction, HOWEVER, my cheapness got the best of me.  Another BIG mistake!!!  They broke the first time I used them.  Back to the shop to return them (took some convincing) and get the pair of ScubaPro fins you see here.  Similar to the ones I dive with, today will be the first time for this pair.  I'm sure they will outlast the Oceanics!

Come dinner time, we are all hungry from basking and baking all day ... so it was off to Fat Daddy's BBQ!!  Excellent ribs!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Whale Watching

  I picked up Peter and his daughter Lauren at the airport so they could stay a few days with me.  As you can imagine, we spent most of yesterday at the pool and beach.  We thought a whale watching cruise would be fun for Lauren, so off we went.
A naturalist accompanied the boat and told us of interesting points along the way.  At the bottom, very small, is a lighthouse.  At the top of the mountain are 20 windmills ... an experiment conducted by the island of Maui.  No idea if it works or not, but they do have breezes across the island most of the time.  Haven't seen them anywhere else.
This shot shows the volcano that created this part of the island.  You can see the alluvial fan created from erosion.  Out in the ocean, it was dead calm and really hot.  For the most part, the Captain keep the boat underway looking for whales ... which of course have all left for Alaska!  They did put a hydrophone under water and we heard some of the singers ... they are the last to leave the area.
Finally, we saw a couple of water spouts and this whale as it was diving.  You think this is far away, you should have seen the picture before I cropped it!  LOL  It took me so long to find the thing in my viewer that the camera barely had time to focus before it was gone.  It was at this point that some jerk on board the boat bumped into me twice, like trying to see, and stole my wallet, which was in a zipped pocket of a small purse with a long strap around my neck.  Wish I had noticed cuz I would have knocked him in the water.  Thank goodness I had put my drivers license in another pocket and had NOT gone to the bank yet.  He only got $60 cash.  I reported it to the boat, but they really weren't concerned.    For those who know my temper ............
Almost back to the dock, I saw another spout behind us  and had a little more time to shoot.  Again, this guy is probably a mile away, and even with my biggest telephoto lens and cropping, this is the best I could get.  I don't see any more whale watching in my future!!!

Short and Sweet

No pics yet, I ran this morning and I'm beat!!  I think today will be a day in the shade!!  LOL

We went on a whale watching cruise last night and I got ripped off by a pick pocket.  I've been around law enforcement for a lot of years, and I'm a very careful person because of that.  It even entered my mind as we boarded the boat, but I dismissed it.  BIG mistake ... BIG!!  Only $60 and 3 credit cards, which I immediately cancelled.  More on this later ... I'm going to sleep by the pool!!!  LOL

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Up Country

Today I decided to go higher up on the volcano side to what the locals call Up Country.  The higher altitude is much cooler and usually comes with a nice breeze.  The bad news is that the closer to the sun you are, the more you burn!!  In as little as 30 minutes taking surfing pictures, I was toast.
This is a freshly planted sugar cane field.  When I was here in years past, the main crop was pineapple.  Over the years, the big companies and more money producing crops of sugar cane have taken over.  This building below was the company owned store.  If you worked for the "Company", you lived in company housing, bought your supplies at the company store, including meat from the company meat market.  The old song "I owe my soul to the company store" was true here.  The prices were always higher than the wages you were paid.  That insured you would never leave your job.  This building has been restored by Chef Bev Gannon and her family and is now an excellent restaurant.  You can even purchase her cookbook of recipes she serves here.

Across the street from the store are the old horse/mule barns.  They were the "mechanized equipment" used to harvest crops in the old days.

Yes this was the burning spot!!  Surfing obviously is big here in Maui ... and they teach them very young, as you can see above.  Dad and his two boys caught several waves, the boys standing while dad paddled.

Then it was off to Macawao town ... actually the cowboy town of Maui.  They have a huge rodeo here every year.  Stores line both sides of the main street, maybe one whole block long.  Mostly art galleries and clothing/craft stores.

One of my favorite places is an old bakery that makes donut sticks.  Yummy yummy!!!  Not something you see on the mainland.  I ate the whole thing!!!

Lastly, I found these baskets for sale in one of the clothing stores, and had to take a picture for my friend Patty.  She collects baskets from all over .. this one just caught my eye.   They are inexpensive and made by local artists from materials found on the island.  The proprietor of the store said the artist gathers the materials for the tops of these baskets from her front yard.  
I'm going to find out how they are made.  How fun would it be to gather materials from trips to different locations and make a basket as a reminder of where I was.  That's it for today ... Aloe Vera here I come!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Last of the Sunsets

I promise these will be the last of the sunset images.  I mean really, how many sunset pics can you take without them all beginning to look alike.  The wave action has been extreme from my experience here and has washed a lot of the beach sand out in the ocean.  This makes for larger waves and gorgeous images but a rather small beach area.  When the camera is up to your eye, you can't see what is happening at your feet.  So as you can imagine, I did the sand dance last night as the waves washed the sand from under my feet and I lost my balance.  Thankfully the camera didn't come close to the water and I was able to remain upright!!  Looking out the front door, the left side is very rocky with a large grassy picnic area and palm trees.  From there the crescent shaped beach goes on for over a mile towards the north side of Kihei.  And there are THREE of these beaches that run along the length of Kihei town.
I'm standing in the picnic area here.   As you can see by the palm branches, it was very windy.
This one shows the waves coming in.  I do love the sound of waves hitting the shore, but being so close with waves this large crashing in ... it is really hard to sleep at night ... even with the doors closed!!!  The sunsets definitely make up for that!!  Interesting that I am making the exact same adjustments to each sunset picture and yet each looks so different.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Top of the World

Day four .. no running.  And after the snorkeling was so awful, I decided to just start driving and see where I ended up.  I stopped on top of the world ...
This is the summit of Haleakala, the volcano that made this island.  Now dormant, thank goodness, it towers above the island.  In fact, you cannot see the top as it is always shrouded in clouds ... or so you would think from looking up at it.  The 1-1/2 hour drive is well worth the trip, however the faint of heart should not attempt it.  The roads are narrow, no railing and sometimes with shear drops that bothered me enough that I hugged that center line like my pillow!!

A breath taking (literally) 10,000 feet above sea level, the views are spectacular, although hazy enough that photos don't do it justice.  I did find this frog at the top of the summit trail ... these are called alligator teeth.
Looking down into the crater, you can see what looks like smoke coming from the center, but it is actually the clouds rolling over into the chasm.  The sun up here is hot and bright ... showing the colors of the small cones inside the crater.
There are several trails that go down into the crater that I thought I might try, but every sign up here says take lots of water and food (neither of which I had), so I deferred until next time.  Maybe Ofelia and I can run here next year.  It is quite cool with most people wearing coats.  After suntanning all morning, I was loving the cool air!!!!

Back to the valley below, after following too many scared drivers that refused to pull over (like the signs say), I was ready for a big margarita on the beach.  I know, more sunset images, but when you see these beautiful sunsets, you just can't help but grab that camera and shoot away.  I'm addicted!!
These are going to be my metal prints for sale in the next art show.
I especially love this one ... it will probably end up on my wall.  Not bad for an amateur!!  LOL

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Day About Town

Having run in the morning yesterday at a fast pace, I decided to veg out and work on the needlepoint I brought as I watch and listen to the waves out my patio door.  Unfortunately I had forgotten to bring a needle threader .. oh gee ... I need to make a shopping trip!!!
As I've been driving around, I've seen these gorgeous yellow trees and decided to check them out.  After getting yelled at for driving on the school grounds without permission (oops!) I found this group by the Kihei Aquatic Center (a huge pool open to the public).
It's funny that all of the flowers are at the very top of the tree, as you can see here.  I discovered quickly NOT to stand underneath it ... the flowers were falling off by the bunches and were quite sticky.

Everywhere you go there are Shave Ice stands.  For those that haven't tried it, it's a must.  Although  only the true ones comes from Hawaii, I do think you can get them in the states.  GOOD ones include a huge scoop of ice cream (any flavor) covered by packed shave ice and smothered in syrups, usually a choice of 2 or 3.  Here's the one I picked up while shopping ...
They are awesome ... but NOT this one.  Only vanilla ice cream and not near the amount of syrup I got at the stand in Lahaina.  Chocolate ice cream with red raspberry and watermelon syrup!  YUM!!!!

So bright and early this morning I went out snorkeling (with my new Oceanic fins) and took my camera so I could show how it looks underwater.  Here is the result ...
Pretty ugly, huh?  In all the times I have come here, it has NOT looked like this.  Don't know if it's cuz I'm a couple weeks earlier than normal ... maybe the Japan earthquake?  Weather has been warm, waves have been huge all day long and as you can see, or not, there is so much sand and algae in the water that visibility is zero, even at some distance from the shore.  Reminds me of the viz diving at Monterey.  So I turned around and came back.  Hopefully before I leave I will get something to show you the variety of beautiful fish that live in these waters.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I can definitely see why the natives thought they were in paradise ... and did not want anyone intruding.

Sunrise on Monday ... you can still see the full moon.

My day goes something like this .. up at 5:00 to run (Ofie will be proud) ... download images from camera and write blog ... lay by the pool reading til 11:00 (when it's too hot to stay out) ... shopping/photography til around 6 p.m. ... dinner at Alexanders or Fat Daddys (BBQ yum!) ... back to condo to work on images ......

So yesterday I went up to Lahaina to the Harley store and to check out some sites I did not know were there.  This pic is taken from the car on the way over (don't tell anyone it's through the window!!)  This is why Maui is called the Valley Isle.  Two big mountains on either side and this valley between.
I did not know there was a large Chinese population here in the old days.  It seems they were the prime labor force for the sugar cane and pineapple fields.  They ordered a building from Sears Roebuck and built it on Front Street as a place for meetings and congregating with friends and family.  For safety reasons, they did not cook in the house.  They had a separate building out back with their cooking pots.

Pretty smart .. if there was a kitchen fire, it wouldn't burn down their pre-fab building!!

Another discovery was the town prison.  Built by the prisoners from coral taken from the old fort at Lahaina, the walls definitely look climbable at only 7 feet high.  In reading some of the literature, they apparently were either shackled to the walls or carried balls and chains, making it impossible to climb anything.  The brown building on the outside is the gatehouse where the warden and his family lived.

Inside the walls the garden is beautiful, with orchids and many different varieties of palm trees.  Doesn't look like such a bad place to live, but I'm sure it didn't look quite the same in the old days.
Inside the walls is a small building that kind of looks like a church.  NOT!!  It's the actual cells the prisoners spent their time in.  Lighting and locked gates did not allow photos, but here's one of the doors.  The cells were simply wood all around with a wooden box for a bed.  Not too cushy!!
Today is another day for adventure ... to find something else I haven't seen before!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Beautiful Sunny Maui

Every year I come to the island of Maui in Hawaii.  I have a time share here, purchased from my friend Cyndae who was raised in Hawaii.  The 2 bedroom 2 bath townhouse condo I stay at is in the brown buildings on the right, in the town of Kihei.  I took this picture to show the distance from the condo to the ocean.  It is literally 20 steps out the sliding glass patio door, another 20 steps to cross the road, and you are on a beautiful soft sand beach.  Every year I have been here I have gone snorkeling off this beach to the left and went swimming with the turtles.  It is an awesome experience!!!
The weather has been rather weird here.  As cold as it has been on the mainland, it is unseasonably hot.  80-84 doesn't seem bad, but with no breezes and lots of humidity, it has been warm.  The solution of course, is to jump in the ocean or the pool.  The cloud cover has been keeping the hot sun at bay .. sort of.
Sunday morning I got up early (before sunrise to beat the heat) and ran from Kihei to Weilea and back.  Then decided to do some hill work since all roads lead downhill to the beach.  Ofie will appreciate that!!!  We have a trail run coming up and I promised I would train while I was here!!  That done, my shopping gene kicked in.  It is always better to spend the hot afternoons in someone's air conditioned store.  Tommy Bahama and Serendipity are two of my favorites.  On the way to the Queens Mall in Kahului, I passed this gas station and just had to take a photo.  Notice that diesel is LESS than ALL other types of fuel ... and the prices are comparable to the mainland.
Since the clouds always offer gorgeous sunsets, I spent last night on the beach taking photos.   This one was pretty much right out of the camera.  It looks like this every night ... which is one of the reasons I love it here.
How can you not love it here!!!  T-shirts and shorts ... beautiful sunsets like this ... and a small local roadside stand called Alexanders which has the best grilled fish and sticky rice EVER!!  Yup, it's paradise!!!