Sunday, January 31, 2010

Maui Snorkeling


The Hawaiian islands attract many visitors who enjoy ocean activities like snorkeling and scuba diving.

When my children were growing up, we used to scuba dive on the Big Island. I really enjoyed the feeling of effortless floating, especially through and around the beautiful underwater arches.

Watching the giant Hawaiian Sea Turtles gracefully gliding through sunlit waters was always a highlight of the dive for me. The Honu ( Hawaiian word for turtle) can weigh up to 400lbs. Their big flippers enable them to cover great distance in the water.

The Honu is vegetarian, eating algae or limu ( Hawaiian for seaweed.) The female turtles go up on to the beaches and sand dunes to dig a large hole and lay her eggs. I remember camping and looking for the newborns to hatch at night. The turtles have enjoyed quite a comeback since the days they were hunted for food.

The wonderful pictures that I'm posting of the Green Sea Turtle were taken by my friend Mike Eliers. Mike and Susan are avid divers, and enjoy snorkeling as well. Mike has been taking some wild and fabulous underwater photos, check out the Parrot fish! I feel lucky to be able to post them.

Many options are available for snorkeling on Maui. Visitors can research diving or snorkeling adventures. There are several sites online where you can learn about raft trips, or catamaran trips, or dive boats. Of course, just a walk off the beach to a safe snorkel spot is also a big favorite. I often speak with my guests at breakfast about their options for daily snorkel trips.

You may even be lucky enough to see some of the playful spinner dolphins as well. Mike also took these amazing shots of the spinner dolphins that surrounded them while out on a very special snorkel trip.

The Maui Ocean Center is a great environment for observing reefs and all the beautiful fish who live there. There is also a Honu tank, for folks who won't be able to otherwise view these awesome creatures.

Hope to see you here in Maui during our mild winter. Lots of outdoor Maui activities this winter for all!

We finally got a little rain, and tonight the moonlight on the refreshed garden with the fragrance of night blooming Jasmine in the air, reminds me of why I love to live on Maui, no ka oi... Maui the best.

Aloha, a hui hou....

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Picture Perfect


These mild winter days we've been having are picture perfect, for the most part. However, the effects of our mild winter are starting to become apparent

Upcountry Maui is now considered on a drought watch...this is what usually happens on an El Nino year. While the mainland is being hammered by a brutal winter, I heard it was 16 degrees today in parts of Florida, we are dry and sunny, and quite warm. I'm still in shorts and a T-shirt with the door open at 7:30 pm. Once the trade winds start again, we'll get showers.

We had a soft rain a couple of days ago, and the butterfly pictures, by my friend, Anslem Pauls, are photos of a very industrious butterfly flitting in the yard from flower to flower drinking the fresh rain water. This lovely creature spent a good hour on one bush, covering every single blossom . It was remarkable. I try to plant flowering plants for the bees and butterflies around the yard . Sometimes I think a bee hive would be a nice addition. I'd love to have honey from close by.
Isn't nature grand?

This week has been great, life's finally slowed down a bit after the holidays. I 've been squeezing in time at the beach in between check -ins and check -outs, breakfast and cleaning. The winter swells have really been spectacular this year. The ocean is full of energy, and everyone is looking for a chance to enjoy the surf, the water, sunshine and beach.

Besides the beautiful butterfly photos, I am posting a picture of a very curious dove who wandered over on the beach to check out the action. He was looking for snacks, and obviously was not concerned about getting too close. I enjoy waking up to the doves every morning.

The Franklin Grouse is another bird who wanders the dunes and forest at the edge of the beach. They have a particularly loud call that always reminds me of my days living in the little beach community of Puako on the Big Island. The forest at the edge of my little beach house was filled with the Franklins, mongoose, and the ever present feral cats.

Tomorrow I get to go out in the kayak for a spin in the bay to enjoy the whales, from a safe and legal distance, of course. The whales are back, and as always it is a pure pleasure to see them jumping, breaching and slapping. So far on Maui the good folks who keep their eyes open for the safety of the whales have had eight incidents of freeing entangled whales. The last one I saw in the paper looked like some mean rope lines had really given the whale a hard time, but the lines were cut, and they expected a full recovery.
Many folks are spotters trying to keep their eyes open for whales in need of help.

Hope you get a chance to leave the cold and snow for awhile and come to Maui to experience the beauty and joy of nature at it's finest (and most comfortable)!

Aloha for now,

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hau'oli Makahiki Hou

Aloha and Happy New Year! or as we say in Hawaii "Hau'oli Makahiki Hou"!

2010 came in with the usual bang. My little dog shivered and hid for two days. Some folks really like the fireworks, however, the smoke is an unpleasant by-product of the brilliant displays. This year was a little quieter, some major blasts, but not as many as previous years. Every year after New Years is finished, the fire department makes it's plea to completely ban fireworks in Hawaii. I doubt that would ever happen, as people like to make a lot of noise in Hawaii at the end of the year.

I had a beautiful holo-holo trip on the Big Island over the holidays with my family, and am posting a few pictures from our adventures. We visited the breath taking Waipio Valley, the north shore beaches, and our customary mountain foraging for the wreathes we usually make.

Each island has it's own unique qualities, and because I raised my children mostly on the Big Island there is always a sweetness and great memories to my visits.

Maui has had plenty of holiday magic as well. The fantastic Maui Film Festival has two nights left. It's always a treat to see the films at the Castle Theater on the big screen. I had my usual guests, Jack and Mickey from Kansas, over Christmas. This is their 9th year visiting Maui and staying with me. I look forward to seeing them every year, and I am so lucky to have so many wonderful repeat guests. As I've said before, my guests are no ka oi (da best)!

Because it has been such a mild winter so far, I've been able to enjoy ocean adventures quite often lately. One of my favorite things to do is to swim at Baldwin Beach on the north shore.

It's a fun work out and quite beautiful to gaze at the Iao Valley while out paddling around.

This coming week, I am hoping to take my kayak out for a cruise and a whale viewing. I really look forward to this every year. It is an amazing experience to see the Humpbacks breaching and listening to them blow and slap. I hope I am able to get some good pictures.

It's time to say Aloha for now...and may this coming year be filled with joy and love for all.

Hau'oli Makahiki Hou!