Thursday, July 30, 2009

Volunteer on Vacation while in Hawaii

Maui Hawaii coastal wetlands

Aloha Folks,

Today my new web site was launched, and I am excited to share it with everyone. is part of my latest effort in preservation of our special environment here in Hawaii.

After meeting great visitors out on the trail or up in the mountains, I was inspired to create this new site with added incentive on booking accommodations at Hale Ho'okipa Inn for those who volunteer (get a 5% discount on your stay, with another 5% donated to the organization for which you volunteer) This new site will continue to grow. Right now, the focus is mainly environmental restoration and preservation through eradication of invasive species and replanting the native forest and coastal dunes.

picking Naupaka plant seeds on MauiThe last service day I had was with the Maui Coastal Land Trust. We gathered Naupaka seeds from the native Naupaka plant. This shrub grows in the mountains and by the ocean. There are several species of this plant, the most remarkable thing is the flower appears to be torn in half, with petals missing.

There are a few legends that are spurned by this half flower...with the theme being two lovers who cannot be together, resulting in one living in the mountains, and the other by the ocean...hence the half flower.

The seeds when ripe are white and round. When we picked them,, we had to squeeze the seed out of the pulpy white outer layer. Mehana, my granddaughter and I , ended up picking a couple of hundred seeds. Nice to know these are now growing into new plants.

Digging holes for the Naupaka shrub plantings on MauiIt's a little bit sticky to pick the seeds, my grandson Aukai was not too impressed with this job. He really perked up when it was time to plant the Naupaka plants in the afternoon. He liked digging the holes with the shovel. I had to protect the plants so they would not end up chopped in half by his enthusiatic shovel swinging.

The Diaz family, 7 of them from Texas ,also worked with us. Their 13 year old, John, enjoyed the experience with his family. They were a fun group, and it was great to pick and plant along side this family on the wonderful Maui Coastal Land Trust sand dunes.

Hawaiian StiltThis area is some of the only sand dunes remaining on Maui. A small inland pond in the ancient fish pond , is where the Hawaiian Stilt birds nest .

Please visit the new site. Anyone interested in sponsorship of the site to help , please contact me. I am happy to add your link to the site.

Volunteering on vacation, or in your home area, is a great way to meet great folks, share your skills and learn new ones, and feel good about your efforts.

Dig in, help out, lend a hand. You'll be glad you did.

Much Aloha and Mahalo to all who make a difference!!!


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Kuka' emoku... Iao Valley


One of my favorite places to visit, especially when my grandchildren are with me, is the spectacular and spiritual Iao valley. We enjoy bathing in the cold river and listening to the sound of the rushing water. Today we ate our sushi on the river bank, happy to cool down on this sticky hot Kona weather day.

Iao is considered very sacred because remains of high chiefs are buried in secret hiding places in the valley. Much of the valley is a Hawaii State Park, and protected.

I am only Hawaiian at heart, my bloodline is not tied to this land. Maybe because I spend so much time in nature, I do feel very respectful of the areas that I visit. At times I have asked the waters of this river to wash my cares to the ocean. I always come away feeling refreshed , clean, and grateful.

The Iao Needle, 2,250 feet high, was created by erosion. Looking towards the north shore, the Needle, often shrouded in clouds, was considered the phallic stone of Kanaloa, the Hawaiian god of the ocean. The word Iao refers to "cloud supreme" for the constant bank of clouds that covers the peaks of the mountains spilling into the valley. It is rare to see the spectacular West Maui mountains without clouds.

I am ever thankful for the lush beauty and bounty of this land.

May you all have a special place in nature where your balance is restored.

Much Aloha,

Iao Stream Maui Iao Valley Hawaii State Park

Swimming Hole in Iao Valley, Maui, Hawaii

Trail steps in Iao Valley State Park, Maui, Hawaii

Iao Needle Mountain Peak in Iao Valley State Monument, Maui, Hawaii

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bottlenose Dolphins

Bottlenose dolphin playing with a leaf.


Today's post features the Bottlenose Dolphins that some friends recently encountered while out snorkeling.

These playful creatures are intelligent and known for their friendly dispostion and agility. In one of the photos, the dolphin is "catching" a floating leaf on it's fin, and also swimming with the leaf on its nose.Bottle-nose dolphin playing leaf--swimming with a leaf on its snout.

My friends were dropping the leaves for them to play with. They did not approach or follow this pod as people are not supposed to get close to the dolphins, as tempting as it may be.

They live in social groups called pods. A pod can vary in size, 5 to 100 dolphins in the group. Dolphins communicate through a complicated series of squeaks and whistles.A pod of bottlenosed dolphins near Maui Hawaii

The dolphins enjoy bow-swimming with boats, playing in the wake and waves. I have seen them many times racing around along side the boat and trying to keep in front of it as well. It's a wonderful site, these playful creatures diving and leaping along side the boat.

A bottlednose dolphin swimming near Maui Hawaii, photographed by snorkelersThe dolphins can swim up to 18 miles per hour. Their size is up to 10 feet in length and weight is approx. 1,100 #. The Bottlenose Dolphin's life span is 45-50 years.

They eat small fish and squid, and sometimes follow fishing boats looking for leftovers. The dolphin's greatest danger is getting entangled in fishing nets and gear, and boating traffic.

Bottle Nosed dolphins off Maui Hawaii photographed by snorkelersMany programs and organizations work tirelessly to protect these wonderful creatures. The Pacific Whale Foundation is one great organization that promotes awareness of the ocean's creatures through education.

Enjoy the photos, I sure did!

Aloha for now,

Saturday, July 4, 2009

July 4, 2009, Makawao, Maui, Hawaii

Coolest Cowboy Hui followed by Russ the Saddlemaker in the Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, Fourth of July Parade, 2009

Aloha ...

The 4th of July parade was as colorful as ever this year. People go all out, and everyone loves it.

Politicians unveil their aspirations for the upcoming terms, the Peace marchers and Samba bands are in full force, the big rig truckers blow out everybody's eardrums with their air horns, and, I even learned where I can whiten my teeth for $99.

Maui Invasive Species Committee float in the Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, Fourth of July ParadeI enjoyed the MISC float (Maui Invasive Species Committee) "Defending the Aina," with the big snake wrapped around the truck going after a native bird. These folks were making a point: we don't have snakes in Hawaii, and we all want to keep it that way.

Long-horn bull rider in the Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, Fourth of July ParadeThe big longhorn bull was a huge hit! He was so calm strolling down the street. The hoots and hollers did not seem to bother him at all. I was a bit nervous, thoughts of the bulls throwing their riders sky high kept coming to my mind.

Pa'u riders in the Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, Fourth of July ParadeThe Piiholo Ranch folks put some major effort into their parade horses... the horses were blue (!) with red skirted pa'u riders.


Stick horse pa'u rider in the Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, Fourth of July ParadeThey also put together a crazy float with a mini Zipline. The zipline is the latest craze for folks looking to fly through the tree tops. Check them out when you are making upcountry plans. I am waiting until my grandson is old enough to go with me.

Coolest Cowboy: Hui! In the Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, Fourth of July ParadeMy paniolo guests, Hui and Russ, are shown here. Russ is a saddle maker, check him out at Murray Saddle Shop. Hui is the colorful cowboy in the styling red boots and beautiful horse. He won an award in the parade for the coolest looking... I am sure they have a different title for it, though. They have been good fun to have around, I am learning a lot about cowboy stuff from them.

Classic Car in the Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, Fourth of July ParadeThe parade always starts with the vintage cars. A young boy sitting next to me gave me a running commentary on the year, model and makes of these show stopping automobiles. He was impressive. I used to have a 56 Chevy pick up with wrap around windows that I really loved. There was a teal colored one in the parade that gave me a thrill.

Watching the crowd is almost as much fun. There was lots of laughter, shakas and jokes all around. I like this tradition... it's a good feeling to be a part of a great community.

Shriners in the Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, Fourth of July ParadeAloha for now....