The Whales are Here!!
Aloha Stokes makes great videos about just about everything on Maui. This is one of my favorties as is the Pacific Whale Foundation. Wonderful tours from experts.
Aloha Stoked does such a good job with their youtube. This looks like such fun -
You can easily see Lanai island across the channel from Kihei and Wailea. Smaller, slower paced and easily accessible; you can experience a different island life in an easy day trip.
There are different tour boats that can get you there, mostly out of Lahaina, with BBQ's , snorkeling and helpful staff. I haven't been on any of them so I won't make any suggestions. There is also a ferry which goes back and forth between Lahaina and Lanai. It's the most cost effective but it is a ferry so you'll be getting a ride without a helpful guide. If you choose the ferry pack a lunch because the only place to eat lunch along the beach on the island is Four Seasons, which is wonderful, but extremely expensive.
However you get there you will pull into the small harbor of Manele which is a short walk to a wonderful snorkeling beach, Hulopoe Beach. There are other island beaches: Shipwreck Beach and Polihua Beach. Both require a 4 wheel drive or a heavy hike. Polihua is the most beautiful but can have rip currents so venture out with great caution.
The most surprising fact I found is Lanai is a primarily a private island. 97% of the island's 140 miles is owned by Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle Software Company. I've often wonder what type of person owned an ocean front home in Maui. It never crossed my mind somebody owned one of the Hawaiian Islands.
The landscape you see today isn't what Lanai would naturally look like without man's hand. In 1778, one of the Chiefs from the Big Island tried to expand his holdings by taking over Maui. His attacked failed and in retaliation he killed all 6,000 inhabitants of Lanai and burnt down the island. Barren Lanai was dry and arid until the arrival of ranch manager George Munro in 1911.
Munro discovered that Lanai’s lone Norfolk pine was pulling moisture straight out of the clouds. (Planted in 1878, this tree still stands in front of the Lodge at Koele) Since clouds would frequently gather in the uplands, but rarely drop any rain, Munro ordered that pine trees be planted to pull water out of the sky. Hundreds of Cook Island pines were imported and planted to cover the island. Each pine tree can collect up to 200 gallons a day and is changing the island.
Not only is Lanai the only privately owned Hawaiian island but it has one of the most unique sites you will see in all of Hawaii.
Lanai's Cat Sanctuary is home to some 600 cats. Visitors are welcomed to come scratch a few ears at the outdoor enclosure created by two transplanted artists. They were surprised by the over abundance of feral cats on the island and they wanted to do something to care and protect both the cats and the native birds which were becoming cat food. Thus the birth of the Cat Sanctuary.
I've figured out how to make a youtube !! This is a collection of my photo's of beaches on Maui - Just something for me to do while I'm missing Kihei
I love to hike in Washington and I brought that love to Maui. Twin Falls is an easy yet exciting hike just past Paia. You can easily see the Twin Falls from a short walk from the parking lot but if your willing to get your feet wet in a few streams keep going to the next falls for a swim under the falls. You can keep going up to a third and final set of falls. Keep the spirit of Aloha alive and respect the No Trespassing signs you will see along your way. Enjoy my home made video - I'm no master but I have fun.
When I was in my early twenties I was lucky enough to snag a job on a sailing and snorkel tour boat. It was a smaller Hobie Cat that was only carried 6 guests which gave us a lot of versatility and flexibility. I have endless stories of adventures and mishaps. Most of them are amusing but a few are tragic and those always involve carelessly assuming the ocean is safe.
Sneaker waves come up and slam you into the sand if you're not watching. The current carries snorkelers into the rocks while they're mesmerized by the underwater magic. But to me the most frightening is being pulled out to sea.
Our little Hobie Cat would scream through the ocean and passengers loved the rush so we often just raced up and down the coast without any destination. One time we were sailing off Kihei and we saw arms waving frantically. A wind surfer had gotten caught up in the fun and found herself far, far from shore. She was sitting on her board, in a current, heading off towards the Big Island. Of course we rescued her and pulled her to shore but what a lucky break for her we saw her.
* Don't turn your back on the ocean
*Don't take your eye's off your children anywhere near water - Drowning is a silent death. If they've cut the finger or broken their arms you'll hear them scream but there's no sound underwater. Don't assume the other adults are paying attention.
*Wear reef-safe sunscreen and drink water. The tropical sun will have you blistered and burnt sooner than you imagine. You can even get heat stroke or dehydration.
*Don't swim alone and at the least have somebody watch from shore.
*Don't go near the cliff edge -Sneaker waves come without warning and are on top of you before you know it.
*Heed the warning signs.
Common sense will keep you safe and let you have the time of your life while visiting Kihei.
You can't miss Black Rock or Pu' Keka'a, from anyplace on Ka'anapali Beach. Formed by an old lava flow it divides Ka'anapali Beach in half creating a haven for fish and snorkelers. A popular site for cliff diving too.
To ancient Hawaiians, Pu'u Keka'a was known as leina a ka ‘uhane which means “leap of the soul”. Legend says this is where the departed souls leap over into the spirit world. For this reason many battles were fought here since it was so convenient for the dead warriors soul to find its way into the spirit world.
King Kahekili, Maui's last ruling chief, was known for his skill at lele kawa, meaning to jump from a high cliff or rock into the ocean. Both Oahu and Lanai have places known as Kahekili's Leap, cliff ledges where Kahekili was known to jump from but Maui's Pu'u Keka'a was his favorite spot and it was where he made his most impressive jumps.
Ka'anapali Beach is a long strip of gorgeous sand, packed full of sun burnt tourists. It's a hassle to get to because of the miles of hotels lining the beach. Parking is a challenge but it's definitely worth a day trip from Kihei. Bring your snorkel gear and reef safe sun screen and if you're feeling bold, join the departed Hawaiian souls and jump from the top.
Dating back to the 13th century this ancient Maui site is the largest Heiau on all the Hawaiian Islands. Covering almost 3 acres about the size of two football fields its stone platform measures more than 415 feet in length and 340 feet in width. The heiau is located on a bluff in East Maui, 4 miles north of Hana, and has been incorporated into the Kahanu Garden, which is part of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens.
The construction style can't be found in any other heiau on the islands and the exact history isn't known. It may have been built by one of the Hana chiefs during the time when Maui was divided, with two ruling chiefs, one in Hana and the other in the rest of Maui. The name Pi'ilanihale means “house of Pi'ilani” in the Hawaiian language and was given this name after the heiau was rededicated by chief Pi'ilani in the 16th century when he united all of Maui.
Though entry to the heiau is not permitted you can see it from the distance while at the Kahahu Gardens off of the Hana Hwy. in East Maui.
Heiau = An ancient Hawaiian temple or sacred site.
This heiau is supposedly the oldest on Maui, dating to the 13th century. Legend has it that it was built in one night from stones taken from the Wailuku River. What really attracted me was this was the spot for the last human sacrifice on Maui. One of the princess's of Maui insulted him and well...... that was that.
A writer for the San Jose Mercury News, Lee Quarstrom claims to have almost seen, from the corner of his eye, a troop of helmeted Hawaiian warriors defending their sacred stronghold with clubs and spears against an onslaught of enemies from another island. Looking around there was nothing in his direct sight. Chilling to know the Hawaii of old is still there, jus out of our site.
You can't drive to the area any longer and if you want driving access you need to call a number. Otherwise, park down in the neighborhood streets and walk up the road. It's a fairly short and easy walk. Added bonus to the heiau is territorial view below.
Part time Maui resident sharing my Kihei condo with guests when I'm staying in my mainland home.