Dangers of Full Face Snorkel Masks -
The concept was great but the reality terrible. Dive shops, snorkel charters and water rescue people will all tell you these are an accident waiting to happen. Why?
The huge volume of air around face with commonly faulty seals creates situation where you are breathing your own breath aka carbon dioxide. So dangerous!!
If the mask gets water in it the whole mask must be removed which is very difficult without standing on something. If the snorkel floods in a traditional mask, simply take it out of your mouth and you have access to air while still keeping your nose and eyes covered.
This you tube was put out last year but the information is still the same.
There's more than one way to get ripped on your Maui vacation. One will give you a headache but one can take your life.
Read the warning signs and warning flags:
Green Flag - Go !
Yellow Flag - Think twice
Purple Flag - Dangerous marine life
RED FLAG - Stay OUT!!!
If you get caught in the current in Maui don't panic. Fighting currents will exhaust you and this is a primary reason for drownings. If you're being pulled out go with it. Don't struggle, swim with the current parallel and the direction of the waves along the beach. The current itself will bring you back in. You might be a mile down the beach but you'll be safe.
Watch for lines of sandy, brown water heading out from the beach. The under tow is pulling the sand away from the beach. Another sign is calm, clear water that separates the waves. Though it looks like a great place to get in be aware of a possible strong current.
Ask the locals working at the sandwich shops, dive shops or ABC store. They'll know where to avoid. Be safe.
Where are you on the UV Index ? Enter your geographic location about and find out.
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.
Hawaii isn't the only place Sunscreen's are being banned. Reef-safe only !!
From BBC News:
Palau is set to become the first country to impose a widespread ban on sunscreen in an effort to protect its vulnerable coral reefs.
The government has signed a law that restricts the sale and use of sunscreen and skincare products that contain a list of ten different chemicals.
Researchers believe that these ingredients are highly toxic to marine life, and can make coral more susceptible to bleaching.
The ban comes into force in 2020.
In a statement, Palau's President Tommy Remengesau said the ban, which would see fines of $1,000 (£760) for retailers who violated the law, was timely.
"The power to confiscate sunscreens should be enough to deter their non-commercial use, and these provisions walk a smart balance between educating tourists and scaring them away."
How do sunscreen products harm corals? Scientists have been raising concerns about the impacts of sunscreen products on marine life for many years.
They are particularly worried over the role of two ingredients called oxybenzone and octinoxate. These are used as sun protection factors as they absorb ultraviolet light.
However, they are believed to make coral more susceptible to bleaching. Research published in 2015 showed that the oxybenzone could stunt the growth of baby corals and was toxic to several different coral species in laboratory tests.
"Oxybenxzone is probably the baddest actor out of the 10 chemicals that have been banned," said Dr Craig Downs, an expert on the impacts of sunscreens on marine life.
"It causes corals to bleach at lower temperatures, and it reduces their resilience to climate change."
Dr Downs says that when there's a disastrous event like mass coral bleaching, reefs should recover over the following years. That has not been happening in many parts of the world.
"Life doesn't scramble back in where there are tourists," said Dr Downs. "The juvenile phase of coral are more susceptible to chemical pollution than adults. That's why we see these areas not coming back."
"They are coral reef zombies. Only the adults are left and it's only a matter of time before they go."
How much of a threat does sunscreen pose?Researchers say that the biggest threat to coral reefs is climate change, with estimates that 90% of reefs will succumb to rising temperatures by 2050. The second biggest threat is the suffocating threat posed by algal blooms, triggered by the runoff of nutrients from sewage and farming. Sunscreen is now seen as one of a number of other, lesser threats including ocean acidification.
How widely used are the banned sunscreen chemicals?It has been estimated that between 6-14,000 tonnes of sunscreen wash off people and go into reef areas every year. Researchers say that several thousand sun protection products contain the two most threatening chemicals.
Five years ago it was estimated to be in around 75% of products. Experts now say it's found in about half of creams and lotions.
Right now the US Congress is looking at legislation to ban oxybenzone, based on the threat it poses to human health.
Why Palau and why now?Palau is located in the western part of the Pacific ocean. It is made up of one large volcanic island and several smaller coral reef associated islands. Despite its small size, it has often taken big steps in protecting the environment.
In 2015, it designated almost its entire ocean territory as a marine protected zone. Very aware of the threats of climate change, Palau became the second nation in the world after Fiji to ratify the Paris climate agreement in 2016.
When it comes to coral reefs, the island nation has largely avoided the negative impacts of extensive coastal erosion from agriculture, pollution and rampant overfishing that have affected reefs elsewhere.
The ban on sunscreen products means Palau is determined to fight any threat to the reefs, which are visited by thousands of tourists every year.
Prof Jörg Wiedenmann, who studies coral ecosystems at the University of Southampton, UK, said: "It is a sensible precaution to prevent the exposure of the vulnerable corals from the potential threats by sunscreen products in these places.
"However, reefs cannot be saved by banning sunscreens alone. There are more destructive drivers of reef decline such as sea water warming, overfishing, nutrient enrichment and pollution that need to be controlled to halt the ongoing degradation of reef ecosystems."
Has anyone else looked to ban sunscreen with these ingredients?Yes - several regions have imposed bans, including the island of Bonaire in the Caribbean and the US state of Hawaii which passed a law earlier this year. Mexico has banned sunscreen in nature reserves.
The Palau restriction is set to be the most comprehensive yet, covering 10 chemicals. They include four that have an antimicrobial effect but have also been shown in the scientific literature to act as endocrine disruptors.
Experts say that dozens of other countries may now look to replicate the Palau ban.
Are there alternatives that don't contain these chemicals?Yes, there are alternatives that don't include the two key chemicals that are being marketed as "reef-safe". But some scientists argue that the term is not legally enforceable, and there is no compulsion on manufacturers to demonstrate that their products don't harm coral.
Dr Craig Downs says the first line of protection against the sun should be clothing with built-in sun protection.
"From a conservation point of view, if you wear a sun shirt, you are reducing the sunscreen load by 50%. That's a major conservation victory."
Another approach would be to use mineral-based sunscreen, such as non-nanosized titanium oxide or zinc oxide.
How are sunscreen manufacturers reacting?Many of the larger corporations are against a ban on sunscreen products, saying that the evidence of a detrimental impact on coral is not strong enough.
"The big boys are fighting it. Johnson & Johnson and L'Oreal don't seem to be on board," said Dr Downs.
"But much of the rest of the industry have already come out with what they are calling 'Hawaii-compliant sunscreen', and it is a big marketing boost for them."
A group of manufacturers have formed what they call the Safe Sunscreen Council. They welcomed the move.
"Palau's move to ban ingredients that have been know to cause damage to coral reefs is the right things to do," said Caroline Duell from the council.
"Hopefully, by Palau taking leadership on this issue, not only will they protect their sacred and economically key coral reef network, but they will show the world that it's time to change the way we think. There are many alternatives for sunscreen and personal care products that are safe, effective and enjoyable to use."
There’s another resident that you may see on the beach, if you’re especially lucky: The Hawaiian Monk Seal.
They are critically endangered, with approx. 1,100 survivors. They are only found in Hawaii. Monk seals are the oldest of all the phocids, or true seals, on the planet in terms of their evolutionary history. Their cousins the Caribbean Monk Seal are now extinct.
If you see one on the beach, it’s not in trouble. Its most likely sleeping off a very big meal (sushi coma). If they are disturbed and forced back into the water, they are particularly vulnerable to tiger shark predation. Another reason not to approach: as cute as they are, they smell awful (like fish oil gone bad) ;)
We are legally required to keep a healthy distance and not disturb them. Please report any sightings to NOAA. In many cases a volunteer will come out, stake out the area and keep watch.
To report monk seal sightings: Email email@example.com or call Maui’s Marine Mammal Response Coordinator.
• Maui/Lanai: (808) 292-2372
This beautiful female is a regular around Launiupoko.
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
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.
Part time Maui resident sharing my Kihei condo with guests when I'm staying in my mainland home.