Maui Vista Building 2 gets a new coat of paint

Painting Building 2 - Spring 2013

Painting Building 2 – Spring 2013

Friends and guests who have enjoyed our Maui Vista condo will be pleased to know that Building 2 is getting a new coat of paint. Yes, that’s our unit (Maui Vista 2418) with the painter at the top of the tall ladder.

Remember how there’s no helmet law for motorcycles in Hawaii and how people ride around in the back of pickup trucks sitting on lawn chairs? Well, apparently, there’s no safety enforcement for people working on tall ladders either. Most of the time, the painters get from one unit to another by climbing over the railing, straddling the wall between lanais, and climbing over the railing in the adjacent unit – no safety harness required.

Last year Building 1 was repainted. Next year it’s Building 3’s turn. Everything is looking fresh.

Dale Zarrella discovers mermaid in tree trunk

Mermaid 1Maui artist and Maui Vista neighbor, Dale Zarrella, finished his Damien sculpture last winter. (Click here to learn more about Zarrella’s life-size koa wood sculpture of Father/Saint Damien.)

After carving a green sea turtle out of a koa remnant from the Damien statue, Zarella decided to turn his hand to something a little larger…

This five thousand pound stump from an old monkey pod tree sat in his outdoor studio at the north end of Charley Young Beach when we arrived in early April.

The outline emerges

The outline emerges

By the middle of the month, the outlines of Zarrella’s latest work began to emerge. This is the chainsaw and power tool stage. Progressively finer carving tools – and ultimately – 2000 grit sandpaper are used later.

By the end of April the mermaid’s form was readily apparent. In addition, large sea turtles began to appear below her body and tail.

This large sculpture is the latest in a series of Mermaids Zarrella has carved. Two of his life-sized mermaids can be seen in the lobby of the Makena Golf and Beach Resort. Click here to learn about Zarrella’s artist tour that takes place every Wednesday evening at the resort.

Mermaid 2Notice the void in the stump above the mermaid’s left arm and hand. The three rocks holding down papers on the scaffold were lodged in the crevice and the tree grew around them. They must have been placed there a long time ago!

Stay tuned for more.

Maui Brewing Has BIG plans for Kihei

Entrance to the Research and Technology Park

The new brewery and pub will be here – at the Research and Technology Park mauka (uphill from) the Piilani Highway at Lipoa.

Maui Brewing, whose brew pub is located in Kahana, several miles north of Kaanapali, has announced plans to build a new and much larger brewery and brew pub at the Kihei Research and Technology park off the Piilani Highway. Located on a five acre site, the brewery will be about 33,000 square feet and the brew pub another 8,000 square feet. It’s staff is expected to eventually double in size to about 130. Once the new brewery is finished, Maui Brewing will vacate their current leased space in Lahaina and do all their brewing in Kihei. Don’t worry – the Kahana brew pub will continue to quench the thirst of west Maui locals and tourists.

We, at Maui Vista 2418, are pretty darn excited about having Maui Brewing in Kihei. Unfortunately, with the site about 2.5 miles from Maui Vista, it’s probably too far to walk for lunch. Also, since new construction takes time, it will be well into 2014 before the new pub is open. So, in the meantime, I guess we’ll keep driving to Kahana because they truly have the best beers, ciders and root beer on Maui.

For more on Maui Brewing, click here.

A trip to Lahaina Town

Lahaina ocean front walk

Lahaina ocean front walk

Driving from Maui Vista to Lahaina Town takes about 40 minutes in light traffic. The one time home of the Ali’i (Hawaiian royalty) and port of call for whaling ships, Lahaina is now the home of restaurants, bars, souvenir shops and a port of call for cruise ships. Ticky tacky is next door to fine art; fine restaurants near national chains (think Bubba Gumps and Hard Rock Cafe). If you’re into nightlife, this is a good place to go. During the day there are people everywhere and free parking (almost) nowhere. Unless you’re lucky, you’ll pay for parking.

This single Banyan tree covers almost a whole city block

This single Banyan tree covers almost an entire city block

A not to miss sight in Lahaina is Banyan Tree Park on Front Street near the south end of “downtown.” Planted in 1873, the Banyan tree spreads by dropping new roots from ever spreading branches. Various historic sites are around the square and adjacent courthouse.

A fun place to visit with lots of choices for lunch, dinner, or a tempting gelato. Great people watching and one stop shopping for Maui souvenirs, postcards, or a big splurge.

The Hana Highway

Map to HanaSo you want to go to Hana.

It’s only 60 miles from Kihei to Hana but a round trip will take all day. Why? The last 40 some miles of the Hana Highway has over 600 curves – many of the hairpin turns – 46 one-way bridges, sometimes a lot of traffic, and many beautiful things to see along the way. Average speed is about 20 mph. That’s why it will take all day.

Tips: leave early (think sunrise) and plan on getting back after dark. (A moonlit night is nice.) Stop at lookouts and waterfalls so the driver can enjoy the trip. Share driving. If you can, spend the night in Hana or at the campground in the national park. Oh yes, if you’re prone to motion sickness, take meclizine before you go.

Ka'anae Peninsula as seen from Kaumahina Park

Ka’anae Peninsula as seen from Kaumahina State Park

The trip to Hana is about the journey, not the destination. The town of Hana is nice enough – you can get lunch there, buy some really expensive gasoline, maybe pick up a souvenir or two – but that’s not why you go to Hana. You go to Hana because of what you see along the way.

Surf off Ke'anae Peninsula

Surf off Ke’anae Peninsula

About halfway between Paia and Hana is Kaumahina State Park. It’s well signed and conspicuous on the mauka (uphill) side of the road. In addition to a fine view of Nua’ailua Bay and the Ka’anae Peninsula, it has some of the only public restrooms before you get to Hana. Two good reasons for a stop.

A side trip onto the peninsula makes a pleasant stop to admire the old stone church, stretch your legs and watch the surf.

Ching's Pool and Bridge

Ching’s Pool and Bridge

Inland from the Ka’anae Peninsula is Ching’s Pool and bridge. Very picturesque and a popular place for daredevils to jump from the bridge. The bridge is much higher than it looks in this picture and they say there are rocks in the vicinity where you might land. Jumping is NOT recommended.

Wailua Falls is a popular stop – not least because it’s right beside the road.

Wailua Falls

Wailua Falls

Past Hana is Koki Beach with a nice view of Alau Island. Once you’ve gone this far a trip to Ohe’o Gulch (aka The Seven Sacred Pools) in the Kipahulu portion of Haleakala National Park is worth the extra few miles. There’s a great hike from here too. See our post Hana – Ohe’o Gulch and the Pipiwai Trail.

Looking seaward from Ohe'o Gulch

Looking seaward from Ohe’o Gulch

Alau Island off Koki Beach Park

Alau Island off Koki Beach Park

For an alternate route to or from Hana see our post Hana – the Road Less Traveled.

Hana – the Road Less Traveled

Map to Hana - via Highway 31Many car rental companies on Maui say you can’t drive around the south side of Mt. Haleakala. Don’t believe them. There is a 10 mile stretch of well graded gravel road along the way but, unless the weather is extremely bad, any vehicle can safely travel this road. What the car companies really mean is that, if you get into trouble, they won’t come rescue you. Furthermore, since there is little or no cell phone coverage on this side of the island, if you do get into trouble, you’ll have to rely on the kindness of strangers for whatever help you might need. So there is some risk – but there’s some risk at the beach too.

A little west of the Kipahulu part of Haleakala National Park, the Hana Highway becomes Highway 31. As you travel west and turn north toward the Maui Winery at Ulupalakua it becomes Highway 37, the Kula Highway. It’s an alternate way to get to or from Hana.

Highway 31 is much different from the lush jungle-like Hana Highway. The waterfalls and hairpin corners are replaced by sweeping views of the mountain, ocean and, in the distance, Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea on the Big Island. It’s a much easier on the driver and provides an experience of Maui not everyone gets to enjoy. Consider it on your next trip to Hana.

Hole in the rock

Hole in the rock

Alpenglow on Mt Haleakala

Alpenglow on Mt Haleakala

Ranch lands on the south coast

Ranch lands on the south coast

For other posts on Hana and east Maui, see Hana – Oheo Gulch and the Pipiwai Trail and The Hana Highway.

Hana – Oheo Gulch and the Pipiwai trail

Lower pools

Lower pools

The road to Hana offers many spectacular views but much more awaits those who venture from the beaten path. If you’re going to make one long stop, consider the Pipiwai trail. The trail is a four mile round trip up the Oheo Gulch through bamboo forests past spectacular waterfalls and pools.Vertical gain to Waimoku Falls, the turn around point, is 650 feet. Allow 2+ hours – more if you like to savor the sights at a leisurely pace.

River's end

River’s end

Sometimes called The Seven Sacred Pools, the lower pools on the Oheo Gulch are a VERY popular destination about 12 miles past Hana. But there’s a lot more than seven pools and there’s nothing particularly sacred about them. The name, “Seven Sacred Pools,” is just a marketing ploy someone dreamed up a long time ago.

Shady grove

Shady grove

The well marked trail head is near the visitor center in the Kipahulu area of Haleakala National Park. A three day park pass – which is also good for the summit – is $10. Wear good shoes and carry water. Note: the river is prone to flash flooding. Don’t go if it’s raining or threatening to rain.

For the drive to Hana, see our post The Hana Highway. For driving the an alternate route to or from Hana (i.e. the south coast of Maui) see Hana – the Road Less Traveled.

Banyon tree

Banyon tree

Bamboo forest

Boardwalk through the bamboo forest

400 foot Waimoku Falls

400 foot Waimoku Falls

Flowers of Maui – Stop and Smell the Plumeria

Our friends and neighbors from the mainland, Denis and Janet, visited us on Maui last fall and Janet kept snapping picture after picture after picture. I really thought she was going overboard. Then she shared her photo album with us. Wow! This collection of flower pictures is a small sample of the beautiful images she took. Good eye, Janet. (Click on any image to enlarge it and start slide show.)

COSTCO on Maui: so many reasons to shop there

If you don’t have a Costco membership and you are going to Maui, you might want to purchase one on-line before you go. There are SO many reasons why:

  1. A nice selection of high quality, reasonably priced, fresh, wild-caught Hawaiian fish such as Opaka Paka, Ono, Mahi Mahi, Marlin, not to mention Sashimi grade Ahi! Selection depends on the season.
  2. Car rentals from all the big companies are discounted when reserved on line through the Costco website. (See our post Where’s the best place to rent a car on Maui?)
  3. As of late 2012, gas at their brand new station was at least 30 cents cheaper per gallon than at most other places.
  4. Food and other items are almost the same price as those at our Costco in Washington State. (See our other postings in the category “Shop Like A Local” to understand how expensive food can be, but does not have to be, on Maui.)
  5. There is a large section of Hawaiian made items you can take home as gifts.
  6. Cheap booze!
  7. Aloha shirts are only $20!
  8. A HUGE supply of beach towels, snorkel gear, beach chairs, umbrellas, etc. NOTE:  you won’t need these things if you stay at our condo, Maui Vista 2418. We supply all that as well as detergents, cleaning supplies, and paper products from, you guessed it, Costco!

A word to those that love fresh local produce: Costco carries a few local items, but see our post Rowena’s Farmers Market is No Ka Oi (The best!). You can’t do any better than Rowena’s in our opinion. Otherwise, Costco is well worth a stop.

Where’s the best place to rent a car on Maui?

At Maui Vista 2418 we’re often asked, “Where’s the best place to rent a car?” The answer depends on your needs. If you want a shiny new car and the convenience of renting directly from the airport, we highly recommend going through Costco’s website. If you’re not already a member, the savings will probably cover the cost of your membership and then you can shop at Costco when you pass it on your way to our condo! (You can join Costco on line at www.costco.com .) Although renting from the airport is convenient, it costs more because the airport tax is added to the price and, after all, convenience costs money.

Alternatively, you might consider a local vendor with airport shuttle service. Kihei Rent A Car is a locally owned company with airport service. http://www.kiheirentacar.com/index.html Book early because this business is popular among those in the know and they do run out of cars.

The cars at Kihei Rent A Car are not sparkling new, but they do the job at a good price. Although it will be tempting to rent the oldest models, drivers are hard on rental cars and we recommend renting the newest model year available. We’ve also heard stories of Kihei Rent A Car not getting upset if you return the car with a small  scratch or bumper ding. This claim is supported on their website, something we’ve never seen on any major carrier’s site: 

“Fewer Fines ~ Realistic Usage Expectations Kihei Rent A Car is a truly unique car rental organization on Maui. Through our years of experience in the industry, we have found that customers who rent new cars (like those models offered by the larger mainland companies) often regret their decision. Hawaii’s many terrains can be very unfriendly to automobiles. Upon returning their vehicles, rental customers often encounter hefty fines for blemished exteriors and soiled interiors as a result of touring the wild Hawaiian environs. Since our cars are used, we are not as strict when it comes to small dings and scratches.”

Regardless of where you rent your car, if you’re a Costco member and in the area, buy gas at Costco. As of late 2012, it was thirty to forty cents per gallon cheaper than most other gas stations. That’s a savings of $5 to $7 per tank!