Mode of Transportation – PortaPotty Surfers

Maybe the nice man will give these ladies a ride

The wind was up, the paddle boarders down – stranded on Charley Young Beach a half mile from Maui Wave Riders where they’d rented their boards.

Gotta get back. What to do?

Hey, here’s a man with a truck. Maybe he can give the ladies a ride. (Hmm, why’s he wearing plastic gloves?)

Looks like he’s going their way! “Rainbow Rentals – Service is Our #1 Priority.” I wonder if that’s what the boss had in mind. Thank you Rainbow Rentals!

This is SO Maui (well, maybe not Wailea, Kaanapali or Kapalua – but definitely Kihei).

POST NOTE: Our neighbor reported she saw the truck going up the road and the ladies were waving to people as if they were on a beauty pagent float!

(Photos courtesy of Sandi Rethage. Thanks Sandi!)

Weatherwise Kihei No Ka ‘Oi

Whether you’re escaping the bitter cold of Canadian winters or the sometimes brutal heat of the American southwest, the climate of Hawaii is a welcome relief. But if you’re from the Pacific Northwest like we are, there is one meteorological phenomenon that you most want to avoid:  rain.

Every Hawaiian island has its microclimates and Maui is no exception. From the daily downpours in the West Maui Mountains (up to 400 inches per year!) and the lush jungles on the road to Hana to the parched cactus lands in the rain shadows of Mount Haleakala and the West Mauis, there is enormous variability. The dryest part of inhabited Maui is the southwest coast including Kihei, Wailea and Makena. The entire area is shielded from the rains that make Hana so green by the 10,000 foot Mount Haleakala.

In this dry corner of Maui, the dryest place is Kihei – which is why we say Kihei No Ka ‘Oi (Kihei is the best).

Everywhere on Maui the wettest months are December through March. The best months to avoid rain are May through September. But hey, this is Hawaii – even if it rains, as long as you’re not on the mountain top, the rain is warm.

A Walk on the Beach

If you’re on the west coast of the U.S. or Canada and look at the web cam of Charley Young Beach a few hours after sunrise, it will be early morning on Maui. (Click on “View the Live Cam” on the left-hand side of this page to see the beach.) All is calm and the long shadows of the palm trees stretch across the beach out to the blue waters of the Pacific. Early morning strollers traverse the field of view. Couples hold hands. Dogs bounce happily along with their owners or walk sedately by their side. Joggers lope by at their chosen pace. The first swimmers take to the water. The day has begun on Charley Young Beach.

As the sun climbs higher over the rim of Mount Haleakala the shadows shorten and more walkers, joggers, and beach lovers of every kind begin to arrive. When we’re on Maui, that’s when we first go to the beach.

Our ritual is simple. We wake to the dawn chorus of the many birds who make the trees of Maui Vista their home. We wait awhile or sleep some more, then get up, make coffee and sit on the lanai where we read an on-line newspaper while we have a light breakfast. Next destination: the beach. We kick off our sandals and stroll from one end to the other – a round trip of about 3/4 mile on the sand – our bare feet washed by the lapping surf. Not a bad way to start the day.

One-way Skype from Charley Young Beach

Charley Young Beach Cam

Make your friends, relatives and co-workers jealous! Locate the web cam on the palm tree near the north end of Charley Young Beach then stand in the camera’s field of view and call them on your cell phone. Tell them to use the nearest computer and go to the website shown below. When they’re on line, smile and wave. It gets them every time.

Note: This is the web cam you can view from our blog by clicking on “View the Live Cam”. We look at it almost every day when we’re on the mainland.

http://www.mauirealestate.net/video.php.

If you take the paved walkway inland of the outdoor shower at the entrance to Charley Young Beach instead of the stairs, you’ll walk right by it. Don’t worry, I know the walkway looks like private property, but it’s actually just another way to the beach. You’ll see the web cam above the walkway mounted to a palm tree in front of a lovely waterfront home. Sometimes when you watch the web cam the image sways from side to side as the palm tree sways in the wind. I’ve even seen a spider walk across a web woven in front of the camera lens (thereby giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “web cam.”) Once you’ve found the web cam (it’s not far) you can walk back to the stairs to Charley Young or continue on the walkway which takes you to a different beach access farther down the shore.

If you don’t know where to look, it’s a little hard to spot the camera from the beach. As you get to the bottom of the stairs, turn left and walk the beach until you’re opposite the second house from the stairs. Begin looking about half-way up the palm trees and you will see the camera in the photo above. The accompanying diagram shows it’s approximate location and field of view. If you stand on the beach directly in line with the axis of the camera, you’ll be in the center of the picture.

Give credit where credit’s due: the web cam is owned and maintained by the Hansen family and MauiRealEstate.net and is viewed by thousands of people every day from all over the world. Thank you Hansens and MauiRealEstate.net!

Dale Zarrella and Helper Carve a Vision in Sand

Dale Zarrella and Helper

Sometimes artists play at their work. From our other posts (and maybe other sources) you know that Dale Zarrella is an accomplished sculptor on Maui. (See Maui Artist Dale Zarrella at Work and Frank Lloyd Wright and the King Kamehameha Golf Club.) We can’t call it a timeless work of art, but in this photo Zarrella and his granddaughter have created something wonderful out of the shifting sands of Charley Young Beach.

This female turtle has laid a clutch of eggs. Like her more sentient sisters she will soon disappear beneath the waves – never to know her young.

You can never tell what you’ll find when you cross the road from Maui Vista and explore Charley Young Beach. We do it every day we’re here.

Surfer Memorial at La Perouse

Surfer Memorial at La Perouse

When the surf is running from the south, some of the serious surfers on Maui head to La Perouse. Unless you have a key to the gate for the private road, the closest you can get by car is the end of the road well past Big Beach. Some locals have a key. Others carry their boards along the trail described below.

To get to La Perouse, head south past Big Beach and into the Ahihi Kenau Reserve. A few hundred yards past Kanahena Cove (near the west end of the Reserve), the road narrows and the potholes proliferate. You’ll drive about a mile through a large lava field dating from 1790. Shortly after the lava stops you’ll see horse stables to your left and a monument just beyond. You can park here or drive the last hundred yards over an incredibly rough road and park by the ocean. It’s a beautiful spot and if you go no farther the trip is still worthwhile. If you’re very lucky, you may see dolphins resting in the shallows near the shore. Be sure to check out the cove around the bend to the right where you can see many beautiful fish from the shore. It’s private property so please respect the signs – but someone at La Perouse has a sweet spot on earth.

To see the Surfer Memorial you have to take a hike. Much of the trail is exposed and windy, so put on sunscreen, wear a hat with a chin strap and take some water. It’s about 3/4 mile to the memorial over uneven but more or less level terrain. It’s not a difficult hike.

The trail head is obvious – you’ll see it to the left as you face the water. The first part leads through the lava field where you’ll see a few cultural and historic sites (mainly the remains of enclosures made of lava). About two-thirds the way through the lava field is a fun blow hole – at least when the tide is high and the surf is up. (NOTE: blowholes can be dangerous. Keep a safe distance. A tourist was sucked into a bigger one on the north shore of Maui in 2011. His body was never found. A youngster could easily be sucked into this one – and maybe you.)

Not long after you leave the blowhole, the lava field is replaced by a small sandy beach. Beyond the beach the trail enters a welcome shady grove. Look for wild goats in this area. You can’t miss them – there are lots. The one in this picture seems to be chewing on a stick.

The Surfer Memorial is near the end of the grove – just off the trail toward the ocean. If the surf’s up, you may see surfers in the background. Quite a striking sight.  In fact, if you click on the picture at the top of this post and enlarge it, you’ll see a surfer paddling out to catch a wave.

In our picture of the memorial we show only one cross and broken board. When you get there, you’ll see two. It’s a great sport, but some of the surfers don’t come home.

Interested in other hikes on Maui? Check out our posts on Mount Haleakala hikes:  The Sliding Sands Trail and The Halemauu Trail. To read more about hiking La Perouse Bay, click here.

UPDATE June 5, 2012: on a recent hike of La Perouse trail we discovered that both broken surfboards were gone. There were pieces of one laying beside the memorial but the other was nowhere in sight.

What’s up with Oprah and Maui?

As can be expected with anyone so wealthy and famous, lots of stir is created by Oprah’s presence on Maui. Here’s what we can piece together based on newspaper and magazine articles.

Oprah owns three properties on Maui. The first property she bought is 1,000 acres near the rainy town of Hana. That’s right….the town that’s about 65 slow miles from us at Maui Vista 2418. The second property is about 300 acres in the up-country outside Kula which is on the slopes of Mt.Haleakala and looks down over Kihei. We can see “her road” from our front door as shown by the red arrow in the photo below. This road is controversial because Maui County approved Oprah’s private road which would save all of us from many miles of driving to get to Mount Haleakala National Park and other up-country destinations. Many Mauians wish the county would have built the road instead. At almost $5 per gallon of gasoline, it would have spoken well for sustainability!

Oprah’s most recent purchase is reportedly a waterfront home in the posh Makena neighborhood just a few miles south of Maui Vista 2418. The homes in that area are incredibly expensive. For example, we know of someone who paid $14million for a non-waterfront lot!

When we were at Grandma’s Coffee House in Kula the lady who works there reported Oprah having been in the restaurant a few times. Other than that, Oprah is known for being very private and is not able to saunter around the island on foot like many other stars such as Steven Tyler, Willie Nelson, Mick Fleetwood and Kris Kristofferson. My advice: don’t go to Kula for the chance to see Oprah.

Mele Ukulele!

Mele Ukulele, at 1750 Kaahumanu Ave, Wailuku, is a joy. The walls are lined with ukuleles from affordable to professional show-stopping hand-crafted beauties. The shop is well marked but small and easy to miss. Just remember that as you drive uphill toward Wailuku on Kaahumanu, it’s on your right (almost next door to Stillwell’s) just before you go under the only overpass in Maui.

If you’re lucky, there will be some old timers (or young prodogies) testing some of their favorite instruments. Even if you never expect to buy a ukulele, if you’re in the area, stop by and savor the beauty of fine craftsmanship. As you can see from our photo, there are friendly welcoming people there. You won’t regret it.

To learn more about Mele Ukulele, check out their website at www.meleukulele.com

Maui artist Dale Zarrella at work

Those of us who live or stay at Maui Vista are fortunate to have the wonderful sculptor and painter Dale Zarrella as a nearby neighbor. You can often see him at work perched above the rocks at the north end of Charley Young Beach. In this photo he is working on the nearly completed koa wood sculpture of Saint Damien of Molokai.

This life size statue is destined for the Damien Museum in Honolulu. A bronze made from Zarrella’s quarter size study for the piece (the smaller white statue to the left of Zarrella) was dedicated at the Vatican Museum in April 2012.

Father Damien – now Saint Damien – was cannonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 9, 2009 for his work in the 19th century caring for the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of those quarantined in the leper colony on the peninsula of Kaluapapa on the Island of Moloka’i. Called “the Apostle of the Lepers” by the Catholic Encyclopedia, Father Damien eventually contracted leprosy (now a treatable condition called Hansen’s disease) and, after 16 years ministering to the sick and dying, he too succumbed to its ravages.

You can admire other works by Dale Zarrella at his website dalezarrella.com. We also have a nice picture of a lifesize bronze by Zarrella in our post Frank Lloyd Wright and the King Kamehameha Golf Club. For an update on the Damien sculpture, click here. One sculpture by Zarrella you won’t find anywhere else can be seen by clicking here.