Turtle Town

Have you noticed any tourist literature referring to Turtle Town? If so, you may be curious to know where it is. Turtle Town is actually a made up place to lure people to go on snorkel trips. Typically, these snorkel excursions will head to Maluaka beach in front of the Makena Beach Resort. The name turtle town is misleading. Although there are turtles there, it’s not guaranteed that you’ll see one when you visit. Many locations around Maui have turtles. One of the best is Honokeana Bay just south of Napili Bay. [Update: If you have an iPhone, the Maui GPS Tour Guide will help you find the location of both Maluaka and Honokeana when you’re in the area.]

The Hawaiian green sea turtle is a threatened species. It’s fine to observe them in the water but you’re not allowed to touch them. In Honokowai, west Maui, more than 90% of the turtles have tumors. The tumors are clearly visible growing on their bodies. Scientists aren’t sure what the cause may be. As always, pollution is a suspect, but so is a certain kind of virus.

Is Honokeana Bay Turtle Town?
Is Honokeana Bay Turtle Town?

The History of Surfing

Surfing originated in Polynesian and was first described in 1769 when Captain James Cook arrived in Tahiti. In Hawaii, surfing was considered an art form as much as it was a sport and recreational activity. Temples were dedicated to surfing and Hawaiians would call upon their Priests to pray for good waves.

Everybody surfed in Hawaii including women and children, but the best waves and beaches were open only to the ruling class. When missionaries arrived in the 1820s they sought to transform Hawaiian culture including getting rid of surfing where nearly naked men and women mingled freely instead of working. Surfing went into decline until the early 20th century when it was revived by Alexander Hume Ford and Jack London. Ford was living in Waikiki trying to promote Hawaii as a tourist destination and realized that surfing could become a selling point. When Jack London arrived in Waikiki he was already a famous author. Ford introduced the sport to London and he immediately fell in love. In 1907 London wrote “A Royal Sport: Surfing in Waikiki” which was published in several magazines and garnered much attention. In 1908 Ford petitioned the trustees of the Queen Emma Estate to set aside a parcel of land next to the Moana Hotel in Waikiki for a surfing and canoeing club. In Ford’s fund-raising manifesto he described a club that would “give an added and permanent attraction to Hawaii and make Waikiki always the Home of the Surfer, with perhaps an annual Surfboard and Outrigger Canoe Carnival which will do much to spread abroad the attractions of Hawaii, the only islands in the world where men and boys ride upright upon the crests of waves.” Ford’s petition worked and the trustees of Queen Emma’s Estate founded the Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe Club, the first modern club dedicated to the perpetuation of wave-riding.

A few years later Hawaii’s most famous waterman and Olympic swimming champion, Duke Kahanamoku, spread the sport abroad by giving demonstrations as he traveled the globe. Kahanamoku is widely credited with surfing the longest wave in history, a wave near Waikiki that carried him for more than a mile.

There are many great surf breaks in Hawaii. Our Hawaii iPhone app’s point these out as you drive around the island.

President Obama’s Kailua Vacation Home

For the 3rd year in a row President Barack Obama and his family will vacation on Oahu for the Christmas holidays. For the past 2 years the family stayed at Plantation Estate, a 5 bedroom vacation home on Kailua Beach, also dubbed the Winter White House. It hasn’t been announced yet if the family will stay there again, but odds are that they will. The home is on the far end of Kailua beach in a gated community and offers plenty of privacy and security.

President Obama's Kailua Vacation Rental

Maui’s Farmer’s Markets

Maui does’nt have as many farmers markets as the other islands, but don’t let that fool you. Maui is home to about 800 farms. Maui’s climate is perfect for growing a wide range of crops year round. The fertile slopes of Haleakala provide a wide temperature band that allow for a variety of produce to be grown. Still most of these farms are small, and Hawaii imports about 80-90% of it’s food from the mainland. Support the local economy and farmers instead of buying the imported produce that’s found in some grocery stores. The fruit and vegies will be fresher, healthier and delicious. Plus farmers markets have all sorts of treats that make them a fun activity for tourists.

View Maui Farmers Markets in a larger map

Maui, Island of Romance

Sometimes, gentlemen, you have to go beyond chocolates and flowers. 2500 miles beyond, to a little island in the Pacific called Maui. In our guide to Hawaii’s best island we gave Maui highest honors as Hawaii’s most romantic island. The sweet smelling air, miles of beaches, and dreamy sunsets are enough to cement any relationship.

With the weak economy can you afford a romantic getaway? You’ll be surprised at some of the amazing deals on offer. A prime example is the aptly name Love Nest by the Sea, a beautifully remodeled Maui vacation rental on sugar beach.

Romance at Maui's Love Nest by the Sea
Another Mission Accomplished courtesy of Maui

Many vacation rentals that normally rent for $200+ per night are offering terrific recession discounts with prices as low as $120/night. Taking into account tax savings, that’s more than $600 if you stay for a week, enough to cover the cost of an airplane ticket!

Powerful Waves at the Queen’s Bath

Following up on our previous post about Ocean Safety, we thought we’d share some pictures of what the Queen’s Bath looks like when 25 ft waves hit the coastline.

The power of the ocean can be mesmerizing, and some people feel the urge to experience that energy by getting close to it, despite the obvious (in this case) danger.

The Queen's Bath, Kauai, on normal day
The Queen's Bath on a day with small waves, but about the maximum safe size (click for big picture)

The following pictures (the 2nd set of three) were taken about 20 yards behind the large photo shown above. The photographer stood at the tree line, ready to grab onto a tree. The man in the first set of photos was eventually knocked over. Fortunately the jagged lava rocks charged a minimal fee of only a few ounces of blood to keep him put on the rocks. Note the Queen’s Bath isn’t even discernible anymore, completely over-run by water.

Big Wave at the Queen's Bath

A Big Wave at the Queen's Bath

A Big Wave at the Queen's Bath
Lucky this Time
The man in these pictures stood about 5 yards from the treeline, relying on the photographer to tell him when to make a run for it.
Queen's Bath Big Wave
Raw Power Approaches
Queen's Bath Big Wave
This is bad
Queen's Bath Big Wave

Sunrise or Sunset at Haleakala on Maui?

Our friends recently drove to the summit of Haleakala volcano to view the sunrise at about 5:40 a.m. They loved the experience but had to get up at 2 a.m. to make it in time. Expect a 2:30 am departure from both the West and South coast. The national park service provides more information at their web site.

A great alternative for those that don’t want to wake up that early is viewing the sunset from the summit. That way you’ll be able to get a good idea of weather conditions. Day time viewing of the crater is also very interesting, and the park offers hiking. Another option is going to the crater at night for incredible star gazing.

Either way, the key to enjoying Haleakala is preparation. At 10,000 ft, the summit is icy cold. It’s a bit of pain having to fill up your suit case with winter clothes for a trip to Hawaii, but it will be worth it. You’ll need long pants (jeans or better), closed shoes, long sleeved shirt (and another layer underneath), a winter jacket, gloves, and a toque. Additional preparations if you plan on hiking. Also pack some food. Perhaps even a thermos with hot chocolate.

The park currently charges an entrance fee of $10 per car.

Haleakala Crater - Image Courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Ron Dahlquist