Final full day in Maui…Disappointing whale watching…

The Maalaea Marina as we made our way out of the windy bay.

Boarding the boat that held 146 passengers was a lengthy process.  Not only were we asked to arrive by 12:15 for a 1:00 pm sailing but after we’d checked in, we had to wait with the crowd for another half hour for our guide to “walk us” to the awaiting tri-hulled boat.

The view in front of us while we were seated on the boat.  Our condo building was straight ahead.

VIP members of the Pacific Whale Foundation were allowed to board first which after making their donation, made sense to us.  Luckily, we were next in line after that group able to pick preferred seating on the boat which surprisingly ended up with less than 101 passengers on the long holiday weekend.

We’d read numerous reviews on TripAdvisor.com on the Pacific Whale Foundation stating that passengers were disgruntled when they were “required” to have their photos taken.  Long ago in our travels, we learned that no one can “make us” have our photo taken unless one has signed a contract agreeing to do so.

As our boat was heading out to sea another similar boat was returning.

Shoo them away!  That’s what we’ve done in all of our travels and again yesterday when pressure was exercised for us to get in line for a photo before getting on the boat.  We passed right by, shaking our heads and saying, “No thank you,” as we’ve done many times in the past.

Its hard to determine the severity of the winds from our photos.  Our eyes were focused on spotting whale blowhole spouts as we were instructed by the marine biologist on board as the easiest way to spot a whale.

The wind was blowing so hard, it almost knocked me over.  We’d both worn our matching BugsAway bill hats, having to hold onto them during the entire period to keep them from flying away. 

We enjoyed sailing past the same road we’d taken to get to Lahaina and Kaanapali Beach.

The crisp white of the boat, the glaring sun and the huge waves made watching the ocean for whales a bit challenging.  Wearing the hat helped block some of the glare.  Holding onto it was annoying.  Even wearing my quality sunglasses, I needed the hat on to allow me to see anything at all.  We sat on the top deck of the boat, adding to the feel of the wind. 

As we took off, the captain explained that Maalaea Bay is the windiest harbor in the US and second windiest in the world and that yesterday was one of the windiest days they’d seen of late.  Had we spotted any whales it would have been challenging to take a photo or a video when it was nearly impossible to stand up and maintain one’s balance.

The scenery in Maui is always beautiful.

After the first 30 minutes, I left Tom in the seats we’d originally picked to find a better vantage point, hoping I wouldn’t miss a shot.  Although, one whale spouted from its blowhole, I never saw it nor did many others.  We waited in the area for it to reappear, only to move on 30 minutes later when it never surfaced again.

At the end of the event, all the passengers were offered another complimentary outing, good for one year, since we never really had a sighting, also due to the fact the two hour boat ride was so uncomfortable in the high winds. We’ll have no way to use it when neither of the upcoming two islands has locations for the Pacific Whale Foundation.

After I’d move to the bow of the boat, I stood for another 30 minutes, holding on with one hand while the other held the camera in ready mode.  On a few occasions, the boat lurched substantially.  Luckily, I held on for dear life, using my left not my bad right arm.

We’d have loved having photos of whale to share today but, the scenery is all we have to offer.

After that, I found a decent spot to sit with a good view of the bow, ready for action.  The only action I saw during the last hour was the lively conversation with a lovely tour guide I met who lives in the islands.  Exchanging business cards, we agreed to get in touch in the near future.

When the boat finally docked at the Maalaea Marina, I walked back to find Tom with a huge smile on his face, cheerful as ever, happy to see me.  He’d stayed in the same seat during the entire two hours, knowing I’d find him at the end.  Based on the fact the captain never announced that anyone had fallen overboard, he never had a worry in the world.

In Maui, one minute the sky is blue and moments later, the clouds roll in.

We weren’t as disappointed as we could have been had this been an actual “vacation” in the islands.  Whales will be surrounding us in many of our future locations and we’re certain that at sometime in the future our whale watching aspirations will be fulfilled.

Today is packing day.  Now that it takes less than a half hour to pack everything we own, it causes no concern or stress for either of us. 

The reality finally hit us that we’re leaving Maui.  Last night, as Tom peered out the open door to the lanai he said, “It’s hard to believe we’re actually in Hawaii.  Then again, its always hard to believe wherever we may be.”  So true, my love.  So true.

Tomorrow on travel day, we’ll post our total costs for the entire six weeks we spent in Maui, including a breakdown of rent and expenses.  Please check back for details which will be posted at our usual time.

At the moment, Tom is watching the Minnesota Vikings football game on his computer and is happy as a clam.  That’s not to say that they’re winning!

Have a happy Sunday!
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Photo from one year ago today, November 30, 2013:
One year ago, it was travel day from Diani Beach, Kenya to Marloth Park, South Africa, a long and laborious journey.  As a result, no photos were posted on that date.  But, soon as we arrived in Marloth Park, the fun began when we had visitors every day during our three months of living in the bush, having the time of our lives.  For details of that travel day, please click here.

Whale watching day…Only hours away…Excitement is palpable…Two days until departure…Classic car hanging from a ceiling…



Tall coconut palms often depict the tropical nature of islands throughout the world.

Last night I dreamed of whales breaching the water and being able to take perfect photos of the experience.  Today may prove to have been “in my dreams only” or, if we’re lucky, an exquisite reality.  We shall see.


A fine view from our lanai of another perfect day in paradise.

In only a few hours, three as I write here now, we’ll make our way around the corner to the Maui Ocean Center, a mall with a handful of shops, none of which we ever visited in our six weeks here in Maalaea Beach.


Another magnificent view of a shoreline in Maui.

Having walked to the mall a few times, I’m familiar with the location where we’ll go to  prepare to board the boat from the Pacific Whale Foundation for the excursion.  Although, we attempted to arrange an outing on a smaller boat, with the holiday weekend, it wasn’t possible, although we were willing to pay a premium to do so. 


We stopped in a local shop that used local essential oils in making soaps, balms and bath products.  With no room in our luggage I walked out empty handed.

After all, we’re under budget for the stay in Maui by no less than $1500, mainly due to the estimated costs for dining out and grocery shopping. After a few feeble attempts at getting satisfactory meals in restaurants befitting my way of eating, we gave up, deciding cooking our own meals would be our best option during this short period in Maui.

Now, as we’ve used most of our food supplies and, after we mailed the big box to the Big Island yesterday for a meager cost of $18.55, arriving today to be left at the door for us, we’re down to bare bones in the way of food.

With lots of eggs, bacon, cheese, onion and ingredients to make omelets, bacon and coconut flour pancakes, we’ll happily have “breakfast” for dinner these next two nights until we depart on Monday morning for the short flight to Hawai’i, aka the Big Island.

A couple of times each week I walked across the lawn of the neighboring condo building to the local grocer, Tradewinds.

Its confusing to call the Big Island, “Hawai’i” when all of the islands collectively are referred to as Hawaii.  In the Hawaiian language with the excessive use of vowels and apostrophes, Hawai’i is spelled as indicated and is pronounced as “ha, vie, ee” as we often hear when speaking to residents and locals.


The owners of this small grocery store we friendly and helpful, ordering special items for me on several occasions.  Their prices were comparable to the most of the prices at the supermarket in Kihei.

This morning after posting here, we’ll go to the pool for our usual one hour dose of Vitamin D to return indoors to get our shirts, shoes, two cameras, hats, sunglasses and binoculars and, my phone with a copy of the tickets. 

The printer here in the condo wouldn’t work leaving us unable to print boarding passes, car rental confirmation etc. instead using digital copies as an alternative. 


Each day, the owners visited a local farm to pick up fresh produce.

Finally, many business entities are accepting digital copies of documents as opposed to the wasteful and cumbersome nature of using paper, especially for travelers with no access to a printer, such as us, since our printer died months ago.


Their shelves were lined with many popular food items.  The store is always busy.

Today, we’re sharing an array of Maui photos we’d yet to share and tomorrow, we’ll be back with photos from our whale watching experience.


Recently, in Facebook we’d seen photos of this car, a 1959 Cadillac convertible (woody) hanging from the ceiling at Hard Rock Café in Lahaina.  On our return drive from Kaanapali Beach we stopped to take a few photos of our own as shown.

Alternate view of above photo at Hard Rock Café in Lahaina, Maui.

We hope all of our readers enjoy the remainder of their weekend doing exactly what they find most rewarding and meaningful.  Isn’t that what “its” all about after all?
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Photo from one year ago, November 29, 2013:


As we prepared to leave Kenya, we posted a few of our favorite photos on the last few days.  This lion was rested under this tree while mating.  The female was across from him resting under another tree.  We had the glorious opportunity to witness the mating process from less than 30 feet away.  For details of this date, please click here.

Tomorrow’s upcoming adventure…Three days until departure…

Out for a drive, we stopped to see this beach.

How excited we were to hear we had a confirmed reservation for a whale watching expedition for tomorrow (Saturday) at a 1:00 pm sailing.  

Maui has one beautiful beach after another.

We secured a reservation with help from our new friends, Marie and Terry at Maui Travel Partners, condo and event booking agents, whom we met last week at the Whalers Village Museum. With the busy holiday weekend, we were thrilled to secure a spot.


Many beaches are left in a natural state with vegetation growing along the shoreline.

If we don’t have the glorious opportunity to see whales, we’ll consider the fact that we had a pleasant boat ride in Maalaea Beach.  The outing is arranged through the Pacific Whale Foundation, which has a location in this area, an organization devoted to the preservation of marine life as indicated below:

“Pacific Whale Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1980 to save whales from extinction. Our mission is to protect our oceans through science and advocacy. We are an international organization, with ongoing research studies in Hawaii, Australia, and Ecuador, and are active participants in global efforts to address threats to whales and other marine life.”

The colors in these hills looks more like a painting than real life.

The foundation states there is a 97% likelihood that we’ll see whales.  But, a little skepticism is in play based on the fact that the whales usually arrive in the islands in December which explains why we waited so long to book this event. 

Perhaps, we’re a few days off or not.  We shall see if “safari luck” prevails once again tomorrow afternoon.

The top of a mountain peeked through the clouds.

 

In a matter of minutes the clouds began to disperse for a better view of the mountaintop.  Notice the buildings at the top of the mountain.

This morning I’m off to the post office in Kihei to mail the package to the first house in Pahoa containing the excess food and supplies as a result of our zealous purchases at Costco in preparation for Hurricane Ana when we first arrived.

On the road to Kihei, we stopped at this park to walk along this wood walkway.
The walk on the wood walkway.

We decided that even if the cost to mail the package is $50, it will be worth doing so.  In estimating the cost of its contents, I calculated a total of $125, certainly worth the effort. 

Breathtaking shoreline.

Now, I’m rushing to complete today’s post including more new photos, drive to the post office with the package and return for another fabulous day.

We stopped to investigate what appears to be a Chinese cemetery.

The weather is perfect, the doors (with screens) are wide open welcoming the cooling breeze, and we’re content as we can be knowing that every single day of life matters and is as fulfilling as we choose to make it.

A headstone with two stones left as a token of love, by a visitor.

We hope our family and friends in the US had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Happy day to all.
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Photo from one year ago today, November 28, 2013:

One year ago today, as we wound down the time in Kenya, we anticipated the ferry that was necessary to take in order to get to the airport located on the island of Mombasa.  For details from that day’s story, please click here.

 

Happy Thanksgiving to our family and friends in the US…Happy day to our friends all over the world…More new photos…

 
In Maui its not unusual for clouds to suddenly roll in along the mountains.

Every Thanksgiving Day of my adult life except for the past three years of living in the “world” I’d dash out of bed early in the morning, hurriedly shower and dress to begin the day and the process of making the big Thanksgiving Day dinner, having made the eight to ten pumpkin pies the previous day.

Entrance to the beautiful beach in Kaanapali.

The time would quickly pass, as I multi-tasked making one familiar dish after another, enjoying every moment as I jammed our multiple refrigerators with one pan of yet-to-be-cooked dishes in preparation of later in the days’ appearance of family members, or not.

In later years, three of four of our grown kids and their families (living in the area) often spent the holidays at the “other side” or had begun to develop their own traditions and Tom and I were alone, a not uncommon scenario for families of divorce and multiple and varying family lifestyles.


A view of the sea and cloud as we walked the boardwalk in Kaanapali Beach.

Those last years in Minnesota, whether we were alone on holidays or together with family and friends, Tom and I made the day festive about the varied dishes, fabulous smells wafting through the air and, thankful for our lives filled with abundance in many ways.

Today, not unlike this third Thanksgiving in a row, I awoke this morning, hurriedly showered and dressed and turned on the hot water for my tea.  There’s no food to cook when yesterday I roasted two chickens and vegetables that we’ll happily reheat tonight, adding a salad and fresh cooked green beans, prepared in a matter of minutes, not hours.



Along the boardwalk at Kaanapali Beach.

Do I miss the preparations of years past?  Not, at all.  I often ask myself how I seemingly happily spent so much of my time cooking, cleaning and preparing meals in my old life when now, the simplicity of the way we eat takes little time mostly spent in washing, chopping and dicing vegetables for side dishes and salad.

Kiosks appeared every few hundred feet offering various ocean activities.

Of course, we miss the playful and meaningful interactions with family during get gatherings. That fact will never change, soon to be revived in a matter of weeks on the Big Island.  But the work, we don’t miss at all. 


Restaurants line the boardwalk at Kaanapali beach.

As time has marched on, we’ve come more to the realization that it never was about the food, the beautifully decorated house and the endless gifts under the tree, the 18 decorated Easter baskets carefully arranged on the massive dining room table or, the bunny rabbit cake, although each of these aspects and many more added to the traditions and festivities.

Whether its the ocean or the mountains, Maui is breathtaking in every direction.

In time, those traditions will be but a distant memory for all of us, as new traditions are born, each bespeaking this time in life, for us, for them and for generations to come.


Skeleton of a humpback whale at the Whalers Village.

Soon, as we anticipate their arrival, we wrap our brains around simple time spent together, sharing stories, playing games, gazing out at the sea all the while embracing these special moments, that in themselves, become the new traditions of another place and time.

The boardwalk is cluttered with accoutrements appealing to the tourist population.

So, today, we’ll happily enjoy our “leftovers” put together in a matter of minutes for another fine meal, on yet another fine day, knowing that what we have today is all we want and what the future soon brings when we’re all together again, is all we’ll need.

Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate today.  And, happy day to all.
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Photo from one year ago today, November 27, 2013:
In error, yesterday I accidentally posted a photo from this date one year ago.  As a result, there will be no year ago photo for today. 

Remembrances of the ocean awhile ago…The seafarers life awhile ago…One year ago today…We gave away 40% of our clothing and shoes…

Whale ship masthead rings that held the sailors to the mast.

Its funny how as time marches on, many memories flooding our minds have become some of the most treasured experiences in our travels.  Now, into our third year on the move, Belize, our first vacation home outside the US lingers in our minds for our close proximity to the ocean.


Whale blubber pot.

Early this morning I stared out the glass door to the sea feeling that same warm sense of comfort familiar from so long ago with the ocean at our door beaconing thought provoking gazes at the sea at every opportunity.


Blubber hook. 

The sea has held a mysterious attraction for sailors and land lovers alike since the beginning of time.  On Monday, as we wanders through the Whalers Village Museum the passion for the sea was evident in every artifact, painting and representation of sea life. 


Tools used in whaling.

Whaling was big business in centuries passed.  In today’s world and particularly in Hawaii, the love and the preservation of the life of whales is a profound aspect for oceanic devotees and the scientific community.


Replica of small whaling boat.

Although the museum depicted the long ago whaling business, it was evident that today’s profound sense and love of the whale and other marine life is in the forefront of the hearts and minds of the people of Hawaii.


Pilot whale blubber.

While at the museum we watched an amazing movie learning about the humpback whale, much of which neither of us had any awareness.  Many of these facts are depicted in the following site.


Scrimshaw, which is the use of bones and teeth of whales and other marine mammals, was commonly made into a variety of items the sailors later sold at port for additional income.  Also, there were many boring hours at sea and making scrimshow kept them busy.



Scrimshaw picture frame.

Please click this link to find an audio file of the actual sounds of the humpback whale.


Equipment used in making various artifacts.

The humpback whales come to the Hawaiian Islands and also to Maui in December on their long journey from Alaska.  We’re are only weeks away from their arrival, although we’ve heard a few have been sighted.  We’ve spent many hours gazing at the sea hoping to spot them.


Sleeping quarters of whaling boat from early 1900’s.



In getting close to these bunks, we could see how small they actually were, as short as five feet long and two feet wide, certainly inadequate sleeping space in today’s world.

The prevalence of the humpback whale is much greater in Maui than on the Big Island so we’re hoping to see them before we leave in five days. At the moment we’re awaiting a confirmation on what may prove to be a pointless expedition out to sea in hopes of spotting whales.  We’ll certainly post updates here in the next few days.  If “safari luck” prevails, we may have whale photos to share on Sunday.


Ship octant and charting tool.

Today, we share our photos of some of the memorabilia from the much maligned days of whaling in an era when extinction wasn’t given a thought.  Sadly, whaling continues in many parts of the world with little regard for the likelihood of extinction of the whale, perhaps in the lifetime of this generation.


Sailors would make this decorative canes from whale bones selling them in port to supplement their income.



A fiddle kept on the ships for entertainment for the sailors

We’ll be back tomorrow with more new photos and an update on our possible whale watching outing.


Rigger tools.

Have a lovely pre-Thanksgiving day.  In my old life, today was the day I’d make eight to ten pumpkin pies rolling the made-from-scratch dough for the crust of each pie. 


Actual photo of seamen on a whaling boat.



This interesting chart depicts the income earned for various positions aboard ship after a four year period at sea. 

Each of our families or friends that came for Thanksgiving dinner was given a pie to take home along with containers of leftovers.  I don’t miss making the pies but, perhaps, the eating them was worthy of mention.
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Photo from one year ago today, November 26, 2013:

One year ago today, we completed boxing up 40% of our clothing and shoes to give away when we’d accepted the fact that further lightening our load was imperative to avoid continuing excess baggage fees.  More photos of the clothing we gave away are shown in this link.  Please click here.

WiFi issues resolves…Here’s today’s post from Monday’s visit to Kaanapali Beach…Many new photos…

The entrance to the popular Whalers Village shops an attraction for many travelers to the area.
As the holiday tourists arrive in Maui we thought we’d better get to Kaanapali Beach before it became unbearably crowded over the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend.  Yesterday morning, we took off for what proved to be an enriching day.

The mountains in Maui on the way to Kaanapali Beach almost don’t look real.

Kaanapali Beach is one of the most popular tourist areas in Maui with hotels lining the gorgeous beach, one after another, from the most posh and expensive hotels and condos to the more moderately priced vacation rentals in some of the older condo/hotel complexes. 


There are many more hotels along the coast in Kaanapali Beach than are shown in this photo.

Hotels, restaurants, shops and sports adventure huts and kiosks line the boardwalk attempting to lure takers and shoppers of their variety of offerings.  In all, it was a feast for the eyes, not unlike the boardwalks of many major oceanfront vacation locations.


With a straight shot on Highway 30, we had no doubt we’d easily find Kaanapali Beach and Whalers Village.

As we perused the row of hotels and shops, we weren’t surprised by the cost of dining at the numerous restaurants nor the cost of products and services.  Although prices were high, they certainly weren’t any higher than that which we’ve observed in other popular holiday destinations throughout the world thus far in our travels.

The Kaanapali Golf Course is close to Whalers Village.

Upon arrival in the popular Whaler’s Village shopping and dining complex, we parked in the ramp noting the parking fees at $6 an hour.  Knowing we’d most likely stay for several hours, we flinched at the thought of paying $18 to $24 for parking.


One of the first shops we spotted was “Jessica’s Gems.”

Upon entering the Whalers Village Museum we were surprised to discover that by paying the $3 each for entrance in the famous humpback whale museum we’d receive a free parking pass to present upon exiting the lot.  For a total of $6 we wandered though the interesting museum, watched a movie about humpback whales and received the parking pass.


This old whaling boat was on display in Whalers Village.

Also, we conversed with the lovely managers from Minnesota, Marie and Terry (small world).  Terry had lived in Minneapolis as had Tom when growing up.  Oddly, they knew some of the same people.  It was delightful sharing stories with them about their passion for Hawaii. I drooled over Terry’s profoundly beautiful photography on display and for sale in the museum’s gift shop.


Koa wood is commonly used in creating interesting decorative items in Hawaii.  Click this link for more information on various woods used in Hawaii.

Marie, his wife, and I chatted about letting go of “stuff” in order to change one’s life to a less stress inducing lifestyle.  They arrange tours, events and condo rentals in Maui.  To reach them, click here.


This large Koa wood bowl was particularly interested as we wandered about this expensive shop.

After touring the gorgeous mall, boardwalk and various sites in the area we were back on our way to Maalaea Beach, thrilled we’d made the effort to get out as our time in Maui rapidly withers away.


These handcrafted lacquered lamps caught my eye for their quality design.

With only six days until we depart Maui next Monday, we’re beginning to make preparations for our arrival on the Big island which includes:

1.  Pack all of our clothing and belongings scattered about the condo.
2.  Ship a box of leftover supplies to the new house.
3.  Make the comprehensive grocery lists for each family from their list of preferred foods they provided (upon my request) to have on hand when they begin to arrive beginning on December 6th.
4.  Organize and arrange all of our receipts and expenses from our time in Maui which we’ll report in the next few days.


A decorative Hawaiian cape.

This departure list is considerably easier than many we’ve had in the past.  Throwing in time to clean the condo, cook our remaining meals and finish any last minute laundry, we’ll be good to go on Monday morning. 


These Koa wood hats and caps were priced from $36 for visors to $48 for the full hats.

We both laugh at how much better we’re getting at this part which now is relatively stress free when we no longer have to suck the air out of the no-longer-needed space Bags. 



Standing at the third floor railing before entering the museum, we spotted a display at a distance, of a humpback whale skeleton, an attraction many check out when visiting Whalers Village.  Tomorrow, we’ll share close up photos of the skeleton.

We further lightened our load when we left the small vacuum in Honolulu at the condo for the future use for other renters, tossing the remaining Space Bags.


By turning around from the second floor railing, the ocean views were breathtaking from Whalers Village.

Thanksgiving will be simple for us with two large chickens, vegetables to roast and salad to make, leaving us with a few days of leftovers.  As always, we’ve carefully monitored our remaining perishable food to ensure we use it before departing Maui.


There were numerous “chain stores” in the mall and also many locally owned unique boutique type shops.  We actually entered several shops to revel in the local merchandise, most of which was very expensive.

We’ll continue to post photos from Whalers Village, the museum and Kaanapali Beach over the next few days as we wind down the treasured time we’ve spent on the tropical island of Maui, a new favorite on our list of places to visit.
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Photo from one year ago today, November 25, 2013:

One year ago, as we continued to wind down the three months we spent in Kenya, we shared some of our photos.  For details from that date, please click here.

Sightseeing yesterday…WiFi issues today…

We have a post ready to upload from yesterday’s sightseeing in Kaanapali Beach.  Unfortunately, there’s some issue with the internet preventing the upload of any photos.

Most likely this issue will resolve over the next few hours.  Please check back later today for this new post with photos.  Sorry for the inconvenience.  We’ll e back later today!

Hawaii’s favorite food…Unbelievable! Monty Python Spam video

It appeared that all 14 flavors of Spam were offered at the Safeway store in Kihei.  The bottom shelf was selling out quickly yesterday in preparation for Thanksgiving which I believe was the original Spam flavor.

Recently, we’d found that CBS Sunday Morning most current episode, a favorite TV show of our long ago past is shown at noon on Sundays on the Smithsonian channel.

Click here for the video about Spam in Hawaii from CBS Sunday Morning

Spam flavored macadamia nuts we spotted in a visit to Lahaina.

Most often, we’re outside around noon but on a few occasions, we’ve made an effort to come back inside to watch the show while Í stand in the kitchen, able to see the TV while chopping and dicing for the next meal. 

Yesterday, a perfect day, we languished in swimming pool contemplating going inside to watch the show.  After drying off, we returned to our condo 15 minutes after the show had started.  Within five minutes after starting to watch the show, the story on Hawaii’s love of Spam started. 

We chuckled over our good timing and the fact that this was only the second time we’d managed to catch the show.  Also, we giggled over the fact that when we’d shopped at Costco in preparation for Hurricane Ana, we’d purchased eight cans of Spam in a single typical Costco over-sized package and Tom has since eaten all eight cans. 

I never took a bite although oddly, Spam is befitting my way of eating. Had we been stranded for weeks with no food, surely I’d have eaten some. In our cozy well equipped life here in Maui, I had no desire.  Tom ate it cooked with eggs a few times.  For the balance, he sliced it into thin pieces eating it with sliced cheese. 

Yesterday, during my last trip to the grocery store in Maui, I wandered over to the Spam aisle taking the above photo.  I believe that the 14 varieties mentioned in the video were all represented but so many shoppers were clamoring to grab a can, I wasn’t able to count.

Here’s some of the dialog from Sunday Morning’s story:

“SPAM may come in 14 varieties, but as far as its detractors are concerned, it’s all just Spam. Not so in the place our Lee Cowan has traveled to, where Spam always gets the warmest of receptions:

There is hardly a more maligned meat than Spam. But if you think Spam is just a culinary punch line, you haven’t spent enough time in Hawaii.
Known for their trade winds and rainbows, the Hawaiian Islands are also a Spam-a-alcoholic’s paradise. In fact, no state eats more.
spam-musubi-244.jpg

Spam Musubi.
 COURTESY SPAM.COM

On the island of Kauai, at the Foodland Waipouli that Orlando Dutdut manages, Spam is as plentiful as sun block.

“It’s a staple,” said Dutdut. “Everybody eats it here.”
They sell 14 varieties of Spam. There’s Spam with cheese, Spam with Garlic, with Turkey and Jalapeno . . . and nothing says “Aloha” quote like Spam-flavored Macadamia nuts.
In fact, the taste of Spam is so popular in Hawaii you can even order it at McDonald’s.
Here, Spam and Eggs beats out the venerable Egg McMuffin, says McDonald’s Ruth Johnson.
“We call it Hawaiian prime rib, or Hawaiian roast beef,” she laughed.
Hawaii’s love of all things Spam started during World War II. Millions of pounds of the stuff were shipped to GIs in the South Pacific, largely because it didn’t spoil in the tropical sun.
But when the serviceman left, the Spam stayed — and it became part of the Island diet.
By far the favorite local dish is a Spam Musubi, which looks a bit like sushi.
Robert Kubata’s grandmother taught him how to make a Musubi the Island way.
He bathes the Spam in teriyaki, and then places the pink rectangles between layers of sticky rice.
After it’s pressed together, it’s all wrapped in seaweed.
“It’s like Asian culture, Western culture, everything was mixed up,” said Kubata. “Put it all together, wrap it in nori, and here you go!”
Spam has even entered the kitchens of the touristy restaurants, like Tiki Iniki in Princeville, where ordering the Spam Burger has become as daring as the owner’s blue hairdo.
Cowan asked, “So what do the tourists think?”
Michele Rundgren replied, “Most people say that’s the best burger they’ve ever had. Or, ‘Oh my God, it was good! It was amazing!'”
“Well, the cocktails have a lot to do with it as well!” laughed her husband, music legend Todd Rundgren. (Remember, “Hello It’s Me?”) Mixing Spam with ground beef was his idea.
Rungren says he wrote that — and plenty of others — while eating plenty of Spam.
“He has been eating Spam since he was little,” said Michele.
“Really? It’s no worse than a hot dog . . . ” said Cowan.
“No, it’s way better than a hot dog!” said Todd. “It doesn’t have any snouts or anuses in it!”
“Dude! You can’t say that on TV!” said Michele.
The good folks at Hormel Foods — an ocean away in chilly Austin, Minn. — tell us Spam is mostly pork shoulder and salt, and not much else.
Spam is cooked in its own can. They rattle through the plant at an astonishing pace.
“We’re running about 395 cans a minute,” said Donnie Temperly, Vice President of Hormel’s Grocery Products division. “So we’ve created a real Spam highway right here next to us!”
Since its invention in 1937, Hormel has sold eight billion cans.
But marketing the food with the quirky name has always been a curious challenge. At first, Spam was touted for its canned convenience, then for its versatility.
But it was Monty Python who did more for Spam than perhaps any commercial ever could:

Man: “Well, what’ve you got?”
Waitress: “Well, there’s egg and bacon; egg sausage and bacon; egg and spam; egg bacon and spam; egg bacon sausage and spam; spam bacon sausage and spam; spam egg spam spam bacon and spam; spam spam spam egg and spam; spam spam spam spam spam spam baked beans spam spam spam spam; or Lobster Thermidor aux Crevettes with a Mornay sauce garnished with truffle pate, brandy and a fried egg on top and spam.”
Wife: “Have you got anything without spam in it?”
Waitress: “Well, there’s spam egg sausage and spam — that’s not gotmuch spam in it!”

In the end, Spam’s marketing director Nicole Behne says Spam’s kitsch may be its best selling tool.
“People make up love songs about Spam,” Behne said. “We have a fan who actually created a rocket out of Spam cans. People make musical instruments out of Spam. So there’s a lot of fun that’s had out there with our brand.”
Not that everything’s funny. Hormel wasn’t laughing when “Spam” officially entered the dictionary as a word to define unwanted emails.
But Hormel’s CEO Jeff Ettinger says the company realized that having a sense of humor about its flagship product was really the only way to go.
“I think maybe our low moment with it was when we decided to sue the Muppets,” Ettinger laughed. “There was a movie they put out that had a Spa’am character that was an evil character. I think that was kind of a turning point to say, you know, I guess we really need to be with the joke.”
This seemingly indestructible meat has been matched by its indestructible image.
It’s fed armies, helped America through recessions, and has endured as a true slice of Americana.”
To watch the “Spam” sketch from “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” click here.
We hope you enjoyed our Spam story.  Back tomorrow with exciting new photos!
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Photo from one year ago today, November 24, 2013:
On this date one year ago we dined at our favorite Sail’s Restaurant in Diani Beach, Kenya after a bad dinner out the prior night.  For details of that story, please click here.
Tom, that same night with me at Sail’s Restaurant in Diani Beach, Kenya.


Golfing in Maui…Heavenly activity for many tourists…

Lovely drive into the Kahili Golf Course.

Playing golf in Hawaii is a favorite recreational activity for locals and visitors.  Although neither of us are golfers, we appreciate the beautifully sculpted courses, meticulously maintained and often challenging for the most adept or amateur golfers.

The greenery of Hawaiian vegetation is available year round, making Hawaii and ideal spot for golfers.

Unfortunately, neither of us fall into either category.  Firstly, neither of us found ourselves particularly adept at hitting that little ball nor have we had any interest in learning.

The view of both the mountains and the ocean is a highlight of many Maui golf courses.

Golf became especially less appealing after we’d both injured our right shoulders 10 years ago, playing aggressive and excessive amounts of Wii golf, Wii tennis and other Wii games.  We were extremely competitive to say the least

The drive through the roads of the Kahili Golf Course was a statement to the commitment to preserving the local vegetation.

Our doctor in Minnesota explained that many baby boomers suffered with “Wiinjuries” (Wii injuries) after beating ourselves to a pulp in playing Wii games.  I must say, we loved Wii golf although we never enjoyed the “real deal.”


Although there was a road sign warning of “crossing by the Nene birds (Hawaiian geese), only these Cattle Egrets ran back and forth across the road.

Most likely our aversion to golf has been due to a lack of natural ability, if there is such a thing in golf as “natural ability.”  You know how that goes.  Some people just pick it up more easily than others, after trying on multiple occasions.  Neither of us ever became competent enough to warrant further efforts


The lush lawns are similar to the type of grass at our condo.

Nor, did we cherish the idea of being bad at something and yet continuing to do it. It was more embarrassing than fun.  What do “they” say? “If you keep doing the same thing over and over again and its not working…stop doing the same thing.”  We get that philosophy.


A gazebo and foot bridge on the course with the ocean at a distance.

In any case, we certainly like the idea of golf enough that recently we visited a local Maui golf course, Kahili Golf Course, located in Wailuku, Maui.  While driving through its appealing grounds, we frequently stopped for photos and as shown, occasional stopping for wildlife walking across the road


A manmade pond on the course created a pretty scene.

Although, when we noticed this sign for a buffet, it was tempting to give it a try, we’ve found that most buffets especially in Hawaii have few dishes that work for me with most items containing starch, grains or sugar, making the expenditure not worthwhile.

We were tempted to try either of these buffets offered at the Kahili Golf Course.  But, as usual, buffets in the US seem to offer less acceptable options for my way of eating.

We’d found a great buffet while in Honolulu and all Tom ate bothered to eat was the prime rib and mashed potatoes. I had no choice but to order off of the menu when nothing on the buffet worked for me, other than a lettuce salad.  Even the peel-and-eat shrimp had a starchy and sugary sauce.  We had some luck with buffets in Africa but not in the US thus far.


Another Cattle Egret on the lookout.

We took several photos as shown at the beautiful Kahili Golf Course.  Here’s a list of all of the golf courses in Maui and their fees at this link.  It doesn’t appear that prices are much higher than they were 26 years ago when I was last in Maui when 18 holes ran over $200 per person.


Note the pond and ocean in this scenic view.

It appears that one can golf for as little as $49.  The problem that enters the equation for the traveler is the additional cost for preferred tee times, golf cart rentals, equipment rentals, tips, taxes and fees which could, even at the lowest starting price s, be upwards of $400 per person.

This lush greenery outlined the entrance to the golf tunnel.  What a beautiful way to mask an otherwise less appealing entrance and exit!

For the avid golfer these expenses result in “chump change” and they don’t flinch to pay it.  Then again, the avid golfer would have brought along their own golf clubs, paying excess baggage fees when flying to the islands.

As we ended our visit to the golf course, one more panoramic view was in order.

For us, we got a kick out of visiting the course, stopping to enjoy the scenery, birds and vegetation which for us is simply, “par for the course.”

Have a happy Sunday.  Later today, Tom will watch football on the NFL Game Pass app on his computer.  Go Vikings!  Ha.  Green Bay. Ouch.
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Photo from one year ago today, November 23, 2013:
As we wound down our time in Kenya, we assessed what leftover items we find necessary to discard or give away.  No photo was posted on that date.  Please click here for the story.

The beauty of Maui continues in our photos…Sea turtles…

A stop along the highway for a breathtaking view.

As we explore in Maui, we continue to be in awe of its natural beauty and how local businesses and points of interest incorporate their love of Hawaii’s natural elements to become a part of the message they convey in their offerings.



This quaint coconut shop is an example of the simple pleasures in the Hawaiian Islands and love for vegetation.

Whether its a farm stand, a restaurant, a golf course or a tourist attraction, the influence of the islands is grasped as a devotion to the way of life, the exquisite vegetation, the  surrounding oceanic water and its treasures, its weather patterns, its volcanoes and its lava rock foundation.

Through the limited explorations we made driving throughout our area, we find ourselves drawn to these natural elements as opposed to the typical often crowded tourist attractions.


A worker at the coconut shop uses a machete type blade to open the coconut, selling them with a straw for drinking the milk and later enjoying the meat.

Our intent in Maui has been to relax from months of traveling while immersing ourselves in the local beauty surrounding us. Its been easy to do both.

Yesterday afternoon, we wandered along the shoreline in the afternoon to spot no less than a dozen sea turtles their flippers wildly flailing and noses popping above the water for a breath of air. 


An old vehicle we spotted at the coconut stand along the highway after our visit to the plantation.

Here’s a link to surprising sea turtle facts including that sea turtles were land animals millions of years ago and have since adapted to  life in the sea.  The shell is called a carapace and the underside of a sea turtle is called the plastron.

Sea turtles don’t suffer ill effects when diving deep into the ocean and depending on their species can stay underwater from one to five hours without coming up for a breath of fresh air.

Yesterday’s sea turtle sighting, barely rising enough above the surface for a decent photo. For a video and more sea turtles photos, please see our link from November 6th here.

It was only a few days ago that we wondered how marine life survives drinking salt water only to find the above link that explains that seas turtles have “salt glands” close to their eyes that filter out the salt from their bodies. 

Each living plant and creature serves a purpose in our environment including every aspect of their structure.  Its especially fascinating to live in an area in which we can observe these some of these aspects in the natural habitat of Hawaii.


We’ve seen these red berries on several trees to discover they are Foxtail Palm Trees.

In our future travels we’ll visit many other islands as in our upcoming extended stays in both Fiji and Bali where we’ll find the natural environment equally interesting and fulfilling as we’ve found in Hawaii.

As our time winds down in Maui, we anticipate the Big Island not only for the glorious time we’ll surely spend with our family but also, in the opportunity to share our love of nature with those we love.  We’re all excited to see the lava flow…hopefully, not too close to where we’ll be living.


This photo illustrates the Foxtail Palm Tree seeds when unripen green as shown on the left, later turning the ripe bright red.

We continue to share more of our new photos of Maui in our remaining time on this island.

Have a wonderful weekend!
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Photo from one year ago today, November 22, 2013:
As we prepared to leave Diani Beach, Kenya, one year ago, we didn’t post any photos on this date.  Please click here for the story.