It’s official!…Hurricane Ana is a Category One hurricane…A year ago…A ride in a single engine airplane…

We’re in awe of the ocean views as we stopped along a beach on our way to Kihei.

As of news reports this morning, overnight, Hurricane Ana decided to hit the Hawaiian Islands with less intensity than expected. As I write now, weather warnings continue to pop up on the TV screen for flash flood warnings on the Big Island which Ana is approaching.

Hurricane categories.

Big Island has been hit by heavy rains, winds, and high seas in the past 12 hours, resulting in considerable flooding but not to the degree as in higher category hurricanes.

We purchased more food and water than we can possibly use, but as mentioned yesterday, we’ve decided to ship a box to ourselves for when we arrive on the Big Island on December 1st, the food we can use when the family arrives. 

The sandy beach in front of our building.

Yesterday afternoon, we drove eight miles to a regular grocery store to purchase a few smaller items we weren’t able to buy at Costco. You know how that goes at Costco, not all products are required in “jumbo” sizes. That was always the case (no pun intended) when we shopped at Costco in our old lives, an imminent trip to a regular grocery store was required to fill in the blanks.

Bird of Paradise, definitely an appropriate name here in Hawaii.

Although it takes a good 20 minutes to drive to the Safeway in Kihei most likely that’s where I’ll grocery shop going forward. A lesson I finally accepted in the Safeway was to do not to expect Tom to go grocery shopping with me ever again! Overly grumpy!

As the tide went out we searched for signs of life, at time fooled by the large boulders that appear at low tide.

With no sense of direction, I paid special attention to the return drive as to which turns to take to get back to Safeway next time I need to shop. The rental car company included me as a driver at no extra charge. I have not driven a car since December 2012. I hope it’s like riding a bike.

When we were outside the US, driving stick shift vehicles often on the “wrong” side of the road, Tom would drive me everywhere, waiting in the car reading a book on his phone while I shopped.

On our way to Kihei, we stopped at a roadside area on the beach to find this sign.  We didn’t see any turtles.

I know how to drive a stick shift but not with my left arm when the driver sits on the right side of the vehicle, also driving on the “wrong” side of the road. It goes against everything my brain is willing to process.

In any case, after the rushed moody shopping trip I couldn’t get out of there quick enough. Luckily, they had everything on the list, an app on my phone. How exciting it was to see ingredients I haven’t seen in almost two years. There was nothing on my list that couldn’t be found.

Another gorgeous sandy beach at the Turtle Nesting Area.

As for pricing, next time I do a complete grocery shopping trip, I’ll take a photo of the receipt for those of our readers who may be considering a move to Hawaii and are concerned about grocery prices.

Using the app on my phone for the past five years or more, I’ve become very familiar with prices. Honestly, from what we experienced yesterday and at Costco on Thursday, prices are not much higher than they were in Minnesota over two years ago. – an 8oz package of Philadelphia cream cheese at $2.99, the same price back then; a can of unsweetened coconut milk was $1.79, slightly less than in Minnesota long ago.

Moss growing on the rocks along the shoreline.

Could we ever return here based on what we’ve seen so far?  If it was to Maui, we’d say yes, perhaps someday, if we’re able to rent vacation homes comparable to where we’re living now. It’s beautiful, people are friendly, the weather (usually) is ideal and the vegetation is exquisite. 

The only aspect we’ve yet to discover is wildlife. Last night before dark, we wandered along the shoreline searching for the sea turtles we’ve heard often visit in the early evening. It’s a little early for whale watching but, the season will soon be upon us. We can hardly wait.

As for the next few days, staying put makes sense as the storm maneuvers its way to Maui. The surf is picking up this morning as we watch surfers taking advantage of the ever-increasing waves as the effects of Hurricane Ana gradually arrive.

Late yesterday, the surf had yet to pick up with Hurricane Ana still hundreds of miles away.

Without a doubt, we’re safe based on the local news reports. It won’t be as devastating as the media had feared. Costco made a lot of money this week when shoppers were in a frenzy filling multiple carts with supplies. We certainly fell prey to that mentality.

Tom’s back in his usual good mood and of course, I’m overly bubbly. Wait! Am I supposed to go back to worrying about lava flow?

                                                     Photo from one year ago, October 18, 2013:

For the return flight from the Masai Mara to Diani Beach, Kenya, I was no longer fearful of the small single-engine plane as Tom and I sat behind the pilot.  For details of that day, please click here