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

Safari luck in Hawaii…Today’s flights to Maui cancelled…Luckily we made it to Maui yesterday…Love the new place! Here comes Hurricane Ana!

The clouds have begun to roll in as Hurricane Ana makes her way to the islands.  View from our lanai.

Thursday afternoon we arrived in Maui after a relatively painless 39-minute flight along with the usual two hours of waiting time at the airport in Honolulu. 

For once, we weren’t charged for excess fees for overweight baggage, although, we were assessed $120 for the four checked bags, two large, two small. For the first time in a long time, curbside check-in was available, allowing us to avoid the long lines of travelers trying to get out of Hawaii before the arrival of Hurricane Ana.

Last night, we heard that all flights to Maui are all being canceled started today. Had we not left Honolulu on Thursday, we’ve been stranded with no place to stay other than moving to a pricey hotel. Safari luck prevails. Now let’s see how it does when the storm hits tonight.

View of Maui taken during the 39-minute flight from Honolulu.

As soon as we picked up the rental car we were relieved to be on our way with the good directions the property owner provided for our new home over the next six weeks.

View from our lanai.

As we pulled out of the Enterprise lot we noticed a long line of traffic moving in and out of what appeared to be a Costco parking lot. The car was loaded with our luggage but how convenient it would be to shop for food and supplies.

We decided to change it and shop for bottled water, non-perishable foods, and a small number of perishable items (in the event the power doesn’t go out after all). An hour later we were shocked by the $604 we’d spent and challenged as to how we’d fit it all in the car.

Surely, we’ll be spending time by the pool as soon as the storm is over.

Somehow, with the utmost creativity, we managed to fit every last item, including huge bundles of toilet paper and paper towels, into the luggage jammed vehicle.

A pretty flower in the yard.

In no time at all we arrived and couldn’t have been more thrilled with the first-floor ocean view condo. Not only does it have virtually everything we could possibly need or want, but it’s also appealing, spotless, and exceedingly comfortable.

The grills at our disposal in the yard.  What a view while flipping a burger!

The thoughtful owners left a gift bag for us filled with macadamia nuts, a lovely bottle of white wine, chips, and cookies. What a pleasant surprise. We’ve been lucky with property owners in our travels, seldom having any type of issue often overjoyed with their kindness.

The grounds at the condo complex. We’ll take more photos soon.

This condo is roomy, and much-appreciated after having lived in the most recent tiny studio, hotel rooms, and cruise ship cabins. 

Our digital equipment was quickly set up with a good WiFi signal, each with our own plugin which was quite a novelty. The furniture is very comfortable.

Since July 31st each property in which we’ve stayed has been less than 200 square feet. We’veve eaten every meal out hoping that after the huge food purchase at Costco, we’d feel up to preparing dinner. 

Beach Bum BBQ & Grill where we dined last night.

After hauling everything inside, putting everything away, unpacking our luggage, and getting settled, we were too pooped to cook. Also, I’m still a bit under the weather with a recent virus.

Tom finally ordered a beer to celebrate our first night in Maui.

Dining out one more night was fine with us. We took off at 7:00 pm for Beach Bum’s BBQ & Grill for a great dinner, a mere two-minute drive from our condo. If we weren’t so tired, we could easily have walked. The food was great and worked well for my way of eating. Finally, we both felt as if we really were in  Hawaii, dining outdoors on a quiet evening in a more remote location.

My dinner, barbecue chicken, and ribs made without sauce but seasoned well. Tom helped me eat the ribs while I ate the dark meat of the chicken, bringing the chicken breast home in a doggy bag.

Today is a new day and we’ll enjoy chopping and dicing once again to make our favorite bread-free sandwiches and coleslaw, a dinner we both have missed. Plus, with a washer and dryer in the condo, I’m actually looking forward to our first load.

Tom’s dinner, pulled pork sandwich, fries, coleslaw, and cornbread. The bill for the dinner including one beer, tax, and tip was a total of $53 which we thought was reasonable.

With the news on constantly, we’re carefully watching for hurricane updates. As soon as we know something, we’ll add a note here to keep our readers well informed.

Stay tuned.

                                           Photo from one year ago today, October 17, 2013:

As our days at Camp Olonana came to a close, we attended a dinner in the bush, presented by our hosts. Again, a fabulous evening. For details of that day, please click here.

Itinerary change…Maui, Hawaii, here we come in 11 months!…No photos available due to WiFi issues…

The rate for the first of two houses we booked in Big Island, Hawaii for our upcoming family visit, is a rental cost of US $101.56, considerably less than we would have paid a small one-room hotel. With a full kitchen and all supplies, we’ll surely love dining on the lanai, with sunset views. We’d never imagined that we could find an affordable vacation home in Maui that would fit our expectation of an ocean view. After searching online to fill the gap from October 5, 2014, when we’ll arrive by cruise ship in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii to December 1, 2014, has been a daunting task.

We’ll be moving to the Big Island on December 1, 2014, with our kids and grandkids arriving around December 20, 2014, for Christmas, living in the two homes we’ve already booked, side by side, on the ocean. The two houses we’ve booked for their visit are described with photos in our post of October 22, 2013.

Deciding that staying in Honolulu in a hotel on the ocean for a short period of time would allow us time to visit Pearl Harbor and other local attractions. Honolulu is a congested city filled with tourists, traffic and noise, not particularly our cup of tea for a lengthy stay.

Looking online for a house or a condo to fit our budget, after an 11-night stay in Honolulu became a source of frustration when we couldn’t find the right property. Both of us spent considerable hours online with our slow Internet connection, finding few options. 

With the high prices for hotels and vacation homes in Hawaii, our preferences for ocean views plus AC, free WiFi, washer and dryer and an updated attractive décor, we considered lowering our expectations and increasing the price we were willing to pay.

Property owners in Hawaii have no motivation or desire to negotiate prices with the high demand for vacation rentals year-round. Early on in our search we made no less than six offers for reasonably discounted rates based on our longer stays than most. None responded. 

Yesterday, out of curiosity, we began searching Maui, the most expensive of the islands in hope that we might get lucky. And, did we get lucky! By evening, we’d paid the requested US $300 deposit for a rental on the glorious island of Maui, in the Maalaea area, 25 miles south of Kaanapali Beach (the most popular but congested area for travelers). 

With a rental car during our 57-night stay in Maui we’ll have the freedom to tour the island at our leisure, visiting many points of interest, fabulous restaurants and larger grocery stores than we’ve had available. 

We’d love to post the photos for the website where the property is listed. But our slow connection prohibits the posting of these difficult to maneuver photos.

Here’s the link to our new condo in Maui which includes photos and a detailed description. 

Here is our total cost for 57-nights:
Rental Amount:  US $5014.00
Cleaning:           US $    90.00
Taxes:               US $  684.96
Total:                US $5,788.96

Now that this gap in time is booked, our next task for Hawaii will be to secure a hotel reservation on the beach in Honolulu from October 5, 2014, to October 16, 2014, when we’ll fly to Maui.

Here’s our five-month rundown of our time in Hawaii, all of which is booked, except the first 11 days in Honolulu Hawaii:

Honolulu , Oahu – October 5, 2014, to October 16, 2014 (not yet booked)
Maalaea, Maui – October 16, 2014, to December 1, 2014 (new booking)
Pahoe, Big Island  (first house) – December 1, 2014, to January 15, 2015 (booked)
Pahoe, Big Island (second house) – December 15, 2014, to January 3, 2015 (booked)
Princeville, Kauai – January 15, 2015, to May 15, 2015 (booked)- Our longest stay in any one location during this period, we’ll be preparing for the next leg of our upcoming travels, at this point yet to be determined. 

In each of these locations, except Honolulu, a rental car will be necessary for which we’ve budgeted.  Obviously, the smaller the island, the higher the costs of rental cars, groceries and dining out.

If you check out the listing on Homeaway, you’ll see that the owner has already blocked off our dates giving us the peace of mind to book rental cars and the hotel in Honolulu.

With yesterday’s booking, we’ve fulfilled our desire to spend time at each of the four largest and most desired Hawaiian islands. During this time, back on US soil, we’ll arrange dental and doctor appointments. 

Now, we’re back to work pinning down the Honolulu hotel for 11 nights. The search never ends as the journey continues on.