One week from today…Leaving Kauai!…A long haul in Paradise…Tom’s funny expression…Thrills?

Our favorite bird aptly named Birdie, lives in our yard with his significant other, waiting for us when we open the blinds in the morning and looking at us as we have dinner each night.

It’s hard to believe that we’d make a comment about being in paradise for too long. How can that be?

Looking back, we could have spent less time in Hawaii.  Good grief, we’ve been here for eight months, certainly long enough. At the time we booked the long stay we had two reasons to be in Hawaii; one, our family coming to Big Island for Christmas, and two, taking the cruise to Australia on May 24th from Honolulu. 

The waning sun at the overlook.

Those two reasons resulted in these required extra months with the remainder on the front end in Honolulu/Waikiki, Maui, and Big Island.

For some odd reason, we assumed time in the US would be useful while doing US-type things; doctor appointments, dentist appointments, and some arbitrary paperwork which we’ve discovered we can easily do while living in other countries. We’ve never had the doctor appointments (other than my recent illness which is slightly improved again today) or the dentist appointments we’d planned. We hope to do this in Australia.

The overlook last evening.
We’ve learned a valuable lesson to never spend a straight, four months in any one location. It’s just too long for us.  We aren’t staying long enough in any one location to feel totally settled in and we aren’t leaving soon enough to give us that feeling of excitement and adventure we both so crave.

Not to contradict ourselves, we must admit that we’re booked in Bali for four months total but, in two separate two-month stints, separated by over two months. Hopefully, that will work out well for us. But, let’s face it, whatever the circumstances, overall we always have a good time, even if the only friends we made were the household help, the non-English speaking butcher at the meat market, or if available nearby, the property owner or manager.

A miniature orchid, smaller than a dime, growing along the railing at the overlook.

We’ve managed to do well without a living room only sitting outdoors all day in 100-degree heat (38C); living in countries where no one speaks English and we never made friends; living in Marrakech a year ago in the confines of the riad, the souk and the Big Square with little else to do and now this extended period in Hawaii. 

It’s like everything else in life, too much of a good thing is too much of a good thing. Tom has an expression he uses from time to time: “The most beautiful woman you’ve ever laid eyes on, there’s some guy who’s sick and tired of her “sh_ _!” He always qualifies it by saying that it goes both ways when I eyeball an adorable muscular 20 something at the beach. 

This yellow flower is not much bigger to the eye than a pea. Zooming in to capture its beauty is exhilarating.

This always makes me laugh out loud including moments ago when I asked him to repeat it. This comment reminds me that no matter how beautiful and friendly Hawaii has been it’s not perfect for us for the long haul. 

Why are we living this crazy life anyway? We could say to enrich our knowledge and experience by exploring various parts of the world. We could say to expand our personal horizons in this final hurrah of our lives to become more well rounded. We could say it’s to stretch ourselves beyond the confines of our previously pleasant but mundane lifestyle.

A colorful sunset.
The reality? I say this with a little bit of trepidation over a possible backlash from the few naysayers and haters that lurk out there. WE DO IT FOR THE THRILL!

Yes, there is a thrill in stretching oneself beyond our limits; a 4×4 day-long adventure in the mountains of Iceland; cruising through pirate-infested waters in the Gulf of Aden with specials forces on board; sitting in a tiny vehicle with 25 elephants blocking the road; dining at night in the bush with armed guards to protect us; standing outside for an hour and a half in the pouring rain in Versailles with no umbrella and yet a smile on our faces; taking the strenuous long trek to Petra to see The Treasury; chasing a fish truck up the steep road to ultimately catch it and buy an entire yellowfin tuna to watch the fisherman fillet it with a machete. We do it for these kinds of thrills.

Although this bloom appears to be a future flower its actually a growing leaf.

And then, there’s the joy and satisfaction of promoting local artists and businesses with positive reviews, stories, and photos posted here hoping that our worldwide readers will consider partaking of their services should they travel to their locations. We do it for these kinds of thrills.

Then, the other piece, however repetitive it may be for our less than interested readers, sharing our way of eating with information, links, books, and recipes, hoping that one person along the way may be able to make it work for themselves, relieving pain, improving health or eventually getting off or reducing the need for medications. We do it for these kinds of thrills.

Pretty flowers on a bush near the albatross.

We’re ready to move on from beautiful, magical, friendly Kauai. It’s been heavenly living on the Garden Island.  We’ve made many wonderful friends at social events we’ll always remember. We’ve loved watching the hatching and growth of the Laysan Albatross, a bonus we never expected. And, of course, we loved Birdie and the Redheads who’ve visited us several times a day singing their songs in an attempt to successfully gain our attention.

We move on with a sense of freedom and adventure knowing we gave Kauai everything we had to give and Kauai, in return, bestowed its wonder upon us.

Happy Saturday, worldwide friends! Thanks for hanging in there with us during this extended stay in Hawaii.  Soon, the thrills will escalate…

                                              Photo from one year ago today, May 16, 2014:

It was one year ago today that we were on the move from Marrakech, Morocco to Madeira, Portugal which resulted in a much more lengthy travel time than expected. Tom and Samir are shown in this photo wheeling our luggage at the airport. For details, please click here.

Part 1…Why would YOU visit Kauai?…Facts about the island…

If one can safely make it down the cliffs in Kauai to the beach, a treasure awaits them such as in this location, Kauapea Beach, also known as Secret Beach. This is my sister Julie’s photo.
Many people we’ve met during these past 2½ months in Kauai have asked if we’ll ever return to Kauai. The answer for us is clear. If and when we ever stop traveling the world, having decided to somewhat settle down, perhaps living between one or two or three locations Kauai would definitely be on the list. But, then again, so would Marloth Park, South Africa, certainly my two favorites to date. Tom says he can’t commit as to his favorite location since he hasn’t been there and it’s yet to come.
Many paths down to the beach begin innocuous such as this ending up to be quite challenging as it nears the ocean. One must exercise extreme caution on many of these trails. Almost every evening on the news we hear of yet another tourist falling to their death on difficult treks.

Today, based on our longer than usual vacation/holiday than the average traveler, we offer our perspective, as to why you, our reader, may choose to visit Kauai (and tomorrow, why not).

First, let’s start with some basic facts about the “garden island” as Kauai is so well known.

Kauai General Facts

Kauai Highlights:
Napali Coast: Take an air tour or a boat tour to witness the towering cliffs along Kauai’s North Shore.Waimea Canyon: Enjoy the panoramic views of “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific.”Wailua River: Kauai has the only navigable rivers in Hawaii and Wailua is one of the most popular. Daniel K. Inouye Kilauea Point Lighthouse: Visit this beautiful scenic point at the northernmost tip of the island.Kauai Beaches: From Poipu on the South Shore to Hanalei Bay on the North Shore, explore Kauai’s amazing beaches.
Kauai’s main airport is Lihue Airport (LIH) in southeastern
Kauai Resort Areas:
There are five major resort destinations on Kauai:
North Shore (Princeville), East Side (Coconut Coast), Lihue (Kalapaki), South Shore (Poipu), West Side (Waimea).
Capital City: 
68,434 (2012)
Time Zone:
Hawaii Standard Time (GMT-10 hours), 5 hours behind the US East Coast, 6 hours behind during Daylight Saving Time (Hawaii does not observe Daylight Saving Time).

English, Hawaiian

MokihanaFive Largest Towns:  Highest Point:
Kawaikini Peak (5,243 feet)
Island Color: Purple
State Bird:
Land Mass:
552 Square Miles
US dollar. Credit cards are widely accepted. Traveler’s checks are accepted at many businesses.

Average temperature: 75˚ – 85˚F.

Ocean Temperatures:72- 80 degrees year-round
Average Daily Visitor Population:
16,160 Kapa‘a 9,472, Līhu‘e 5,674, Wailua Homesteads 4,567, Kalāheo 3,913, Hanama‘ulu 3,272

Miles of Shoreline:  90

Number of Beaches:  59
Area Code/Cell Phones:
The area code for all of Hawaii is (808). Cell phone coverage is readily available in most places if you’re coming from the United States.

Internet Access:
Internet access is readily available on Kauai and at many hotels.

resorts, hotels, vacation rentals including cottages, homes and condos, as well as bed and breakfasts are located throughout the island.
Rent a car at Lihue Airport (LIH) to explore the island. Other options include tour buses, taxis or city buses.

Dress casually. Bring a light jacket for nights. Semi-casual dress clothes for restaurants and nightlife. Suits and ties are rarely worn.

U.S. standards apply 15-20% on meals, at least $1 per bag for porters, and at least $1 – 2 per night for housekeeping.

Kauai has more miles of beach:

And hiking trails than any other island in the Hawaiian Islands.
Kauai has been the backdrop to many Hollywood movies including Soul Surfer, Pirates of the Caribbean, Six Days Seven Nights, Jurassic Park, South Pacific, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Honeymoon in Vegas, Tropic  Thunder, and many more.

Some of the above facts may be useful in aiding you in making a decision to visit Kauai.  Of course, when arriving in the Hawaiian Islands, most visitors tend to stay a few nights or more at the other major islands, as we’ve done since arriving in late September by cruise ship:  Oahu (where Honolulu and Waikiki are located; Maui (where Lahaina and the road to Hana are located); Big Island, aka Hawai’i, where Mount Kilauea is spewing lava at present) and of course, Kauai, the garden island.

Many palm trees grow giant pods such as these from which more leaves and flowers bloom.

There are other islands to visit, also beautiful but, more remote. Many tourists visit these four major islands before heading out to Molokai and Lana’i which we haven’t visited at this time. 

Plumeria is often used in making leis. Many years ago, when I visited Hawaii, (before Tom), one would exit the plane via steps down to the tarmac. Waiting at the entrance gate, Hawaiian people would be waiting to drape a plumeria lei over the heads of visitors. This tradition has long since passed unless privately arranged in advance for a fee. 

As appealing as it would be to see these other two islands, the cost to travel to stay for a night or two wasn’t included in our budget. And, of course, we’ve been happy being able to visit Oahu, Maui, Big Island, and Kauai during this extended period of time.

This photo, although taken on a cloudy day easily bespeaks the beauty of mountains, lush greenery, and the sea. 

Let’s review some of our reasons why we’d suggest visiting Kauai, in order of our preferences:

1.  Kauai is the most beautiful island we’ve seen to date: If you’ve followed us in our travels it’s evident we’ve visited many islands to date, some for only a day on a cruise ship and others for longer periods. Without a doubt, the combination of the vast coverage of lush green vegetation over land and mountains and, the aquamarine sea and pristine beaches have made Kauai the most visually appealing island we’ve visited to date.
2.  Friendly people: Aside from South Africa, there is nowhere in the world we’ve visited that is easier to meet people. Not only have we been fortunate to meet friend Richard who’s been instrumental in including us in many social events with the local residents, which has extended to many budding new relationships. But, on our own, we’ve met literally dozens of friendly tourists most of whom have frequently visited Kauai and keep coming back for more.

Although there are many beaches in Kauai in some areas such as the northern coast a hike is often required to get down to the beach, at times treacherous and difficult unless one is in great physical condition.

3.  Grass-fed meat, non-GMO products, organic locally grown produce: Although prices on food are high in the islands, we’ve found the prices on grass-fed meat, free-range chicken and eggs, and organic products to be slightly less than we’d paid three years ago on the mainland in Minnesota. The Hawaiian people are dedicated to keeping their meat, fish, and poultry, and eggs as free from chemicals as possible. Of course, there’s plenty of lower-priced farm-raised fish, poultry and beef available at the grocery stores if one so chooses.
4.  Low crime: Lihue is the largest city in Kauai where the airport, many restaurants, shopping centers (Costco, Walmart, and more) are located. As is the case in most larger cities, the crime rate is considerably higher than in other quieter areas. It is these numbers that throw off the overall Kauai crime rate statistics. We’d never stay in Lihue with our aversion to larger cities with traffic, lines, and a higher risk of crime. Away from the “big city” the crime rate is low. Bear in mind, our comments are based on our perspective both from experience and speaking with locals. There is no available statistic on this variance from Lihue to the more remote areas.   Never on a single occasion during our time here in Princeville or in visiting the resort areas and sightseeing in other areas of the island away from the big city, have we ever felt unsafe. That feeling of safety doesn’t prevent us from locking doors, securing our equipment, and keeping a watchful eye wherever we may go.

It’s only a one minute walk across Ka Haku Road in front of our condo to the ocean and this beautiful coral sea.

5.  Chickens and birds: Although most of Hawaii’s wildlife lives in the sea and we’ve certainly seen our share of the Humpback whales who’s season in the islands is coming to a rapid close, we’ve particularly enjoyed bird watching; the Laysan Albatross and the wide variety of birds even seen from our lanai on a daily basis. But, the chickens have provided us with an enormous amount of heartwarming and laugh-worthy experiences we’ll always remember. Sure, many locals are annoyed by the constant presence, some taking extreme measures to keep them off of their property. We’ve heard tourists complain about being unable to sleep with the rooster’s crowing beginning as early as 4 or 5 am. For us, in a matter of a few days, we adapted to the noise eventually not hearing it at all, as is the case for most locals. As for them running around parking lots, on the side of the road, at every venue where food or people may be present, we’ve loved it all. Also, Hawaii is a bird watcher’s paradise, particularly when hiking and visiting more remote locations. 
6.  Multitude of recreational activities: At this point, we’ve toured almost all of the island accessible by our tiny rental vehicle. There are endless opportunities for surfing, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, zip-lining, hiking (a hiker’s paradise but with many dangerous trails), or simply walking and taking in the scenery. With 59 beaches in Kauai, one could easily enjoy visiting as many as possible. Also, a strong sense of community pervades Kauai and many planned social activities and events are open to the public, some at no cost and others for a nominal fee. 

Ah, a lazy day sitting under a tree with a cold beverage and a good book in hand is all many visitors to the island require to make a glorious vacation. Not everyone is into adventure hikes and sightseeing. Many tourists come to the islands to get away from a “must do” lifestyle, preferring to relax and unwind from busy everyday life.  Lounging on the beach, dining in a fun popular restaurant, and drinking Mai Tai’s is all some travelers need for a perfect vacation.

7.  Easily accessible roads: It’s easy to get around Kauai and almost impossible to get lost. There are only a few highways that wrapped around the island from beach town to beach town. If traffic and road construction weren’t an issue, one could easily travel from one side of the island to the other in 90 minutes. However, with traffic in certain areas and road construction often in the works, one must plan their travels accordingly. The northwest coast of the island is inaccessible by road suitable for most cars. Thus, one cannot drive around the entire island.

A scene of a part of the grounds at the Dolphin Restaurant in Hanalei where Julie and I had lunch a few weeks ago.

Other travelers may add to or change this list based on their personal preferences. For us, senior citizens, world travelers, these are the reasons that we’ve loved Kauai and are most glaring. If you’ve spent time in Kauai please comment sharing your experiences at the end of today’s post. We’d love to hear from you!

We’ll return tomorrow with “Part 2, Why would YOU visit Kauai?” including some of the reasons, you may not choose to visit Kauai or for that matter, Hawaii in general. Please check back!

                                              Photo from one year ago today, March 30, 2014:

We posted this video when it was raining inside our riad in Marrakech. During rainstorms, we stayed in the salon, one of the many rooms that surrounded the open air courtyard. For details of that day’s post, please click here.

On our own, once again…Content and at peace…

Full moon, clear and crisp over the Pacific Ocean.

After an entire month of family living with us, today we are alone. Late yesterday, Camille and Madighan moved to Kona to be closer to the airport and to languish poolside at an upscale hotel until their departure in a few days.

After an emotional goodbye to the last of our family members to leave, Tom and I grabbed chairs facing the ocean to do our own languishing of whale watching before the sunset. 

Another view of the moon rising.

The whales were hiding and for the first time and we didn’t see a single blowhole. Disappointed? We were not.  We wandered back indoors for dinner, content to return to our usual evening routine. It was over.

Was the family visit perfect?  No, it wasn’t.  But then, family visits over extended periods are rarely perfect. We all have our own routines and day to day needs and behavior, often contrary to those of others. We’re all unique.

Let’s face it…who among us can live easily with our grown children over many days, if not weeks in our case?  Although harmonious, we all had to adjust in one way or another. And we all did. 

Moon rising at sunset.
When it came time to say goodbye, we all did so with love and respect, unsure at this point when we’d see everyone again. Our grown children, from almost 40 to 47, have their own busy lives, their own family lives. 

The only difference between us and the grandparents that move to warmer climates is perhaps fewer visits every few years. We make every effort to stay in close touch via Skype face time, email, Facebook, and now a phone number we’ve added that makes it possible to pick up their cell phones and ring us without access to Skype.

So now, here we are, Tom and I, content and at peace, as we live in the moment in beautiful Pahoa, the fourth sunny day in a row, looking forward to some final exploration on our own to wrap up our remaining nine days on the Big Island.

Yesterday, Madighan and I finally made the gingerbread house.

Once again, we’ll begin discussing our future plans, researching our options including dates, destinations, flights, cruises, and expenses, all a part of our everyday lives.

Although the upcoming four months in Kauai is a little intimidating in its length of time, we’ll lick our wounds from this pricey holiday season and spend as much time as possible getting to know the island. 

She was so excited that we’d made the gingerbread house.

While in Maui, we’d come off of being on the go for months; two cruises, Paris, London with Normandy; Stonehenge; Cork, Iceland; Faroe Islands; Boston’s family visit; and then six days in Vancouver before the cruise to Honolulu. 

Having been so busy for a few months, Maui proved to be a resting point and we had little interest in exploring.  Luckily, the fabulous condo and ocean view made staying relatively quiet extremely rejuvenating.

A pink Trumpet flower.

Living on the Big Island has kept us on our toes with the family visit and now, alone again, we easily slide back into our pleasing routine of traveling the world, albeit stationary for a period of time knowing the exciting experiences that await us.

In a little over four months, we’ll be on our way to the South Pacific; Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and Bali with more countries and planning yet to come. 

Huge pods growing on a local tree.

The excitement and enthusiasm are no less today than it was over two years ago when we left the US to begin our new lives. In many ways, it’s greater than in the past. We are no longer apprehensive and fearful having acquired the knowledge and experience that have begun to make us seasoned travelers.

Thanks to our readers for sharing this journey with us, for your comments, feedback, and suggestions, and for taking the time to read about not only the exciting days of our travels but also the mundane days of simply living life on the move.

Have a terrific Tuesday!

                                             Photo from one year ago today, January 6, 2014:

Clive, whom we may now believe is a “she,” aptly renamed Clove, when we’ve later seen her with chicks on Facebook, came to visit our house in Marloth Park for the first time on this date, one year ago. It was a delightful visit.  She/he wasn’t shy about letting us get close for photos. For details from that date, please click here.

Aloha, Maui!…Maui expense totals…Six weeks in paradise…Now off for additional weeks paradise…Lava flow still holding…New photos…

The bright sun creates a sparkling sea which we’ve cherished everyday that we’ve been in Maui. There’s only been one totally overcast and rainy day in the past six weeks, although its rained for short periods on many days to later become sunny.

It’s hard to believe that our six weeks in Maui has come to a close. We’ve loved every moment of this laid back, stress free, easy lifestyle so typical of retirees in Hawaii.

All these photos shown today were taken on Sunday early afternoon.

Would we return to Maui? Definitely, someday. As we always say, “We have a lot of world left to see.” And, for the next many months we’ll continue to live reveling in the exquisite Hawaiian Islands until we’re off for our next foray outside the US to Australia and the South Pacific.

Hibiscus appear to bloom year-round in the islands.

Some have asked why we decided to spend four upcoming months on the island of Kauai beginning on January 15th after leaving the Big Island and the family gathering for the holidays. The answer for us was simple.

And yet a few new blooms magically appear in the tropical climate.

The cost of paying for airfare, two oceanfront neighboring houses, meals, and more, was seriously above and beyond our usual monthly budget. By staying put in one location for this extended period, we’ll have the opportunity to save money to recover a portion of these over-the-usual-budgetary costs. 

The shoreline from our condo’s beachfront.

With the rent for the four months in Kauai paid in full long ago, our only expenses will be car rental, groceries, and occasionally dining out and an occasional tour. We anticipate these monthly expenses will be under $2000 a month, considerably less than the budgeted $6000 a month. 

In four months, we’ll expect to recover $16,000, a drop in the bucket of the cost of the family gathering.  However, this difference will pay almost half for the upcoming cruises to Australia and the balances due on our rentals for the next upcoming two years! That’s the way to recover!

The blooming season in Hawaii has long since passed for many flowering plants and trees.

When we’re in Kauai beginning on January 15th, we’ll nickel and dime ourselves while still having a great time on the beautiful garden island. No complaining here.

Now, back to the Maui expenses (rounded off to the nearest dollar). 

Car rental /fuel                  $1,368
Condo rental                       5,789
Groceries                            1,581
Dining Out                             111
Tours & Misc.                         140

Total for 45 days                $8989
Cost per day                       $ 200

Within our average monthly budget although we’d budgeted an additional $1700 for food (dining out and preparing our own meals) which we never used.

We’re pleased to have magically ended up with our preferred monthly of $6000 (an amount we’re willing to pay for our travels) as we brace for the added expenses we’ll experience when our family members arrive, mainly for groceries. 

The bananas in the yard grow bigger each day, soon ready for picking.

With airfare paid for all but one of our kids, yet to decide on a date due to work, and the rents paid in full for both houses, our only additional expenses are for the car rental, groceries, and supplies for all and our personal expenses for tours we may choose to attend with our family members.

Tiki torches on the lawn by the shore.

As agreed with our kids they will pay for their own dining out, recreation, and tours. We decided that taking everyone out for dinner would be too costly at an average of $100 per person. Even McDonalds averages at a minimum of $15 per person based on costs in Hawaii. It’s just not worth it.

Mike, the condo manager, decorated this tree for the mailroom.

Thrilled with the end result in Maui, we’re ready to move on. Later today, we’ll be unpacked and have grocery shopped at the closest grocery store, a 15-minute drive to the village of Pahoa, the village where the lava stalled but took a house before doing so. Hopefully, it will stay “stalled” during our six upcoming weeks on the Big Island. As always, we shall see.

                                         Photo from one year ago today, December 2, 2013:

One year ago today, we were on our way to South Africa.  We wrote about the frustrating delays we experienced in those multiple flights. For details, here.

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 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 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 a 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 some time 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, it’s always hard to believe wherever we maybe.” 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!

                                                Photo from one year ago today, November 30, 2013:
One year ago, it was a 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 the 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. 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.

It’s 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 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, on 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 the 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 “it’s” all about after all?

                                                Photo from one year ago, November 29, 2013:

As we prepared to leave Kenya, we posted a few of our favorite photos in 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 wooden 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.

                                          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-togethers 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 it’s 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 accouterment 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.

                                              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.

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 poshest 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 through 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 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.

                                          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.