The real wildlife of … Maui.

Maui Observations (Part Two)

– There are no skunks, bears, or any really awesome furry creatures.  They have sharks, whales, fish things, spiders, wild cats, and boars.  Which we didn’t get to eat … oh and cattle egrets (Bubulcus ibis), that walk like their drunk and have no bones:

cattle-egret

– Speaking of birds.  There are so many birds!! When you leave the grocery store and think, “Wow, those leaves sure are moving in the wind …” and then realize that its not windy … and then listen more closely to the massive sound emanating from the tree … well, you usually conclude that either the entire tree is going to lift up, or the world is ending.  Or you run to the car.

– There are no poisonous spiders in Maui.  But eff, there are a lot of tree spiders.  I learned to always walk behind someone, so their faces and heads could first go through the spider webs … shhh, don’t even worry about why I’m walking in synchrony behind you … I’m your new shadow. Spider shadow.

– It’s not just a surfing term, there are actually many tubular things in Hawaii.  Like mini-hot dog things with toppings and many a mongoose. Also delicious chocolate covered bananas, which I have a picture of but will spare you. Just know its delicious.

mongoose

– Back to birds again.  In my opinion, the birds in Maui are definitely depressed and have severe suicidal tendencies. At one point on our way to Hana, a bird (that I presume must have just left its suicide note with its family) simply chucked itself in front of the passenger side windshield. How he made it out I don’t know, but I definitely yelled, “BIRD SUICIDE!!” and covered my eyes as it happened.  Why so sad birds?  You live in friggen Maui!

– Wow the snorkeling is beautiful.  We were lucky to check out the Molokini crater without too big of a crowd (or sharks … well except for that reef shark that the snuba people saw …).  Christina and I saw a leopard eel and some cool blue, yellow, black, and red fish. So glad we did this – thank you so much to Kat and her friend Tiffany for this experience.  If you find yourself in Maui, check out the excursion on the Pride of Maui for sure.

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– And finally, sometimes you meet people in the dark, during a full moon while on an outrigger canoe.  Since you’re open to adventure, you think, sure, I’ll try this outrigger ocean canoeing for the first time ever, at night, with strangers.  Then, moments after you just watched your new local Hawaiian friends do headstands, in the centre plank of your non-motorized boat, a little family of enormous humpback whales swim three meters from your canoe.  Right THERE. The beautiful giants then dive down below your canoe, causing the boat to ripple, and your mind fully just explodes. (You also hold Christina’s hand with a birth grip, because, HOLY SHIT WHALES!)

Whale Facts (courtesy of Christina’s lovely Mum):

  • The humpback whale is a species of baleen whale. One of the larger rorqual species, adults range in length from 12–16 metres and weigh approximately 36,000 kilograms. Wikipedia
  • Scientific name: Megaptera novaeangliae
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Size:48 to 62.5 ft (14.6 to 19 m)
  • Weight:40 tons (36 metric tons) or 36,000 kg!!!!
  • Group name:Pod
  • Protection status:Endangered
  • Size relative to a bus:

Illustration: Humpback whale compared with bus

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Mahalo Maui

So Christina and I observed some things about Maui that I didn’t expect.  Because honestly I never thought I would ever go to Hawaii … I just didn’t have an interest.  But now that I’ve been, I am in love, and I’m indebted to Christina and Kat for that.  Maui helped me get back into a rhythm, and shook me out of my aimless wandering.


Maui Observations (Part One):

– The song “Bubble Butt” is topping the charts, upcountry at Kat’s …
– Hawaiians love SPAM.
– Hawaiians talk about the winds a lot.
– I love to eat delicious things like pineapple banana bread and passion fruit jam.  Er ma gawd.

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– There are hot lifeguards with six packs at Big Beach, that certainly just go for little jogs every 20 minutes or so.  I’m not sure how this is saving lives, but I’ll absolutely accept it as a Hawaiian truth of life.

– When a local tells you she lives “off the grid”, she might actually mean it.  Then when you decide to go to her place, you park your sedan at the bottom of the jungle road/driveway and hop into the back of her pick-up truck; after which, you proceed up the bumpiest road you’ve ever been on, to end where the cute little house generates its own electricity.

Before this, as you get situated in the truck, you avoid the GIANT spider web in the tree above and the Back-of-Truck-Hostess sitting in a lawn chair asks you, “Do you like today’s hits?”

When you reply with a yes, she begins to play Lady Gaga.

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– Windchill and ice exist on Maui.  They live at 10,000 feet, on top of Haleakala (el volcano). When you force your friends to get up at 4:30am to drive up a windy road for an hour to see the sun take its first breaths of the day … your karma, I guess, is “fucking cold”. My hands were so extremely numb, that for a moment I didn’t think I had hands … but it was totally, totally worth it.

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– Hawaiians have to mow their lawns more in the winter.  And they complain about this … because … wait. What’s that? Oh right, I don’t feel sorry for you AT ALL. It was -29C last night. So you will tend to your lawn, and you will like it.

– Sand.  It’s cool and all, but sometimes I don’t want sand up in there.  Or down over there in my back pack.  Or inside my camera lens.  Go away sand, stay down in my feet where you squish deliciously between my toes and melt yourself into the warm, teal ocean. Red sand, black sand, white sand … Hawaii has it all.  Can I go back please?

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Living Aloha, mostly.

Aloha, Christina here “guest blogging”!
A week spent in Maui has given me a lot to think about.


Some observations:

  • Among the many benefits of a cousin living in Maui is the fact that you see the underside of local sights that many tourists won’t. For example: the sugar cane fields all over the island are beautiful and green and apparently a great place to hide prostitutes, marijuana crops and bodies.

cane

  • If I’d had to put it into action, my official Shark Encounter Emergency Plan of punching the beast in the face while yelling “take THAT, shark bitch!” – likely wouldn’t have worked out.
  • Maui locals are friendly, welcoming, and will share their fruit with you. Even if they laugh at your Canadianness while you photograph your freshly picked papaya from a variety of angles.
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Fresh lime?

fruit

Fruit shoot.

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Passion Fruit

More on the Maui people fora moment.

 

This week we met a variety of friends who treated us to:

  • garden tours and fresh fruit (with a side of friendly ridicule)
  • taxi rides in pickup trucks along crazy dirt roads that led to beautiful views
  • close encounters with humpback whales in a moonlit outrigger canoe (with some minor ridicule when we thought the whale may smash the boat and kill us, because that’s mainly what whales do?)
  • a boat trip to Molokini to snorkel with tropical fish and eat a cheeseburger, though not at the same time

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  • a hike through a secret lava tunnel that led to a waterfall where we could swim (and they even kept their judgment to a minimum when I had a minor claustrophobia-induced anxiety attack)

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  • a packed bar to watch the Seahawks game
  • nachos
  • beer
  • quality time with a gecko named Toby

People here are just so nice. They hold doors and smile at you, and kiss you on the cheek to say hello and goodbye. My cousin tells me this is “living Aloha” – living with respect for others. In short, Maui’s is the friendliest culture I’ve ever seen.

But.
There are exceptions to every rule.

The barista at the Queen Ka’ahumanu Starbucks didn’t take too kindly to my inquiry about whether my latte was nonfat. She threw the drink backward in an epic hulk-smash that made me wonder if the respectful culture of living Aloha meant that no one ever spoke up for what they really wanted. Even if all they really wanted was a nonfat latte.

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Bitchy barista aside, Maui is magical. I’m grateful for a week spent adventuring with my cousin Kathryn and my friend Sonia, both of whom speak German but managed to keep it to English, both spoken and sung, for my benefit. You two were meant to be friends.

Ich liebe dich and mahalo!

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