Whale Mystery on Kauai


Anti-Rimpac Activists–against sonar testing done by the navy offshore –have new ammunition, as a healthy 16 ft. pilot whale washed ashore yesterday on Kauai.

The jury is still out on what caused the whale to beach:


According to Kauai Marine Biologist Terry Lilley, “There were were two small punctures in the male’s body, each about an inch and a half across, but it did not seem to have any disease or markings indicating any trauma. Having a superhealthy whale wash up like this is highly unique.”


He went on to say, “The sonar testing affects the inner ear of the whale. It loses its ability to navigate. Whales navigate by sonar.”

According to the news report on KGMB Hawaii News Now, a team of veterinarains and support staff will perform a necropsy on the whale. A Hawaiian practitioner will perform the appropriate cultural protocols. Specimens from the animal will be sent to laboratories on the mainland but there will not be results for several days.

What is Rimpac? The website cpf.navy.nil states: “Held every two years by Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet (PACFLT), RIMPAC 2014 is a multinational maritime exercise that takes place in and around the Hawaiian Islands.

This year’s RIMPAC exercise, the 24th in the series that began in 1971, is scheduled from June 26 to August 1, with an opening reception scheduled for June 26 and closing reception August 1. Twenty-two nations, 49 surface ships, 6 submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate. Units from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the People’s Republic of China, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the United States will participate.

RIMPAC is a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans.”

Where do you stand on this long-running contoversy? Marine biologist Terry Lilley called them “war games” and believes they are harmful to the whales. The Navy says the maneuvers are neccessary.

What do you think?

A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along. If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button to the right, or on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

Where the Wild Things Are


Friends here have a rental house on acreage. Their tenant, new to Hawaii, keeps calling them to complain: the doors stick (humidity), the roof leaks (it rains all the time there), there’s a rat in the laundry room. My friend says, “Get a trap. When it’s dead, I prefer to pick it up by the tail with tongs. You can fling it down the hill or put it in the trash, your call. Just be prepared that the tail might come off.”
The tenant says, “Ewwww!” and my friend’s husband says, “Perhaps we are not the landlords for you.” But what he’s really thinking is, “Perhaps Hawaii is not for you…”

Last week our cat, Lili, was circling a bag on the kitchen floor. I picked it up and underneath was the biggest centipede I’ve ever seen. I was thankful she didn’t get stung. The next night, Lili was staring at the floor where I was going back-and-forth clearing the table, and I almost stepped on the second centipede. Mike said, “I told you they always travel in pairs!” We keep a pair of kitchen tongs handy to catch them, then flush them down the toilet.

Last summer there was a terrible mice invasion in Kula and Kihei. Our friends with acreage caught over 3,000 mice. They gave up on traps and the husband cleverly designed a barrel with water in it and a tight-rope system above, where the mice fell in and drowned. He should probably patent it. And now the mice are starting in again!

People don’t realize how wild it is here. When they move to Hawaii they are picturing sandy beaches and mai-tais. So they think the first run-in is a fluke. After that, they believe they can somehow be exempt from swarming termites, centipedes, rats, mice and ants. By the way, the ants have set up housekeeping in the cracks in our wood floors where the termites broke through:


And Mike catches rats in his shop with regularity.

Another friend clicks her tongue and sends her two dogs on a “hunt” for centipedes through the house every evening. She was stung this past winter and her foot swelled with poison that no amount of antibiotics touched for weeks.

Sure enough, the tenant above who said, “Ewww,” about the rat, is now talking about moving back to the mainland.

It takes a certain kind of person to live where the wild things are…

A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along. if you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button to the right, or on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

That’s Just the Way it is, Baby

Wow, readers really responded to “The Five Stages of Maui.” So I will share some friend’s comments about their recent move to Maui:

“We just can’t find the simple stuff… Hangers, for instance.” (I agree, what’s up with those black flocked hangers at Walmart?)

“Bookshelves. Who would’ve thought it would be so hard to find bookshelves?”

“Don’t like that we have to keep everything in the refrigerator. Otherwise, it molds. I don’t like cold bread!”

We wandered around saying, “Where are your mattresses?”

“Can’t believe there is no Mac store here!” (And no, the Macnet store is NOT a Mac store.)

“Where we came from (New York City) there was a stigma about cockroaches. But the other evening we were standing outside and saw a bush completely covered from top to bottom with cockroaches…” (The other evening I poured a glass of tomato juice, and in the time it took me to get from the kitchen into the living room, there was a cockroach floating in it. And it’s disgusting, because they disintegrate in liquid…so it isn’t like you have but a second to fish them out!)

There is always another cockroach...

There is always another cockroach…

“Went to Safeway for asparagus. No asparagus! Yet it was asparagus season… I guess you learn to substitute.” (Yes, sometimes daily.)

“You have to go to, like, seven different places to find anything here.” (It never ceases to amaze me. Recently I needed an “eggcrate” for our mattress. Went to Walmart, had gone to Kmart. Something told me to go back to Kmart the very next morning…and there was an egg crate. Had someone returned it overnight? The point is, you will run around a lot. If something is good, it gets snapped up off the shelves immediately. On that note, if you didn’t bring Christmas decorations with you, be sure to buy them the second you see them or they will be gone. The same with a Christmas tree!)

“The ant problem.” (They are always here, no matter what… But we have been blessed with an abundance of them after our termite tenting. Turns out, the ants love to eat the dead termite carcasses. The ants are all over my kitchen countertops, and I just can’t keep up with them. Also, they circle the cat food bowl constantly. I created my own ant moat, because they will not cross water:

Cat bowl inside another bowl with water in it....a homemade ant moat.

Cat bowl inside another bowl with water in it….a homemade ant moat.

Our friends say that Macy’s sells a fancy commercial version of this, but ours works fine. I also make sure to run the cat bowls through dishwasher twice a week.)

Jamaica here…

One thing is for sure, if you are moving from somewhere where you’ve had a lot to choose from (and great quality), you are in for shock. Our Macy’s, for instance, is the size of a postage stamp compared to New York City, or Chicago. But compared to the old Macy’s (previously Liberty House), this one is a palace!

And, the old-timers think the newcomers are crazy, because they REALLY had nothing! Anyone have anything to add?

A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along. If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button to the right, or on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

The Five Stages of Maui


A girl in her 20s is starting a business on Maui, so she decides she needs a home-office. A trip to OfficeMax (at least we have one!) just bums her out… “Little glass – top nothing desks”. She’s been on Maui three years (most people don’t last two) and this is her Witching Hour; realizing that if she is really going to stay here, she is going to have to make peace with knowing she’s never going to find what she really wants. And don’t even think “at an affordable price.”

I watch people go through this over and over. When they first move here they think, “It’s warm here. I have the beach. What else could I possibly need?”

Turns out, quite a lot.

I think people who move to Maui go through five stages, like the five stages of grief. But this is more like, “Oh, good GRIEF!!”

So here was the 20-something’s journey, as she told it to me:

Stage One, Denial: “Of course that item has to be here. I just haven’t stumbled upon it yet.”

Stage Two: Anger: “What do you MEAN, I can’t get IKEA here?” (Or Best Buy…or Bed, Bath and Beyond…fill in the blank with your favorite whatever.)

Stage Three, Bargaining: “If I get my dad to pay the hellacious shipping costs, I can have that IKEA desk ensemble I’m lusting after.” (Ah, yes… the magic “Dad” card. Trust me, when you get a teensy bit older, Dad stops doing that.)

Stage Four, Depression: “This is just one item… And the whole thing will start over again next time I really need something!”

Stage Five, Acceptance: “Um, hasn’t happened yet…”

So, does anyone ever really accept it? It’s really more a constant lowering of expectations… Until you find yourself desiring….nothing.

Whoa! You’ve embraced Zen Buddhism just because you live on Maui, without even intending to.

Words of wisdom for the day: if you’re moving here (Hi, Shauna) bring everything you love or use constantly. Chances of finding it on Maui are next to nil. Plus you’re paying to ship something you’ve ALREADY paid for, instead of getting here and having to buy it all over again, plus pay the high, high shipping costs.

A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along. If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage, or to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica

Reader Question Answered


A blog reader asked a question about moving to Maui, purchasing land, and starting a business:

“Hello! My husband and I were very interested in opening a small winery on Maui. We visited the only winery currently on Maui and we’re disappointed that we couldn’t enjoy a bottle on premise and enjoy the beautiful view. We were wondering if you knew how difficult it is for outsiders to buy land and start a small agricultural business. Thanks.”

Answer: Maui has 12 to 14 different climate zones. And probably that many types of soil. If you were planning to purchase land, I would get a soil test before putting in an offer, and also find out what type of soil and climate the grapes you intend to grow need.

An example of this going very wrong was Kaanapali Coffee Company. A group came in, purchased the land, and brought in a California firm to set the place up. Unfortunately, the California firm did not do their homework about the soil and climate conditions, and the coffee farm failed. One partner hung in there, got the correct plants for that soil, and they are now doing well!

So don’t count on a mainland firm to know what they’re doing on Maui soil, and be sure to do your homework.

As far as it being hard for outsiders to buy land, it’s not. Just be sure you are getting “fee simple” and not “lease – hold.” That way you will own the land outright, instead of leasing it back from another landowner, which was the practice here for many years.

Also, ask lots of questions about water rights on Ag land. Water is ALWAYS a hot- button issue on Maui

I wish you the very best of luck in your venture! Thank you for reading along.

A hui hou! If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button to the right, or on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica