3rd Shark Attack in 3 Weeks

Third Shark Attack in Three Weeks

Aloha!
We are three for three here on Maui. Three shark attacks in three weeks. It’s beginning to feel like we’re living in a small town on the eastern seaboard and Jaws is on the loose. There was also a fourth attack off Kauai.

For the first time in 12 years, I have asked Mike to stay out of the water. Usually I’m glad to see him go surfing. It’s kind of like sending him off to church; he comes back with a big smile and attitude adjustment. But this is worrisome, we’ve never seen this kind of shark activity, and Mike, who has lived here his whole life, says he’s never heard of this many shark attacks this close together. The news reports say it may have something to do with an increase in the turtle population, the shark’s favorite food.

30-year old Marc Riglos was participating in the 2012 Maui Roi Roundup, an invasive species spearfishing tournament. He said the shark took a bite of his ankle then tugged it from side to side. “I thought I was going to die out there. (It) was crazy,” he said. With the help of his dive partner he was able to get back into shore, but they were 300 yards out and it took 25 minutes.

Riglos says he hopes that doctors can save his foot. On KHON 2 news last night, they showed him in his hospital bed at Maui Memorial Medical Center. His right ankle is stitched the entire way around. Riglos said his foot was literally hanging by a tendon.

A marine biologist interviewed on KHON said that the best way to fight off a shark is to get your fingers into the shark’s eyesockets or gills and tug hard, and they’ll back off. Um, easier said than done while their jaws are wide open and headed straight for you. When Mike worked as a professional diver, he said that the divers would stay in a circle and if a shark approached they would take the respirators out of their mouths and scream at the shark, and that worked, too.

Seems to me you don’t need a degree from Harvard to figure out you should maybe just stay out of the water right now.

If you have ever seen the “Shermans Lagoon” comic strip, it is a microcosm of marine life and they all have human characteristics. The big, dumb shark Sherman, his wife and son, the crab and the turtle all talk and comment on what’s going on up top. They stake out Unsuspecting Vacationers floating on the surface and decide which ones will taste best for dinner. It sounds morbid, but it’s quite funny.

Given that, I began to wonder if the sharks have just been watching too much television down there… Too many paid political advertisements. They got so frustrated, they just had to take a big BITE out of someone.

At least today that will all be over! And if the shark activity calms down… Well, what can I say. I was right.

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Homepage. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica

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You Know You Live in Hawaii When…

Aloha!

You know you live in Hawaii when you pull your laundry out of the washing machine and out pops one very clean, but alas very dead, gecko:

Gecko with Hawaiian Blue Ginger

You know you live in Hawaii when you are as tired of being hot now, as you used to be being cold.

You know you live in Hawaii when a road crew takes as long to fix a stretch of street two blocks long… as it would take a California road crew to build a stretch of freeway eight miles long.

You know you live in Hawaii when you’re at a restaurant and see a salad called “Whole tomato in a pool of li hing mui sauce” and know what that means.

You know you live in Hawaii when your food bill is three times higher than your electric bill was on the mainland.

You know you live in Hawaii when every single person you know “back home” thinks you are the luckiest person alive.

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Home page. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, baby…Jamaica

Shark Snack

Shark Snack

Aloha!

As those of you who follow this blog know, Mike works as a boat Captain on the Scotch Mist out of Lahaina www.scotchmistsailingcharters.com/

A couple of days ago he came home from work and told me this story: another Captain out of Lahaina had taken a snorkel tour over near the coastline of Lanai. The group of snorkelers were in the water enjoying themselves.  While the Captain waited on the boat, he looked down in the water and saw a large turtle surface. Under the turtle he saw another shape, and assumed it was a second turtle…when suddenly an eight-foot tiger shark surfaced just behind the turtle, and opening its large jaws–swallowed the turtle whole!

The Captain started yelling, “Everyone back on the boat. Back on the boat, NOW!” but the shark had his snack, and took off, not bothering any of the humans.

I guess he didn’t get the memo that the turtles are endangered and not to get too close.

For those who would enjoy a sailing adventure the next time you’re on Maui:

Scotch Mist Sunset Tour Highlights:

The Scotch Mist is the fastest production line sailboat of her size in the world.

■ Bubbly Champagne, Kula Chocolates, Beer, Wine, Soda & Juice ■ Quiet and Relaxing Sunset Sail ■ Beautiful views of Maui, Lanai and Molokai ■

Snorkel Trips Available (to the brave and fearless!) to Lanai

Call 1-877-669-1077. Enjoy!

A hui hou (til next time). If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Home Page. Mahalo for stopping by.

Maui Weather Today: High 87, Low 73

Aloha, Jamaica

End of an Era

Aloha!

If you follow this blog, you know that I worked part-time as a concierge/Activities Coordinator at the Maui Kaanapali Villas (http://astonmauikaanapalivillas.3dhawaii.com/ for about ten years. I loved my job. I was good at my job. I really enjoyed meeting tourists from all over the world, and the best day ever was meeting some folks from France whom I invited up to the house, we became friends, and then they invited us to France. We went and it was fabulous. Wow.

I began my job at the Villas in 1999. The main reason I took the job was to have someting to do while I built my interior design business in Hawaii. Also, with that job, we’d get to do the Activities on Maui for free (a major perk). So about once a year we could go do something fun with each company, and we’d also get a discount for our guests who were visiting. This job was totally commission-based and that’s something people need to understand about jobs in Hawaii. They are low-paying or commission unless you have a great office job, or a job in the medical profession, law profession, etc.

There are also instances of people being private or sub-contractors, which is what Mike is as a Captain on the Scoth Mist out of Lahaina. He doesn’t make a great wage and then must pay self-employment tax on that. So people like him, in edition to waiters, waitresses and bartenders, rely on tips.

At my job, two things happened: the first was September 11th, which absolutely froze tourism to Hawaii. My take-home pay dipped dramatically. Very slowly people started coming back to Hawaii, and then we got the second hit: the stock market plunge of late 2007. No tourists. When they did finally start coming, we saw a shift: people who before would have stayed at a resort such as the Four Seasons were looking for less-expensive places to stay. Or, people were coming who were getting killer deals on airlines that wanted to fill seats, and these people just wanted a place to stay.

But people weren’t coming to Maui to spend any extra money, so my pay dipped again. And again. By the time it was all said and done, I was making one-half to one-third what I had been when I started there. At the same time our gas prices on Maui shot to the highest in the nation, so it was no longer feasible for me to drive all the way to Lahaina for what little pay I was making. I simply couldn’t stay in a job where I was making less than the kid at McDonald’s.

In these low-paying Maui jobs, you hope for tips. But I can count on ten fingers the number of times I was tipped in ten years, and I was someone who bent over backwards for people and always has a smile on my face. I made sure people were going to have the time of their lives in Maui. So why didn’t people think to tip? Because they assumed I was getting a per-hour wage.

I addition to what has gone on in our nation’s economy, Hawaii’s economy is tourist-based. We also took some very hard hits as both Aloha Airlines went under, and then Maui Land and Pine. I have a friend who worked at ML&P for years and retired with the understanding that she would have health insurance forever. When they went under, there went her health insurance.

When you come to Hawaii and are wondering whether to tip, consider this: hotel bellhops and Skycaps at the airport see turnover all day long. We know a Skycap who owns a large house on Kaanapali hillside, he does so well.  But I would spend a minimum of an hour and and a quarter with guests planning their vacations, sometimes two hours. In an eight hour day, how many people could I really serve? When things slowed down, sometimes I would sit all day with no one. Tips would have helped bridge the pay gap, but I served far fewer people than most tip-related jobs. Every once in a while a guest would ask “Am I allowed to tip you?” and I would say “Of course!” So if can afford to tip when you come to Maui, please do. Please realize that workers here depend on it. If you can afford to tip well, all the better.

I will now get down off my soap box.

As it turns out, the company I worked for all those years just lost their contract with that hotel. Owners bid on the opportunity to have thier Activity company at a hotel, and if they have a monopoly of many Activity Desks in hotels, they can bid more. That’s what happened. So sad to say, the company will no longer be there. And the women I worked with are now out of jobs, because the new company has their own workers. Takeovers happen even in Paradise.

I am sad for my former co-workers and can’t really believe that an Activity company that has been there for 30 years is no more.

A hui hou (til later). If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Home Page.

Aloha, Jamaica

No Worries

Aloha!

I’m reading a novel and there’s a character in it that asks, “Do you think people on an island ever worry?” Her father answers: “They fish a lot. How much can you worry if you fish?”

Nice thought. Wish it were true. I have a friend who is considering a move to Maui, but says it’s “the last bastion I have where I truly relax, and I fear that if I move there, that will be that.”

And it is. I used to really be able to relax when I vacationed on Maui. It would take almost a week, far away from my super-busy California lifestyle, but eventually I’d sink down into relaxation, and like most people, I hoped it would carry over when I moved here.

In the beginning, every single time my mother called, she asked: “Are you at the beach?” with this hopeful giddiness in her voice (obviously living vicariously). I hated to burst  her bubble with No, Mom, I’m in the grocery store. I’m at the bank, post office, work…fill in the blank. But she really wanted to believe I was running around in a bathing suit all the time, living the good life. And perhaps if you are 20, don’t own a home (or have any aspirations to), if you are living in a three-bedroom house with five room mates, you could possibly have that life in Maui. But people quickly grow tired of that. Lahaina is a party town full of young people who don’t even own cars, just bicycles. But age keeps creeping, and eventually they wake up and realize they want more. So they move home.

The current state of agitation taking me away from the “No worries” island lifestyle  is a tax issue. (Yes, there really is a tax man everywhere, Virginia). Last year my accountant told me not to make a quarterly payment to the State of Hawaii because I was getting a refund, and she’d just roll it over. I told her this made me nervous, and she assured me she does this with “hundreds of clients!” That little voice inside nagged at me, but I said okay.

To muddle things further, I shredded my bank account statements this year for the first time ever, after reading yet another get organized article that stated “When did you last need a bank statement? And even if you did, the bank could provide it, right?” Yes, of course!

Guess what was the very first thing my accountant asked for when things went haywire with the State of Hawaii tax system? (COMPUTERS WILL BE THE DEATH OF US. Just sayin’.)

So yes, we can dream that life would be very different in Maui. And it is. Just not in the ways we thought!

A hui hou (til next time).

Aloha, Jamaica

Working on Maui

Aloha!

A picture perfect day on Maui this morning. Sometimes when I ponder what to write, I wish you guys would write and tell me what you’d like to know more about. Daily life? Moving here?

This past weekend I attended a symposium with Maui filmmakers at the college. One of the speakers said he’d like to create a group of people who got together to support each other in their creative endeavors. He’s been trying to do that, but it’s a challenge on Maui. Why? As he said, when everybody’s working two and three jobs, how do you get people together? It makes for a fractured society.

One of the biggest surprises for me when I moved here:  75% of the population works in the hotel/visitor industry. In California, almost every weekend my group of friends got together for brunch, games, or dinners. Here, unless you work a 9-5 job, you are working evenings and weekends.  How do you plan a group dinner when both wife and husband are working the night shift, or weekend shift? I spent a year working at a law firm on Maui.Those people had a normal schedule, but if you’re in the medical field you are on call for nights and weekends. So there goes another big segment of the population. That leaves government or city workers with 9-5 jobs. Otherwise, it’s like Mike and me. He’s a boat captain, so he works the sunset sail and is home around 9 pm. I was a concierge, which gave me 9-5 hours, but I worked weekends. We rarely had the same days off or the same schedules.

There are the waitresses and bartenders, boat crew, massage therapists (quote: “you can’t throw a rock on Maui without hitting a massage therapist),  the hotel front desk worker and housekeepers, the grounds and maintenance guys for the hotels and condos, realtors…the list is endless, and all of them have non 9-5 jobs. And guess what? They all work holidays! Guests come to Maui specifically for holidays, so everyone must work. Again, a fractured society, when families can’t even be together for holidays.

Then there is the phenomenon of being “off-island.” I am part of two different groups of women who meet once a month, and am amazed at how hard it is to get five women together in one place. When you live on an island, as nice as it is, one of the goals is to get off the island. It’s a rock in the middle of the Pacific,and it can get small after a while. Those who can, leave as often as they can. Also, so many people are from somewhere else…and they go there to be with their families. So you call them to get together and they are “off-island.”

The island lifestyle sounds good to many who want to live here. The reality is, you have a heck of a time getting together with your friends.

A hui hou! (til next time). If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the follow button on the Home Page.

Aloha, Jamaica

No Rain, No Rainbows

BIG STORM on Maui this past week. We had a flash-flood warning for Upcountry, which never happens, and residents were to told to boil their water.

So this was the view from my backyard.  I could get upset because Mike lost work as a boat Captain,  the weather being so bad that they weren’t risking the tourist’s lives by taking the boat out. Or…I could see that as the sky darkened, the colors only got brighter.

I lost someone very special to me this past year.The “sky” of my life got very dark. But now that the storm has passed, I have lovely memories left.

Never judge a day by the weather. No rain, no rainbows.

A hui hou! (til next time). If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica