Yes, I’m still here. And thanks to those who wrote separately to ask if everything was OK. All’s well!
Kathy & I had a little “Caribbean Business” to attend to for a few weeks. We visited friends in central Florida, met up with a long-time friend of Kathy’s and her husband on a cruise for 6 days, stayed on the same ship for another 8 days, then visited with different friends in Florida on the way home. Got back, started attacking a long-neglected to-do list and here we are!
Remarkably, we have no confirmed travel plans for the remainder of the year. But we are working hard to remedy that situation! Lots of possibilities in the works, to be sure.
One of the things I love about cruising is the interesting variety of things to photograph. The ships themselves have plenty of subject matter, and in sailing to different destinations, there are always new things to see. I grabbed a quick handful of a few photos in order to end the drought, as it were.
I’ll have some more photos and stories to share as I get things done over the next week or two, so stay tuned! 🙂
There are a number of professions I have always been thankful to not have experienced. Anything requiring a safety harness or hard hat would fall into that category. Climbing trees with a machete hanging from my belt would double my resolve!
One day at our hotel we received notice that a crew would be trimming the palm trees the next day. As it turned out, they started working right outside our room as we were enjoying our morning coffee. It was interesting to watch, but I wasn’t about to consider a return to the work force.
One of the fascinating things about digital photography is that it is possible to take way too many photographs, edit them down to a reasonable number and still have multiples of the number of photographs we would have had in the film days. That holds true for our traveling, and especially true for our trip to Maui.
According to my Lightroom catalog I took 4,654 photos with my Fuji camera, 160 with my Olympus point & shoot – exclusively out of the airplane window, plus about 78 with my phone. I typically use the phone only for food, wine, airplane window shots, etc. But they back up into Lightroom and get stored there. I have mostly gotten away from other storage methods like Gooble.
Out of those nearly 4,900 photos I processed 749 “picks.” Why such a difference? Because out of those 4,900 photos, many of them were “burst shots” of action, like crashing waves, elusive whales, or dancers at a luau. I generally chose the “best” one out of each burst, and while some of the others might be photo-worthy, there isn’t a lot of point in saving multiple photos with slightly different splashes, poses or expressions.
Out of those 749 processed photos, I have posted a gallery of about half of them – on my Adobe Portfolio page. And those 330 or so photos are still the equivalent of 10 rolls of 36-exposure film, probably about the amount I would have carried back in the Dark Ages!
So if you are really desperate for entertainment, feel free to check out my gallery. The page also contains links to photos from our other travels from the last several years!
At first glance, Hawaiian words, especially names, can be difficult to grasp. I’m still no expert, but it’s actually pretty easy when you pay attention. All of the letters are pronounced, and the vowels are pronounced only one way. The hardest part was parsing out a name like “Alanui Ke’ali’i” (ala-NEW-e kay-ah-LI-i) or “Upper Hamakuapoko Road” (hama-kua-PO-ko) in the 5 seconds between when you could read it on the road sign and when you passed it!
When we first started planning our trip, we knew that there were several places we wanted to visit around a place called Hali’imaile. We jokingly referred to it as “Holy Moly,” but not wanting to sound like ignorant tourists we decided to make an effort to learn how to pronounce the words property. Of course most of these Hawaiian words also have significant meaning, but we weren’t prepared to figure that out. When it mattered, a driver or guide would tell us the meaning!
So what is in Hali’imaile? First, it is the home of Maui Gold Pineapple Company. They are very proud of their home-grown pineapple in Maui, to the extent that they generally don’t sell beyond the island. Their fruit is sold all over the island, and wherever someone served pineapple, it was likely Maui Gold. But their picking method requires that the fruit be sold and used within 5 days for optimum freshness. Beyond that it gets turned into juice and used at the distillery that is conveniently right across the street! Ever had pineapple vodka? It’s pretty good!
We did a tour of the Maui Gold Pineapple Farm with a guide named Mo, who has lived in Maui for about 20 years, moving from California. A lot of people in Hawaii are from elsewhere, and now we know why! Mo talked with a confidence that sounded like he could be one of the owners, but I suspect that he is just a knowledgeable and enthusiastic employee. He did a nice tour, showing us pineapples in various stages of growth, how to make new plants from old pineapples, and slicing a fresh picked pineapple for us to taste. Yummy! After the tour, we were all offered pre-boxed pineapples that were carry-on friendly. We declined since we weren’t leaving for over a week. And we got plenty of already-cut pineapple in other places!
After the pineapple farm tour we visited the Hali’imaile Distilling Company. Their main product is vodka made from pineapple juice. Because vodka is generally odorless with a neutral flavor, it can be hard to distinguish tastes, but the Pau Vodka had just a hint of pineapple sweetness. Even the Bourbon Girl liked it! They also make a flavored rum using local ingredients including Kona coffee, a whiskey that is made from blending Kentucky Bourbon with some local hooch, and a gin made with Hawaiian botanicals. We didn’t bring home any of their souvenirs, although we did make a point of seeking out cocktails made from their spirits!
Also in Hali’imaile is the Hali’imaile General Store. No longer an actual store, it is the name of a restaurant owned by James Beard Award recipient and celebrity chef Bev Gannon. We had lunch there and the poke’ was excellent! 😉
So how do you say Hali’imaile? Sound it out: holly-e-ma-EE-lay. Now you know Hawaiian! 🙂
We had 5 specific things we wanted to do in Maui, besides lounge by the pool and have Tiki drinks. 😉 We wanted to go to a Luau, see sunset on Haleakala, go on a whale watch, drive (ride!) the Road to Hana, and see the big waves on the North Coast. Anything else we did would be a bonus. We did a lot!
Luaus are very popular with tourists to Hawaii, and there are many to choose from. Our travel agent recommended the Myths of Maui Luau, which from what I could gather is a smaller event, but still very good. We heard lots of comments from folks on our other tours, and of course everyone chose the one they chose for some reason, and generally thought theirs was the best. But I’m pretty sure they are all good!
All luaus will have food, and although the authenticity of the food may vary a bit, it is all pretty good. The pork that was served at our dinner was pit cooked, as they do in Hawaii. The fish, though, was not local. It was some kind of Asian fish that is common to the island, but it was not caught off the shores of any Hawaiian island. Oh, well.
The performers were excellent. There were only a dozen or so, and with costume and prop changes that managed to tell a number of the stories that make up the history and culture of Maui. The narrator explained what they were doing and why, and that made it very interesting.
We had sprung for ‘VIP’ seating, which gave us a table that was literally ‘front and center.’ It was a perfect spot to photograph the performers, although there were times when I could have used a wider lens – they were that close!
We really enjoyed the show. I took lots of pictures, especially at the end with the fire performance. It was quite impressive – we could feel the heat coming off the torches – I can only imagine how hot they would have been to hold. I have no idea how one would learn to do that, but am certain that it involves lots of practice, and more than a few burned limbs!
We’re home again and doing all of our usual “just got home stuff.” I’ll be working on photos over the coming weeks but have a small collection that I worked on but hadn’t posted yet.
This series is from time we spent at Ho’okipa Lookout near Paia, Hawaii. The waves there are often huge, and as large as they were on the day we visited, there are times when we can’t stand where we were standing. As it was, our sunglasses and my camera were covered in fine salt spray by the time we got back to the car.
I don’t know for sure, but would estimate some of the waves at 20-30 feet high! And if you look closely on some of the photos you will see windsurfers and parasailers on the water.
Well, we made it! Kathy & I arrived on Maui this past Tuesday, and that marks our 50th state visited. We’ll be here about 10 days, home on Friday, March 4.
We’ve got a pretty busy schedule and I’ve been taking a lot of photos. But I don’t think I’m going to spend much of my time at the computer, so here are a few shots from our first evening and first morning to give you all something to look at.
The scenery here is amazing, the people are terrific, the weather is beautiful and we are eating lots of fish. I love Poke, and like lobster in Maine, Hawaii is the place for Poke! 😉
Kathy & I are working on a decorating project and looking at various groupings of colors. One of the themes is “Yellow.” Yes, a lot of the photos are of flowers, but there are a lot of yellow flowers! 😉