Exploring Oahu – Hawaii, USA

After our eleven action packed days on Maui it was time to begin our journey home with a three night stopover on Oahu.  We had booked a house in Hawaii Kai which was a residential area.  It was the best Air BNB we have stayed in – the attention to detail of the owners was second to none.  We had our own elevated BBQ area with artificial grass, a table and chairs and sun loungers.  We had a view down the valley to the ocean.  It was so nice to sit outside at night time and have dinner and enjoy the breezey but warm air.  Taj loved it and spent his time crawling all over the place.  We wished we were staying longer.

After arriving and unpacking we headed to Wholefoods to get some groceries.  The Wholefoods supermarkets are amazing and I could literally spend hours in there.  They had a bar attached to the supermarket which happened to have a happy hour going on so that impressed the boys.

On our first morning on Oahu, Ashleigh and I went to do a walk to the Makapu’u Lighthouse – we had spotted the trail on our way to Wholefoods the night before.  Although the trail went up a hill it was all tarsealed and made for a pretty easy walk.  

Shipping companies petitioned the government to build a lighthouse at Makapu’s as early as 1888.  A light would assist the ships travelling the 26 mile wide Kaiwi Channel between Moloka’i and Oahu at night.  It was only after the cargo liner Manchuria with 257 passengers went aground in 1906 that building of the lighthouse began.

The 46 foot high concrete tower was complete by 1908 but sat empty awaiting the lens and lantern.  An incandescent oil-vapour lamp was installed inside the lens and burned vaporised kerosene under a mantel.  The kerosene was stored in the Oil House that had thick concrete walls to prevent fires.  The lamp was lit on 1 October 1909 and sent a signal 25 miles out to sea.

‘Stand by the light and keep it burning’ became the motto of lightkeepers after a tragic accident in 1925.  Keepers Alexander Toomey and John Kaohimaunu were using alcohol to heat the oil vapour lamp when fumes filled the room and exploded as the match was struck.  There was no damage to the lens but Toomey died and Kaohimaunu was burned.  The job of the lightkeeper was a hazardous one.  These kinds of accidents eventually led to reforms by the Lighthouse Service and a shift to electricity in the 1930s.

There were three lightkeeper’s houses situated in a depression on the summit.  This location offered some protection from the strong and constant winds.  The houses were built of cut lava rock (basalt) and mortar.  The walls were 14 inches thick.

A lightkeeper and his family had to travel 5 miles to the nearest town.  They travelled by foot or on horseback.  The children went to school in nearby Waimanalo.  In the 1950’s, the population of the Makapu’u Light Station consisted of 4 families with 14 people (8 adults and 6 children).  The families left Makapu’u in 1974 when the light was automated and no longer required the services of a keeper.

The Hawaiian islands are some of the most isolated islands in the world.  More than 25 percent of marine life on Hawaiian reefs is found nowhere else due to the remoteness of the islands.  Hawaii is also unique because it is the only place in the USA where humpback whales mate, calve and nurse their young.  Every year, from November to May, more than half of the North Pacific humpback whale population migrates nearly 3,000 miles to the warm, protected waters of Hawaii.

During whale season it is common to see humpback whales resting near the shore or performing acrobatics displays that can be seen from miles away.  In the spring and summer the whales return to the cool, nutrient rich waters near Alaska and other northern areas.

Unfortunately it was not whale season so we did not get to spot any of these magnificent creatures from our vantage point above the lighthouse. 

We only had two full days to explore Oahu so the plan on day one was to head to the North Shore beaches along the eastern coast.  We stopped off at Shark Cove which is a popular snorkelling spot.  It has a lava rock beach and is unique not only because of it’s spectacular underwater rock formations, but also because of its diverse marine life.  Apparently the lava has formed underwater caves and tunnels about 15 to 45 feet below the surface which are great for experienced scuba divers.  Both Ashleigh and Paul went for a snorkel – I just had a dip in the water to cool off.

Next stop was Turtle Beach where we were told your old see the green sea turtles sunning themselves and playing in the water.  Unfortunately we didn’t see any turtles sunning themselves but there were two quite large turtles playing in the water just where the gentle surf was breaking.

We then carried on to see the famous Pipeline surf beach.  The waves can reach heights of 20 feet (6 metres) in the winter months – November to February.  We were visiting in August so it was flat – we knew that though so we weren’t disappointed. 

The Banzai Pipeline, or simply “Pipeline” or “Pipe,” is a surf reef break.  A reef break is an area in the ocean where waves start to break once they reach the shallows of a reef. Pipeline is notorious for huge waves which break in shallow water just above a sharp and cavernous reef, forming large, hollow, thick curls of water that surfers can tube ride. There are three reefs at Pipeline in progressively deeper water further out to sea that activate according to the increasing size of approaching ocean swells.

The location’s compound name combines the name of the surf break (Pipeline) with the name of the beach fronting it (Banzai Beach). It got its name in December 1961, when surfing legend producer Bruce Brown was driving up North with Californians Phil Edwards and Mike Diffenderfer. Bruce stopped at the then-unnamed site to film Phil catching several waves. At the time, there was a construction project on an underground pipeline on adjacent Kamehameha Highway, and Mike made the suggestion to name the break “Pipeline”. The name was first used in Bruce Browns movie Surfing Hollow Days. It also lent its name to a 1963 hit by surf music rockers The Chantays.

Numerous surfers and photographers have been killed at Pipe, including Jon Mozo and Tahitian Malik Joyeux, who was famous for his heavy charging (gutsy surfing) at Teahupo’o. Pipeline is often considered the world’s deadliest wave. Its average wave is 9 feet (3 metres), but can be larger. Many more people have died or been seriously injured at Pipeline than at any other surf spot.

We headed to Haleiwa for lunch and a look around.  In 1898 a businessman named Benjamin Dillingham opened a hotel in the North Shore area and named it Haleʻiwa. In the Hawaiian language, hale means “house”, and the ʻiwa’ is a frigatebird. He also built a railway line from Honolulu to Waialua along the west coast around Kaena Point, which opened the same year and ended in front of his hotel. The railroad inaugurated a passenger train, the Haleiwa Limited, which took two hours for this trip.  This railroad was chartered as the Oahu Railway & Land Company.

Hale’iwa was designated a State Historic, Cultural and Scenic District in 1984 by the City and County of Honolulu. All new buildings must adhere to a design plan that reflects the territorial architecture of Hale’iwa’s earlier sugar industry period. The town is home to 30 historic buildings featuring plantation architectural styles influenced by the Waialua Sugar Co.

Ashleigh had been here a couple of years before and didn’t get a chance to paddle board down the Anahulu Stream which is located at the end of town so we did it this time.  It was a very relaxing paddle.  Some people coming the other way told us that they had seen turtles so we went on the lookout – I managed to see one poke it’s head up but Ashleigh saw a couple more – I was going too fast : ). The Anahulu River is the longest watercourse on Oahu and is 11.4km long – due to some big boulders you can only paddle 1.7km up it from Haleiwa.  

Over the past 15 years the green turtles or honu have been moving in and out of the stream.  In order to better understand the river habitat use by the honu, a research project began to track the honu’s movements using hypersonic tags and inwater receiving stations to pick up signals from the tags.  They tagged 15 turtles in October 2016 and have been monitoring their movements ever since – all 15 turtles remain in the area off and on.

Next stop was Waikiki Beach where we had booked a sunset cruise on a catamaran that left from the beach.  The traffic turned out to be a bit of a nightmare so we only had about 15 minutes to spare to get down to the beach.  The crew were a pretty relaxed lot and we didn’t leave ontime anyway!  They warned us before we got on that the waves crashing in on the shore were causing people to get a little wet while they waited on the boat.  Steve managed to get fairly wet just hopping on the boat – a wave crashed on the beach just as he was climbing the stairs.

We grabbed a drink and settled ourselves on the netting at the bow of the boat.  The waves were rolling in and we got a little wet – the water was warm so it wasn’t a problem.  In my mind I was thinking that the waves were just breaking on the beach and it was going to be dead calm once we got underway.  When we finally got underway I realised this wasn’t going to be the case. It was quite choppy out there.  It didn’t take long before Steve went and sat in the boat and Ashleigh and Taj were not far behind him although they had all got quite wet.  Paul and I stayed up there and got absolutely drenched.  There was a women’s volleyball team on board from the University of California (UCLA) and they were all in their bikinis – they had the right idea!

Again Ashleigh had done this exact same trip two years earlier and she said it had been dead calm – they were fully clothed and didn’t get wet at all.  She had a Mumma Bear moment when it got a bit rocky out there fearing for Taj.  The crew reassured her it was fine and it wasn’t long before we turned around.  The water crashing over me was warm but the air was getting a bit cooler so I was getting a bit chilly.  It was great fun.  Just as the sun was going down this three story cruise boat cruising out in the harbour blocked our view 😬

When we got back to shore Ashleigh was talking to the crew telling them about her previous experience being calm and they said she must have picked one of only about 15 days a year when it is calm.  The conditions we had incurred were normal.  I think they need to re name the trip from a Sunset Cruise to a Sunset Adventure – a sunset cruise conjures up images of drinking cocktails as you sit back and relax to watch the sun set.  Most of our drinks ended up heavily diluted with sea water and there was no sitting back relaxing watching the sun set.

The catamaran we sailed on was called Kepoikai which means “Crest of the Wave” in the Hawaiian language – a very apt name for the experience we had just had 🌊😂. The boat was built in 1977 and it was a pretty sturdy vessel.

The aftermath – a drowned rat!

The plan for our second day was to get up and do a walk and then head to Waikiki where we would drop Paul, Ashleigh and Taj while we went to Pearl Harbour.  I realised that we wouldn’t have time to do Pearl Harbour justice in a short space of time so we all headed to Waikiki to have a look around.  Pearl Harbour has been shelved for our next visit to Hawaii : )

Ashleigh had googled another walk close to us which went up the old Koko Head railway track to the summit of Koko Head.  Paul and Taj had decided to join us for this walk.  We got there around 7.30am and it was pretty popular with people of all shapes and sizes heading for the trail.  We looked up and could see all these stairs – how hard can it be!  There are 1,048 stairs in total to the top which sits at 1,200 feet above sea level.  

Koko Head is often called nature’s stair master, but humans helped the evolution of the incline by adding a railway during World War II in order to transport military personnel and supplies up to the lookouts which were built at the top.  Today, all that remains are remnants of old lookouts and a trail lined with railroad ties.

It was a fairly challenging climb and we stopped often to replenish our resolve.  Paul was carrying Taj in a front pack so this was pretty tough going for him.  Taj of course was having the ride of his life and again attracting the attention of the other hikers with his super cuteness 👼.  The views at the top were well worth the effort though and we spent a bit of time up there admiring them.  I thought the descent might be a bit tricky but it wasn’t too bad.

After recovering from our morning exercise and then having breakfast we headed to Waikiki to have a look around.  The area was a retreat for Hawaiian royalty in the 1800s who enjoyed surfing there on early forms of longboards.

A few small hotels opened in the 1880s. In 1893, Greek-American George Lycurgus leased the guest house of Allen Herbert and renamed it the “Sans Souci” (French for “without worries”) creating one of the first beach resorts. Later that year Robert Louis Stevenson stayed at the resort; subsequently it became a popular destination for tourists from the mainland.  

Today, the area is filled with large resort hotels, such as the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Halekulani, the Hyatt Regency Waikīkī, Marriott Waikiki, Sheraton Waikīkī, and historic hotels dating back to the early 20th century (such as the Moana Surfrider Hotel and the Royal Hawaiian Hotel). The beach hosts many events a year, including surf competitions, outdoor performances, hula dancing and outrigger canoe races.

Next stop was the Hawaii Five-O headquarters – I so wanted to meet Steve and Danno 😜.  Unfortunatley they were on holiday so I had to settle for a photo outside by myself.  It turns out that they only use shots of the the outside of the building in the TV series to depict the headquarters.  See below for 8 Myths about Hawaii Five-0.

Iolani Palace

You can go inside and sit in one of the old court rooms which we did.  The architecture inside is a far cry from the modern architecture portrayed in the TV show.

The building depicted as the headquarters is called Aliʻiōlani Hale.  It is currently used as the home of the Hawaiʻi State Supreme Court. It is the former seat of government of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi and the Republic of Hawaiʻi.

Located in the building’s courtyard is the famed gold-leaf statue of Kamehameha the Great.

The Aliʻiōlani Hale was designed by Australian Thomas Rowe in an Italian Renaissance Revival as the royal palace for King Kamehameha V.  In the Hawaiian language, Aliʻiōlani Hale means “House of Heavenly Kings”.  The name “Aliʻiōlani” was also one of the given names of Kamehameha V.

Although the building was designed to be a palace, Kamehameha V realized that the Hawaiian government desperately needed a government building. At that time, the several buildings in Honolulu used by the government were very small and cramped, clearly inadequate for the growing Hawaiian government. Thus, when Kamehameha V ordered construction of Aliʻiōlani Hale, he commissioned it as a government office building instead of a palace.

Kamehameha V laid the cornerstone for the building on February 19, 1872.  He died before the building was completed, and it was dedicated in 1874 by one of his successors, King David Kalākaua. At the time, Hawaiian media criticized the building’s extravagant design, suggesting that the building be converted into a palace as originally designed.

Until 1893, the building held most of the executive departments of the Hawaiian government as well as the Hawaiian legislature and courts.

In the 2010 version of CBS’ Hawaii Five-0 TV series, Aliʻiōlani Hale is depicted as the Iolani Palace; headquarters for the Five-0 task force with exterior shots of the building being used frequently throughout the series.

Over the next many decades, most of the state judiciary functions moved out of Aliʻiōlani Hale to various other buildings around Honolulu (including the state district, family, and circuit courts). Today, the building houses the Hawaiʻi State Supreme Court and is the administrative center of the Hawaiʻi State Judiciary.

8 Myths of Hawaii Five-0

Sheila and Andy, a couple of Hawaii nerds and frequent visitors to Oahu, noticed some things about the show that don’t exactly portray reality. 

Myth 1: Honolulu is laden with crime.

The show’s ongoing plot is built on fighting crime in Honolulu County, which is the island of Oahu. So, crime is naturally emphasized each week, but Honolulu is the nation’s third safest city per a recent Forbes report.

Myth 2: You can use your cell phone while driving.

As McGarrett and Danno drive around Oahu, they sometimes pull out their cell phone for personal calls. While that may be ok for law enforcement, that’s against the law for us civilians. If, as a civilian, you are caught driving while talking or texting on a mobile phone, you could get a $67 ticket. In fact, if you’re caught just holding a cell phone or any other electronic device while driving, you get a ticket. 

Myth 3: Five-0 Headquarters Located in Historic Buildings

When the detectives gather at headquarters, a scene of a very attractive historic building shows on the screen with a caption that it’s their headquarters. Well, those are actually scenes of Iolani Palace and Ali’iolani Hale in downtown Honolulu. 

Ali’iolani Hale is located across the street from Iolani Palace. Ali’iolani Hale is home to Hawaii’s judicial system. 

Myth 4: Kukui High School Fighting Nuts! Let’s go Nuts!

In a recent episode, we learned that McGarrett played football at Kukui High School. That’s a fictitious high school. Some enterprising local guys have generated a social media stir by creating a website along with facebook and twitter pages supporting this fictitious high school. You can even become an alum of this high school and play along.

Myth 5: The North Shore is just few minutes away from Waikiki.

Sometimes, you’ll see the guys driving from the North Shore down to Waikiki or Ala Moana beaches within minutes. While, we’d all love that to be true, in reality, you need to allocate about 45-minutes to an hour to make that trip.

Myth 6: You can openly drink wine on the beach in Hawaii.

In a recent episode, we saw McGarrett and his lady-friend enjoying a sunset barbeque and bottle of red wine on the beach. Well, consuming alcohol on the beach is actually illegal in Hawaii.

Myth 7: Sunrises are sunsets.

In the scene mentioned in myth 6, we are led to believe it’s a romantic sunset beach barbeque, but that scene was actually filmed on the eastern shore of Oahu. (If I remember correctly, you can see Kaneohe in the background.) So that romantic barbeque was really at sunrise. Doesn’t seem as romantic now, does it?

Myth 8: Hawaii Five-Oh

I learned that I’ve been mistakenly typing Hawaii Five-O, with the letter O. CBS would like to refer to the show as Hawaii Five-0 with a zero. So if you’re searching for official information about the show, you need to use a zero, not an O.

Anatomy of a Crimnial Case

Murder – is the unlawful killing of one human being by another.

A Coroner’s Jury – examines the causes and circumstances of any death which occurs by violence or under suspicious conditions.  The coroner conducts the examination with the assistance of a jury.  Witnesses may be called to testify.

A Grand Jury – is a group of citizens that hears evidence against a suspect and decides if probable cause exists o formally charge the suspect with a crime.

A Trial Date – is set by the court once it is determined that a crime has been committed and a suspect has been charged.  In a trial, the defence and the prosecution argue and can present evidence through witnesses to prove their point.  The defence has no obligation whatsoever to produce any evidence.  A judge or the jury, decides if the accused is guilty or not guilty of the crime.

A Verdict – is the decision of guilty or not guilty.  After the jury hears the evidence, the judge instructs the jury on the applicable law.  The jury retires to a separate room and makes a decision.  The verdict is announced to the courtroom.

The Appellate Court – reviews cases when a trial court decision has been questioned.  The court upholds or reverses the decision of the trial court.  If the decision is reversed, the case often goes back to the lower court for a new trial.  

The Hawaii Supreme Court – is the highest court in the state and was the highest court in the territory.  The court decides questions of law (or mixed questions of law and facts) in cases that are appealed from a lower court.  A decision of the Hawaii Supreme Court is final but may be reviewed by the United States Supreme Court.

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Plantation Course – Kapalua, Maui – Hawaii, USA

We saved the best until last : ). Plantation at the Kapalua Golf Resort is consistently ranked as the number one golf course in Hawaii.  Steve had been fortunate enough to play here a few years ago but for Paul and I this was our first time and certainly a bucket list item for me.  It is set on the slopes of the West Maui mountains and offers dramatic ocean views from virtually every hole.  We teed off at 1pm and it was fairly breezey and some dark rain clouds lurked in the mountains.  It had rained quite heavily the previous afternoon and that morning so it was cart path only which certainly made it a physical test going up dale and down dale to our balls.

Plantation hosts the PGA Tour’s Sentry Tournament of Champions every January which features an elite field of previous year’s PGA Tour winners.  The field has included golf greats such as Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Justin Leonard, Ernie ELS, Davis Love III and Jason Day.

The course was designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore and opened in 1991.  See below for a more detailed history of the Kapalua Resort and its commitment to the environment.

The rain held off but the wind never really abated so it made for some interesting golf.   It is a seriously cool golf course though and we loved every minute of it.  I ended up shooting 99 so I was pretty happy with that given the challenging nature of the course and conditions.

History of Kapalua Resort

When it Comes to Preserving Natural Beauty Kapalua is One of the Best

Located on the northwest coast of Maui, the Kapalua resort is well-known for its championship golf courses, world-class tennis facilities, luxury hotels and villas. The transformation from agricultural land to the elegant resort of today is symbolized through Kapalua’s highly recognized logo of a butterfly with a pineapple it the middle. Kapalua’s roots stem from a descendent of one of Maui’s oldest missionary families.

The modern history of the area began in 1836 when Dwight Baldwin, a doctor with the fourth company of American missionaries to Hawaii, settled on Maui. After seventeen years of service, Doctor Baldwin was granted 2,675 acres, the lands of the Mahinahina and Kahana ahupua’a, for farming and grazing. From that base, new lands were acquired until the holdings, known as Honolua Ranch, reached 24,500 acres in 1902.

The business of Honolua Ranch included fishing, raising cattle and farming crops of taro, mango, aloe and coffee bean. It was ranch manager, David Fleming, of Scotland, who first experimented with a new fruit, hala-kahiki, pineapple. He planted four acres.

One taste of the exceptionally sweet Kapalua-grown pineapple, and H.P. Baldwin, son of Dwight Baldwin, predicted a golden future for the crop. He ordered the whole coffee operation moved upland to make room for a pineapple cannery, homes for immigrant plantation workers, a railroad, store, and a new home for Fleming.

In a short time, Honolua Ranch became Baldwin Packers, the largest producer of private label pineapple and pineapple juice in the nation. By 1946, the cattle operation ceased to exist. In the next two decades, Baldwin Packers merged with Maui Pineapple Company. In 1969, it became Maui Land & Pineapple Company, Inc. (ML&P), the largest employer on the island of Maui. The company’s president was Colin C. Cameron, a fifth-generation descendant of the Baldwin family. Cameron was a man of extraordinary vision. In a rapidly changing Hawaii, he saw Kapalua as a sanctuary for both man and nature. To that end, he conceived a resort that would abide in harmony with its environment, fulfill the historic destiny of the area, as a place of culture, a playground fit for royalty, and a special place of the spirit.

Kapalua was designed as a master-planned resort community where all development conformed to the contours of the land itself, rather than imposing man’s ambitions on nature. Respect for the past, a present committed to enrichment of life, and a sense of responsibility to future generations were integral to the design.

Today, the resort encompasses 671 homes, homesites and condominiums; three championship golf courses; a wide variety of restaurants; two championship tennis facilities; a vacation rental program, The Kapalua Villas (managed by KLC); and two premier hotels — The Kapalua Bay Hotel and The Ritz Carlton, Kapalua.

Open spaces and a precious sense of solitude are built in, for the resort is 1,650 acres surrounded by a 23,000-acre working pineapple plantation. Many of the old plantation buildings have been recruited to new service. Part of the original pineapple cannery has become the new Art School at Kapalua, and the rustic Honolua Store with its homey front porch is still open. D.T. Fleming’s gracious old plantation home grandly sits at the top of Pineapple Hill and Hawaiian hymns still ring out on Sunday mornings from Sacred Hearts Church. Wide open spaces of a different sort are also found at Kapalua. The resort is one of a few Hawaii resorts that offer three championship golf courses.

Stretching from the pristine West Maui Mountains to the azure Pacific Ocean, Kapalua’s golf courses ( The Bay, The Village and The Plantation ( capture Maui’s stunning natural terrain and diverse topography.

They are three courses of dramatically distinctive character, each venue fine-tuned for players of all abilities. Arnold Palmer designed both The Bay Course and The Village Course. The forerunner of Kapalua’s three championship golf courses, The Bay Course opened in 1975. It is a 6,600- yard par 72 with gently rolling fairways and generous greens. Kapalua’s Village Course twists, turns, rises and falls through the West Maui foothills. A serene trek through forested Hawaiian headlands, stands of Cook pines and Eucalyptus remain scattered throughout the par 71, 6,632-yard course. The resort’s newest course, the par 73, 7,263-yard Plantation Course, presents Kapalua’s ultimate golf challenge. Designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore and opened in 1991, The Plantation Course unfurls across island canyons, native vegetation and panoramic oceanfront plateaus. The Plantation Course will challenge the best of the PGA TOUR in January 1999 when the Mercedes Championships makes Kapalua its new home. Though many know Kapalua for its outstanding golf, in recent years, the resort has gained recognition for its commitment to the environment and their conservation efforts.

Kapalua’s trend-setting conservation programs include partnership arrangements with the State of Hawaii, The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii and Audubon International; the development of a code of environmental ethics; marketing of enrichment travel packages with partial funds going to benefit The Nature Conservancy; and resort-wide dedication of all properties to the ideal of preserving the unique Hawaiian environmental and cultural heritage of which Kapalua is a part.

In 1995, the Kapalua resort established the Kapalua Nature Society to foster its partnership between man and nature. Dedicated to fostering an appreciation of Maui’s unique natural and cultural treasures, this unique environmental organization oversees the resort’s Audubon International programs; publishes the semi-annual Kapalua Nature Journal; and contributes to Hawaii’s natural legacy through their Native Hawaiian Plant Reforestation Project.

Additionally, all three golf courses are “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries.” Kapalua’s courses received this Sanctuary designation by meeting the stringent environmental standards set forth by the Audubon International for water conservation, habitat enhancement, public involvement, integrated pest management and more.

In August 1996, Kapalua again reaffirmed its environmental commitment by becoming the first resort in the world to be certified by the Audubon International under the Audubon Heritage Program. In this process, every aspect of the resort was evaluated, from waste management to educational programs, cultural and natural preservation, wildlife protection and land conservation. Audubon president Ronald G. Dodson said, “We wanted to establish a model of international significance. We needed to demonstrate that good business decisions and good environmental decisions are permanently linked both locally and globally.” Dodson said Kapalua was chosen as the model Audubon resort because, “It has a diverse ecology, diverse usage and a long heritage of caring for the land. It’s like taking many threads and weaving each one into a fabric so beautiful others will emulate it.”

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Maui Nui Golf Club, Maui – Hawaii, USA

We had spotted this golf club alongside the highway not far from where we were staying in Kihei so Steve checked it out online.  It was rated one of the best value golf courses to play in the USA and it was 10 minutes from where we were staying – result : ). We booked three rounds here and managed to get one of the first tee times each day which meant we were teeing off about 6.20am.  This worked perfectly as we were normally back to the apartment by 10am to spend the rest of the day with Ashleigh and Taj.

It turned out to be a really nice course with lots of hole variety, vistas and the odd water hole.  The layout wanders through the foothills of Haleakala, providing subtle elevation changes as well as views of the ocean and surrounding West Maui Mountains and the volcanic atoll Molokini.

The course was designed by Bill Newis and opened in 1987.

Legend of Maui Nui

The Legend has been told, that millions of years ago, the Polynesian Demi-God Maui was belittled by his family as he was not a great fisherman. Maui prayed and received a magical hook to fish the ocean. Maui’s brothers teased him and did not want to let him fish, but at last they allowed him to charter the ocean with them. On their fated journey after days of failure to catch nothing but sharks, Maui prayed to the heavens and cast his magical hook into the depths of the ocean and hooked the earth. Maui instructed his brothers to paddle and never look back. After days of fighting the ocean, the line snapped and Maui had pulled the earth to the surface of the water to form the island chain that is now known as Hawaii.

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Pukalani Country Club, Maui – Hawaii, USA

For our first round of golf on Maui we headed to the Pukalani Country Club which was located on the hillside of “Up-Country” Maui.  The course is situated at an elevation of 1,100 feet on the slopes of Mt. Haleakala, the dormant volcano that makes up the island’s eastern half.  Mt Haleakala whose name in Hawaiian means “House of the Rising Sun” and is reflected in the club’s logo.

                                                                       

The course was designed by Bob Baldock and built in 1980.

Pukalani in Hawaiian means “Entrance to Heaven” which is quite apt given it’s elevation and the stunning views it offered on some of the holes.

It was a good course to get warmed up on and we all enjoyed our round there.


 

 

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Exploring Maui – Hawaii, USA

Lahaina

After a leisurely start to our first full day on Maui we took a drive to Lahaina which was about 45 minutes north of where we were staying.  Lahaina was the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1820 to 1845, when the capital was moved back to Honolulu.  In the 19th century, Lahaina was the center of the global whaling industry, with many sailing ships anchoring at its waterfront, today pleasure craft make their home there.  Lahaina’s popularity as a tropical getaway has made its real estate some of the most expensive in Hawaii; many luxury homes and condos are sold for more than USD2 million there.

There was a monthly art exhibition on under the largest Banyan Tree in the USA so we had a wander through there.  We then explored the famous Front Street which is ranked as one of the “Top Ten Greatest Streets” by the American Planning Association. There are many historic buildings housing restaurants, art galleries and shops which back onto the water.  We stopped at one of the local seafood restaurants and had lunch overlooking the water.  We then discovered the outlet malls at the end of Front Street so did a bit of retail therapy : )

Lunchtime view

First cocktail on the island

Seamen’s House & Hospital – completely restored in 1982 to its original appearance, the Seamen’s House was first built in 1833 on the commission of King Kamehameha III.  At the time, Lahaina did not extend much further north than Dickerson Street, which was then a stream flowing alongside a missionary compound.  This building was deliberately situated about a mile from the homes of the missionaries and devout Christian Governor Hoapili.  The King approached a Honolulu merchant to build a house on his property which would cater to visiting sailors as an inn and a store.  The King also had another purpose in mind: he needed a place to indulge in activities not condoned by the influential missionaries and to be away from their prying eyes.  They frowned on the partaking of “ardent spirits” and maintaining the old tradition of a sacred marriage between closely related high chiefs.  So it was here the King could meet his beloved sister, Princess Nahi’ena’ena.  By 1841, Joaquin Armas, a Mexican cowboy who was hired as the “King’s bullock catcher”, became landlord of this estate.  In 1844, the structure was leased to the US State Department to serve as a hospital for seamen, particularly whalers who flocked to these shores in 1860.  During archaeological excavation, a “permanent guard” was found under a corner of the foundation: the skeleton of a human sacrifice which lay halfway outside the building.  After being blessed by a Hawaiian minister, the skull maintains its permanent vigil over the building to this day.


Bamboo Forest Hike

The next day we decided to explore the other side of the island and take the road towards Hana.  The waiter at the Outback Steak House had recomended this hike in a bamboo forest.  I had done some googling to find the exact spot as there is another bamboo forest hike at the bottom of the island.  We went past all these cars parked on the side of the road but they were doing the Twin Waterfalls walk – apparently this is very touristy and busy so we carried on to the lesser known bamboo forest hike which was also marked by a number of cars parked on the side of the road although no where near as many.  We entered the hike through this narrow opening in the bush and followed the track down what became quite a slippery slope – Steve took one look at this and turned back.  The rest of us including George of the Jungle, aka Taj carried on.

We negotiated our way down the slope via bamboo and then had to rock jump across a river.  The track lead us to a waterfall and swimming hole.  Paul got chatting to a lady who turned out to be originally from Wellington – her and her family were currently living on Maui.  She told us that the track carries on up to more waterfalls and swimming holes, each one higher than the other.  She told us that normally it was fairly dry in there but that had had a lot of rain causing it to be very muddy.  There was a rope to get up to the next level which we initially thought might be a bit tricky carrying Taj so Paul and I went up to explore.  It didn’t take long to get to the next waterfall and swimming hole which was quite cool.  Paul decided to go back and get Ashleigh and Taj.  Meanwhile I got my bikini on and took a refreshing dip.  It had got really hot and humid.

Ashleigh and Taj made it safely up the next level albeit with a bit more mud on them.  Ashleigh and Taj hopped in the water and Taj loved splashing about in there.  I had to go and do the rope swing : )


​We noted to get to the next level you had to climb quite a precarious looking ladder so thought we had gone far enough.  After cooling off we made our way back to the car gathering a bit more mud as we went.  We really weren’t that prepared for getting dirty so had to make the best of what we had, that is, wearing wet and muddy shoes for the next wee while.  We got back to the car and Steve was still there – bonus!  We stopped off at a fruit stall on the way back to Paia for a freshly blended juice.

We had been recommended the Flatbread Company in Paia for a bite so that was our lunch spot.  Paia pronounced Pah-ee-ah reflects its heritage as a unique Hawaiian plantation village that originated in the latter half of the nineteenth century.  The first mill was constructed in the 1870’s as the sugar industry took hold on Maui.  Paia Town was established later in 1896 with the founding of a company store for workers.  The Paia Sugar Mill up until 2000 was Maui’s oldest operating plantation.

In April 1946, Paia experienced the largest tsunami in Hawaii’s recorded history, which was the result of an earthquake originating in the Aleutians Islands.  Although 159 people lost their lives throughout the Hawaiian Islands, Paia only had one death.  The town did suffer extensive property damage and thus launched another rebuilding period.

In recent decades, Paia has become a laid back town with local businesses and a coexistence between longtime residents and those attracted by the area’s world class windsurfing.  In 1978 a group of young guys discovered the perfect windsurf conditions at Ho’okipa Beach Park in Paia.  From that day forth, Paia began to develop its reputation for being the “Windsurf Capital of the World”.  As word quickly spread, in the 80’s and 90’s Paia saw an influx of windsurf enthusiasts from the world searching for the windsurf mecca they had heard countless stories about.  Many of the moved to the Paia area.

The Flatbread Company is very popular so we had to sit on a bench seat outside the store and wait for a table which didn’t take too long.  Due to the muddy conditions of Paul’s shoes he had decided to go barefoot – I thought that would be quite acceptable in the hippy town but no he was sent packing to put some shoes on : ). The food was definitely worth the wait though.  They source local organic ingredients and the flatbread dough is made from 100% organic wheat that is milled into white flour and the wheat germ restored.  We choose Mopsy’s Kayla Pork which is their best seller along with a Pele Pesto.  DELISH!



Diving and Snorkelling

There are so many snorkelling and diving spots on the island just off the beach.  Paul did a dive off the beach at Kahekili Beach Park with Ty from In2Scuba ( https://www.in2scubadivingmaui.com ).  He loved it and got to see sharks and turtles.  Ashleigh joined him a couple of days later at Mala wharf where they again saw sharks, turtles and a moray eel.  Ty was an awesome instructor and really took the time to explain where they were going and then what they saw when they got back.

Mala wharf was once a fully-functioning pier which served as a shipping facility for the island’s pineapple and agriculture. In 1992, however, 30 feet surf came marching into Lahaina as a result of Hurricane Iniki, and the end of the dock was completely destroyed. Today, the pilings from the old dock lie scattered along the ocean floor, and what was once a shipping facility above water is now a healthy artificial reef which is home to a vast array of marine life.

We decided to take a snorkelling trip offshore too.  We were recommended the Pacific Whale Foundation trip that goes out to Molokini Crater and to Turtle Town.

The Pacific Whale Foundation is a not for profit organisation and their mission is to protect our oceans through science and advocacy.  They accomplish this through ongoing marine research, education and conservation programs.  Through their ocean ecotours, they have educated nearly 3.5 million people about the marine environment, while raising needed funds to support vital whale and dolphin research studies, educational programs for children and adults, as well as important conservation programs, including the fight to stop commercial whaling.

The crew were very friendly and included a couple of marine naturalists.  We went out to the Molokini crater first which is a crescent-shaped, partially submerged volcanic crater that forms a small, uninhabited islet located in ʻAlalākeiki Channel between the islands of Maui and Kahoʻolawe, within Maui County in Hawaiʻi.  It is the remains of one of the seven Pleistocene epoch volcanoes that formed the prehistoric Maui Nui island, during the Quaternary Period of the Cenozoic Era.  The islet itself is a bird sanctuary and you are not allowed to go ashore.

They backed the boat in and we kitted up and jumped in – the water wasn’t as warm as we had been expecting but it was really clear.  There were so many fish, it was so cool.  Paul & I had gone in first as Ashleigh was trying to get Taj to have a sleep so he could be left with Grandad.  We hadn’t been in the water long when Paul tugged my arm and pointed below us – a reef shark was casually swimming along the ocean floor.  It was so cool – a definite highlight of our trip to Maui for me.  We spent about an hour in the water before up anchoring to move on to our next spot.

The next spot is known as the Turtle arches due to its lava arch formations and the frequent sightings of green sea turtles.

The green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), also known as the green turtle, black (sea) turtle, or Pacific green turtle, is a large sea turtle of the family Cheloniidae. It is the only species in the genus Chelonia. Its range extends throughout tropical and subtropical seas around the world, with two distinct populations in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, but it is also found in the Indian Ocean. The common name comes from the usually green fat found beneath its carapace; these turtles’ shells are olive to black.

Like other sea turtles, green sea turtles migrate long distances between feeding grounds and hatching beaches. Many islands worldwide are known as Turtle Island due to green sea turtles nesting on their beaches. Females crawl out on beaches, dig nests and lay eggs during the night. Later, hatchlings emerge and scramble into the water. Those that reach maturity may live to 80 years in the wild.

I was very excited to see one of these turtles.  I joined the snorkelling safari taken by one of the naturists which was so cool as she dove down and pointed various fish out and then came up and told us all about them.  One of the other snorkellers yelled out Turtle so we all swam over to have a look – it was very cool swimming gracefully through the sea.  It actually turned quite choppy so I decided to hop out – I had seen a turtle so I was pretty happy.

We then had a BBQ lunch on the boat while one of the crew gave us a talk about sharks.  She was very passionate about sharks and said that they were to be revered not feared.

Basic Facts about Sharks

There are more than 465 known species of sharks living in our oceans today. Sharks are an apex predator at or near the top of their marine food chains, and they regulate the populations of species below them. Research has shown that massive depletion of sharks has cascading effects throughout the ocean’s ecosystems.

Sharks belong to a family of fish that have skeletons made of cartilage, a tissue more flexible and lighter than bone. They breathe through a series of five to seven gill slits located on either side of their bodies. All sharks have multiple rows of teeth, and while they lose teeth on a regular basis, new teeth continue to grow in and replace those they lose.

Shark ‘skin’ is made up of a series of scales that act as an outer skeleton for easy movement and for saving energy in the water. The upper side of a shark is generally dark to blend in with the water from above and their undersides are white or lighter colored to blend in with the lighter surface of the sea from below. This helps to camouflage them from predators and prey.

Diet

Most species of shark eat things like fish, crustaceans, mollusks, plankton, krill, marine mammals and other sharks. Sharks also have a very acute sense of smell that allows them to detect blood in the water from miles away.

Population

It is difficult to estimate population numbers since there are many different species spanning a large geographic area. However, overall shark numbers are on the decline due to the many threats they face in the wild.

Habitat & Range

Sharks have adapted to living in a wide range of aquatic habitats at various temperatures. While some species inhabit shallow, coastal regions, others live in deep waters, on the ocean floor and in the open ocean. Some species, like the bull shark, are even known to swim in salt, fresh and brackish waters.

Behavior

Most sharks are especially active in the evening and night when they hunt. Some sharks migrate over great distances to feed and breed. This can take them over entire ocean basins. While some shark species are solitary, others display social behavior at various levels. Hammerhead sharks, for instance, school during mating season around seamounts and islands.

Some shark species, like the great white shark, attack and surprise their prey, usually seals and sea lions, from below. Species that dwell on the ocean floor have developed the ability to bottom-feed. Others attack schooling fish in a feeding frenzy, while large sharks like the whale and basking sharks filter feed by swimming through the ocean with their mouths open wide, filtering large quantities of plankton and krill.

Reproduction

Sharks mature slowly, and reach reproductive age anywhere from 12 to 15 years. This, combined with the fact that many species only give birth to one or two pups at a time, means that sharks have great difficulty recovering after their populations have declined.

Soon after birth, sharks pups swim away to fend for themselves. They are born with fully-fledged sets of teeth and are able to feed and live on their own.

Sharks predate the dinosaurs by 200 million years. The largest known species of shark, C. megalodon, might have reached a maximum length of 67 feet.

One of the naturists on board then ran an educational session for the kieki’s (kids) on board about coral – Taj attended his first ever class.  He was very well behaved and sat their quietly taking it all in.  Paul sat with him and we think this may have been one of the few times that Paul has ever listened in class too 😂😂. Taj did get distracted when a cute little blonde girl sat next to him – he tried to get her attention but she was eyes front!

Taj made friends with a family from Cape Cod in the USA.  The Mum was travelling with her 14 year old daughter and 12 year old twin boys.  The boys were very taken with Taj and he of course enjoyed the attention.  They were great boys, very sociable and loved all sports known to man.  They were also very into their snorkelling and one of them had seen the spotted moray eel before everyone else and was pointing it out.   One of the boys said that their Dad had stayed home because he needed some space : ). After lunch we had warm chocolate chip cookies which the boys ate a lot of – they seemed to think that Taj could eat as many as them so kept giving him biscuits.  He of course was willingly accepting them until Ashleigh put a stop to it.

We were up near the Great Barrier Reef in Australia earlier in the year and there is a lot of talk about coral bleaching and the death of the coral reefs.  They didn’t talk so much about the bleaching in Hawaii but there was a lot of talk about protecting them and the importance they play in the ecosystem.  One thing I hadn’t thought of before was the damage that certain sunscreens can do to them – the crew talked a lot about this – the common chemical is benzophenone-2 or BP-2 and this is highly toxic to corals.  See below for more information as to why coral reefs are so important and need to be treated with the utmost respect.

We also did some snorkelling off the beach at Honolulu Bay which was a very popular spot.

One morning Ashleigh and I drove back to Turtle Cove which it turned out wasn’t far from where we were staying and did a snorkel off the beach.  I really wanted to see some more turtles.  We explored the reefs round from the beach and Ashleigh spotted another moray eel.   We then came across a turtle swimming in between the reefs and then another, and another.  In total I think we saw about ten turtles either swimming, resting on the sand or eating the coral.  It was so cool and you could get fairly close without disturbing them.  We spent an hour in the water and saw a lot of fish.  What a great way to start the day.

Kamaole Beach Park was just across from where we were staying and was a lovely spot for a refreshing dip and Taj enjoyed himself playing in and eating the sand!

Nakalele Blowhole

Even though Maui has a dormant volcano that will likely erupt again, Maui’s most active eruption has nothing to do with lava.  Rather it’s a forceful explosion of seawater that erupts on a regular basis – often as frequently as every few minutes when the surf and wind are both up.  We took a drive to see the Nakalele Blowhole on Maui’s northwestern coast – it is a natural geyser where seawater trapped in an underwater lava tube is searching for a way to escape.  Since it can’t go back the way it came in – there’s too much pressure from the waves – the only outlet is a tire sized hole in the jagged, jet black lava rock, where a column of water is powerfully jettisoned up to 100 feet in the air.

When we pulled up into the carpark to walk down to the blowhole we noticed all these police cars had closed the road further round the island and a helicopter was flying overhead with a monsoon bucket dangling from it.  There was a scrub fire just up on the hill –  we couldn’t see the fire only a bit of smoke.  As we walked down to the blowhole the helicopter made numerous trips down to the ocean to fill up the monsoon bucket.  Seeing a helicopter against the cliffs gives you quite a good perspective on how high some of the cliffs actually are.

I had read on the internet about the dangers of the blowhole and that you need to keep your distance.  There have been terrifying instances in the past where the blowhole has sucked people into the hole who were literally standing right over it and some have drowned.  Despite the warning signs on the way down there were a couple of young guys standing over the hole and putting a GoPro down the hole.  To be fair the blowhole didn’t look in full swing but accidents happen so quickly.  We kept our distance and only hung around to get some cool photos – Steve really kept his distance choosing to climb along the cliffs at the top rather than climb down to the blowhole – we don’t call him Precious for nothing : )

There is also this heart shaped hole in the rock which is quite cool.  Apparently pictures of the rock are even more popular on Instagram than the blowhole these days.

Exploration done and pictures taken we headed back up the cliffs to the car.  We headed back towards Lahaina where we stopped off on a hill overlooking Honolua Bay to have a picnic lunch.

Maui Swap Meet

The Maui Swap Meet has been an institution loved by both local residents and tourists since 1981. It is held every Saturday morning from 7 AM to 1 PM, in the parking lot of University of Hawaii Maui College.

This is the place to find the only real bargains on Maui. It’s like a large flea market. T-shirts, jewelry, flowers, fresh fruits and vegetables, hand-painted shirts and dresses, and an amazing variety of other STUFF, is all for sale by Maui residents. 200 vendors and thousands of customers (60% locals and 40% tourists) show up here every Saturday morning, knowing this is the place for a good deal.

There’s also plenty to eat at the Maui Swap Meet. Food trucks and other vendors sell snacks, nuts, candies, drinks, shave ice, and complete lunch entrees. This is an opportunity to taste some authentic Maui foods for less money than you would pay in Maui’s restaurants.

We spent a couple of hours here and it was cool to look around all the arts and crafts. we all tasted some local delights and I did a bit of shopping. Taj enjoyed eating the flesh of a coconut after we had drunk the water out of it.

In fact Taj enjoyed many of the local fruits as did we…

Mango seed
Blueberry Smoothie

Basic Facts about Coral Reefs

Definitions:

a) Coral: Coral is a hard substance of various colors, made up of skeletons of a kind of tiny animal (Chambers Universal Learners’ Dictionary, 1980).

b) Reefs: Reef is a submerged ridge of rock or coral near the surface of the water

(Princeton University, 2003)

Hence, to avoid any confusion on the definition, coral reefs can be said as reefs in general.

What is a reef?

Reefs are limestone formations produced by living organisms, found in shallow, tropical marine waters. Among the predominant organisms in most reefs are stony corals, colonial cnidarians that produce an exoskeleton of limestone. Many reefs result from biotic processes which is the deposition of sand, wave erosion planning down rock outcrops and other natural processes. A healthy reef has 25 percent of all the marine species living among the corals which include sponges, fish, crabs and many more organisms often living symbiotically (Ministry of agriculture and agro-based industry, 2004). However, the best-known reefs are those of tropical waters developed through biotic processes dominated by corals and calcareous algae.

There are three types of reefs which include the Fringing reefs, Barrier reefs and Atoll (Ministry of agriculture and agro-based industry, 2004). Fringing reefs are coral platforms which grow around island and mainland shores that are more or less continuous with the shore and expose at low tide. The second type of reefs which are the Barrier reefs occurs further offshore. This happens when land masses sink and Fringing reefs become separated from shorelines by wide channels. As an example the Great Barrier Reef of North East Australia is the largest known complex of coral reefs. The last type of reefs which are called Atoll is a reef surrounding a lagoon that has no central island with passages through the reef to the sea.

Why are reefs important?

(a) Medical treatment

According to Andrew Bruckner a coral reef ecologist in the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Office of Protected Resources, Silver Spring, Maryland The prospect of finding a new drug in the sea, especially among coral reef species, may be 300 to 400 times more likely than isolating one from a terrestrial ecosystem.

The antiviral drugs Ara-A and AZT and the anticancer agent Ara-C, developed from extracts of sponges found on a Caribbean reef, were among the earliest modern medicines obtained from coral reefs. Other products, such as Dolostatin 10, isolated from a sea hare found in the Indian Ocean, are under clinical trials for use in the treatment of breast and liver cancers, tumors, and leukemia. (Issues in Science and Technology, 2002)

Aside from this, natural compounds in corals have proven to be of immense value especially in terms of medicinal properties. For example, the bark of the Pacific yew tree yielded a compound that has helped battle some forms of cancer. Such finds have led to a new industry–bioprospecting–and such prospectors have fanned out across the globe in search of nature’s remedies. Now a compound isolated from coral collected off the coast of Okinawa has shown the ability to slow down and possibly prevent virus replication and it may hold promise as a cancer treatment. (The Coral Reef Alliance, 2006)

(b) Tourism

The conservation of coral reefs is vital also because in some countries it is a huge source of revenue, which can enhance the countries economic growth, and this is derived from the tourism industry.

For example, the coral reefs in the Malacca Straits alone have a total assessed economic value of US$563 million for tourism, shoreline protection, fisheries, and research potential, whereas the sustainable value of Southeast Asia’s coral reef fisheries on the whole is estimated at US$2.4 billion per year. (Wild Asia, 2005)

Within Malaysia the islands off the east coast of the Peninsular are a major tourist attraction, for example, according to the Tioman Development Authority “An average of 190,000 tourists arrive annually in Pulau Tioman, based on tourist arrivals from 1995 – 2003.”

(c) Ecosystem balance and biodiversity

The marine ecosystem relies largely upon the survival of coral reefs as it provides a shelter for thousands of species of marine life, and since corals are at the base of the food chain, it provides food for the rest of the reef community. It ensures the energy flow through the marine community, creating ecological interactions.

The coral reef which is the base of the food chain is also known as a producer, which produces energy through photosynthesis. Among them are three main types of producers. The first is cyanobactera or blue-green algae, which fix nitrogen and enhance nutrient availability. The second type is seaweeds, which consist of both micro algae and turf algae which are grazed by herbivores. The third type is reef building, or hematypic corals, which have a special relationship with tiny plant-like organisms called zooxanthellae. The zooxanthellae live inside the tissues of the coral and share mutual benefits. (Hawaii Coral Reef Network, 2005)

These producers in turn are essential for the existence of its consumers, which are organisms that consume energy by eating other organisms. Consumers can be divided into two categories. The first is herbivores, animals that eat plants, such as sea urchins, surgeon fishes, and parrotfish. Herbivores contribute mainly to the coral reef by controlling the overgrowth of seaweed and turf algae. The second is corallivores, animals that eat corals such as butterfly fish. The presences of corallivores are a good indicator of the health status of a reef. Coral reef organisms construct huge and intricate physical structures that are home to nearly one quarter of all known marine species. (Hawaii Coral Reef Network 2005)

It is also an essential to maintain a biodiversity of marine life. “In Malaysia, there are approximately 450 coral reef fish species, which include such important species as Pomacentridae (Damselfish). The total of 101 species of damselfish found in Malaysia is 82% of the total from Indonesia and 86% of the total from the Philippines.” (Wild Asia 2005) From this it is clear that coral reefs contribute to a huge biodiversity of fish and is of enourmous global value.

(e) Protects the shorelines from natural disasters

Coral reefs ultimately provide protection from natural disasters and shoreline damage. Coral reefs assist in the prevention of beach erosion, which according to new report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The report, titled “In the Front Line: Shoreline Protection and other Ecosystem Services from Mangroves and Coral Reefs”, estimates that a typical coral reef can absorb up to 90 percent of the energy of wind-generated waves thus protecting coastal areas from damage. The report cites a study from Sri Lanka which shows that one square kilometer of coral reef prevents 2,000 cubic meters of coastal erosion annually.

Coral reefs also provide protection to coastal areas, by reducing the impact of tidal waves or tsunamis. According to Simon Cripps, director of the Global Marine Program at the environment group WWF International, “Coral reefs act as a natural breakwater and mangroves are a natural shock absorber, and this applies to floods and cyclones as well as tsunamis.” A comparison was made after the Asian tsunami disaster and indicated that places with “healthy coral reefs and intact mangroves were far less badly hit than places where the reefs had been damaged and the mangroves ripped out and replaced by beachfront hotels and prawn farms.”

(f) Maintain fisheries resources.

Coral reefs ensure an abundant source of fish as it functions as a breeding, feeding and nursery grounds for fish. According to WWF Malaysia report, As much as 30% of fish caught depend on coral reefs in Malaysia. Therefore in order to protect the fishing industry and ensure a continual source of food and a livelihood for fishermen, it is of utmost importance to protect coral reefs.

In many countries such as the Philippines namely the small islands, many of the households rely on fishing as a primary source of income. For example on tiny Malalison Island approximately three-quarters of the households (55 hectares) in the central Philippines make at least part of their income from fishing, and 75 per cent live below the poverty level (Agbayani et al, 2000). By the late 1980s, live coral cover was down to 35 per cent and the community catch had shrunk to a small fraction of what it once had been (Baticados and Agbayani, 2000). This of course clearly demonstrates the crucial role that reefs play.

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Maui – Local Delights – Hawaii, USA

Winter lived on in NZ and the tropical climate of Hawaii was calling.  We flew to Hawaii on the 12th August and met Paul, Ashleigh and Taj in Honolulu before continuing onto the island of Maui.  I had been looking at the temperatures up there and it was saying mid to late twenties but it was actually in the early thirties most days we were there – no complaints!  

I think we both had different travel experiences getting to Honolulu and ours was probably a lot more relaxing : 0

A special guest on our flight from Napier to Auckland

Koru delights

Meanwhile in Sydney….


We got to Maui about 1pm and our accomodation wasn’t ready so we had some lunch at the Outbeak Steak House where the Waiter was full of suggestions for our stay on Maui.  I got quite excited while Steve’s eyes glazed over at the thought of so much outdoor exploration that didn’t involve a golf course!  We then did some grocery shopping before all crashing out for a couple of hours.

Grandad was very happy to be reunited with his little buddy.

Not sure about the tongue poking though : 0

We were staying in South Kihei which is on Maui’s south shore.  The accomodation was in a good location and we were within walking distance to the beach, shops, restaurants and bars.  I had done a bit of research prior to the trip regarding where to eat and drink and of course that included the best happy hours on the island : )

Some of the local highlights during our stay……

Life’s a Beach

This became the local – they had happy hour between 4pm and 6pm and served these monstrous beers for USD3.50 and a monstrous MaiTai for USD8 – I must say I was a bit shocked when they bought out my MaiTai but it ended up being the best MaiTai on the island and I had no trouble drinking it all : ). Needless to say we had a few visits here and the locals were very friendly.  This was helped by Taj being the little charmer that he is – he never fails to smile and engage with the people around him and if they’re not looking at him then he makes cute little sounds until they are looking at him!  Who does that remind you of, minus the cuteness : 0

Life’s a Beach

Horhito’s Shrimp Tacos Food Truck

The world over, food trucks are becoming more popular and Maui was no exception.  We saw a few food trucks during our visit and I had read about this one that did USD3 tacos.  It turned out Horhito’s Shrimp Tacos was parked just down the road from where we were staying.  The tacos were pretty good for the price so we had dinner there one night.

Hawaiian Moons Natural Foods

I always love a good natural foods shop so when I discovered Hawaiian Moons was 500 metres from where we were staying I was pretty happy.  They had a good range of fresh produce and meat as well as a salad bar and you could buy locally made artisan bread.

Hawaiian Moons

Lava Java

Another passion of mine is a good coffee and when it is locally grown and roasted I love it even more.  There were a few local growers and roasteries on the island but this one was just down the road so it became a morning ritual for me while everyone was still sleeping – grab a coffee and head to the beach to watch the people out in the sea learning to surf and paddle board.

The couple that own Lava Java, work with several upcountry growers to get their Kula Coffee and look to well known Maui grower Kimo Faulkner for the other Maui coffees.  The Kula Coffee’s “untold story” began over a decade ago, when about 250 Kona coffee starter plants found a new home on the slopes of Haleakala, and officially became Kula Coffee.

Lava Java Maui

Three’s Bar & Grill

Three friends who surfed and chefed together formed Three’s Bar & Grill in 2009 as a catering company but it didn’t take them long to establish a permanent restaurant in South Kihei.  We enjoyed happy hour drinks and food there one night and it was great – they have incorporated the three chef’s three cuisines – Hawaiian, Southwestern and Pacific Rim.

Again Taj made friends with all the wait staff.

Three’s Bar & Grill

South Shore Tiki Lounge

We had spotted this place on our walks so put it on the list to visit one night.  They professed to have some of the best pizza on the island so we tested it out when we visited and they didn’t disappoint.  They pride themselves on buying local and use only the finest and freshest ingredients.  The blurb above their menu was pretty impressive:

“We strive to buy local and use only the finest and freshest ingredients. Our bread products are made with wheat and malted barley flour. They contain no dairy products and are cholesterol free. Our meat products come from Maui Cattle Company free-range cows. They contain no hormones or antibiotics. Our fresh fish is caught off the shores of Maui. Our oil “Whole Harvest Smart Fry” is 100% cold expeller pressed soybean oil used only for cooking our French fries. It contains no harsh chemicals, no solvents, no trans fatty acids, no hydrogenation and no cholesterol. Our veggie dogs and burgers are made from soybean and wheat protein. They are low carb, low calorie and low fat. Our vegan chili is made with 3 types of beans, 3 types of chili, 3 types of onions, tomatoes, and herbs. Our hand tossed New York style pizzas are crafted from scratch using wheat flour, extra virgin olive oil, filtered water and a few secret spices. The sauce is made from fresh crushed Roma tomatoes and fresh (not dried) chopped herbs and spices. We hope you enjoy!”

I am very into knowing where my food comes from and what it contains so I was pretty impressed they had gone to the lengths they had to ensure the food they serve really does come from the finest and freshest ingredients.

Tiki Lounge

Paia Fish Market Restaurant

Every time we walked past this restaurant it was busy so we thought we better check it out.  We worked out that it was quieter earlier in the week so on the last Monday night we were there we wandered down here for dinner.  The website said that the portions were generous and the prices reasonable – my sort of place : )

Again there focus was on locally caught fresh fish and locally grown produce.  You order at the counter and find a table wherever you can, even if that means sharing with other people – they encourage rubbing elbows and making friends.  

The meals were large, tasty and satisfying.  There are actually three Paia Fish Market Restaurants on the island – the one we were at in South Kihei, one in Lahaina and the original one in Paia which opened in 1989.

Paia Fish Market

The Hawaii Fudge Company

As we were wandering back to our apartment after dinner one night we decided to go and check out the Hawaii Fudge Company – the smells drew us in.  We got accosted by a couple of staff who were promoting a fudge making class where you get to make a pound of fudge and become a fudgeologist!  They offered us a good deal so Ashleigh and I signed up for the next night.

We arrived at Fudge University at 5.30pm and the other two people booked in for the class didn’t turn up so we ended up having our own private class.  Paul gave us a bit of history on the Company and then on Hawaii itself which was really interesting.  The mythology is very similar to that of our indigenous people in NZ.  They have produced these four different fudge boxes which depict four different Hawaiian Legends – see below.

The Company employs about 12 people in their factory who make small batches of fudge just like you would at home.  They have many flavours including some seasonal ones.  There are two locations on Maui – Kihei and Lahaina and one on Oahu.

Pre fudge making we had to come up with a name for ourselves using an adjective starting with the same letter as our first name.  We then had to introduce ourselves and explain why we had chosen our adjective.  I was Racey Rachie due to racing everywhere no matter what I’m doing : ). Ashleigh was Awesome Ashleigh for obvious reasons, least of which was having to look after both Taj and Paul – just like having two children really : )

It was now time to make our own fudge creation – we had the choice of a white chocolate fudge or a chocolate fudge – Ashleigh went white and I went chocolate.  You then chose the flavouring, the bits and pieces to go in the fudge and a topping if you wanted one.  I love mint chocolate so I choose mint flavouring, mint chips and some pistachios to jazz it up.  Ashleigh went down the macadamia, caramel route.  We didn’t have to do too much hard work as the base mixture was already mixed.  It was then microwaved for 60 seconds for white and 90 seconds for chocolate – we then had 10 seconds in which to get all our flavourings and bits and pieces mixed in before pouring into our fudge boxes.  We all did the countdown while the fudgeologist of the moment did their mixing.  10 seconds goes fast which may explain why all my pistachios ended up in one corner of my fudge – I didn’t quite get them mixed in properly.

We had to come up with a name for our creations and from memory I called mine Peppy Peppermint with a hint of Pistachios.  We then graduated as Fudgeologists and took our pound of fudge home along with another lot of ingredients to make a second batch.  We were a bit dissapointed that we had to wait a few hours for it to set – we wanted to get into it – I had licked the bowl and it was going to be good!  Half of my fudge made it back to NZ after the holiday but it is long gone now.

Fudge History

Before 1886, the origin and history of fudge is unclear, but Fudge is thought to be an American invention. Most believe the first batch was a result of a accidental “fudged” batch of caramels, hence the name “fudge”.

In 1886, fudge was sold at a local Baltimore grocery store for 40 cents a pound. This is the first known sale of fudge. A letter, found in the archives of Vassar College, written by Emelyn Battersby Hartridge reveals that Emelyn wrote that her schoolmate’s cousin made fudge in 1886 in Baltimore and sold it for 40 cents a pound.

In 1888, Miss Hartridge asked for the fudge recipe, and made 30 pounds of fudge for the Vassar Senior Auction. The recipe was very popular at the school from that point forward. Fudge became a new confection after word spread to other women’s colleges of the tasty delight. Later, Smith and Wellesley schools each developed their own recipe for fudge.

Vassar College was the first degree-granting institution of higher education for women in the United States. It didn’t become coeducational until 1969.  Vassar was the second of the Seven Sisters colleges, higher education schools that were formerly strictly for women, and historically sister institutions to the Ivy League – Yale, Harvard, Princeton…

The story Paul told us was that one of the women was making a batch of caramel and it went wrong – it still tasted good so she sold it as Fudged Caramel – fudged being botched, cocked up.  The woman of the college continued to make fudge and used it to sweeten the local politicians whilst lobbying them on various political matters.

Definition of Fudge

Fudge is a crystalline candy and controlling the sugar solution crystallization is the key to delicious, smooth fudge. One of the most important aspects of any candy is the final texture. Temperature separates hard caramels from fudge and tiny microcrystals of sugar in fudge gives fudge its firm but smooth texture. The secret to successful fudge is getting these crystals to form at just the right time.

Hawaii Fudge Company – Love, Peace, Fudge

Our Fudge Lecturers – Paul & Heaven

The History of Hawaii

“The Aloha State” became the 50th state in 1959, but the history of Hawaii goes back centuries earlier. Roughly 1,500 years ago, Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands first set foot on Hawaii Island. With only the stars to guide them, they miraculously sailed over 3,200 kilometres in canoes to migrate to the Islands.

500 years later, settlers from Tahiti arrived, bringing their beliefs in gods and demi-gods and instituting a strict social hierarchy based on a kapu (taboo) system. Hawaiian culture flourished over the centuries, giving rise to the art of the hula and the sport of surfing, but land division conflicts between ruling chieftains were common.

In 1778, Captain James Cook, landed on Kauai at Waimea Bay. Naming the archipelago the “Sandwich Islands” in honour of the Earl of Sandwich, Cook opened the doors to the west. Cook was killed only a year later in Kealakekua Bay on Hawaii Island.

In 1791, North Kohala born Kamehameha united the warring factions of Hawaii Island and went on to unify all of the Hawaiian Islands into one royal kingdom in 1810. In 1819, less than a year after King Kamehameha’s death, his son, Liholiho, abolished the ancient kapu system.

In 1820, the first Protestant missionaries arrived on Hawaii Island filling the void left after the end of the kapu system. Hawaii became a port for seamen, traders and whalers. The whaling industry boom flourished in Lahaina Harbor in Maui. Throughout these years of growth, western disease took a heavy toll on the Native Hawaiian population.

Western influence continued to grow and in 1893, American Colonists who controlled much of Hawaii’s economy overthrew the Hawaiian Kingdom in a peaceful, yet still controversial coup. In 1898, Hawaii became a territory of the United States.

In the 20th century, sugar and pineapple plantations fuelled Hawaii’s economy bringing an influx of Japanese, Chinese, Filipino and Portuguese immigrants. Lanai, under the leadership of James Dole, became known as the “Pineapple Island”, after becoming the world’s leading exporter of pineapple. This mix of immigrant ethnicities is what makes Hawaii’s population so diverse today.
On December 7, 1941, the Japanese launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on Oahu. Four years later, on September 2, 1945, Japan signed its unconditional surrender on the USS Battleship Missouri, which still rests in Pearl Harbor today. In 1959, Hawaii became the 50th State of the United States. Today, Hawaii is a global gathering place for visitors to share in the spirit of aloha. Beyond the sun and surf of the islands, we urge you to discover the rich cultural history of Hawaii to add even more depth to your visit.

Hawaiian Religion

Ancient Hawaiian Religion

The Hawaiians believed in multiple gods who controlled the aspects of their lives. They believe that, in the beginning, there was nothing but the god Keawe. Keawe was said to be the first being and ancestor to the chief gods. Keawe manifested himself in the form of his son, Kane, the god of creation and light, and in his daughter, Nawahine, the moon goddess and the mother of heaven. 

From Kane and Nawahine came their sons: Lono, the god of agriculture, Ku, the god of war, and Kanaloa, patron of the ocean. Kane, with his sons, were the four main gods in the Hawaiian religion, the akua. The Akua ruled over the world and they watched over it. The Hawaiians respected the land they lived in because they believed that the gods would take forms of nature, like plants or animals, so they lived in the mentality of loving the land. After the akua, each household had their own specific god that they paid homeage to, the ‘aumakua. The ‘aumakua were said to be guardian spirits that took multiple forms, such as sharks, birds, fish, or other creatures. The ‘aumakua symbolized strength, guidance, warnings, assistance, and inspiration. The Hawaiians worshipped their gods with the Kapu system, the rules that they followed to keep their gods’ territories and images holy. The Kapu system was both their laws and their religion, and it controlled the actions of the Hawaiian people until King Kamehameha II abolished it in November 1819. This left the Hawaiian people without direction for a year, until the missionaries arrived in 1820.

Post contact Hawaiian Religion

When the missionaries arrived in Hawaii in 1820, they saw it as divine providence that the Hawaiians had overthrown their previous religion, leaving their minds open to the truth of Christianity. The missionaries sought to save and civilize the Hawaiians so they could be brought into the modern world. The Hawaiians were taught the doctrine of the Puritans. Hawaiians converted to Christianity in large numbers, yet some stayed in the practice of the old gods.

Modern Religion in Hawaii

Religion in Hawaii today has been greatly influenced by the cultures that make it up. Hawaii has had a large Asiatic influence since it became a port for world trade, so a large part of Hawaii’s religious background is made up of religions of Asian descent, such as Buddhism. With our world being connected with easy travel, there are elements of many religions in Hawaii. 

Hawaiian Legends

Forging Fire God: Pele

Lighting up ancient Hawaiian legends, Pele (pronounced peh-leh) the goddess of fire, lightning, wind, dance and volcanoes is a well-known character. Otherwise known as ka wahine ai honua, the woman who devours the land, Pele’s home is believed to be Halemaumau crater at the summit of Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes. However, all of Hawaii lays the setting for her stories, so that to this day, any volcanic eruption in Hawaii is attributed to Pele’s longing to be with her true love.

Frozen Mantle God: Poli’Ahu

Poliʻahu met the Aliʻi Aiwohikupua on the Eastern slope of Mauna Kea. The two fell in love and Aiwohikupua took Poliʻahu home to his native Kauai. There Poliʻahu discovered that the aliʻi was already betrothed to a princess of Maui. Poliʻahu left in dismay, but managed to first curse the betrothed. She first chilled the princess of Maui to the bone, then turned the cold into heat. Finally, the princess gave up and left him. Later Poliʻahu similarly cursed Aiwohikupua, freezing him to death. The four goddesses are defined by their otherworldly beauty. Poliʻahu is noted as Hawaii’s most beautiful goddess.

 

Origin Gods: Papa & Wakea

Together, Papahānaumoku and Wākea created Hawaii, Maui, Kaua’i, and Ho’ohokukalani. After having incest with his own daughter, Ho’ohokukalani, she gave birth to Haloa-naka, meaning elder child. It was a stillborn baby, which they later planted and became the first kalo or taro, a staple of the Hawaiian diet. After Haloa-naka, Ho’ohokukalani gave birth to another child named Haloa, meaning younger sibling, and he became the first kanaka or Hawaiian person. The relationship between Haloa-naka and Haloa describes the balance of relationships between the land and the people that live in it. Haloa-naka, the land or kalo, takes care of the kanakas or Haloa by providing them with food and nutrients. In return, Haloa or the people would treat and take care of the land like their own family. Later on, Wākea reunites with Papahānaumoku and they create Ni’ihau, Lehua, and Kaʻula. In one tradition, the first person on Earth was the woman Laʻila. She and her husband Kealiʻi are the parents of Kahiko, the father of Wākea. Wākea made the land and sea from the calabash or gourd (‘ipu) of Papahānaumoku. He threw it up high, and it became the heavens. He made the rain from its juice and from the seeds he made the sun, moon, and stars.

Hidden Beauty God: La’ieikawai

In Hawaiian mythology, Laʻieikawai (Lāʻi.e.-i-ka-wai) and her twin sister Laʻielohelohe were princesses, and were born in Laie, Hawaii, Oahu.

They were separated and hidden away from their chiefly father who had all his daughters killed at birth, because he wanted a first born son. Laʻieikawai was hidden in a cave which was only accessed by diving in a pool of water named Waiapuka. Soon it was well known that someone of royalty resided nearby because of the tell-tale rainbow that graced the sky above her cave dwelling. Her grandmother Waka secretly tried to smuggle her to Paliuli, Puna, Hawaii (island). On the way there others heard of her beauty and the rumors travelled all throughout the islands. Aiwohikupua, a chief from the island of Kauai decided he would pursue her. At her home in Paliuli, Laieikawai was attended by supernatural birds such as the ‘i’iwi polena. It is said she could float on the wings of the birds. While other royalty in Hawai’i had mere feather capes and cloaks, Laʻieikawai had a house made of the sacred feathers. After a series of misfortunes, she becomes known as Kawahineliula (“woman of the twilight”). In 1863, S. N. Haleʻole published the story of the figure in The Hawaiian Romance of Laieikawai, the first fictional work of literature produced by a Native Hawaiian.

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Revisiting HoiAn – Vietnam

Steve was adamant that he didn’t want to spend his birthday in June at home in the depths of winter.  I am always wanting to go to new places but all the places in Asia that we looked at didn’t work for some reason or other.  One of my favorite places to re visit is HoiAn in central Vietnam – we spent two months there back in 2015 and it was certainly no chore going back there.  The food is the number one drawcard for me – it is so fresh and flavourful.  I couldn’t wait to get amongst it again.

When we visited in 2015 we stayed out at Montgomerie Links, a golf club about 25 minutes out of HoiAn.  This time we decided we wanted to be closer to the action so we could explore the old town on a whim.  We chose to stay at the Little HoiAn Central Boutique Hotel and Spa and it turned out to be a great choice.  The hotel wasn’t too big, the rooms were spacious, the pool area was nice and the staff were great.  It was about a 10 minute walk to town which was perfect.

Steve’s birthday was extra special as he was lavished with gifts by the hotel staff, some of whom gathered to sing happy birthday to him.  We insisted on sharing the cake with them even though they wanted us to eat it all – we told them it was a NZ tradition to share the cake.  Crikey I was having enough trouble with food consumption without having to eat half a cake!  Special thanks to Suzy who is one of the front office superstars at the hotel – she looked after us so well : ). She organised our transport to the golf club each day and although it ran smoothly most of the time we had a couple of hitches with the driver going to the wrong golf course.  Steve had also booked for Laura to come and stay later on in our stay and the hotel mixed the dates up.  Steve went to sort it out and Suzy told him that he must have made a mistake as he is an “old man” – he of course took great delight in showing her that they had made the mistake not the “old man”.  It became a standing joke after that.

As you know we very rarely travel without our golf clubs and this time was no exception – it was the Golfnut’s birthday after all.  We played seven rounds of golf while we were up there – four at Montgomerie Links and three at Danang Golf Club which is the Greg Norman designed course.  It was lovely to see all our friends at Montgomerie Links – we had lunch with Miss Hang and Miss Van one day – Miss Van works at the Bana Hills Golf Club now but made a special effort to come for lunch.  I had contacted our favourite caddies prior to the trip but unfortunately my one, Hoa had just left but Steve’s one Tinh was still around so she caddied for him every round at Montgomerie.

We also played with some nice guys who were all golfing alone on the various days we played – Brad and Ray from Australia and Gerry, originally from Ireland but now residing in Hong Kong with his Korean wife who spoke fluent Russian and whom he is convinced is a Russian spy : ). She joined us for lunch one day – if she’s a Russian spy then she has a very good sense of humour – she was good chat : )

Check out my blogs from 2015 for more information on the golf courses – 

Danang Golf Club

Montgomerie Links

Tinh

Steve jumping on the Caddy wagon – Montgomerie Links

Danang Golf Club

I revisited all my favorite spots around town and was surprised as to how busy it was and how many more coffee places there were.  HoiAn Roastery had one cafe when I was there in 2015 and there must be at least four now and the same with CocoBox, the farm shop.  The tourists are obviously recognising the quality of the food and drinks at these places which has led to the expansion.  I also went back to Highlands Coffee and the same guy who used to give me love hearts on my coffee was still there and he remembered me – apparently he has worked there for five years.  

We were recommended a new sports bar down by the river – 3 Dragons Sports Bar which was great to watch the rugby at.  It’s not open like the HoiAn Sports Bar so is cooler and the air conditioner units work a treat.  We enjoyed watching the All Black’s beat the Lions in the first test there and the food is pretty good.

The guy that owns the 3 Dragons recommended a new restaurant to us called the Red Dragon – it is a little bit out of town but taxis are so cheap it is not a problem.  It was sensational – family owned and run and you can see them preparing the food.  The menu is not large but what they do offer is top quality and so delicious.  The tofu and mango fresh spring rolls were to die for as was there take on bruschetta.  

One place I meant to visit last time we were there was Dingo Deli – this is owned by the guy that owns the HoiAn Sports Bar and is a delicatessen as well as a cafe.  Again the food was delicious but more European than Vietnamese.

Check out – 

3 Dragons Sports Bar

Dingo Deli

The Red Dragon doesn’t have a website but is located at 332 Cửa Đại, Cẩm Châu, Tp. Hội An.

We also re visited our favourites –

The Little Menu Restaurant

Hai Cafe

Morning Glory

Good Morning Vietnam

Ashleigh’s parents Con & Louise were travelling in Vietnam at the same time so we met up with them for a few days in HoiAn.  They hadn’t been there before so we showed them around a little.  We watched the second Lion’s test with them – you know the one where we lost!  That was a bit of a downer but we had hot weather, great food and sights to see so we couldn’t dwell for too long : 0

On the Sunday night before they returned home we went out to the Intercontinental Hotel on the other side of Danang for dinner.  We had visited there two years previously and it is pretty cool.  Citron Restaurant which sits on the top level has these upside down Vietnamese hats floating above the water that you dine in.  Unfortunately you can’t book them now so it is first in first served.  We decided to get there for 5pm which is when the restaurant opened for dinner.  What we didn’t know ist that they also do a high tea so all the “hats” were occupied and we went on the waiting list.  We got a drink and kept a close eye on proceedings.  It didn’t actually take too long before we were moved into a “hat”.  It was a lovely evening and we enjoyed a nice dinner before having a look around the resort.

Check out my previous blog for more info on the Intercontinental – 

Intercontinental Danang

Laura and her friends Rachel & Georgina arrived on the Sunday night while we were dining at the Intercontinental.  They had been travelling around Asia and timed there visit to HoiAn while we were there.  We enjoyed spending time with them and enjoying more delicious food.  Laura had spent a few weeks in HoiAn earlier in the year so had some more good eating suggestions.  One afternoon we used the hotel bikes to bike down to the markets where we enjoyed avocado and mango smoothies – delish!  I had always been a bit nervous about biking around in HoiAn but it was so cool – wish I had discovered it earlier.  It was so hot that biking was a better option due to the breeze generated.

It was then time to say goodbye and head back to winter – just a short visit this time but enough to get my Vietnamese food fix.  Suzy came in on her morning off to wave us goodbye – probably came to make sure the “old man” left : )

Suzy is the one on the left : )

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