First time driving a car in almost two years...Here goes!

It was a joy to finally see the sun on the sea early in the morning. 
I was never the best driver in town.  I can admit that now that I haven't been driving in almost two years.  Most cars we've rented only allow Tom, an excellent driver, to drive the vehicle.  We haven't seen any reason to pay an extra $10 a day for me to drive.

At long last, blue skies.
As a result, he's driven every time we've gone out.  When we rented the car in Maui, a benefit of the rental agreement stated the "spouse drives for free!"  Yikes, I thought. That's no benefit according to me!
Interesting sky as we walked along the row of condos on the beach.
Its not my driving that worries me.  Its getting lost.  (Gosh, I don't like sounding like the "helpless little woman."  Otherwise, there's nothing helpless about me). 

Yesterday, we spent 40 minutes by the pool on the chaise lounges.  The sun in Hawaii is very hot.  We welcomed the occasional cloud cover.
Over these past few years I've become so determined to look for photo ops, I haven't paid a moment's notice as to how to get to and from any location.  Over the years, I've analyzed this as to the reason why I have a bad sense of direction. 

My apparent lack of interest in paying attention to the route while I busily become enthralled checking out the surroundings prevents me from recalling the route.  I may remember that we passed a certain unusual tree but I won't remember how we got to the tree.

We continue to watch for colorful birds but have yet to spot any in Maui.
Actually, the combination of Tom and I in the car together greatly aids in our finding our way around which usually is not a problem.  He has a sense about finding our way and I recall the landmarks. 

Since we have no cell service on our phones, only SIM cards when available, we have no GPS.  We've tried to find a world GPS device but the technology for our worldwide locations is just not available unless we're willing to pay $1000's.

We've watched the tide go in and out each day, noting the number of rocks and boulders that are evident at low tide.  I wouldn't want to drive a boat toward this shoreline.
So far, this hasn't been an issue for us.  We map directions on the smart phone while going online in our vacation home, saving the instructions offline for later use.  This has served us well.

The golf course quality lawn at our building is lush green after the rains.
Today, I'm going to the grocery store in Kihei, a 20 minute drive with only three turns.  Why am I concerned?  I think its a combination of finding my way and...driving for the first time in so long.  One doesn't forget how to drive.  Why would I?  I know I won't.

In any case, as soon as I post this, I'm off to the Safeway which I must admit I'm otherwise looking forward to, especially since this will be the first time in two years that I'll be in a grocery shop on my own with no impatient Tom pushing the cart or sitting in the car with a specific time designated for him to come inside to help me check out.  Most assuredly, I could easily check out on my own.  After all, I did this for almost 50 years by myself.
We're both always perusing the shoreline looking for Sea Turtles or other signs of life.
It must be a
 guy thing. He'd never sit in the car and not get out to help me put the grocery items on the conveyor belt and then into the bags.  It never bothered me doing this alone. However, I've greatly appreciated his enthusiasm for being helpful since he retired, more than he knows.

So off I go with no time constraints.  I can spend 20 minutes checking out the Italian sausage if I'd like with nary a thought of checking the time.  In all, it should be a good outing, as always.

Soon, we'll be feeling well enough to get out and see what Maui has to offer. 

Photo from one year ago today, October 21, 2013:
This was my delicious grilled squid at the Sands at Nomad in Diani Beach, Kenya one year ago today.  For details, please click here.

Sunshine, at last...Ebola fears as we travel in the future?

This is a Gold Dust Day Gecko that we found on the wall in the lanai during the storm. He looked at up me as I shot this photo. 
This full body shot of the Gold Dust Day Gecko shows the colorful spots of her back and the cute little blue fingers.
Tom has been plagued with the awful cough which I'm finally winding down.  In the middle of the night, he had several horrible rounds of coughing that sounded as if it would never end. 

During the day he's fine, coughing only on occasion.  His symptoms are almost identical to mine and we anticipate that within three to four nights, his coughing will subside.  I'm still coughing at night but not nearly as often and for as long as Tom's bouts.

The surf settled down as Hurricane Ana wafted away.
We're on the mend.  Hopefully, a week from now, we'll be fine. Yesterday, finally feeling well enough to get out, I decided on a walk.  A vigorous walk would have been my preference but with the recent illness, I decided on a medium energy walk, setting the timer on my phone for 20 minutes, knowing I'd work my way up a little each day as I rebuild my strength.

Forty five minutes later I returned to our condo, excited and refreshed realizing how lucky we've been to find the condo in this wonderful quiet area of Maalaea Beach.

A warning sign on the ground of the condo building.
I made my way toward the Maui Ocean Center, the world's largest tropical aquarium in the western hemisphere.  As I arrived two buses of cruise passengers were being unloaded as they made their way into long lines to buy their tickets. 

As curious as we may be to see what this attraction has to offer, after our glorious experiences of watching animals in the wild in Africa, I have a hard time seeing wildlife confined.   This is a phenomenon that effects many who have been fortunate to go on photo safaris and in our case, live in the bush among the animals for three months.

Flowers blooming on a tree in the yard.
Having seen the lifestyles of animals in the wild its impossible for me to find pleasure in seeing wildlife trapped in an existence that may be tolerable with their easy access to being fed but, bound by borders that prevent them from exploring their natural habitat. 

Walking past the entrance to the exhibits, I was surprised to find I was at a small mall with a variety of shops and three new restaurants including the backside of Beach Bum's BBQ & Grill where we dined on our first night here, last Thursday.
This interesting palm type tree is growing on the grounds of the building.  Tom's walking along the shore checking for points of interest.
Surely, we'll try each of them as we explore new restaurants once or twice a week while we're in Maui.  At the moment, we're loving dining in enjoying our favorite homemade meals. 

A few of our readers have inquired as to our concerns over Ebola as we'll continue our travels outside the US next spring in the South Pacific.  At this point, we can only say its a "watch and see" scenario. 

The Maalaea Marina walking distance from our condo.
Five months ago, we were living in Africa, not leaving until May 15, 2014.  Would we have gone to the continent for almost nine months had Ebola been on the news as it is now?  Its hard to say.  Ebola is not prevalent in the countries we visited.  Although, we may have decided against Morocco with its closer proximity to the ravaged countries in West Africa where outbreaks are rampant.

Our hearts break for the victims of Ebola all over the world including those isolated cases in some of the countries in which our readers live.  They too understand the fears the media have imposed upon us.
Flowers on a walk.  Had we visited Hawaii in the spring and summer, we'd have seen many more flowers. 
When one thinks about it, hundreds of thousands of patients die of hospital borne infections, Antimicrobial Resistance, in the US, Canada and Europe and others of countries each year although these numbers are seldom mentioned by the media. What is being done to prevent this?  Washing hands?  Not enough.

I won't get on my health soapbox here.  We both prefer to save these conversations when among others who share the same passion, often on cruise ship at dinner. Our site is intended to share our personal experiences as we travel the world.

Both boaters for most of our adult lives, neither of us longs to ever own a boat again. 
Ebola is a disease that is spread to other countries through travel and then, it has the potential to have an impact on all of us.  In reality, our potential exposure is no greater through our travels than any of our readers who may travel three times a year. 

For our worried family members and friends, we continue to travel with caution and common sense.  Of course, we won't visit an Ebola ravaged country.  Other than that, we'll continue to enjoy our worldwide travels.

A view of the Maalaea Marina from the mall.
For now, we continue to work on feeling well again.  Viral and bacterial illnesses most often are as a result of exposure to others carrying the germs.  Somehow in Waikiki, either touching a railing, sitting at a dinner table or grabbing a menu put the contaminants in our hands and then we ate our dinner.  That's most assuredly is how we became ill.

When we assess how easily illness is transferred from person to person, it makes us realize how vulnerable we all are.  Although washing our hands helps reduce our risks, as we've heard regarding Eloba, its much more complex than simple hand washing.

This shop from the Pacific Whale Foundation is located in the mall.  I wandered inside and was impressed by the nice clothing they had for sale at reasonable prices.
The world is our oyster and we'll continue in our travels, albeit with added caution, to cherish this fulfilling life we've chosen.________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, October 20, 2013:

During our three months in Kenya, we fell in love with Jessie, Han's little outdoor dog.  She slept outside at night, often sitting by our door in the morning waiting for us to come outside to spend our day in the outdoor living room.  For details from that date, please click here.

Shark attacks surfer on beach in front of our condo...Photos...Hurricane has passed...Rain, wind and high surf ended...

There were several of these police jet skis in the water for hours after the shark attack occurred in front of the building.
Yesterday early afternoon, as we watched the effects of Hurricane Ana as she bypassed the island of Maui, we were curious as to action in the ocean outside our building.  Looking through the camera lens and binoculars, we observed no less than eight jet skis skimming through the water, seeming to focus on one specific area.
Although it was raining surfers took advantage of the surf generated by Hurricane Ana.
Curious as to what was going on, we checked the news awhile later to find a news article that read the following.  Following is the story we copied from Maui News.

PHOTOS: 12-14 Foot Shark Bites Board of Surfer in Māʻalaea, No Injuries

12-14 foot shark bites board at Māʻalaea. Courtesy photo.
12-14 foot shark bites board at Māʻalaea. Photo courtesy DLNR Enforcement.
By Wendy Osher
Crews from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources are working to clear a section of beach in South Maui after a confirmed shark bite incident, in which a shark bit the board of a surfer, with no injuries were reported.
“It was confirmed a 12 to 14 foot shark did bite a surfer’s board.  DLNR will be clearing the surrounding water,” said Brianne Savage, Interim Director of the County of Maui Parks and Recreation department.
The incident was reported in the south Maui area of Māʻalaea at around 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014.
Dan Dennison with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources tells Maui Now that the surfer had to shove the board into the shark to fend off the attack.
According to Dennison, the water is “very dirty” and the Department’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement launched two jet skis to help life guards warn people to stay out of the water.
There is currently a flash flood watch and a high surf advisory in effect for the south facing shores of Maui County waters through 6 p.m. tonight with waves expected to be in the 10 to 14 foot range.  Forecasters with the National Weather Service say the large swell is one of the impacts as Hurricane Ana passes south of the state.
Maui Police say beaches are closed between McGregor’s Point and Kealia Beach Pond due to a shark sighting. Affected beaches will be remain closed until at least 12 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 19. DLNR will reassess the beaches during that time.
The Dept. of Parks and Recreation today announced that all County of Maui parks, recreational facilities and campgrounds are scheduled to reopen tomorrow, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014.
Parks facilities were closed due to the unpredictability of weather conditions related to Tropical Cyclone Ana, and will remain closed for the remainder of today, said Maui County Communication Specialist Lois Whitney.
12-14 foot shark bites board at Māʻalaea. Courtesy photo.
12-14 foot shark bites board at Māʻalaea. Photo courtesy DLNR Enforcement.
Shark sighting in Māʻalaea (south Maui) 10/18/14 11:30 a.m., Photo by Jack Dugan.
Surfers being called out of the water following a shark bit the board of a surfer in Māʻalaea (south Maui) at around 11:30 a.m. 10/18/14.  No injuries reported. Photo by Jack Dugan.
Shark sighting in Māʻalaea (south Maui) 10/18/14 11:30 a.m., Photo by Jack Dugan.
Surfers being called out of the water following a shark bit the board of a surfer in Māʻalaea (south Maui) at around 11:30 a.m. 10/18/14. No injuries reported. Photo by Jack Dugan.
Shark sighting in Māʻalaea (south Maui) 10/18/14 11:30 a.m., Photo by Jack Dugan.
Surfers being called out of the water following a shark bit the board of a surfer in Māʻalaea (south Maui) at around 11:30 a.m. 10/18/14. No injuries reported. Photo by Jack Dugan.


After that round of excitement and feeling grateful that the surfer was uninjured, we busied ourselves the remainder of the day watching the storm move through our area with torrential rain, winds and surf.  To say the least it was an interesting day. 

We've yet to sit by the pool or spend much time outdoors. The weather report indicates rain for many days to come.  Sightseeing is out of the question in the rain when we'll have plenty of time to explore the island on sunny days allowing us to take good photos.

In any case we're content, comfortable and happy to be in Maui. Rain or shine, Maui epitomizes our perception of an island paradise.  In the quiet area of Maalaea, next to the bay and situated on the Pacific Ocean, we couldn't be more in our element especially when the Whales soon begin to enter this area. 
The winds and the rains continued throughout the day but we certainly dodged a bullet when there was no damage on this island.  The Big Island was the hardest hit with damage and flooding.
As for the Sea Turtles, we'll keep a watchful eye and post photos as soon as we spot them.  In the interim we're finding pleasure in checking out, "Small Things" which we'll share tomorrow with some amazing photos.

As we lounge, enjoy great homemade meals, visit our family and friends online, and do general housekeeping, we're more content than we'd imagined.  I suppose it takes being away from certain comforts that inspires one to feel grateful over the simplest of amenities; a TV in the bedroom, a whistling tea pot, a large enough bowl to make a salad, a sturdy roomy shower always, each other. 

Photo from one year ago today, October 19, 2013:

When I heard a noise on the attic level of the house in Kenya, we made our way up the steep spiral staircase to check it out.  Alas, this Owl was trapped inside.  We called Hesborn to help get it outside which he gladly did in a matter of minutes.  For details of that date,
please click here.

It's official! Hurricane Ana is a Category One hurricane...A year ago...a single engine airplane...

We're in awe of the ocean views as we stopped along a beach on our way to Kihei.

As of news reports this morning, overnight Hurricane Ana decided to hit the Hawaiian Islands with less intensity than expected. Although, as I write this now, weather warnings continue to pop up on the TV screen for flash flood warnings on the Big Island where Ana is approaching.
Hurricane categories.

Big Island has been hit with heavy rains, winds and high seas in the past 12 hours resulting in considerable flooding but not to the degree as in higher category hurricanes.

We purchased more food and water than we can possibly use but, we've decided to ship a box to ourselves for when we arrive on the Big Island on December 1st, food we can use when the family arrives. 

The sandy beach in front of our building.
Yesterday afternoon, we drove eight miles to a regular grocery store to purchase a few smaller items we weren't able to buy at Costco.  You know how that goes at Costco...not all products are required in "jumbo" sizes.  That was always the case (no pun intended) when we shopped at Costco in our old lives, an imminent trip to a regular grocery store was required to fill in the blanks.

Bird of Paradise, definitely an appropriate name here in Hawaii.
Although its takes a good 20 minutes to drive to the Safeway in Kihei most likely that's where I'll grocery shop going forward.  A lesson I finally accepted in the Safeway was - do not expect Tom to go grocery shopping with me ever again!  Overly grumpy!

As the tide went out we searched for signs of life, at time fooled by the large boulders that appear at low tide.
With no sense of direction I paid special attention on the return drive as to which turns to take to get back to Safeway next time I need to shop.  The rental car company included me as a driver at no extra charge.  I have not driven a car since December 2012.  I hope its like riding a bike.

When we were outside the US driving stick shift vehicles often on the "wrong" side of the road, Tom would drive me everywhere, waiting in the car reading a book on his phone while I shopped.

On our way to Kihei we stopped at a roadside area on the beach to find this sign.  We didn't see any turtles.
I know how to drive a stick shift but not with my left arm when the driver sits on the right side of the vehicle, also driving on the "wrong" side of the road.  It goes against everything my brain is willing to process.

In any case, after the rushed moody shopping trip I couldn't get out of there quick enough.  Luckily, they had everything on the list, an app on my phone.  How exciting it was to see ingredients I haven't seen in almost two years.  There was nothing that couldn't be found.

Another gorgeous sandy beach at the Turtle Nesting Area.
As for pricing, next time I do a complete grocery shopping trip, I'll take a photo of the receipt for those of our readers who may be considering a move to Hawaii and are concerned about grocery prices.

Using the app on my phone for the past five years or more, I've become very familiar with prices.  Honestly, from what we experienced yesterday and at Costco on Thursday, prices are not much higher than they were in Minnesota over two years ago. - an 8oz package of Philadelphia cream cheese at $2.99, the same price back then; a can of unsweetened coconut milk was $1.79, slightly less than in Minnesota long ago.

Moss growing on the rocks along the shoreline.
Could we ever return here based on what we've seen so far?  If it was to Maui, we'd say yes, perhaps someday, if we're able to rent vacation homes comparable to where we're living now.  It's beautiful, people are friendly, the weather (usually) is ideal and the vegetation is exquisite. 

The only aspect we've yet to discover is wildlife.  Last night before dark, we wandered along the shoreline searching for the sea turtles we've heard often visit in the early evening.  Its a little early for whale watching but, the season will soon be upon us.  We can hardly wait.

As for the next few days, staying put makes sense as the storm maneuvers its way to Maui.  The surf is picking up this morning as we watch surfers taking advantage of the ever increasing waves as the effects of Hurricane Ana gradually arrive.

Late yesterday, the surf had yet to pick up with Hurricane Ana still hundreds of miles away.
Without a doubt, we're safe based on the local news reports. It won't be as devastating as the media had feared.  Costco made a lot of money this week when shoppers were in a frenzy filling multiple carts with supplies.  We certainly fell prey to that mentality.

Tom's back in a his usual good mood and of course, I'm overly bubbly.  Wait!  Am I supposed to go back to worrying about lava flow?


Photo from one year ago, October 18, 2013:
For the return flight from the Masai Mara to Diani Beach, Kenya, I was no longer fearful of the small single engine plane as Tom and I sat behind the pilot.  For details of that day, please click here

Changing posting time...Heavenly...Settled in to domestic life...

This Hawaiian Tree Snail is the size of the palm of my hand.  Tom thought it was a decorative item. 

We found this photo online which better illustrates the size of this snail.
We've tried to accommodate early morning readers in the US, other countries and for those in all time zones throughout the world by scheduling automatic uploads at 3 am mountain time.  The problem with continuing to do so, requires me to write today for tomorrow's post.
This boat takes tourists out for various adventures.
Life happens as it happens and we prefer to post each morning immediately after we've written a new post.  As a result, today, you'll see two posts. Going forward you'll see a new post each dayYou can continue to read each morning to see a new post from the prior morning.

By posting twice on October 17th, it enable us to avoid missing one day's post as we strive to maintain continuity.

Tom walked toward our private beach near the breakwaters.
We apologize for the inconvenience but we've found it better to post in "real time" as opposed to 24 hours before it is seen.  The news will be newer, the events more relevant time wise.  Thank you for your understanding.

The post you saw this morning was written last night on Thursday.  As I write this now it's early Friday morning.  Not much has transpired since last night other than at 9:30  pm we hunkered down to watch an episode of Hell's Kitchen on my laptop.

The beach for our building only.  As nice as this is, we prefer to sun and fun by the pool.
Finally falling on our faces we headed to bed after 11.  Oddly, the bedroom has no AC and the single unit in the living room is too far away to have any impact on cooling the bedroom.  With the treat the Hurricane Ana still looming, supposedly heading our way tonight or tomorrow, the air is thick with heat and humidity.

We anticipated that sleeping would be difficult after 77 nights in AC comfort.  In Madeira, the last vacation house I which we lived, the temperature rarely was higher than 75F, 24C during the day cooling down considerably at night.  With Maui daytime temperatures as high as 88F, 31C, it was still 79F, 26C when we went to bed, leaving us anticipating a fitful night.

Aside from our occasional fits of coughing we slept well, finally cool enough to pull the covers over us in the middle of the night.  Perhaps, once this storm passes it will cool down a few degrees.  Here are the average year round temperatures for the general area:

Annual averages temperatures in Kaanapali Beach, which is approximately 20 minutes from our location
Awakening this morning, I was impatient to get up and get the day going.  First things first, I turned on the burner for the whistling teapot, an item I drooled over when we first walked inside the condo.  I haven't had a real teapot to use for so long I can't remember. 

We know we should be drinking Kona coffee while in Hawaii but with Tom cutting out sugar, starch and carbs as of today, he has no interest in coffee without two spoons of sugar per cup. 

Views from the private beach.
In support of him, I won't drink coffee as he's supported me in my diligent observance of this way of eating.  Tea is a fine substitute for me.  Of course, when family arrives for Christmas, we'll certainly have Kona coffee available. (I doubt Tom will stick with the plan over the holidays and will join in on the Kona coffee).

Another aspect of an easy life in this lovely condo, is the ice.  Although the freezer's ice machine doesn't work there are six ice cube trays.  This means we'll only have to make ice once per day.  Add the huge pitcher we found, we'll only have to make iced tea once a day

As we roamed the grounds at our building, we spotted this warning sign.
I couldn't get the washer going fast enough.  With only enough dirty laundry for one load, I was excited to use the stackable washer and dryer in the unit.  We haven't had a dryer in a vacation home since November 2013 in Scottsdale, Arizona as we busily prepared to leave the US. 

In a little over 75 minutes the laundry was washed, dried and put away.  How wonderful!  Ah, the simple things.  They mean so much.

The surf outside our door.
As for Hurricane Ana, half of the time, the news people are still calling her Tropical Storm.  Her winds are a 70 MPH, heading our way.  Once it hit 75 MPH which is expected today, she will officially be called Hurricane Ana.  She has yet to hit the Big Island, her first target in the chain of islands. 

Also, the lava flow continues on the Big Island with little hope that the torrential rains will have any impact on the flow. 
A closer view of the flow front courtesy USGS HVO, burning vegetation at its flow margin.
The lava flow is currently 150 yards wide heading toward Pahoa, where we'll live beginning December 1st.  Helicopter operations to view the flow have been suspending do to Ana.
There's always the good and the bad, the yin and the yang and the ups and downs in life.  Hawaii is no different in that manner than anyplace else in the world.  We chose to spend this period of time on these lush tropical islands.  With that comes a price to pay, as is the case with almost everything in life.

Happily, we pay that price, hoping in the long haul, the benefits outweigh the worrisome aspects.  We'll continue to stay in touch sharing what we discover along the way.

Have a safe and happy weekend.

Photo from one year ago, October 17, 2013:
In today's earlier post we included a photo for this date.  With the above described readjustment of uploading time, we included another photo from that date.  For details of that post, please click here.
The chef at Camp Olonana made every effort to prepare delicious well seasoned meals for me.  He succeeded beyond expectations.  For details from that day's post, please click here.