Tuesday, August 25, 2015

10 Frequently Asked Questions About Maui

Is nudity allowed on public beaches? If you are by yourself or with someone who will not be offended by your nudity, then yes. Otherwise, no. Refer to my blog on this typically Hawaiian law.

What’s the weather like? Due to Maui’s geography, there are several distinct climates. Maui’s west and south sides (Ka’anapali and Kihei/Wailea/Makena, respectively) are typically sunny, dry and hot, though global warming seems to be changing that. Northern and eastern parts of the island, like Hana and north of Ka’anapali, tend to be warm and wetter and more ‘tropical’ looking. Up on the mountain of Haleakala, it is cool to cold and often dry at the summit. Unless you’re hiking in her crater, moving to stay warm, or from Canada, you might want to wear something more than shorts up there.  No matter where you go, the sun is strong whether or not there are clouds in the sky. As for surf conditions, southern shores tend to be calmer in the winter months. In the summer months, north shores tend to be calmer. BUT, never count on these things. This isn’t Disneyland. Nothing is guaranteed.

What does ‘aloha’ mean? ‘Aloha’ is the real life equivalent of the word ‘smurf.’ It is usually used as a warm greeting or to refer to being kind, though it can mean just about anything depending upon who says it and the tone in their voice. For people in the service industry, ‘aloha’ is sometimes synonymous with “What do you want now?”

Where is ‘Turtleville/Turtle Town’? If you’re looking for that one spot where ALL the turtles go, where all those tour boats promise to take you, I’ve got news for you: There is no single Turtle Town. ‘Turtle Town’ is merely a catch-all term for where you might be more likely to see turtles more often than not. Usually, these are coral locations one- to two-hundred meters off shore in 20 to 30 feet of water. Each tour boat company has a particular place (or places) they go and will tell you its Turtle Town. Don’t be fooled. You don’t even need to take a tour boat if you’re a good swimmer or unless you simply don’t know where to find turtles.

Is the road to La Perouse Bay a one way road? I’m throwing in this question because it seems a tourist and her family of bicyclists were recently under the impression that the road down to La Perouse Bay is only supposed to travel north as far as cars are concerned. The mother yelled at the driver in front of me that they were on a one-way road and that we (the vehicles) were all going in the wrong direction. Now, I don’t know how this person thinks residents and tourists get back and forth from La Perouse Bay, but I assured her it was not by bicycle alone. Had she been observant, she would have noticed there are no one-way signs anywhere to be found near this southern point on the island. I understand her desire for safety when riding her bike on a narrow road, but she should be educated on the fact that locals really don’t care about sharing the street. Nor do tourists from places like China know about our right-of-way laws, a country in which bicyclists are actually considered a nuisance. Best to stay off the road down to La Perouse Bay, then. You are warned.

Is there any nightlife on Maui? That depends on what you mean by ‘nightlife.’ Maui basically shuts down at 9pm, but there is nightlife if you know where to go. There is not a whole lot of places to dance, though Cassanova’s in Makawao sometimes had electronic DJ’s. Dancing can also be had at Ambrosia’s in Kihei late at night, but be warned that it is a gay-friendly bar if you are a Republican. Live music, on the other hand, can be found all over the island but mostly in Lahaina and Kihei’s ‘The Triangle.’ If you want to karaoke, try just about any bar in Wailuku. Drinking, well, you’d be hard pressed not to find a place to drink in Maui. Consult Mauitime.com for venues and show times.

What are the best beaches? As with most other things on Maui, it depends on what you’re seeking. Ka’anapali Beach is a long stretch of sand on the west side that is usually bustling with activity. At the beach’s very north end is Black Rock, a favorite place for beginning snorklers to snorkel. If you just want to relax in the sun and water without too much bustling, any one of Maui’s beaches south of Kalama Beach Park in Kihei is a safe bet. While mostly a local’s beach on the weekend, Kamaole Beach III in Kihei has a very nice lawn at its southern end that is wonderful for sunset viewing.

Are there any sharks in the waters around Maui? Yes, Maui has more shark attacks than any other island. These are typically Tiger shark attacks. The white tip sharks you can sometimes find near shore are small and harmless unless provoked, and even then they are more likely to run away from you. While sometimes these attacks are fatal, they are rare and you stand a much better chance of many other bad things happening to you on any given day. You can minimize the chances of a shark attack by not swimming in the dawn or dusk hours and not swimming in cloudy or murky water. Also, get a good tan; pale white skin looks like the kind of fish sharks like to eat.

What kind of sunblock is best? Waterproof or water-resistant sports sunblock is best. Spray-on sun-block is horrible, both for you, the people around you, and the environment, especially when you spray it on and immediately jump in the water which washes it right off. (Can’t tell you how many times I see this happen.) DO NOT USE SUNBLOCK IN HONOLUA BAY! The coral there is dying and any chemicals in the water will make the situation worse.

Anything else I should know? Yes. Don’t stand on the coral; it is a fragile lifeform that takes decades to grow. Do not touch turtles and give them at least 10 feet of breathing room. (It is illegal to touch them, btw.) Do not feed the fish. Watch out for sea urchins near shore; they hurt like a mother. Do not expect to walk into any business and expect service right away; ‘island time’ is for real. Use GPS and flipping pay attention to it. Drive with aloha (see above).