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Warm Water Kui Ka Lono Winter Edition
Focusing on our favorite Warm Water destinations in the South Pacific and Caribbean

 


Several months ago I approached Glenn Cannon, a guest of ours and a many time visitor of the Hawaiian Islands, requesting that he share his knowledge and experiences regarding Mt. Haleakala with our many readers. Being the kind man that Glenn is he enthusiastically obliged. So often our many trail savy guests ask me for suggestions regarding the perfect day hike on Mt. Haleakala. I can not adequately express how grateful I am to Glenn, and relieved in general, that I have been rescued from my own possible weak attempt. Glenn is definitely the man for the job!

Several years ago while on the phone with Glenn...as he diligently made arrangements for numerous family members to spend an August Maui vacation, I was absolutely charmed by his easy way of sharing Hawaii with me. Glenn not only shared a glimpse of Maui as a destination 40 years ago...he shared his experiences regarding Mt. Haleakala and his broad knowledge and interest of this wonder as a current point of discovery. Thank-you Glenn for your willingness to share your thoughts with our readers. In the future Tom and I plan to make a more substantial day of Mt. Haleakala using one of Glenn’s more moderate hikes.

I am absolutely delighted to introduce Glenn’s first article in our Ku’i Ka Lono! First, a brief and much needed introduction:

Glenn Cannon is a marine scientist (physical oceanography) having worked for the NOAA government lab in Seattle for most of his career. Even though retired, he is active professionally through an appointment, similar to an emeritus professor, in Oceanography at the University of Washington. While in grad school enroute to Perth from Baltimore to meet a research ship and sail to Japan, Glenn had the opportunity to visit Maui for the first time in 1965. Glenn did the loop hike in Haleakala during his ‘65 visit. In 1994 Glenn returned to Hawaii on a research trip, almost 30 years later. Since, he and his wife Carole started making trips to the Hawaiian Islands almost yearly, sometimes twice, one island per visit. Though Glenn’s article in this issue of Ku’i Ka Lono is more of the land based variety he has much knowledge to offer regarding oceanography. He’s worked on coastal waters, particularly Puget Sound, on hydrothermal vents, at mid-ocean ridges where new earths crust is formed, and even the Yangtze River when a special study took him to China in the early 1980’s. Most importantly Glenn seems to see things from many angles. This I easily attribute to the closeness he shares with his wife Carole, his grown children and 5 grandchildren, ages 7-16. Hopefully when he returns from Kona he will have tid bits to share with those of you spending time on the Big Island of Hawaii...and Tom and I have our fingers crossed that our Hawaii time will again overlap with the Cannon’s.

Also in this issue a quick glimpse at an easy morning of south side snorkeling, View of the Reef, and a deeper look at Another World in my all time favorite dive destination of Cayman Brac.

Sunniest Mahalos!

Ileene and Tommy Voss

Happiness is a cheerful, warm breeze that satisfies the soul.
Desire this for everyone.

Mt. Haleakala Hiking Magnificent Hanohano

Article by: Glenn Cannon

Hawaii is noted for its beaches and sun, and we spend most of our time snorkeling and diving at the many beaches trying to identify the myriad of fish, eels, and turtles. But there is a magical lure to the mountains
that created these islands and made the beaches. On Maui it is Haleakala. Many of the advertisements say
to see the sunrise from the top or ride a bike down to
the sea. While the sunrise is spectacular, to me the
real magic of Haleakala is to visit within the crater to understand its size and beauty. It is huge, big enough
to hold Manhattan Island, NY, not in length, but in total area. Within the crater there are many cinder cones, volcanoes within a volcano, Silverswords, plants native only to here and bloom only once in their approximate
25 year life time, and birds, nene, ring necked pheasant, chukkar.

There are several ways to enjoy visiting the crater, depending on your time and energy. You can go down
the Sliding Sands Trail from the top, or the Halemau’u
Trail from the highway before reaching the summit.
Many years ago I did a loop, starting at the top and coming out the lower trail, a distance of about 12 miles. This saves regaining about a 1000 feet, but requires a second car. When I did this, the Park Service moved
my car, but most of the present employees never knew this was done (showing my age).

We’ve also gone down the Sliding Sands to the crater
floor and back up the same way, about 4 miles and
2000 feet vertical. There’s a nice lunch spot at the
bottom frequented by birds. There are shorter versions
of this hike that are also very pretty. The last time we
were there a large stand of Silverswords were in bloom about a mile into the crater. Of course the ones we saw
in bloom will be gone, but there were many plants in the area. You’ll also see the cinder cones closer. Look as
you descend for a black one with a trail going to it from
the right. We took our grandson (8) down 2 miles to
this side trail, and another half-mile to Ka Lu’u o ka O’o
where we could look into the crater cone, a crater within the crater. Part way hiking out he said, “poppop, maybe we shouldn’t have gone so far”, but we made it out
before dark.

On the hike out, look back for the cone; you can see
it from the top. We also saw chukkar during this hike.
The trail is very smooth and easy walking, but
remember the way out is uphill at high elevation,
10,000 feet at the crater rim. There are also horse
trips to the crater floor, but you should walk to get
the full flavor of this place.

Another way to enjoy the crater is to go down and up
the Halemau’u Trail. It is completely different from sliding sands. The terrain is rocky with many switchbacks down the steep crater wall that faces the Koolau Gap toward Hana on the windward side of the island. Rain is more frequent here. After reaching the crater floor, the trail meanders through old lava until you reach a cabin. From here the trail continues into the main crater toward
sliding sands. Depending on time you could follow it
to a Silversword loop trail and possibly blooming plants.
A side trail goes to a campground area, from which you can meander cross-country picking your way over pahoehoe lava (smooth) and find a lunch spot with nice views of a more rugged part of Haleakala. We saw nene and pheasant along this trail. The crater wall along one side keeps you from getting lost on the return to the campground.

A different Hike, but part of Haleakala Park, is the
Pipiwai Trail above the 7 Sacred Pools beyond Hana.
Go up hill past beautiful pools, through a noisy bamboo forest, to a spectacular waterfall.

Another hike I’d still like to do is down Sliding Sands
and out the Kaupo Gap to the Hana road beyond the 7 Sacred Pools. This trip requires over night reservations
for a cabin within the crater and transportation from a remote spot on Hana road.

A shorter hike to another crater is in South Maui, visible near the end of the road. This is the vent of the most recent eruption on Maui and produced the lava flows that form La Perouse Bay. This is an unofficial trail through
a’a lava (rough), but it is a story for another time.

When you go hiking, take plenty of water, food, sunscreen, hat, rain coat, and good foot wear. Tennis shoes are adequate on Sliding Sands, but light hiking boots are better on Halemau’u. I’ve seen people in flip-flops; don’t do it. A hiking pole can be useful.

Before leaving Maui, enjoy a sunset dinner at an outside table at a restaurant on Ma’alaea Harbor. Once, during
an alpen glow on Haleakala across the bay, a small
storm simultaneously produced a rainbow arc over the mountain; no camera of course. This image is forever etched into my mind and was a spectacular finish to
a trip that had included a visit into the crater. Go explore Haleakala.

 

Photos: top left: Lone Silversword on the trail to cinder cone. left center: Grandson and Silverswords, 1 mile down. bottom left: chukkar above cinder cone trail. top right: Nene near the cabin. right center: Rugged Halemau'u Trail with switch backs to crater floor. bottom right: Glenn and Carole at the top looking down, black cinder cone with trail visible.

View of the Reef
Exploring Reefscapes
Snorkeling and Free Diving Ahihi Bay

Location: Ahihi Bay is a short drive from Kihei/Wailea. Just head toward Makena on Makena Road. You will see the lovely Makena Golf Course to your left passing such sites as Makena Bay, the Maui Prince Hotel, Little Beach and Big Beach before reaching the area of Ahihi Bay. You will see tiny out-croppings of lava with limited parking areas prior to reaching a non-descript dirt parking spot to the right. You will know that you’ve passed the parking area I’m talking about if you see lava on both sides of the road and no water in site! There is a small winding trail from the parking area onto a rocky lava beach without sand. About the snorkeling: Reefscapes at beautiful Ahihi Bay are best in the morning. We typically arrive around 8 or 9 in the morning when the water is calm and the sun is bright. A little after noon the clouds roam in over Mt. Haleakala and the water gets a bit of a surge. Sunbeams streaming through the clear water truly add to the beauty of the reef heads and general visibility.

The ideal entrance for snorkeling is immediately to the center of the beach close to a long lava outcropping
that divides the beach into two sections. It’s amazing. The fish are waiting for you immediately at the entrance. That smelly fish food you can purchase at Maui Dive Shop, the ABC Stores and Whaler’s General Store is absolutely the most divine attractant for the fish here. Wander to the right after the entrance and skirt the shoreline. You will be amazed at the picturesque reefscape reaching out into the deeper water with lovely sand canyons. The underwater activity is worth while entertainment for an entire morning. Octopus, Eels, a rainbow of a countless variety of fish (it’s really fishes...but I like “fish”)....including my two favorite, the HumaHuma and the Puffer Fish are full time residents here. Passing Dolphins can be seen in the early morning and the mesmerizing chant of the Humpbacks can be heard during the winter months. Deeper free diving is absolutely fantastic here. Depths ranging between 15 to 25 feet sweep out over pristine reef heads and white sand alleys. Ahihi Bay is part of the Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve,so it’s forbidden to take those perfect sea shell specimens you encounter on your journey. It’s also likely that you will cross paths with the most delightful little green sea turtles. There’s a definite NO TOUCH policy. Not only do you place these adorable little creatures in peril if you try to hold them under water, but the fine is substantial if you’re caught touching or harassing the turtles. Just swim quietly next to them and observe their morning activities. They will hardly notice you if you swim peacefully at their pace. About the sun: spf 50 sunblock. You won’t feel it happening, but you will feel it later. Your back will roast pleasantly as it protrudes out of the warm water with the cool breeze passing over it.

Ileene Voss


Cayman Brac British West Indies

Comparing the Cayman Islands to the Hawaiian Islands is equal to that old cliche; comparing apples to oranges. It’s obvious that we have a special affinity for the Caymans, but I’m not always completely comfortable suggesting that our long term winter travelers make even the bigger island of Grand Cayman their winter home. Then there’s Bonaire of the ABC islands! Both of these are destinations for the more adventurous, resourceful traveler...with diving in mind.

This time the focus is on the absolutely perfect island of Cayman Brac. The Brac is another world unto itself with not only the privacy to satisfy even the loftiest of souls but the raw, unspoiled beauty of old Caribbean folklore. The intimacy of the labyrinth of caves that winds through-out the center of the Brac will have to be the topic of another article, but that’s how the Brac is...mysterious and complex. It would be true to say that I could spend a complete “tank” over one reef head off of the Brac and still not see all there is to see or experience. So I am going to just provide a peek into what is on a tiny part of the shore and over a teeny part of the reef.

Into the water we go! What an ideal destination for shore diving at leisure. Both of our favorite shore entries are on the north side. Buccaneer’s Reef and Radar Reef have to top the list. Both present easy entries. Regardless of whether you prefer to explore from shallows to reef or you choose to snorkel out before descending into deeper waters the diving is fascinating and worth while.

 

The Buccaneer’s entry on the northwest end has the most diverse diving. You can plan a beginner to moderate dive just exploring the colorful reef heads that dot the white sandy bottom to the west after entry. A more moderate dive plan circles clockwise, 6 o clock to 9 o clock to 12 o clock to 3 o clock...well, you get the idea...back to the brac entry. This plan typically includes encounters with Sting Rays, Eagle Rays, tiny Sea Horses, large Eels, and the most spectacular reef heads imaginable. I am a sucker for vibrant sponges, barrel sponges, sea fans and the multitudes of delicate varieties of colorful reef in reds, purples, yellows, oranges, and colors that touch every corner of the spectrum. Going for the more advanced dive plan at Buccaneers includes the wreck of the Russian destroyer, the Tibbetts. Our suggestion would be to approach on the surface, leave your dive buoy and flag prior to descending. The dive is a rather deep dive with the huge Destroyer twisted on the 95-100 foot bottom. Stick with your buddy if you choose to penetrate the wreck.

Radar Reef. Great dive morning, noon and night! Really this dive site is one of those fun little spots that satisfies when you just don’t feel like the dive boat on a mediocre or choppy day. At Radar Reef you explore everything from octopus and lobsters immediately at the entrance or you have the choice of small sand canyons, colorful reef heads and a vast variety of fish life. The entrance couldn’t be easier with small, wide concrete steps and hand rails leading down into clear, shallow water immediately next to an old boat dock. At night follow the cable at the end of the jetty out about 100 yards. The activity on the reef is breath taking! Brittle Star cover the orange brain coral and tiny octopus crawl over the reef looking for snacks... the creatures are endless

As sort of an aside, though it deserves an entire article, is Bloody Bay Wall that skirts Little Cayman. This dive site, which hosts numerous sites within the site, is our favorite. We spend as many as two day trips a week exploring this fantastic wall. So much surrounds this historic spot! Stories of pirates, bloody battles and the triumph of the Brits make this spot enchanting. The underwater experience is so beautiful that it’s impossible to describe.

Getting the important questions out of the way...

Everyone has the same question: When is the perfect month to visit the Brac? I would honestly have to admit that our favorite time in the Brac has always been during hurricane season. August and September have been the best, but we’ve been very lucky! After Ivan we’ve played it safer visiting in May-June when it’s dry and the winter folk have gone home. The Brac is even quieter than the normal quiet. Actually, Tom says that the quietest he’s ever seen it was during that big airlines strike. That was the bomb!

Cayman Airways is our favorite choice flying into the Brac out of Florida or Grand Cayman. Many of the major airlines will get you as far as Grand Cayman. Cayman Airways will get you the rest of the way. Their flight schedules have changed little over the last 10 years and their web site is very informative regarding requirements. All flights going in and out of the tiny Brac airport are during day light hours due to the lack of lights on the run way.

What should you take with you? Very little in the way of clothing. If you have dive gear this will take up most of the load. Divi Tiari, our favorite dive operation, does provide BCDs, dive and snorkel gear, but there’s nothing quite like having your own dependable gear. I always tell folks to bring plenty of dry goods like sugar, dry creamer, the coffee of your choice, tortillas or flat bread (takes up less room than bread...), an aged cheese that will make it without refrigeration, and other yummy snacks and protein bars that will last the journey. Our two favorite grocery stores on the island have certainly gone through a couple of remodels but the prices can be atrocious especially if you do not have a residents card.

Mosquitoes? Yes.

Best food? Jerk Chicken cooked most evenings on a BBQ and hacked to pieces with an Ax outside of the little bar close to Tibbett’s Square and the Grocery store. You can’t miss it. Am I joking? No. The food is great.

Should I travel with Pepto Bismo? Not a bad idea. We have not ever had tummy up-set but perhaps that’s because we carry our handy little pink chewable pills and have our bottle of vinegar handy. No need to bring vinegar from home. The grocery store carries both apple cider vinegar and white vinegar which is also good for Jelly Fish stings.

Don’t miss out on the following...

Doggy for the Day!

We took a snap of this lovely idea posted in little Paia. So if you’d like a day in Maui with the fullness of the warm fuzzies...

Maui Ocean Center

Journey through a Sea of Life is the theme at the amazing Maui Ocean Center. We were absolutely impressed. As divers we typically never seem to get around to aquarium visits. Instead we spend our time under the water snorkeling or diving. I must say that we gained a new appreciation during our Ocean Center visit. Everything is so cleverly and fantastically displayed and the detail to education is impressive. I try to offer suggestions for those of you who have little ones, but I think that the Maui Ocean Center can truly be enjoyed by everyone...even if you’re going solo.

There is a strong South Pacific flavor and an impressive 750,000 gallon tank with huge sharks including a Tiger Shark, a Manta Ray, Eagle Ray and a variety of other rays...etc. Awesome. Spectators watch through the 8 inch thick glass while a diver feeds the animals, gives demonstrations and answers questions via his underwater head set. ...And the Marine Mammal Discovery Center is now open!

Before heading to Maui pop onto their web-site: www.mauioceancenter.com