Maui Guide for the Openhearted Traveler

Updated January 2017

For the Openhearted (& Frugal) Traveler

You travel with an open mind and open heart.
You are willing to experience a place as it is.
You think all inclusive travel packages are for wussies.
You are annoyed by hordes of tourists demanding to have a good time while tromping over local culture.
You prefer the side roads and local foods to tourist traps.
You aren’t made of money and low budget / high experience is your ideal travel plan.
You have respect for the people and places you visit.

This guide is written for you.

Maui, Hawaii

Aloha! Maui is called The Valley Isle and it’s verdant beauty and relaxed atmosphere make it a wonderful place for both respite and adventure.  Maui has plenty of beach, jungle and volcanoes so be ready to spend most of your time outside.    People are generally, warm and friendly  – they live in paradise after all and community is at the center of life on the islands.  If you are invited by a local to their home or an event, consider this a great compliment and go!  Embrace aloha and you will enjoy your stay for sure.

Continue reading “Maui Guide for the Openhearted Traveler”

Hawaiian Canoe Blessing

Kimokeo Kapahulehua

The group that I paddle with out of the Kalepolepo Fishpond in Kihei recently added a new wa’a (Hawaiian outrigger canoe) to our fleet and a traditional Hawaiian blessing ceremony took place before her maiden voyage.   The crew, friends and visitors were all invited to participate in the ceremony presided by Kimokeo Kapahulehua (aka Uncle Kimokeo).  Kimokeo is passionate about teaching and preserving native Hawaiian culture. Check out his foundation here

On February 25th of 2017, Kimokeo lead some 45+ people in the ceremony which included, chanting, clapping, an ‘awa ceremony (‘awa or kava is a bitter root drink which is often seen in ceremonial protocol throughout the Pacific).   We all wore lei made of ti leaves and dressed in traditional kiheis (think a short toga). 6 people were chosen to take the wa’a out on her first trip to sea as a part of the blessing.

The new wa’a (prounounced vah-ah) received the name:

Na Kapuna ka Ono Ulu O ke Kai

I’ll break it down phonetically for my fellow Hawaiian language newbies:

Nah /  Kah poo na   /  kah   /  Oh-no  /  oo-loo  /  Oh /   kay   /   Kai  (like sky)

The word for word translation is:

Na Kapuna = The Ancient Ones (Ancestors)

Ono Ulu = Delicious Breadfruit

O ke Kai = Over All the Seawater

Since Hawaiian is a very contextual language, here’s my rough translation: The Ancestors of great abundance over all the ocean water.  (Moana is Ocean, Kai is the sea or ocean water specifically).

Now to the good stuff!  Photos and Video

Wa’a Blessing Part 1 – Opening Ceremony

Wa’a Blessing Part 2 – ‘Awa ceremony

Wa’a Blessing Part 3 – Crew receive their lei

Wa’a Blessing Part 4 – Blessing the Wa’a

After the blessing, the Na Kapuna (for short) was carried on our shoulders into the water. (Dat buggah is about 500 lbs!).


Double hull canoes launched ahead of the Na Kapuna.  Mahalo to our friends at Kihei Canoe club for lending us their double hulls!

The Na Kapuna and her crew leave the fishpond for the open sea.  The double hull canoes circle around the Na Kapuna.

Mahalo nui loa to Uncle Kimokeo, Auntie Ryn and everyone who made this a beautiful ceremony.  I was honored to be a part of it!

Big Photo Gallery

PS:  I was so very happy and honored to be chosen for the Na Kapuna’s first crew!  I know my face doesn’t show it much in the videos and photos, but I was thrilled to be a part of such a meaningful and auspicious occasion.  And with so many wonderful people! Alas, I think I suffer from RBF (google it ;).


Where am I now?

That is a very good question!  Seems I’ve been in a different zip code every couple days for the last 3 weeks.  I flew back from Maui to Oakland on Dec 17th and hit the ground running with everything from holiday card sending to swapping out my Hawaii clothes for ones more appropriate for the 30+ degree drop in temperature.  El Nino is bringing it real to this drought stricken state which barring floods and landslides, is a very good thing.  It’s also a big shock to my system as I’d grown to enjoy the 80 day / 70 night temps of Maui.  Socks, what are those?

After Oakland it was Monterrey for a few days then onto to Ventura/Ojai for the holidays with family. I have scads of relatives in Southern California so I’ve been making the rounds of guest rooms.  When you work for yourself, taking time off can be tricky even around the holidays but I managed to do very little work over New Years weekend and planted myself on the couch reading Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) SO GOOD! and catching up on the latest season of Dr. Who.

Being back in Cali I can’t help but compare life here to the islands. It really is vastly different and the weather is the least of it.  Driving here again was a shock.  Not only are highway speed limits 20 mph slower on Maui but people are WAY more chill on the road. If an ambulance is on the road in Hawaii everyone pulls over and stops, EVERYONE.  If there is a merge coming up, there are rarely people speeding into the merge lane trying to get ahead.  That shocked me the first time I saw it – people were not being jerky drivers!  I guess they know it’s an island and you can only cover so much ground. There are loads of reasons for the giant differences in culture, not the least of which is that when you are living in paradise why would you rush anything?

Everyone has been asking me if I want to go back to Hawaii to which I of course answered a resounding YES! More on that later. 🙂

I’m in LA for the next week and will head back to SF on the 16th.  After that, I fly to Washington DC to stay with my Mom and Brother for a while before heading west again.

I have posts drafted for my Maui travel guide as well as about my week on the Big Island so those will be out soon(ish).

Here are some photos from my recent travels, my holiday card and a fun map outlining trips taken since October.



‘Mo Mana on Maui

Mana is a Hawaiian word for spiritual force akin to the Chinese term for qi / chi.  Some places & people have more mana than others, while nothing on this island so far has given me the heebee jeebies I have found some places that feel like they have more mana flow than others.  Take that as you please – it’s really difficult to describe in that ‘you have to be there’ kind of way.


I finally ventured “upcountry” which is up along the outside of the Haleakala volcano crater. It’s always cooler there and it’s where a lot of the farms are. The drive is impressive and breathtaking in both fun and scary ways.

The highway to upcountry towards the top of the Haleakala Crater.
The highway to upcountry towards the top of the Haleakala Crater.

I visited the much famed Ali’i Gardens and spent the rest of the morning checking out art colonies and out-of-the way places that my friends recommended. The drive was impressive and luckily the tuna can and I made it there and back.  I’m totally addicted to local Hawaiian food which is a mash up of a bunch of different cultures.  I stopped at the Pukalani Superette and grabbed some of the best local food I’ve had here – and it was super cheap too.  Win!


Nakalele BlowholeNakaeleWheeffeew

Yep, that’s what it’s called and I drove there windy roads, single lane bridges and all. The cliffs are impressive and downright scary. I started the hike down to get closer to the blowhole and my phone slipped out of my hand and bounced down the cliff side – luckily it landed before the next big drop into the ocean. Wheeewwff! I managed to crab crawl down v-e-r-y slowly and carefully to retrieve it. This is me after I got back up safely. —->

And here is a short video of the famed blowhole doing it’s thing.

There she blows! Nakaele Blowhole – Maui, Hawaii

A video posted by Julienne (@juliennejg) on


La Perouse Bay / Keoneʻoʻio Bay & Lava Fields
Almost the end of the road La Perouse Bay / Keoneʻoʻio Bay
The road along La Perouse Bay / Keoneʻoʻio Bay

This has to be one of my favorite places on the island so far – granted I have *not* been to 2 of the most popular places, Hana and the top of the Haleakala crater.  I went for a morning hike and ended up staying pretty much all day.  Keoneʻoʻio Bay is the end of the road past a very large beach park called Makena.  If you have a tough enough vehicle you can keep going on the trail/road but it will be very tough going over scrub and lava.  I hiked in and kept walking till I found a sandy bay to sit and have lunch.  I can’t put specifics to it but I just felt really good there, like time slowed down and I felt like I was supposed to be there.  The lava fields go all the way to the ocean and it’s a great place to fish.  I hung out with a family of locals that was fishing there. Evidently they had started catching fish when I showed up so when I got up to leave they called over and asked me to hang out.  I said sure – gimme one of those beers.  It was a really lovely afternoon and I’ll let the photos tell the rest of the story.