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Maui Preservation

I have concluded that the official bird of Maui is now the Construction Crane. Four of them have nested at Kapalua just past the Napili Kai Beach Club. Note that this photo was taken later in the day when they had begun to prepare to sleep — and they have all aligned themselves with their backs to the tradewinds.

You may recall from an earlier LAHP, that the Kapalua Bay Hotel was to be (and now has been) demolished — to be replaced by very expensive condos ($3.9M and up) and timeshare units ($320K for 3 weeks and up).

In addition, a separate flock of cranes (also four in number) have nested at the north end of Kaanapali Beach (where the old West Maui airport used to be located). That spot is beginning to look like a high-rise ghetto — an expensive, attractive ghetto but a ghetto none the less.

Further south, the hillside above Wailea is being carpeted with new homes — single-family, cookie-cutter homes which are probably equally expensive. I have to ask where are all these people that have the money to buy all this expensive Maui real estate? Certainly not the local residents who, by and large, are upset with all this exploitation of their island paradise. It does provide some temporary construction jobs and some menial labor employment but that is not what most folks want out of their lives.

Another disquieting discovery — I tried to make a tee time at Kapalua to play golf. You'll recall that my favorite course, the Kapalua Village Course, was being closed, to be renovated into the first private golf club on Maui. So that leaves the Bay and Plantation courses to choose from. However, the Bay Course is now charging a pricey $215 for a round of golf and the Plantation Course is charging an outrageous $295. On top of that, I needed to rent clubs for another $55. Well, the twilight rates are a bit more reasonable — only $105 and $130 respectively but they had just aerated the greens on the Bay Course so all play has moved to the Plantation Course. The earliest available tee time was 4:00 PM!

No thank you. So I played down in Wailea on the Blue Course which they have now renamed "Old Blue". I was able to book a discounted rate for play and club rental through the Maui Golf Shop — started at about 10:30, no one on the course, I played by myself so I was able to play two balls. B. David-even beat B. David-odd by two strokes.

Although the pace of development of Maui is staggering, there is still a lot of history to be found here, if you look for it. In fact, it is much easier to find on Maui than Oahu (where it seems everything is paved over). Many residents of Maui are working hard to preserve the past. For instance, this is Ka`ahumanu Church — built in 1876 and still used today.

I am quite fond of the historic sites and root for their preservation. And I am thinking that perhaps my small contribution to that end is to preserve them photographically.

Even Lahaina (the tourist trap that it has become) has preserved the Missionary House — built for the Rev. Dwight Baldwin in 1834 — now serving as a museum. So while the tourists are wondering about visiting the art galleries, restaurants and tee shirt shops, they might even wonder "what is that building over there" then wander in and absorb a little bit of Hawaiian history and culture.

On this trip I noticed the number of people visiting Lahaina from the cruise ships has exploded. Every day a different cruise ship is anchored off shore and a few days there were two of them. It actually created a photographic challenge since the stream of people in front of certain sites was so great and so constant that, in a few cases, I finally gave up.

A funny bit of Hawaiian history for those of you who are not familiar with it — the missionaries came to Hawaii at a time when the old gods and kapus (prohibitions) were being challenged. The missionaries came with the best intentions of preaching God's word (as they believed it) and saving these heathen savages' souls. The children of the missionaries often took up other trades and many prospered. The prominent names in Hawaii (both economic and political) such as Bingham, Baldwin, Bishop and Dole were all missionary families. This led to the expression that the missionaries came to Hawaii to do good — and they did well, indeed.

If you go "up-country", you will find a little bit of history making a stand in the paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) town of Makawao. The intermediate elevations of Haleakala offer a milder climate than the tropical seashore. Here ranches and farms were established to provide food for the growing towns at sea level.

The town evolved to provide supplies and services for those ranches and farms. However, over time, the demand for such commodities has decreased and Makawao has re-invented itself with art galleries and cute little boutiques and, of course, the trendy restaurants.

To this day, I still try to buy products from Haleakala Dairy when I am on Maui — hoping to help support the local growers who are faced with severe competition from the mainland.

And when you visit Maui, you can pass through Makawao and head around the Slopes of Haleakala to Tedeschi, Maui's Winery at Ulupalakua Ranch. They do have vineyards and produce varietals that any wine drinker would recognize.

But they also produce Maui Blanc — a soft, semi-dry wine made from the juice of Maui grown pineapples. Its pineapple flavor is subtle with a lingering finish. This wine can be served for all occasions and is a great compliment to Pacific Rim cuisine.

Or maybe you would prefer Maui Splash! — light and fruity, this pineapple and passion fruit wine is their biggest seller. Sweet like a dessert wine, but with good acidity and a clean finish. You can even order online by clicking here.

Connecting to the theme for today, the Tasting Room at the winery is located in one of the most historic buildings on the island of Maui. The King's Cottage dates to 1874, when it was built specifically for the visit of Hawaii's monarch David Kalakaua and queen Kapi'olani. During his turbulent reign, which began that year and lasted until his death in 1891, Hawai'i's last king often came to Ulupalakua to find peace of mind.

Going back further in time, you can still see the remnants of the Halekii and Pihana Heiaus, just outside Wailuku For those who are not up on their Hawaiian religion, a heiaus was a sacred place where the gods were venerated or sacrifices were made.

It is thought that the Halekii Heiau was a place where statues of the gods (tikis) were placed and worshipped.

The Pihana Heiau is thought to be a place of sacrifice — including human sacrifice.

Another form of preservation is taking place at two peninsulas along the road to Hana — Wailua (pictured at the right) and Keanae. In both these communities, the residents are trying to keep many of the old ways alive. They grow traditional foods such as taro (seen as the water-filled fields) which is used to make poi.

I would love to spend some time with the locals to learn more about their way of life — and perhaps record some of it photographically.

By the way, this was the first time I have driven the road to Hana in years. It ain't any straighter than the last time. Brings to mind "The Long and Winding Road" by the Beatles. Which then brings to mind that George Harrison spend the last part of his life, living in Hana. As did Charles Lindbergh.

Its isolation does allow Hana to retain some of the old ranch country charm that awards the driver willing to accept the challenge of the road to Hana. Here the residents have successfully (so far) fought plans to build a resort-style golf course. They want to keep Hana as one of the "Last Hawaiian Places". So far, so good.

Now I am on the Big Island, resting in a Bed & Breakfast just above Kailua-Kona. It is a quiet, relaxing place. I am looking forward to more of both (as well as some good photographic opportunities).


Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com