Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Record Shots

Each visit to Maui starts with what I call "record shots" — photos of the same scenes I have photographed in previous years, sometimes many times. I never tire of these beautiful scenes and the subtle little things which have changed from one year to the next.

This year the most notable change was the weather. As I mentioned two weeks ago, the weather during this visit was "more spectacular than on any previous trip that I can remember". In addition to the clear skies, the large ocean waves from faraway storms made incredible mountains of spray when they hit the rocks such as these at Napili Bay.


And when you are luxuriating on Maui, you hope that friends and family back home are suffering with miserable winter weather — making them as envious of you as possible. Napili Kai helps by providing the weather report for various cities on the mainland. And aren't you glad you are not in Fairbanks?

Just beyond the weather sign is one of the most picturesque spots in the islands. I doubt you need my narrative other than to note that the island in the distance is Moloka`i — with Maunaloa (also part of Moloka`i) just barely visible on the left horizon. Why would anyone want to be anywhere else?

The next beach past Napili is Kapalua Beach — which was previously rated the best beach in the world by a professor at the University of Maryland. He bestows this honor to a particular beach only once — allowing a different beach to be so honored each year. I assume that he has to visit all the candidates before making a selection — now that is a gig I would love to have.

Here is a case where my record shots come in handy. When I first came to Maui, Kapalua Beach was a bit more secluded. Just above the beach was a grove of coconut trees. Now that spot is occupied by condos in a development called (what else?) Coconut Grove.

Beyond is the Kapalua Residences which were still under construction last year. I wrote about them at the time and you can revisit my words and photos by clicking here.

Incidentally, I recently saw an historic photo of Kapalua Beach before the old hotel or the newer condos were built — nothing but palm trees.

I have to admit that the Residences look much more attractive than one year earlier. To me, they are still not worth the $4M to $40M price tags. It appears that in this economy, that there are many people who share my sentiment — I understand that the condos are now being sold as timeshares too. Still too rich for my blood.

They have done a nice job of landscaping. As I walked along the new shoreline trail, I wanted to detour onto their property to take a closer look. However, the signs leading up to the common area were not very friendly so I chickened out. Maybe next time.

One of the aspects of Hawai`ian landscaping that makes a property look nice quickly is the ability to transplant large coconut palms easily. They have a small root ball and lacking the elaborate branching of other trees, they are light and easy to transport, lift and place. Looking at this image, you would find it hard to believe that a year earlier, the common area was just bare ground.

The abandoned building on the water's edge is still there and little changed. I did notice that the "No Trespassing" sign was missing. Perhaps the high school kids who are the primary trespassers have taken it as a souvenir.

I still love the new shoreline trail. This section runs over an old lava flow...

which includes a few stubborn plants that are trying to gain a foothold.

You may recall the naupaka from the earlier issue on Mo`omomi. Those plants struggle to survive. These plantings are quite healthy due to irrigation and care from the Kapalua landscaping staff.

And as you get near the end of this section of the shoreline trail, this is the view of Ironwood Bay, Beach and Condos. Mother Nature's part in this scene takes my breath away. But what a wonderful way to lose your breath.

Life is good.

B. David

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