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Kapalua Afternoon

Late in the afternoon, I took a walk around Kapalua. This is also my jogging route albeit earlier in the morning. One of the visual and historical treats in this area is the Kapalua Chapel. Formerly, a Methodist Church, the Chapel is now used mostly for weddings. This view of the steeple was taken from the golf cart bridge which crosses the lower road. You have to watch out for golf carts coming from either direction but the results are well worth the risk.

You can see why young couples (probably some older couples too) would want to be married in this Chapel — the setting is so lush and beautiful. Plus there is a gazebo on the grounds, just barely visible on the left edge of the photo.

Walking up Office Road, one sees the Ritz-Carlton Hotel — a true luxury hotel that justifies the "Ritz-Carlton" name. Interestingly, it was originally designed to be sited closer to the ocean but during excavation, the workers found buried remains of Native Hawai`ians. The State of Hawai`i is very serious about preserving such remains and required that the hotel be redesigned and moved uphill. Personally, I think the current site is a much better location than the original because it offers wonderful open space around the hotel — where it would have felt crowded up against the ocean. One hole of the Kapalua Bay Course is in the foreground and expands the visual open space around the hotel.

Further uphill is the Honolua Store. It was recently remodeled, adding a section in the back in which they now offer prepared food, both hot and cold. The rest of the store is reminiscent of an old-time general store — with a limited selection of groceries but also offering clothing and souvenirs.

I have been coming to Maui for so long that I sound like an old-timer, "I remember when they used to have gas pumps in front of the store". True story. They removed them perhaps 10 years ago — about that time, many underground gasoline tanks around the U.S. were being dug up, some replaced, some not, to comply with EPA regulations regarding leakage. I surmised that these tanks had to be dug up for the same reason and that they were too expensive to replace. Besides, by then there was a new gas station in Kahana just a few miles down the road.

Kapalua has done such a good job of landscaping. I love these African Tulip trees. Unfortunately, they are considered an invasive species. I guess they are fine here where they can be contained but they have spread all over the rainforest areas.

The blossoms are big and showy. Invasive? 'Tis a pity.

Of course, my jogging route runs along the edge of many holes of the Bay Course. I love the views whether I am playing or just walking. You will notice in these photos that the course was practically deserted. This was not a case of selectively photographing the course once the golfers had completed their play — there just were not very many people on the course. Maybe the reason is the expensive green fees — $220 for morning, $176 for mid-day and $138 for twilight — during a recession. It seemed like the only days that I saw more than a handful of golfers was on the weekend. My guess was they were locals — who can play for $75 a round if they carry a Hawai`i Driver's License.

The Plantation course rates are even worse — $298, $238 and $158. The rates on both courses were so high that, for the first time since I took up golf, I did not play on Maui. Since I would have had to rent clubs, even playing twilight would have cost me around $200. By comparison, back in Phoenix I could play three times for the same cost — even with winter's expensive rates in effect.

Thus one of the best things about walking along the course — the views are free.

As the sun gradually sunk lower in the sky, the ocean view changed dramatically. Honestly, where in the world would you rather be?

Life is good.

B. David

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