LAHAINA, MAUI – We were treated with a visit to the Iao Valley. A beautiful lush rain forest with streams and water falls near Wailuku that has been designated a Natural National Landmark. The “needle” is a lava remnant and rises some 2250 feet from the valley floor. It is the second wettest place in Hawaii.
We also visited the Maui Ocean Centre which is an aquarium and oceanography center. It is the largest tropical reef aquarium with fresh ocean water in the Western Hemisphere and has a huge selection of fish, turtles, sharks, rays and jelly fish to name a few. I found it interesting that fish born there or rescued and rehabilitated there are then released back into the ocean. They also undertake projects to grow artificial coral reefs to later introduce back to the wild, because of the recent rapid decline in coral populations due to heavy tourism and global warming. The ray above in the title photo was also a resident there. I enjoyed this aquarium very much, and I saw many of the fish while I was snorkelling recently.
Interesting things I learned about Hawaii.
Pineapples – It used to be the pineapple capital of the world, and now they are not even one of the top five world producers. Those are Costa Rica, Brazil, Philippines, Thailand & Indonesia. As a matter of fact, Hawaii only grows pineapples for tourists and their own consumption. Both Dole and DelMonte closed their production years ago.
Sugar – They stopped growing sugar here recently because they just could not complete globally. The land will now be used for some farming and more housing because they have lots of water available. For example, to create one pound of sugar you need one ton of water.
Surfing – At this time of the year winds come from the south creating one to two foot waves. In the winter, the winds come from the north creating up to 50 foot waves. Hawaii has the best surfing in the world, and the world chanpionships take place in Hawaii in the winter.
Beaches – You are not allowed to camp on the beach. (But you see all kinds of people camping on the beach.) However, you are allowed to fish from the beach, so every camper has a fishing line in the water. All beaches are public even in front of the most expensive hotels.
Housing – a family home in Lahaina on or near the beach would be around two million dollars. Move away from the water and that same home would sell for around $700K. There is some subsidized housing for first time buyers at around $200 -300K, but they are not allowed to sell or rent for 10 years.
Seeded lands – for their native population and they must be 30% in order to qualify for the land/homes. There is also a very large waiting list.
Gambling – is illegal in Hawai’i.
ABC Stores – are like 7/11s – one on every block. They tell me it means Aloha. Bring. Cash.
Rice – Hawai’ians consume more sticky rice than any other state.
Spam – the same goes for SPAM and it comes in many different flavours.
Chickens – are like squirrels here. They are everywhere – in the cities, at the beach, in the forests, in the parking lots and in the shops. Everywhere!