Thursday, March 11, 2010

Maui Monk Seal Causes Traffic Jam

Photo by Jimmie Hepp
On the way to Lahaina yesterday there was a huge line of traffic crawling out of Lahaina. On the way back we found out why. A huge monk seal had beached itself and everyone was stopping to have a look, thus causing a traffic jam. We pulled over to see it and one of the volunteers, told us that the police didn't want people stopping so we had a quite look and moved on. Couldn't get close enough to take photos, so I am using Jimmie Hepp's again. Haven't seen any better that these. Thanks Jimmie. Read more about Endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Making Maui Mango Chutney with Friends

mangoes you can pick right off the treeMangoes waiting for chutney
I already knew about the "sunlight on the sand", and "moonlight on the sea", and now I know first hand about the mangoes you can pick right off a tree.Our friends Joyce and Gord have a huge mango tree in their yard, and the fruit was just begging to be made into something delectable. Believe me when Joyce invited me over to have a girls' day making chutney with her and Karen, I couldn't get out of the door fast enough.

Joyce,Karen and Julie chopping ingredients
The process was very straight forward but involved a lot of chopping. I wept with the onions, Joyce burned with the jalapenos, and Karen gingerly carved up the ginger (she fancies herself as a princess so we gave her the least painful job). All this mindless chopping invited lots of lively conversation, and just the odd bit of gossip. Well maybe a little more than the odd bit, but hey we had to pass the time.
Joyce had chopped up the mangos the day before, so now we had to make the syrup. It was easy to turn a blind eye as we dumped in the required 12 cups of sugar because we knew that it would be worth it in the end. I won't show the photo of the mixture boiling over and us cleaning up the mess for at least 1/2 hour after the fact. Luckily it didn't spill on our bare feet. I think we were listening to one of Karen's fascinating stories at the time, and so didn't notice the foam rising out of the pot.
Eventually we were back on track and as the chutney merrily simmered away we enjoyed a wonderful mango smoothie prepared by Joyce in her brand new Vita-mix blender. Yum! Of course we had to relax now after all that chopping and mopping, because the mixture takes 2 hours to cook. We didn't have any choice but to share even more heart warming and tear jerking tales.

Finally the time came for ladling the chutney into the jars. Naturally we had to taste it first and I have to say that it was delicious. In fact so yummy that we decided to share the recipe with our readers. So here it is. Mango chutney straight from the Hawaiian Roadside Fruit Cook Book. Hint: if you make this with friends it tastes so much better! Enjoy!!

Mango Chutney

16 c. sliced green or half-ripe mangoes
1/2 c. Hawaiian salt
12 c. sugar
3 c. vinegar
2 c. light corn syrup
2 c. water
1c. ginger root, chopped fine
1 lb. raisins
6 medium onions chopped into small pieces
2 T garlic, chopped fine
1 T ground cloves
1 T cinnamon
1 T ground nutmeg
1 c. blanched almonds, cut in strips
12 small chili peppers, seeds removed
4 t. salt or to taste
zest of 3 limes
1/2 cup rum

Salt mangoes overnight in Hawaiian salt. When ready to make chutney, rinse. Boil syrup of sugar, vinegar, light corn syrup, water and ginger root for 15 minutes. Add mangoes by the handful to get them covered with syrup. Add remaining ingredients except rum. Cook 1.5 to 2 hours or until chutney is thick and mangoes are tender (not mushy). Stir every 10 to 15 minutes to prevent burning. Add the rum toward the end of the cooking time and mix well. Pour into hot serilized jars. Seal with paraffin.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tsunami on Maui

a deserted Kaanapali Beach by Lubo
"Aloha goes long way on crazy day" is the headline in today's Maui news. The article spoke of a visiting baseball team on the island for a tournament hosted by Maui High School and how they were rousted from their hotel at 6:30 AM and ended up at the home of some locals on the Waioluli Hawaiian Homestead. Here they stayed until the all-clear sounded at 2:00 PM. Many more similar tales of residents opening their homes to friends and strangers have been told, and ours is one of them.
Around 4:00 AM on Saturday morning our telephone rang, and I immediately was worried that something had happened to a family member back in Canada. Instead, it was our friend John who calmly stated that "We are having a tsunami today and you had better come over here" As our condo is just across the road from the beach in Central Kihei, we were in an evacuation zone and so felt some urgency in getting out of there. As we listened to the updates on the TV, we quickly packed valuables, documents, clothing, food and water into our car and headed to Wailuku.
When we arrived we called some Canadian friends who were also close to the ocean and they joined us.
We felt so fortunate to be in a comfortable home with friends. All we could do was watch the coverage on TV and wait for the impending disaster. As the deadline approached it was inevitable that Maui, was to be the brunt of a very damaging wave, or waves, and that we would more than likely lose our second home. As the announcer's voice reached a deafening pitch of excitement, we knew that it would soon be over so we just waited for everything to go quiet. A calm after the storm. Nothing happened at the fateful hour, so we waited longer just in case the scientists had miss-calculated. We watched little swells come in and out of Hilo Bay. We then heard that it did in fact hit Maui with an insignificant 3.2 ft. wave. How did we feel? Relieved yes, and grateful. Grateful for the Aloha extended to us by our friends on high ground.
Did we ever think once that the warning shouldn't have gone out? Absolutely not, because The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has to err on the side of everyone's safety and we have to trust their judgment. We were very impressed with the emergency systems and how all county workers, police officers, fire fighters and government officials worked together for the good of a community in crisis. For us it was a very much appreciated drill and made us more aware of what we had to do in a natural disaster. Mayor Charmaine Travers said the following: "Even though we've escaped again, there will come a day when we will get hit, and through all these kinds of things, we get prepared." I would actually like to change her words to a more optimistic "There could come a day when we might get hit”: At any rate it does give us food for thought and discussion. For us we are happy that we can offer The Maui Garden House as a vacation rental to Maui visitors.