Monday, December 30, 2013

Maui's Big Cheese - The Surfing Goat Dairy

Surfing Goat Dairy?  Is it a goat? Is it a surfer? Is it a dairy?  No, it's all three things in one!  Well maybe not the surfing part  but it IS a fantastic goat cheese farm that you might really enjoy..

A hop skip and a jump away from Kihei, the jaunt alone with its views towards the slopes of Mount Haleakala is pretty spectacular.  The Surfing Goat Dairy is one of only two goat dairies in all of Hawaii. It has won many awards and has been around now for over 9 years. In 2008 they were one of three Goat Dairies in North America who got the certification for "Humane raised and handled goats" They don't use any pesticides or herbicides on the farm and the milking goats are fed a special mixture of grains so that the milk is as fresh as it can be.

You can take a casual tour and have some fun interacting with the goats and feeding them.  It is a great family outing and you can watch your kids play with the goat kids!  You can even learn how to milk a goat if you happen to go at milking time....  Everyone is happy and smiling, and even the goats look like they are smiling too! 

Zar was our tour guide and we learned lots of interesting information from how the goats are raised to how they milk the goats to how they make the various cheeses. They keep a daily record on a chalk board of things like milk production, births, breeding, the number of goats in the herd etc.  Zar told us that the day we went there the goat count was 162.

Following the tour we tasted about 5 different flavors of cheese and they were all yummy and not too strong. There was one called "Canada" which has cranberries in it.  Maybe because we are Canadian, this is the one we chose to take home for our Christmas pupu party.
They also make cheese truffles and in the gift store you can buy infused oils, spices, souvenirs and even soaps.

Give it a try sometime.  It's a great day trip and you can combine it with a trip to the Alii Kula Lavender Farm followed by lunch at the Kula Lodge. 
For more information go to the Surfing Goat Dairy website. You can even order cheese and truffles online.
I first came across The Surfing Goat Dairy when I was staying at the terrific Maui Garden House in Kihei.  Wish I was there now.....

Thankyou "Travlin" Pat for contributing to this blog.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Green Sea Turtles Bask in the Sun on a Maui Beach

As we approached a corner section of a secluded Maui beach we saw what appeared from a distance to be quite a few large boulders in different locations on the sand. As we got closer we saw one moving as it made it way out of the ocean and slowly lumber towards the others. We soon realized that the boulders were green sea turtles basking in the late afternoon sun.
"Honu" is the Hawaiian name for turtle and they say if you are lucky enough to see one you will have good luck. Until now I had only seen them while snorkeling and never knew that they actually can come out of the ocean for long periods of time.  We counted 13 turtles in all, but apparently there can be 25 or more on the beach at once.
Naturalists have a few theories as to why the turtles come ashore to sleep on the beach.  One is that basking in the sun allows the cold-blooded turtles to regulate their body temperature or they may just be escaping from shark predators as they enjoy a peaceful rest.

At the site we met Miranda who is a volunteer for Hawaii Wildlife Fund.  This organization has a team consisting of educators, conservationists, scientists, students, communities and donors devoted to the conservation of Hawai'i's fragile marine ecosystems and inhabitants. Miranda was handing out brochures designed to educate the public about turtles. Ho'okuleana is a Hawaiian word which means "to take responsibility" and give the turtles their space so they can rest without harassment.  The rule is that you must stay at least 15 feet away and refrain from using flash photography or making loud noises. Miranda is a Naturalist/Educator and currently works at the Maui Ocean Center Aquarium.  She also has her own business giving private adventure tours around the island. Check her out at Maui Mana Adventures.

On the way home we all felt elated and privileged to have witnessed this amazing natural phenomenon.
Many mahalos "Honu", for making our day!!!!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Clear Bottom Kayaking at Makena Landing in Maui

 Thanks Kay and Andy for sharing another Maui adventure.
Clear bottom kayaking was a good solution for us because there had been two shark attacks near Makena Landing since our arrival in Maui we were apprehensive about a kayak/snorkel adventure.  So my brother and I set out at 8:00 AM after some instruction about water safety and directions for the best areas to paddle.  The orange and green kayak was very sturdy.  It was not long before we sighted a turtle who obligingly swam under our glass bottom kayak.  We also saw lots of reef fish and coral formations.

We could have opted to float around with all of the sea life below but we wanted to paddle too. As we headed in the opposite direction I spotted a fin surface on the water.  "Look, Andy," I said, "a shark!"  The "shark" was actually a dolphin.  In fact there were four dolphins swimming along beside us.  They even talked to us.
The water became somewhat rough so we headed back to look for more turtles. On the way back we saw a couple of parents with their two small children in a kayak, and commented on what a great option clear bottom kayaking is, to enjoy Maui's underwater scene, especially for families or people who don't snorkel.  Our two hours was soon up and Kyle Prescott pulled us into the shore.  We were glad that Kyle and his partner, Derek Brown brought this new activity to Maui this year.
For more information visit the website of Clear Bottom Kayaks.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Hiking the Pali Trail between Wailuku and Lahaina, Maui

"One of the roughest and most difficult trails imaginable. It is all the way zigzag and winding, up steep, rocky and barren precipices…" Chester Lyman, 1847, tourist.

On Thanksgiving Day, 2013 my brother, Andy, and I started up this "difficult" trail from Ukumehame at 7:30 AM. We had hiked the whole trail two years ago. A friend picked us up at the other end. This time we planned to hike to the top and double back since we did not have anyone to pick us up. By the time we reached the windmills at the top, 1600 feet later, it was getting hot.
My brother Andy admiring the view

As we stopped to drink some water and to admire the fabulous view a jogger joined us. He ran up the trail rather than "hiked" up it as we had! Pali means "cliff, precipice, steep slope, obstacle" but maybe he didn't know the definition.
The trail is marked with points of historical interest. It was hand built before 1825 for horses and foot travel between Wailuku and Lahaina. Around 1900 the trail fell out of use when prisoners built a one-way road at the base of the Pali.
Our round trip took nearly 3 hours to complete. It took me longer to get down than up the boulder paved trail with my 69 year old arthritic knees. Although we did not jog we certainly had a good workout and felt that we could eat a few extra calories of Thanksgiving dinner that evening.

Many Mahalos for this post to my friend Kay from Kelowna BC !

If you are ever in Lahaina on Prison Street you will see an old rusted out 1923 T-Ford Touring car sitting just in front of the old prison, which is now a museum.  The man who originally owned this car delivered produce between Wailuku and Lahaina, on the old Pali trail.  If you don't have the energy to do the hike you can see remnants of the trail on the drive over the Pali before the tunnel and imagine him bumping along and beeping his horn at every turn.
Following is a photo of the old car and a photo of the plaque which tells its history.

If you have hiked the Pali trail we would love to hear comments about your experience.

Read about Hiking the Haleakala Crater, another hike that Kay and Andy did in 2012.