Sunday, December 27, 2009

Boxing Day Bonus.

I intentionally don't lead a stressful life, so it's not like I sit in Makawao and think " I need to get away from it all”, but there is something to be said for walking out of your front door and in to another, where you are responsible for nothing but your own good time.

Even driving to somewhere as familiar as Hana, travelling by myself always gives me a little hit of self confidence and as someone once said, “confidence is the sexiest thing a woman can wear”. So as I headed East, listening via podcast to Michael Caine's Desert Island Disc's I could not have been more content.

For about a week now (in my head) I've seen myself sitting at Hamoa Beach, so once in Hana I headed straight there and matched my own picture perfectly. Chair precisely set up-body in the shade-legs in the sun, book in hand, camera within grasping reach (for Kodak moments like these) and then inwardly congratulated myself for a job well done.

Three hours later I packed up and headed back to my flower farm nest where I sat in the hot tub and recited out loud all the things I'm grateful took a while.

Hana Bay black sand magic.

Next stop was a Cosmo and some lovely Hawaiian music. I'd barely sat down at the bar when a lovely woman from the hotel came out of no where to ask me “Are you Sharon?”. “Yes”, I replied, perplexed and not yet on board with the ruse that was about to accost me. “Well happy Boxing Day and welcome to the Hotel Hana Maui”. My first thought was “blimey, talk about a full service hotel!”, especially given that I'd snuck in the Art Gallery entrance not even passing by the Front Desk. “So you've come to listen to the music?” she continued “and I know that traditionally you're supposed to be eating a Turkey sandwich, so I've asked the kitchen to see what they can do!” Bloody hell.........Michelle, the Manager on duty was good, very good!

As I began to recognize the words from my Christmas Day post I was sure my friend Cheyenne had called the Resort and told them to look out for me. Michelle floated off as serenely as she'd arrived and left me to ponder my extraordinary welcome, only to return with a Kukui Nut lei and CD of music recorded at the Hotel! “Who put you up to this?” I asked, not willing to let her leave again. I was truly puzzled as only two people knew of my plans, neither of whom could make it. She gently caved, “Well these are from Mark our GM who is English and he'd read your blog”, then she added “and now I know more than I'll ever need to know about Boxing Day”! “He's gone home for the night but I rang him and he said 'Say Hello to Hodgepodge ”.

How gobsmakingly ridiculously cool is that?!

As I sat there contemplating my luck, the man who'd gone home showed up. Enter the lovely and talented Mr.Mark Stebbings who confessed that having read my plans he thought “Oh I can have some fun with this one” and he did...hook, line and sinker. What I loved most was his knowledge that he could totally mess with a complete stranger, but what the hell - you have to figure another Limey's gonna appreciate a joke.... and appreciate it I did.

Ab Fab....note to self, must get more inventive with yanking friends chains. Thank you Mark for a job well done, you took it to another level my son, another level-oy and you still owe me a turkey sarnie PLUS a Hobnob now I know you have a stash!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day.

A Christmas morning Skype sesh with my Mum for chats and pressie opening was a great way to start the day. To clarify....she is waving not flipping anyone off!

Christmas Day - 1000 Peaks. from Sharon on Vimeo.

Then with lunch and options packed I headed to 1000 Peaks for a SUP session. Notoriously the weather is rainy over the Christmas holiday, but not this and the waves have been cooperating nicely.

If you look in between Giampaolo's legs, that's me!

Herbie goes surfing. Fact: At 26 I bought my very first car which was a VW Bug, it cost approximately $800 so I charged it on my credit card!

I bet this little one received all kinds of gifts for Crimbo, but there's nothing more exciting than combing the beach looking for creatures and shells.

Ufff, that plaggy bag contains gifts of another kind!

After my scrumptious lunch on a quiet beach under the shade of a palm tree (I kid you not), I headed to Honolua Bay to check out the surfing action. I was too lazy to tackle the viewing zoo on the cliff, so stayed at the overlook which provided an amusing rotation of Tourists standing under this sign.

This little inside bowl isn't that little, but compared to the outside it's a ripple.

What a day.

My friend Chico took some terrific shots of Honolua earlier this month. He does it purely for his own creative pleasure and despite us all telling him they are magazine worthy, he shakes us off as he has no interest in that.

Hey Meesh.....if you weren't in England I'd swear that was you duck diving in the tube!

And now it's Boxing Day, so I'm heading to Hana (as one does) to satiate my senses and play some more. When I pop into the Hotel Hana Maui tonight to listen to some lovely Hawaiian music, I'm crossing my fingers they'll have Turkey sarnies on the menu!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Iao Valley Ride

The Iao Valley walls are steep and as I pass houses built in the cool shadow of its ridges, I'm reminded of my Dad's fervent declaration that he'd never live in a house at the bottom of a hill. He was a pragmatic bloke, so nothing as new age as 'energy' or 'vibe' would have sufficed for his Yorkshire man's reasoning.....those are my terms. Though I did think today he was ahead of his time in the feng shui department. Iao has both a stunning beauty and a palpable intensity that (imho) only the thickest of skins would miss. Some say it's because of it's bloody history, I say listen to your instincts and (surprise-suprise) I don't live a the bottom of a hill either.

On my ride, I pass the house of a hundred palm buckets. Being a symmetry appreciator I always look forward to peddling by their impeccable orderliness. Sunday instead, I appreciated their seasonal touch and as a bonus, my parking lot starting point was filled with County of Maui vehicles, all of them white!

The Iao Needle is what everyone comes to see, but I was more interested in the locals who ignored the 'Please stay on the path' signs.

The stream below the Needle was rushing and swollen due to the early morning thunder and lightning, which had abieited by the time I'd finished my tea and toast. If that were me (which it never would be), I too would be limpet like and clinging to a warm rock as that mountain water is freeeeeeezing.

Cat napping in the sun, this wild moggy wasn't bothered one iota by the approach of a spandex wearing, camelback packing, ipod listening, bike dismounting paparazzi.

Further down the Iao Valley the rushing stream begins to trickle.....

.....and even there it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Nature's way.

My SUP skills and the bigger surf that I'm not used to at Kanaha are mostly a mismatch. I flounder on the shoulder trying not to get in peoples way, paddling like mad for any old slop that peels off the main break. It's good for my balance but not for wave selection, turning practice or (lets face it) my ego. For Christmas I'd like a big pair of hairy balls, because without them I'm never going to venture into the line up and learn what I need to or perhaps, (here and there) show myself that I'm not as bad as I think.

Back on land I took solace and a little time for reflection with an good cup of coffee in Makawao. I've lived here since arriving on Maui 20 years ago and am genuinely fond of this one horse town, which has everything you need and nothing you don't.

Fueled by caffeine I jumped on my beautiful bike and tootled around the neighborhood enjoying the open spaces (be they fenced in) and solitude of Upcountry.

Ahhhhhh glorious nature, she never fails to put my head back on straight.

Yesterday, I walked past a lei making class and wished that the blogosphere had a scratch and sniff application, as the wafting fragrance of the plumeria was heady and calming. I shall recall it next time I'm out on the water to thwart any advances of my old friend frustration, should he choose to call. That and I'll remember that it's not a pair of big hairy balls I need (be careful what you wish for), but as Gandhi said "nearly everything you do is of no importance, but it is important that you do it".

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Good Life.

Mama's Fish House is an institution on Maui (be it an expensive one). Being beach front they have one of the best views of any restaurant I know. However, I don't frequent it for two reasons: One, I used to shag one of the waiters who (if I see him) is just way too sycophantic and two, to me no entree is worth paying $50 for.

Happily expensive meals, big rings, driving the right car and impressing others with my career climbing are just not my thing. I'm a woman who thrives in environments where the people are authentic and nature is abundant. Don't get me wrong, I like my creature comforts and love my cozy nest, but seeking joy and balance are the twin engines that propel me. Today on the water I said to a friend "I'm so happy right now, if I had a tail I'd be wagging it like crazy"! This West Maui Mountains pici was from yesterdays play time.

Sorry to rub it in given that Dec 12th doesn't look like this everywhere...

I'm a bit short on photos, so as I consider laughter another key ingredient for a good life I want to share this QI clip that I've watched a bunch of times and it never ceases to amuse me. Enjoy.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Peahi goes off.

Well the massive surf forecast did not show up, but it was still big (I'm guessing 30-35ft) and very beautiful. More of the same is forecast to today and it will start to diminish on Wednesday.

To give you a sense of perspective, there's a helicopter behind that spay. As there was barely an ounce of wind, that plume of mist is a great indicator as to the power of these waves.

The pineapple filed is as good a landing spot as any!

Double your pleasure, double your fun.....

Michelle surprised me by not going all the way up into the tree!

In an act boldness I'd called work to say I'd be in late, as to miss this swell would have been criminal. I was however riddled with guilt which (luckily) magically evaporated once I arrived. Of course, from another perspective one could say his act of boldness took slightly more courage than mine!

Bloody hell.

Ka-booooooom (for the uninitiated that's a technical surf term)!

Proof I was playing truant!

Just one more.....!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Calm before the storm.

Today saw the first nudge of the massive swell that will hit Maui tomorrow and when I say massive, I mean wave faces of 30-50 feet.....faces! Even NOAA says the Islands will have an extended period of 'giant surf' and is comparing the models to a 1969 swell. Jaws will be a bloody zoo tomorrow and I'd love to be a part of it but I have to f*@rking work.

Meanwhile, it was breathless today opposite Hookipa as the sugar cane ferns attest.

Back on the calm West side I had one of my best SUP sessions yet. Glassy waist to shoulder high waves with friendly encoraging surfers and plenty of sunshine. In SUPing years I reckon I'm a year old. I can walk with varying degrees of directional success, sit down (be it ungainly), I fall off less and less and what doesn't hurt or scare me is really, really exciting!

The BBC's theme this week for 'Your pictures' is trees. I might send this one in just for the heck of it.

Or maybe this one, as the the Kiawe tree has an interesting past. The original seed was brought over from Paris by a Catholic priest in 1828. It's been said this tree was further planted by missionaries to discourage the Hawaiian people from going barefoot, but their feet were so tough even these thorns didn't bother them.

Trust me....even with slippers on, those thorns bother me by going straight through the rubber and giving my delicate haole feet a nasty poke. On the upside though, kiawe wood is abundant and great for a BBQ.