Maika'i Maui - Dispatch 3

Lots of great things to report in this dispatch. First, one of my favorite restaurants on Maui, Aloha Mixed Plate has gone full-on biodegradable with all their disposable plates and utensils. This is a pretty big committment for a quick serve restaurant that is always busy. Another great food discovery, Roselani Ice Cream made just around the Island in Wailuku...I'm totally addicted. These are all part of my efforts to join the Kanu Hawaii Eat Kocal Campaign.

Wednesday was a full day of activities. I started early in the morning with a stop in the Pacific Whale Foundation store where I bought my annual t-shirt. I figure its a win-win when you can buy a t-shirt and/or gifts that are cool AND support a great cause. Next, it was off to Maui Nui Botanical Gardens (MNBG) where I've wanted to go for several years now. The gardens were a bit smaller than I expected but they had a really extensive collection of native plants, from Ape to Wiliwili. One could spend a short time at the gardens or the whole day if you really spend the time to get to know the plants with all their beauty and cultural meanings. Best of all, their website features a video with my favorite song in the background, "Maunaleo" by Kealii Reichel.

Next it was off to the Maui Tropical Plantation, another great stop for anyone into plants. Maui Tropical Plantation is certainly more commercial than MNBG, but beautiful nonetheless. The grounds were extensive and the tram tour is a blast. Feeding the pond fish and local ducks shouldn't be missed either. And yes, there is a GIANT - like five story - windmill on the grounds (pictured above). I could sit and watch it spin and respond to the wind all day...very relaxing.

Finally, I discovered in my many conversations that there is a new effort underway to restore Kahoʻolawe, an island in the Hawaiian chain that was used briefly as a penal colony, for sheep and cattle ranching, and as a bombing range for the US Navy. In 2003, the US Navy tranferred control of the island back to the State of Hawaii and now their is a full cultural and environmental restoration taking place. Having just completed the 2009 Tribal Journey in the Puget Sound where several villages were 're' named back to their original Indian names, I can start to understand the importance and meaning of this restoration effort to honor both the people and place of Kaho'olawe. I look forward to following, supporting, and hopefully volunteering with the project going forward.

Photo: from