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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Maui - January 2013

I mentioned in the last post that I would write about how ALS affected our trip to Maui.  So . . .

These are some of the things we like to do in Maui:

1) snorkel
2) boogie board
3) eat fresh fish
4) relax on the beach
5) look for sea glass on the beach
6) whale watching
7) walk up and down Front Street in Lahaina
8) absolutely nothing

1)  The snorkeling was great.  The weakness in my legs made it more difficult to get in and out of the water.  If there was any kind of shore break, the waves just knocked me over.  We managed to do some snorkeling at Kapalua Bay, but the waves were up a bit so I just about drowned getting situated in the water with my snorkel and fins on.  Once I was in, everything was great.  Because it's harder for me to deal with the waves we spent most of our snorkeling time at mile marker 14 - the Olawalu area south of Lahaina.  The water is really flat in that area, even if the waves are kicking up elsewhere on the island.  And, there is a really nice reef there with lots to see, including turtles.  Tiger sharks like turtles, so warning signs are posted along that beach.  I know this to be true, because one time I swam with a turtle that had one of its front flippers missing.  We also went to Makena to see if we could snorkel there, but the waves were bigger than at Kapalua, so we didn't snorkel there.  Too bad - because we almost always see turtles there.  They have a new (to me) snorkel out that has two separate tubes - one for inhaling and the other for exhaling.  There are little valves that seal on the inhale side when you exhale and visa versa.  Last year I was having some trouble breathing with the old style snorkel.  This new development made breathing easier.  I was not able to dive down and get stuff because my leg strength couldn't get me down there.  I found that I was moving around mostly with my arms, which worked fine.  If there had been any kind of semi-strong current, I'm not sure I would have been able to depend on the fins.   So snorkeling went pretty well and we had lots of fun.

 (Note: Don't mind Gerri's hand sign. She recently joined a gang.
My hand sign is the correct "hang loose" sign.)

2)  Unfortunately, boogie boading is out - at least on Fleming Beach where I love to boogie board.  Boogie boarding requires a lot of leg strength to stabilize myself against waves as I am waiting for the wave I want, and then getting a good kick when the desired wave comes.  I'm useless in the waves.  Too bad.

3)  We ate lots of fresh fish!  In fact just about every meal except breakfast included fish.  Mahi mahi, Ono, Opah, Opakapaka, etc., etc.  We had it fried, sauteed, broiled, in tacos - just about any way they can prepare it.  It's all good.  I had to eat slowly, and I didn't always finish the meal, but it was great.  It is a good thing that we went when we did because now I'm eating through a tube in my tummy.  (see next blog post)

4)  Relaxing on the Beach - no problem !!!

5)  Looking for sea glass requires walking around on the sandy beaches.  I found that the way my legs are now, my foot prints in the sand are different.  Normally, you see the whole foot, with the deepest part of the print at the toe.  My foot prints were all heel.  It made it tougher, but it also stretched my calf muscles, which felt good.  So we had fun and got exercise, but we didn't find as much glass as past years.

6)  In Maui, from December to April, the whales come to Hawaii to have their calves and to mate.  We can just sit on our lanai and watch the whales.  They are everywhere!  But every time we go, we do at least one trip with Ultimate Whale Watch.  We like these people - they are fun and knowledgeable.  Their boat is a small pontoon boat which makes it really easy to move from one place to another - compared to the big cruisers that some of the whale watch tours sail with.  We always see whales up close.  This year was no different.

7)  We didn't spend as much time in Lahaina Town.  I walked really slow - with lots of resting every few minutes.   (I used my walking stick, but I didn't have my AFO Orthotic/Brace until we got back.)

8)  Absolutely nothing - no problem !!!

I'm glad that we have been to Maui and Kauai many times over the years.  I strongly recommend that you go now, and not wait until some future ideal time to go, like when the kids are grown up or when you are retired.  If I had waited until being retired I would have missed out on so much.  And . . . it is fine to take the kids or go with the entire family, or friends - now and then.  We have taken the whole family, and the kids on some of these Hawaii trips, and we are glad we did.  But, we really cherish the times that Gerrí and I have spent there - just the two of us.  So, don't worry about the kids - they get over the fact that you left them home - I promise.  And, in fact, my kids always knew that we would spend some vacation time without them.  Our first trip together to Hawaii was in 1986 to see Halley's comet when Joey was only 2 years old.  We just tied him up outside with the dog, and he did fine (JUST KIDDING).  When we got married in the Salt Lake Temple, the officiator counseled us to always plan time away from the kids.  We have always followed that advice.  The kids say that it has showed them how much we love each other.


  1. Kevin, you are awesome. And, Gerri is not in a gang she is from Texas and that is the Longhorn sign.
    Miss you guys.

  2. I am so glad you had a good time on your trip. Memories really make life all it can be and it sounds like the two of you have created many. God bless you and keep you.
    Marilyn White

  3. Hey I'm pretty sure we watched Joey that time and loved it!!!

  4. Hi Kevin,
    Thanks for sharing your experiences on your blog. Lee and I went to Maui on our honeymoon, so it is a special place to us. Your pics and stories are inspiring us to go back next year for our 10th anniversary.

    I am just getting ready to start training for my mission at the FH library. (So if you ever get a yen for working on yours, let me know and I can help.)

    I think you are wise to take an early retirement and build memories with your family. (I have never regretted scaling back on work early.)

    Lee's aunt lost her battle with ALS last month; it is fearsome disease. Sorry you are having to go through this Job-like experience.

    As a great communicator, you have found a new voice through your fingers on this blog. You are a survivor and a great model to all of us on how to live!

    Thanks for sharing your insights. Love, Virlene Hirschi

  5. Hello Kevin, my name is Daniel Gustafsson, and I am a freelance writer from Sweden. Your blog caught my attention, the ALS issue, to which I have a personal connection, and this post about scuba diving - diving in the ocean have been on my mind for the longest. Anyway, I have recently published my article on newly researched rainforest plants and their potential for the reversal of ALS progression. It is the culmination of having researched ethnobotanical medicine the past 6 years, and drawing connections to the field of neuromedicine. It is currently being discussed on several online forums related to the subject matter. Hopefully you will find it interesting to read, and your response would be much appreciated, You can find it here:


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