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by smmmarti guide
September 8, 2002
This awareness, that true darkness is something we rarely witness in our neon mercury vapor world, struck me squarely the night we attended "An Evening of Star Gazing" presented by the Kapalua Ritz Carlton as one of their many cultural enrichment and educational programs.
The Beach House, usually closed in the evening, was the private dining site for this special event. The evening had started before sundown with a lavish buffet consisting of delectable shrimp ceviche, fresh fish skewers, salads, grilled to order hotdogs and hamburgers, and fresh fruit. A freezer case of ice cream specialties were a special treat to kids of all ages.
A twelve foot telescope was set up on the adjacent lawns. A peak through the lens revealed Venus as the most prompt and brightest planet, her shape at first appearing as a crescent. As we waited for the arrival of the other stars clouds rolled over the sky threatening to block our examination of the extensive Hawaiian firmaments. But even with the limited conditions the stars shone more evidently and brightly here than we are used to seeing. The vastness of the Pacific, the remote location as the most isolated island chain in the world, and a relative lack of development on this part of island, provided what star gazers rely on most for their observations: darkness.
The Hawaiian sky is unique. In September the Big Dipper scroops into the ocean and only the two or three stars of the handle remain above the horizon until the whales return in December. Hawaiian legend is also revealed in the constellations. We learned stories of mortals and demi-gods, lovers and revenge, suffering and hope told through the imaginative figures locked eternally in the stars. We also learned general star facts while myths and fiction were debunked. Are we viewing stars that have since burned out? Ridiculous. Stars don’t just burn out; they simply dim. To the question of alien life in the distant galaxies, the astronomer pronounced an unequivocal "of course there are" but added they are never likely to cross our path since the universe is simply too vast, and our time here too fleeting. If you watch the Hawaiian sky for more than a few minutes, you will see satellites.
We were encouraged to take advantage of our "ownership" of the universe, to make it our job to learn more about the night skies which helps us realize our relationship to the universe. It was also emphasized how equisitely unique our earth's atmosphere is in the cosmos.
The event, enjoyable, relaxing, educational, informative and inspiring, was overall a first rate evening of fun and a sure way to remind us that Hawaii is as beautiful and interesting by starlight as it is by sunshine.
From journal Maui - Hikes and Upcountry Delights
May 3, 2002
Kamp Kapalua meets at the Kapalua Bay hotel every day of the week from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. The cost is $45 for the first child and $35 for each other child in the family and includes a t-shirt on the first day and lunch daily.
Every day at camp highlights a new theme and activity such as Nature, Undersea or Native Hawaiian, and every day includes swimming at the beach or the hotel pool. Keikis may conduct science experiments, explore tidal pools, learn the hula and Hawaiian language, build sand castles, learn to boogie board or relax and play a little (shhh, don't listen, mom!) Nintendo. Kids receive a camp t-shirt and choice of lunch menu daily.
Ritz Kidz is a similar day-camp style program offered through the Ritz Carlton hotel for children 5-12 year old. (But the ideal age for attendance is 6-9.) This program has the advantage of a choice of full or half day sessions. Also a great boon to parents needing a "date night" in Maui is the Wednesday Night Out program, where children are served dinner, a movie and popcorn and games and activities in the company of other kids, which often makes them enthusiastically embrace mom and dad's absence rather than crying at the fearful sight of an unknown babysitter. The best news is that for guests at the Ritz hotel, the half-day programs are no extra charge, the full day is $15 and the Wednesday Night Out $40. Fees are higher for non-hotel guests, who are also welcome to attend on a first-come, first-served basis.
The counselors on staff at the Ritz are dedicated professionals. We have been taking the kids here for years now and have had the peace of mind of being able to entrust our precious darlings with the same set of smiling, friendly, never rattled faces. How do they do that day after day?
At the Ritz Kidz the children participate in the Aloha Friday and Cultural Exhibits held regularly at the Ritz, along with scavenger hunts, face painting, beach olympics and a myriad of nature crafts and activities.
Another option for family entertainment and keiki kamp is the Kapalua Arts Center. Here, special holiday and summer camp programs are offered to visitors and residents alike. When camps are not in session people are encouraged to just stop in for a dance class, to paint a picture or create a ceramics masterpiece to be fired in the kiln.
Coming here for an hour or two and indulging yourself in this outlet of creativity in such a natural setting will have you and your offspring going "Hawaiian" in no time.
From journal Maui - More, More, More!
January 21, 2002
Since there are many treatments particular to Hawaii, I usually take advantage of the special seaweed wraps and Hawaiian lomi-lomi massage as soon as possible after arrival. Any extra water retention from that long flight melts miraculously away along with the stress I came to Hawaii to leave behind. I've heard a rumor that there are more massage therapists per capita on Maui than anywhere else in the country. Makes sense, and with the competition so keen I've never had a less than stellar massage here.
Many people are so inspired by the clean air and beautiful colors and scents of Hawaii that they decide to "detoxify" or start a fitness program while on the island. At the workout center you can lift weights, have a fitness assessment, hire some training, participate in a pilates or yoga class or merely continue with your normal fitness routine in a most pleasant and condusive environment. State of the art fitness equipment, friendly staff, chilled towels, tropical fruits and lemon-infused ice water are a few of the personnal touches that add to the incentive to get physical.
Trail maps are available at the fitness center or concierge desk outlining routes for morning hikes and jogs that take the fitness buffs and aspiring hard bodies along the property from the Ritz to Pineapple Hill, along the oceanfront and back again. The more determined, fit and adventurous might try the upcountry mountain hikes often organized by the hotel fitness staff.
The Beauty Salon offers manicures, pedicures, hair care and facials as well as an interesting selection of products and treatments, many produced locally.
The locker rooms are luxurious and fully stocked with all you could ever need to feel squeaky clean and glowing: lotions, shampoos (the Ritz's own formula), deo, razors, hairspray and spritzes. You need not bring a thing, but do leave the temptingly fluffy robe in the basket on your way out. Though it's okay to take an extra piece of fruit "for the road."
From journal WOW! Maui for everyone