What to do in Maui

As mentioned in my last post, we recently got away for a week in Hawaii. What a trip!

pool surrounded by tropical plants and palm trees
resort life

This is a bit of a break from rocket activity, but it’s not totally unrelated – I did finish reading an excellent biography of Wernher von Braun during the flight, and I plan to write a couple of posts about that in the near future as well. And if nothing else, I needed an excuse to post a few pictures.

The Pacific Northwest is beautiful, but it can be pretty gloomy in the winter months – lots of darkness and clouds, with very little sun. This winter was particularly cloudy. Imagine day after day, week after week, with full cloud coverage, and virtually no sun. Relentless!

Luckily, Hawaii is not terribly far from Seattle: it’s just about a five hour flight. We’d never been to any of the islands before, and we decided on Maui.

The trip was a welcome relief from the despair of Seattle’s winter, and also a respite from the endless news coverage about the coronavirus throughout the country, particularly in Washington state. (See previous post.)

Below is a summary of our week’s activities in Maui, and of course, a couple of pictures.

road curving around a mountain in a tropical forest
road to hana

Itinerary highlights!

Sunday – flight from Seattle to Maui

Monday – beach day at Kaanapali beach, dinner at Star Noodle in Lahaina

Tuesday – Drove the Road to Hana, and toured Ono Fruit Farm; dinner at Da Kitchen

Wednesday – breakfast at The Gazebo, explored Lahaina and Kihei and spent more time on the beach

Thursday – visited Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm and drove to summit in Haleakala National Park

Friday – Whale watching and snorkeling on Pride of Maui boat tour, and then beach in Wailea

Saturday – Kanaha beach, dinner at Mama’s Fish House in Paia

Sunday – lunch at the Fish Market Maui (fish tacos!) in Lahaina, and flight home to Seattle

beach sunset
beach sunset at kaanapali

We stayed at an airbnb in Lahaina, which was amazing. And of course, the trip was definitely punctuated by multiple trips to Costco (the only one on the island) to stock up on food and supplies, and for filling the gas tank.

Note: prices are even higher in Hawaii than they are in Seattle, and that’s saying something. But as you can see from the itinerary above, we really packed in a full week of adventure and also relaxation.

Below are a few final pictures (and, as always, check out my instagram if you want to see more).

view of haleakala crater from the summit, obscured by clouds
haleakala summit
another beach sunset
another beach sunset
black sand beach with palm trees
black sand beach on the road to hana

Sometimes you have to take a break from building and launching rockets, if only to rest and recharge, and then get back at it!

Seattle, the coronavirus capital of the US

You can’t go anywhere without hearing people talk about the coronavirus (COVID-19) lately. I mean, anywhere. Go for a jog or walk outside, and as you pass other people who are talking, more often than not their conversation is about coronavirus. Same with fellow diners in a restaurant, or co-workers in the office – if you’re still going into the office, that is, and not yet working remotely.


Airlines are reassuring passengers that they are taking appropriate safety measures to ensure that travelers are safe. The stock market is tanking, in part because of the economic harm caused by the virus (or by concern or panic about the virus).

I live in the Seattle area, and closer to home, the situation is a bit surreal. I read a recent New York Times article that prompted me to write something about this. Sure, this is generally a blog about building and launching rockets, but even that is impacted by the coronavirus epidemic and news coverage.

Amazon Spheres, downtown Seattle
Amazon Spheres, downtown Seattle

As the New York Times article notes, Seattle is something like the epicenter for this virus in the United States. The first death from COVID-19 in the US was in Washington state, in King County (which is Seattle and some neighboring areas). As of today – March 10 – the Washington Department of Health is reporting a total of 267 COVID-19 cases and 25 deaths across the state. Alaska Airlines, based out of Seattle, is one of many airlines offering no change or cancellation fees for flights scheduled through certain dates. Amazon and Microsoft, whose headquarters are in the Seattle area, have recommended their employees in the area work from home. Facebook (which has a large Seattle office) has said the same thing.

State and local governments in Washington have also advised people to avoid large public crowded spaces or events. In fact, the governor of Washington has declared a state of emergency, as have several other states across the country, and is banning crowds of 250 or more people.

With respect to rocketry and related activities, some local rocketry clubs have either cancelled launches or warned that people not attend. Similarly, the Lake Washington Ham Radio Club, where I got my amateur license a couple months ago, cancelled its monthly meeting due to the outbreak.

What can be done in this situation except escape Seattle for the remote beaches of Hawaii? That’s exactly what we did last week, and in another post I’ll share just a quick overview of what we did (and, of course, some pictures)!