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June 4, 2013 at 11:03 PM

Waning tradewinds? It’s blowing like stink on Maui

A bin of perfectly ripe Hawaiian papaya awaits tourists at the Olowalu fruit stand, south of Lahaina, Maui. (photo by Brian J. Cantwell/The Seattle Times)

A bin of perfectly ripe Hawaiian papaya awaits tourists at the Olowalu fruit stand, south of Lahaina, Maui. (photo by Brian J. Cantwell/The Seattle Times)

A current report says Hawaii’s tradewinds are waning, causing more muggy days without enough wind to blow away the “vog” — volcanic smoke from Hawaii Island’s volcanic eruptions.

You sure wouldn’t know it from Tuesday on Maui.

Stepping off an Alaska 737 in Kahului, I watched women’s hair get the full “Hurricane Uplift” hairdo as they were blasted by the north wind that often makes this shore the windsurfer’s paradise of Maui. I don’t think I’ve ever had a smooth landing at Kahului, and this was no exception. As usual, passengers applauded when the plane was safely on the ground after getting jounced around by winds.

Visibility was good, too, with a crisp and clear view of the summit observatory on Mount Haleakala.

One day doesn’t disprove the trend, of course. But on Tuesday it was, in old-fashioned sailor’s terms, blowing like stink.

It’s been a few years since I’ve been on Maui. While the area around Maui’s main airport has become more strip-malled than ever, it was heartening to see that the long line of surfer-dude beaches between Maalea and Lahaina remains unmolested by developers. It was only a minor letdown to find that the fruit stand beneath the spreading monkey pod trees at Olowalu was charging robber-baron prices (7 for $10, and you couldn’t buy less than 7) for lilikoi — the Hawaiian passion fruit — that I used to pick up for free from public sidewalks when I’ve visited Hilo.

It was still impossible to resist buying a couple of perfectly ripe papayas (2 for $5 — the sucker tourist price), but I plan to find the farmer’s market this week and expect to do much better. I’ll keep you posted.

0 Comments | More in Hawaii | Topics: Hawaii, kahului, Maui

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