Lāhainā Strong – Maui Strong

As we write this blog post, Hurricane Hilary passed by Banderas Bay a couple of hundred miles to the west, leaving only some rain in Vallarta. Thanks to everyone who reached out with concern for our safety. We were glad to see this once category 4 hurricane was downgraded to a category 1 before making landfall in Northern Baja and Southern California yesterday. However, we’re not surprised, given climate change, that it gave Southern California its first-ever “tropical storm warning”.  

How many more climate change catastrophes do we need to endure before people wake up and realize we need to make BIG changes NOW?! Climate change is REAL folks, not a hoax. Humans are contributing to the over warming of the planet, the warm sea temperatures, and warmer-than-usual air temperatures fueling these super-storms and wildfires across most of the Western US and Canada. And let’s not forget Maui.

Did you know Lahaina used to be a wetland with ponds before the water was diverted to irrigate the sugarcane and pineapple fields, for big agra businesses? In the 1700s, Queen Keopuolani, the mother of Kamehameha II, had her home on an island in a pond in what is now Lahaina.

You can leave it all behind, sail to Lahaina…

Due West Vic-Maui Yacht Race Crew 1996

The Lahaina fire on Maui is so heartbreaking to us and devastating to everyone there. Having sailed to Lahaina in 1990 (Kirk) and in 1996 (both of us aboard Due West), and spending 20 years as Lahaina, Yacht Club members, plus volunteering in Lahaina on several Vic-Maui Yacht Race greeting committees—that beautiful old historic Hawaiian town held a BIG space in our hearts. Lahaina Yacht Club, along with all of Front Street, and so much history is now gone. Some of you may remember our old kitty was even named Maui. 

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Lahaina or its historic past, you can read more here from the National Parks Service on why Lahaina is on the National Historic Register.

Mahalo no kou kokua – Thank you for your help

There is a lot of misinformation flying around on the Internet about what happened on Maui… speculations and second-guessing. And lots of people popping up fundraisers for Lahaina all over the place, which may or may not be legit.

So we wanted to share some info from friends who live there. Local donation resources with boots on the ground that are actually helping people in Lahaina right now. Sadly, we have heard from friends on Maui that the larger agencies and government funds are still tied up, and not helping anyone yet. Containers of donations sit locked up because the agencies haven’t worked out a plan to distribute them yet. There is still no water, electricity, or cell service 12 days later. Such a tragedy. Shades of Hurricane Katrina—so many things went wrong before and after this disaster. We can’t Monday-morning quarterback, but climate change definitely played a role.

There are still over 800 people missing, as well as tons of pets not accounted for. While the hotels on the Westside of Maui are being used to house those who lost everything in Lahaina, there are many other areas of Maui that would love to host you and badly need tourist dollars. If you’ve planned an upcoming trip to Lahaina or the Westside, please consider re-booking in Kihei, Hana, or somewhere Upcountry, and support Maui with your vacation dollars.

And if you want to help NOW, please consider donating to these vetted organizations that are distributing 100% of the proceeds directly to the people in Lahaina NOW, and not towards business overhead. 

Maui Food Bank feeding those who’ve lost everything

Maui Humane Society So many pets are still lost/missing, and burned pets need aid

Maui United Way 100% of donations going to those who need help

Hawaii Community Foundation Maui Strong 100% of donations going to those who need help

Lahaina Strong T-Shirts – Support Lahaina with one of these cool t-shirts. Mahalo Mike Reich for creating the ©Lāhainā Strong logo!

“Call someplace PARADISE, kiss it goodbye…” If you’re familiar with the Eagle’s song, Last Resort, you know… if not, please read the lyrics here to understand.

Sending love and healing energy to all. Maui nō ka ʻoi! Lāhainā Strong! Aloha.


  1. Kristi on August 23, 2023 at 6:01 pm

    I appreciate the links to aid the folks/pets in Lahaina after they experienced such a horrendous tragedy. Thanks Heidi/Kirk!

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