Our favorite beach (sometimes called White Rocks) is a wide beach to the south of the Kea Lani Resort. The beach has reef formations at both ends. Holoa Point is a point of land at the south end of the beach. There is a section of reef that extends for several hundred yards, both out to sea and further down the shoreline. There's very interesting underwater topography near the point. Small caves and ledges offer concealment for turtles, fish and the occasional reef shark. Lava arches rear up from sand channels between the rocks and coral heads. There are turtles all over, sometimes rays and white tip reef sharks are seen patrolling the reefs. There are plenty of colorful reef fish, octopus, angler fish, surgeon fish, tangs, sergeant majors, moorish idols, and goat fish.
Unfortuneately, we might be some of the last visitors to the beach as
it has been 'til now. It is one of the few undeveloped areas. A dirt
access road, no amenities, and few toursists. During our three days'
visits, the landscape across the the road was altered by chainsaws and
bulldozers to make way for several "trophy homes" (See http://www.onepalaueabay.com/home.html.)
Our sadness is tempered only by the reminder that this develpment is not
a resort, and that two of the properties were bought to preservation by
the county (The purchase by the county of the entire development was prevented
by property values which escalated during a long period of prolonged
debate and indecision by local authorites in the 1990's.
Penny Olson taught me some snorkeleing tricks!
The Maui News
April 21, 2000
MAKENA -- Figuring he could save $200,000 or more in interest payments, Mayor James ``Kimo'' Apana authorized the county to complete the purchase of the second lot at Palauea Bay earlier this month.
``It just didn't make a whole lot of sense to wait and pay all that interest when we were going to have to pay it off by the end of the year,'' said Brian Miskae, executive assistant to Apana.
The sale became final April 3 when the county paid the balance of more than $2.5 million to Palauea Bay Partners for Lot 50, the nearly 21,000 square-foot parcel that adjoins Lot 49, which the county bought outright in January. The pair of lots in the middle of the sandy beachfront were the ones that the public had lobbied Apana to buy if only two could be obtained.
Because of the county's tight financial situation, the mayor had supported the purchase of just a single lot, but gave in to passionate pleas from members of the community who said they would help raise the money for additional land at Palauea. The Maui County Council also authorized Apana to purchase ``up to two lots'' with a total value not to exceed $6.7 million.
Apana made the announcement of the final purchase at a recent beach cleanup at Palauea that attracted about 50 volunteers.
Lucienne de Naie of the Sierra Club Maui Group and Maui Tomorrow said just because the balance has been paid that doesn't mean the public will renege on its promise to help raise funds.
``Oh, no, the public is sincere,'' said de Naie. ``The meetings we're having to plan strategies and fund raisers are getting livelier and livelier. It's heartening to see so many people getting involved.''
Certain members of the public have lobbied the county to purchase 4.69 acres -- or nine lots -- at Palauea for more than a decade. The council authorized former Mayor Linda Lingle to buy all nine when they had a total value of $8.7 million in 1996, but Lingle declined to follow through. With the stock market booming, the prices of beachfront property have skyrocketed lately, making it no longer possible for the county to afford the entire stretch.
In January, the county paid $2 million for Lot 49, a 23,087 square-foot parcel and made a down payment of $250,000 on Lot 50. The balance, along with 10 percent interest, was due at the end of the year.
De Naie said she's been especially pleased to see members of the business community join the efforts of preservationists to come up with a plan for raising money, not only for Palauea, but future efforts at adding to the county's land bank.
``We know government isn't going to be able to do it all,'' said de Naie, ``although we'd like to see government make beach acquisition a much higher priority.''
Miskae said Apana was glad that the public urged him to buy the second lot. He said the mayor welcomes other cooperative efforts at purchasing something for the common good.
``Kimo is very strong on partnering with the public,'' said Miskae. ``He likes partnering with nonprofits or community associations for the greater public interest. I'm sure he'd be happy to sit down and talk with anyone who wants to do something like this. Unfortunately, our money tree isn't as healthy as it used to be.''
De Naie said more than $5,500 has come in to Maui Tomorrow's Palauea fund in less than two months of public appeal.
Miskae said, at least for now, the county plans to leave the two lots in their natural state at Palauea. He said there have been repeated efforts to stake the boundaries, but the markers continue to get pulled up.
He said the county would like to work with developer Everett Dowling or the Wailea Resort Co., which both own land mauka of the beach, about making land available for public parking at Palauea. So far, no progress has been made on that front.