Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Getting to Know Hawaii: Sunset at Black Rock

The Need to Knows:
  • The Black Rock sunset ceremony is held by the Sheraton Maui at the famous Black Rock in Lahaina, Maui.  It's exact location can be found here:
  • The ceremony happens daily at sunset and there is no cost to attend since it happens on a public beach.
  • There are a handful of public parking stalls at the Sheraton Maui, but if they're all taken, there is pay parking at the hotels and Whaler's Village (I'm not sure of the current prices, but definitely don't forget to make a purchase at the Village of at least $15 to validate your parking).  For more information on parking and alternatives to the (ridiculously priced) Whaler's Village, check out this TripAdvisor post here (keep in mind it was posted in 2009, so prices have most likely changed).
  • There are no public restrooms along the beachwalk, but you can use any of the hotel facilities if needed.
Once Mr. L and I figured out that we were going to be staying at the Westin Maui at Ka'anapali Beach (very nice hotel by the way with great kama'aina rates!), we knew that we wanted to catch the sunset at Black Rock one night.  We'd heard that there is a torch lighting and cliff diving ceremony that happens every sunset at the Sheraton Maui which sounded pretty neat.  We weren't able to the first night we were in because we were entertaining my dad and brother during a layover caused by a delayed flight, but the next evening, after napping and recovering from seeing the Sunrise at Haleakala, we were more than ready to check it out.

Gorgeous Ka'anapali Beach
About an hour before sunset, Mr. L and I left the comfortable lounge chairs at the Westin Maui pool and got dressed and ready for the ceremony.  We strolled down the famous Ka'anapali Beachwalk until we made it to the part of the beach in front of the Sheraton Maui, about 10 minutes away from our hotel.  Then we sat down, stretched out, and waited for the show to begin.

Black Rock with the island of Molokai beyond it
Black Rock is a famous diving rock and also snorkeling spot on the western coast of Maui.  It's also a very sacred place.  Just like the Leina-a-ka-'uhane rock on the Ka'ena Point Trail on Oahu, this rock (Hawaiian name Pu'u Keka'a) is considered the "leaping off" place for all the souls on Maui.  This ceremony honors that tradition.  The Sheraton Maui describes the history of the ceremony on their website as so:
"As the sun begins its slow dive into the ocean, torch lighting signals the nightly ritual of Lele Kawa (cliff diving). Legend tells us the last chief of Maui, Kahekili (Thunderer), proved his spiritual strength by leaping from sacred Pu’u Keka’a to the Pacific. With sunset painting the sky, a young cliff diver honors his heritage each evening by re-tracing footsteps in the sand on Kaanapali Beach. A chant of old Hawai'i begins the progression of our warrior; the echo of the conch shell announces his arrival. He leaves a trail of glowing torches surrounding the lagoon as he makes his way to Black Rock. Upon reaching the summit, he offers his torch to the ocean below, casts his flower lei into the sea; and finally takes the breathtaking dive from Black Rock into the rolling surf below."

Ka'anapali is a very, very beautiful beach -- probably one of the prettiest on Maui.  It was more than easy for Mr. L and I to sit back and relax while we enjoyed the gentle lapping of the waves and the gorgeous view of the islands of Lanai and Molokai out in the distance.

We were even met with a surprise visitor while waiting.  I'd noticed some people pointing at the water and I saw a man snorkeling in that general area.  As I watched, I realized the man wasn't coming up for air.  I nudged Mr. L and asked him what it was, and it turned out it was a monk seal!  We hadn't even noticed it when we sat down, but we watched him swim away out to sea.

Shortly after the monk seal made his (or her) departure, the loudspeakers of the Sheraton came on and the ceremony officially started.  The diver made his way down to the beach and onto the famous Black Rock with his torch lit brightly.

He lit the row of torches on the rocks, took a few bows, and dove into the water.  Here's a video of the dive (sorry it's a bit shaky):

Mr. L and I continued to watch the sun sink into the ocean after the ceremony was finished and savored the beauty around us.  Finally, we headed back down the beach and onto the path to find a nice restaurant for dinner.

The sunset ceremony at Black Rock was short but sweet.  It was definitely a nice way for us to start off a relaxing and romantic evening on one of the prettiest beaches in Maui and I would love to go back and experience it again.

Where's your favorite place to watch the sunset?

Monday, August 18, 2014


As the end of the year ticks down (and inevitably the end of our time in Hawaii), I'm becoming more and more willing to shake things up around the old blog here, except this time in a big way.  It's been on my mind for a while now to really revamp my blog, and the occasional new background and color schemes just isn't cutting it anymore for me!


I have a few ideas in mind for how I want to go about all of this, but first and foremost I wanted you all to know that it will most certainly involve a blog title change and a domain name change.  I'm going to figure out the best way to make sure this transition is as seamless as possible and that it doesn't affect any of my readers in any way.

Why am I changing my title and domain at this stage of my blog, you ask?  Mr. L and I will soon be undergoing a major transition in our lives.  The possibility of Mr. L leaving the military is getting stronger and stronger every day thanks to his illness, which is still yet to be diagnosed.  Because of this particular upheaval and everything thing else that will ultimately come with it, I feel like it is time to graduate from "The Landrum Wife" and onto something a little less "wife-y" and a little more suitable for my personality and overall perspective.  Since I suppose this could be considered a "lifestyle" blog, I want to represent my viewpoint on my life and I'm hoping I'll be able to find a good "brand" as a vehicle for that message soon.

As I go through this process, I will keep everyone updated, and when it comes time to make the switch, you all will be the first ones to know.  Hopefully this change will be received well and will be as easy as possible to accomplish, haha.  Thanks so much for your understanding and support, and until next time, aloha!  :)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Five for Friday

1.  Well, looks like we both ended up getting new toys.  Didn't exactly plan on that happening, but oh well!  Haha :)

2.  You suggesting Hughley's this week was a GREAT idea.  We need to go there more often.  Or not since our waistlines would hate us.  But we really should.  :D

3.  I really appreciate it when you're my sounding board, even when I'm overthinking things!

4.  I'm glad we're starting to really organize your pain data.  I think it's going to make a difference in your treatment and help us understand what's happening better.

5.  I'm looking forward to a North Shore day next week!  :)

ily <3

Friday, August 8, 2014

Five for Friday

1.  I hope you're enjoying your new toy!

2.  Thank you for the help with the storm prep this week.  I couldn't have done it without you!

3.  And on that note, I hope Iselle passes through with little effect on the islands and the same for Julio this weekend.

4.  Thanks for being more than understanding with me these past few days.  I appreciate it :)

5.  I'm really grateful that I have you in my life to balance me out.  When I get too serious, you inject much-needed fun into my perspective and my day that means more to me than you will probably ever know.

ily <3

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Taco Soup

This recipe has become one of my household staples over the past couple of years.  Every time I mention I'm thinking about making it, Mr. L enthusiastically agrees it should hit the table, and not long after it's made, my friend SJ somehow manages to make her way to my door too!  

It's super easy to throw together, is hearty and filling, and really goes a long way to feed a good number of people.  I like to serve mine with a side of Fritos, a dollop of sour cream, and a little shredded cheddar -- yum!  Give it a try and I promise you'll love it too!

Recipe adapted from

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Six for Saturday

1.  I'm glad we've been playing together again.  It's been fun!

2.  Thank you for having an ice cream social with me!  And for the FRO.  It was amazing :)

3.  I'm starting to miss the Big Island.  I hope we get to go back!

4.  I'm sorry you didn't get to come with us today.  Maybe we can do something fun tomorrow!

5.  I'm still hoping we get some good news regarding the specialist.  Tricare needs to get their crap together.

6.  We've got a lot to think about and a lot of big decisions to make.  Just know that I am up for anything!

ily <3

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Getting to Know Hawaii: Haleakala National Park

The Need to Knows:
  • Haleakala National Park is located off State Highway 378 in Kula, HI on Maui.  The exact location of the park's summit visitor center is here:

  • The park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  The Visitor Center at the summit is open from 6AM to 3PM local time.
  • The cost to enter the park is $10 per vehicle and $5 per hiker and biker or free for military.
  • Folks with respiratory issues, heart conditions, or anything similar who cannot handle high altitudes should stay away from this activity.
  • Dressing warmly is an absolute necessity since you will be at 9,000 feet plus in elevation.  Do not try to come up here in shorts and slippers!  The temperature can easily reach below freezing at night depending on the time of year and in the 50s or so in the daytime.  Mr. L and I wore long socks, long pants, sneakers, gloves, a beanie, a long sleeve undershirt, a T-shirt over that, a lightweight jacket, and a hoodie for this trip in May.  As the summit got warmer, we would take off another layer of clothing and still be able to remain comfortable.  (Also keep in mind that Mr. L and I are FULLY adapted to a tropical climate, so it may seem much colder on the summit to us than it would to some of you snowbirds out there!)
  • Food and gas are not sold within the park itself, so plan accordingly.  Fill up and bring snacks!
  • You definitely need to stay hydrated at this altitude.  Altitude sickness is real and can be quickly brought on by dehydration, so bring plenty of water for everyone.  Sunblock is also absolutely a necessity here.
  • Make sure to be aware of any kinds of changes in your own body or your loved ones', especially if you start to feel dizzy, lightheaded, nauseous, or you get a headache.  Walk slowly and take it easy up here!
  • Please keep in mind that you are in a delicate environment.  Endangered species are quite prevalent here, so drive slowly, walk carefully, and never remove anything from the park you didn't put there yourself!
  • If you need more information on Haleakala, check out the NPS website for Haleakala National Park here.


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