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Gone in a firestorm

2023 October 1

Lundgren said one fellow yacht club member who was a firefighters left his boat to fight the fire.

Tom and Kelli Lundgren moor Lazy Daze in the packed harbor before the fire. 
“That day would be the last I would ever see Lahaina’s harbor as it was,” she said. “Lahaina Harbor was just as scrappy as our yacht club. Not a lot of services or niceties. Some docks were in disrepair. Some slips had water and shore power, others did not. The perimeter bulged with boats desperately seeking safe harbor in the mid-Pacific. A wait list for slips was 10 to 20 years.”

With no electricity and intermittent cell service, some residents found WhatsApp as a somewhat reliable way to communicate with the outside world.

“A friend sent me a snapshot of the harbor, I saw the harbor empty and black except for stumps protruding from murk,” Lundgren said. “But I couldn’t believe it, there was our Lazy Daze floating in Slip 49, one of 12 boats to survive on the south end of the harbor.”

The U.S. Coast Guard has taken control of the harbor and has been in communication with owners of both sunken and intact vessels. It estimated it will be months until the harbor is accessible and useable once again. Eventually, the salvaged boats will be moved to moorings.

“I feel survivors’ remorse, and I know many people who have lost homes, and 20 more friends who have lost boats, one club member,  John ‘Thumper’ McCarthy, lost his life,” Lundgren said. “When I am able to return to the harbor, it will never be the same. Harbor life will return. Boats will return. The club may even rebuild. We are ‘Maui Strong.’ But I will keep that last day filled with Lahaina’s color, charm and spirit forever captured in my mind.” --Greta Schanen 

Many residents are now living in temporary housing and the Environmental Protection Agency is cleaning hazardous waste in the 5-square-mile burn zone. Visit Lahaina Yacht Club’s website www.lyc.us  to donate to the Lahaina Yacht Club Rebuild Fund or the LYC Employees Relief Fund. The Maui Community Sailing Foundation is working to reestablish the junior sailing program.

The green hillside towers over the harbor before the fire.
Lori Fisher photo


What's left of the Lahaina Yacht Club fleet lies at the south end.
Richard Olsten photo


Lahaina Harbor five days after the firestorm, where all but 12 boats on the south end of harbor were destroyed.
Steve Andrews photo


The glass bottom Reef Dancer sits charred in its slip, surrounded by kiosks and melted scuba tanks.
Steve Andrews photo


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