Back in Lahaina, the tragedy of Aug. 8 plays on repeat for Ms. Martocci. She had a scuba expedition scheduled for that day but canceled it because of high winds. Hoping to check on the warehouse, she and Mr. Stein rushed down the Honoapiʻilani Highway, which was choked with traffic because of downed power lines and the growing rush of evacuees. The couple turned around, but they spoke on the phone with Ms. Swanson, who told them she had evacuated and seen thick black smoke, which signifies a structural fire, in the direction of their warehouse.
“We didn’t know if it was gone, but we had a feeling,” Ms. Martocci said.
In recent months, she and Mr. Stein have started salvaging their business. They considered whether it made sense to move, but Ms. Martocci had never felt more at peace than in the clear blue waters off Maui.
Recently, they’ve worked with the Small Business Administration and have received a $700,000 loan. But at 64, Mr. Stein is uneasy about taking on the debt he would need to rebuild, especially considering how much uncertainty remains.
He needs a renewed permit with the state’s boating department to run his business, but to get one he needs a boat — and for now, the marine facility they have used for the past 40 years remains partly closed.
“We are in such a holding pattern,” he said. “There is no sense of when it will loosen up.”
Ms. Martocci said she had come to think of their community as a painful Venn diagram, in which everyone knows someone who lost a loved one, a home or a business. Some lost all three.
“The place we all knew and loved is forever changed,” she said. “We just know we have to keep moving forward and find some sense of normalcy.”