Just a Few More Adventures

12 07 2012

As a compromise for not spending the day driving to get to some of the famous Maui waterfalls…..

Iao Valley

You guessed it – it wasn’t me in the water

And we made sure to return to Honolua Bay to go snorkeling for a couple of mornings.

Honolua Bay

Reminds of me Avatar

And we were rewarded for our early morning departure by swimming with 4 sea turtles!  The last one we saw had a missing fin, to which Nathan said, ‘shark bait’, which made me head back to shore!  By the time we made it to the overlook not only could we see turtles swimming from above, but a pod of over a dozen dolphins had joined the party!  Darn it, just missed them, however I may have freaked out if I was as close to them as the couple on surfboards.

Swimming Sea Turtle

How many dolphins?

And of course we made sure to see a few sunsets (when I wasn’t sleeping through them)

View from Capische

Cliche Sunset Photo

And of course, no trip to Maui is complete without a Luau.


Old Lahaina Luau


Time For Fun!

11 07 2012

After finishing up our breakfast at Kula Lodge, the finishing touch after our morning sunrise at the summit of Haleakala, we realized that it was only 9am and we had the entire day left for adventures.

On a quest to check off all of the sites and experiences in my brochures, it seemed natural to follow up our sunrise with the Road to Hana.  So what if people typically plan separate days for these excursions?  Who says you can’t jam pack them all into one?

Well, we made our way to the bamboo forest at Twin Falls, a place that apparently my brother and sister and I revolted against in a past family vacation when we refused to leave the car.  I was determined to make the trek this time around.

Bamboo Forest (possibly…?)

I don’t think anyone can resist taking photos of the gorgeous flowers in Maui

After the bamboo forest, the Twin Falls and 10 miles of the windy Road to Hana, it became clear that perhaps it’s not necessary to go down the list of ‘Must See’ sites and check them all off the list, one after another.  We don’t need to plan every moment of our vacation and we definitely didn’t need to spend hours driving from site to site (after all, we spend most of our time traveling on the road).

But we did see parrots!

Once we turned around and decided to treat ourselves to a fantastic lunch at Mama’s Fish House, we made a decision to really experience Maui.  And that meant it was time to enjoy the sun, the sand and the surf.

Mama’s Fish House

The View from the Restaurant

Mama’s Fish House Beach

Just Hanging out with the Waves

No need to plan our fun time, it was time to just HAVE FUN!

The Calm Before the ‘Fun’

Waiting for a Wave

Boogie Boarding Expert

For some reason it always looks like I’m in the shallows….I swear I ride some big waves too!

Luckily for everyone, no one was around to witness all the fun we were having on our little beach.  The waves were so aggressive they were trying to rip off all our clothes!

Goin’ Back for More

Haleakala National Park: ‘House of the Sun’

7 07 2012

There are few times when you willingly and knowingly set your alarm for 2:30am.

But for those people visiting Maui, I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority of visitors plan a trip to the summit of Haleakala, the world’s largest dormant volcano, to watch the dark star-studded sky turn to deep blue, then orange, then pink as the sun makes its first appearance over the clouds of the horizon.   At over 10,000 ft high, it’s quite a view.

The Sun lightening the sky at Haleakala National Park

Moments Before Sunrise

The Peeking Sun

Haleakala: House of the Sun

A Sunrise not to be Missed

There are definitely a few tips for this excursion that could increase the enjoyment of your experience.

  • Wake up early and get to the summit early before the sun starts to rise.  It takes about 2 hours to drive from the Wailea area, so keep that in mind.  Take time to dial in your camera settings because flash is just not going to cut it.  The tripod is very handy!
  • Dress warmly because if your hands/ears are cold it’s just no fun.  It’s not so much the temperature that was cold (although it was chilly), it was the wind that made it COLD!  So earmuffs/headbands, gloves and hot pockets are a perfect solution
  • Don’t think you need to join the masses and take in this experience at the Visitor’s Observatory area.  It gets crowded and although you may feel that this experience is best enjoyed in a quiet moment, others may not have that idea and your quiet sense of solace or romantic sunrise moment could be ruined with people fluffing their blankets around their shoulders and complaining that they aren’t getting good photos.
  • When you park your car, take the walking path to the LEFT of the parking lot, on the opposite side of the Observatory – you’ll be able to get an even better range of photos than at the Observatory – and without the crowds

Last tip.  Don’t run away as soon as the sun rises over the clouds.  There are so many moments to enjoy.

Top of the World

Haleakala Visitor’s Center

Haleakala Crater

One more thing.  You’re going to be hungry.  Best place to recover from the experience buzz of the sunrise and enjoy a great view of the island coast?  Kula Lodge.  Take the time to enjoy the macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup and the Loco Moco….after all, it’s only 7am.  You’ve got a whole rest of the day of adventures ahead of you.

‘We’re Having FISH Tonight!’

2 07 2012

Mahi Mahi to be specific….

Fresh Mahi Mahi

I should back up a bit.  For our second day in Maui we decided that our trip wouldn’t be complete without a catamaran ride to Molokini for a couple hours of trying to ‘be one’ with the tropical fish, which may or may not include trying to join a school of fish and trying to chase down an octopus.  So, snorkeling.

View of Haleakala

We boarded a catamaran from the beach and took off for a 4 hour trip with 50 other fish wannabees.   I don’t know how it happens, but we always end up at the helm and for the majority of the trip out to the island, we were manning the boat.  There were a couple of surprising looks close to the end of the trip when people started to take a second look and wonder if we were the ones that they boarded with at the beach or not, but overall, no one was alarmed, or harmed.

View from the Helm

After a couple hours of chasing needle fish, parrot fish, the racoonfish, Grouper etc, etc we made our way back to the beach.

With fishing lines trailing us, the crew took a gamble to see what they could catch.

Whoo Hoo.  We’ve got a live one.  Two lines caught at the same time, and although we lost one, we did reel in our mahi mahi.

Caught One!

We finished the day with mahi sandwiches and mai tai’s.  How appropriate.

Maui Mai Tai

Organized Fun

1 07 2012

I grew up in a household that went on family vacations every summer.  And before we stepped outside our door, all 5 of us were armed with an itinerary that scheduled out every minute of our trip.  From wake up time, to travel time, to meal times, to bed time and everything in between.  There was never a reason why you shouldn’t know exactly where you should be, and what the day would bring.  We even had scheduled shopping and beach time.  ORGANIZED FUN

Now, I’m not saying that with all of the travel that we do, I have itineraries for all of the adventures that we find ourselves in.  But, the older I get, the more I realize that I absorbed a lot more of the ‘Organized Fun’ way of thinking than I thought.

Wheels out and on the landing strip.  We arrived in Maui.  Although equipped with not much more than a car rental reservation number and an address for the hotel, it didn’t take me long to find the ‘Ultimate Driving Guide to Maui’, a ‘Best of’ Guide and a food guide.  Really, what more do you need?  I think I had prepped myself before our bags even arrived.

We couldn’t do much more than crawl into bed after making our way to the hotel at midnight, but once the light started streaming through our window at 5am…..Let the FUN begin.

Maui Sunrise from Hotel Wailea

A road map and a driving playlist.   That’s all we needed for Maui Day #1.

After getting a little carried away at the first scenic overlook (Nathan ventured down to the water, while I pointed at yellow fish that I could see in the water from above) we made our way North of the Wailea area, and along the coast past Kihei, Lahaina, and Kaanapali.

We may have strayed a little off the beaten track of the scenic overlook fence

We stopped for a beachside lunch and a dip in the water at the map described ‘everything that you would picture a beach to be’ Kapalua Beach.  In all of our excitement we didn’t seem to take a picture of this ‘perfect’ beach.  No worries though, it was only the first day and the beaches seemed to raise the bar every time we went to a different one.

A quick dip at Kapalua Beach

And then we came upon Honolua Bay.  Beautiful.  Everything that you would picture Maui to be and everything that you would want in a snorkeling area.

Honolua Bay

After blowing past the Nakalele Blowhole and playing chicken on the one lane windy road, it was 3pm.  And although not on the itinerary, it was Nap Time.  Back to the hotel….as hard as it is to ignore the beauty at Hotel Wailea.

Hotel Wailea: Surroundings & View

I slept for 14 hours that night – too much fun the last couple days I guess.  But Nathan did wake me up long enough to enjoy a little bit of our first sunset in Maui.

Maui Sunset from Hotel Wailea