Maui in February

Here we are at the beginning of March, and February has just passed me by!!  We took a fun trip at the beginning of the month to Maui – which was supposed to be our escape from the gray, wet skies of the Western Washington winter.  I was surprised at how much it rained on Maui and how many days started with clouds, gray skies, and sprinkles.  I guess this is pretty typical for “winter” weather there, but it was just a teeny bit disappointing.  Please remember you can click on any of the photos to make them larger.

Maui 2013 073Above is the view from our lanai.  You see the “famous” Gazebo restaurant which is open for breakfast and lunch daily.  This was (obviously) a rainy morning, and the line is short.  Most days the wait was about 45 minutes.  We went one morning to try the macadamia nut  pancakes that we had read online were nothing short of spectacular.  I have to say I was less than impressed.  They simply sprinkled some chopped mac-nuts on top of your basic pancake and called it good.  Oh well, I’m not really a pancake connoisseur, so maybe my two cents worth is just that – worth but two cents!

Maui 2013 016Here we have a view of one of the south Maui beaches near Makena.  We enjoyed our drive down the coastline thru Kihei and Wailea even though it was not exactly bright and sunny.  This time of year the Humpback whales put on a show every day if you just sit patiently and watch.  I tried SO hard to get some good whale pictures, but alas, the one below is about as good as it got.

cropWe did go snorkeling (my favorite thing to do on earth!!) a couple of times and also tried to find a kayak trip that would suit us, but failed on that.  I guess we knew we’d never top the March 2011 kayak trip where the whales literally swam right under our boats… so we didn’t try too hard.  Silly, I know.  Kayaking is such fun and especially in Hawaii – I’m sorry now we didn’t pursue that a little harder.

We managed to consume a few delightful meals on this trip, and yeah, I’m one of those crazy people who like to take photos of their food.

Maui 2013 052 This was probably the best I had the entire week.  Macadamia nut crusted Mahi Mahi on wild rice with ??? some sauce!  It was divine!! 🙂

Maui 2013 053To prove we actually did see the sun, here was the sunset one evening, dipping down beyond the island of Lanai in the distance.  The sunsets in Hawaii are spectacular, in my humble opinion.

Maui 2013 027One beautiful sunny day we decided to drive up to the top of Mt Haleakala, which you can see by Hubby pointing it out, is 10,023 feet.  Lots of crazy  adventurous folks get up waaaaay before dawn to get to the top of the mountain to watch the sunrise.  This was not something on my to-do list (getting up at 3 am, I mean), so we drove up during the day.  It was gorgeous up there.

HaleakalaHere’s a view showing the cinder cones (I think that’s what they called them) in the dormant volcano, Haleakala.  We’ve learned a lot about volcanoes recently, having been to Mt St Helens last summer and now here to Haleakala National Park.

snorklerCouldn’t resist sharing this photo we took while gazing down onto Honolua Bay (a place we later snorkeled ourselves).  Here was a guy, snorkeling with his dog on a boogie board!  It was a rather hot that day and I worried that the dog would get overheated, but he seemed to be having a great time.

suz mauiHere I am at Makena Landing.  A place that is known for good snorkeling and kayaking, but we weren’t prepared to jump in the day we were there.  Oh well.  Maybe next time 🙂

condo mauiHere’s a snap of the condo complex we stayed in called Napili Shores.  While it wasn’t my favorite place we’ve ever stayed (rather noisy, believe it or not!) we did like it.  This was taken across Napili Bay from the Seahouse Restaurant, looking back towards the condo near sunset.  I did love hearing the crashing of the waves, day and night.

lavaflowHere I am at Dukes in Ka’anapali (a totally open air restaurant – love it!) trying my very first “LavaFlow” drink.  It’s sort of like a pina`colada with some swirled strawberries thrown in.  Very yummy.  I hope to have another…. someday 🙂  This was taken on Super Bowl Sunday.  We could hear lots of folks in the bar hooping and hollering and most sounded like they were for San Francisco…. they seemed pretty unhappy with the the outcome of the game.  I was oblivious to football on this trip… just too happy to be in Hawaii, I guess.

lahainaThis photo was taken the evening before we left beautiful Maui – at Lahaina harbor.  Another stunning sunset and a great little trip.  But, like I always say, there’s just “no place like home”… it was great to go, but just as great to arrive home safely.   Hope you enjoyed our little Hawaiian pictorial.

As promised, the rest of the Maui trip

The day after the tsunami, we wondered if we’d be attending our first Luau… obviously, we made it!  The Luau we chose is called “Old Lahaina Luau” and claims to be the most authentic on Maui.  It’s located literally ocean-side in Lahaina.  We’d heard that there were spots in Lahaina where the tsunami waves actually came up over the road and we were pretty sure that damage could easily have occurred at the Luau site – so I phoned in the early afternoon to find out.  Luckily, the only damage was a bit of debris here and there and yes, the show would go on!  I was SO happy!  Not sure if John really gave a rip, one way or the other, but in the end we both thoroughly enjoyed the food, the company, and the show.  Here we are, lei-adorned. 🙂  We were seated at a table for eight and had a nice visit with our tablemates across the way who were from South Dakota.  They were as excited as we were to enjoy some glorious Hawaiian sunshine at the end of winter.  Next is a snapshot of my plate of food from the luau. I named all the different foods on the plate…. hopefully you can read it, but if not, click on the photo and it should be better visible.  The food at the luau was a buffet – all you can eat, and honestly- everything was delicious!!  Prior to the meal, we were invited to the ceremony where they lift the pig out of the pit where he (I have decided to assume it was indeed a he) cooked in the ground for apparently many hours.  Here’s a photo of the lifting of the piggy!  If you look closely, you actually CAN see that it is indeed a swine.  I must say, he was QUITE tasty.  Of course no luau would be complete without the wonderful hula dancing.  Here’s a snap of some great hula dancing! The luau was a big hit with both of us.  I definitely recommend attending at least ONE luau when in Hawaii.  It’s a must!

The next day we did a kayak trip off Olawalu which is a few miles south of Lahaina.  If I could put this trip into words, (which will be difficult) it would be something like “insanely wonderful”.  We loved the kayaking — which is a very good thing, since we bought two kayaks last September and plan to use them this spring/summer on our upcoming motorhome trips.  This kayak trip took us well out into the ocean and as luck would have it, we were the only ones on the trip, besides the guide.  He was full of tidibits of info regarding the Humpback whales that we were seeing in the distance.  After we were out there for about an hour, we noticed that the pod of 6 male whales (according to the guide) had shifted direction and were now heading right for us!!  “Griff” our guide assured us that the whales were not at all interested in eating… and certainly not eating humans!  Their goal while spending the winter off the coast of Maui is simply twofold: fight (other males) and fornicate.  Okay.  So they weren’t going to eat us… this was a good thing.  Once they got within 100 yards of us, Griff told us to take our paddles out of the water.  OH, IF I ONLY HAD A WATERPROOF CAMERA HANDY!!  But alas, I didn’t.  So the memory of this crazy pod of Humpback whales spouting, breaching, and tail fins flapping will have to be ingrained into memory only -without photographic documentation.  As they approached, John asked Griff the guide, “do they see us?”  and Griff reassured us that they did.  About that time, the lead male-whale lifted his head and got a glimpse of the humans ahead of him.  At that, he dove and all his buddies followed him and under us they went…. resurfacing at least 100 yards on the other side of us.  This was one of the most amazing moments I have ever experienced in the wild.  INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  After that we kayaked to an area where Griff dropped the anchor, tied the kayaks together, and we snorkeled in an area that was replete with Green Sea turtles.  Since earning the name “Snorkel Sue” back in 1998, I have always been flabbergasted by the life that lies just slightly beneath the ocean.  Just put your face into the water and there is literally another WORLD.  Amazing and wonderful!  Genesis 1:20  ” And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures……”  What an experience it all was.  That kayak trip was worth the long flight to Maui all by itself!!  I’m SO thankful to have had that awe-inspiring whale encounter with my best friend 🙂

What could top that?  Well let’s be honest, nothing.  At least not this trip.  We didn’t have time to do SO many things that we wanted to do.  Drive the road to Hana.  Go to the top of Haleakala.  Guess that will all have to wait till the next time.  We did however take a walk the evening of the kayak trip along the sand, not far from our condo, to Dukes – an open air, on-the-beach restaurant.  Again, we had a delightful and healthy dinner.  And again, here are a couple of pictures to prove it.

 

Tiki torches light the way into Dukes for dinner

We tried a new fish, "monchong" for dinner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before we new it, it was time to think about that long flight home.  Honestly, we hated to say goodbye to Hawaii so soon.  I hope we can go back again someday… we left a lot UNdone on the island of Maui.  On the day of our overnight flight, we drove around part of the north of the island and stopped at Kapalua Golf Club for a late lunch.  The restaurant there was called the Pineapple Grill and okay, I’ll admit it, we stopped because I had a “buy one entree, get one free” coupon.  I’d also read on TripAdvisor.com that this was a nice restaurant with good food and great views of the golf course.  Golf courses make my significant other a very happy man, so what the hey, why not stop?  We DID indeed have a great lunch and while reading those reviews on TripAdvisor, people kept mentioning the signature dessert at the Pineapple Grill … the Maui Gold Pineapple Upsidedown Cake.  This was our one real indulgence of the trip …. it was to-die-for-delicious!!!!

Pineapple upsidedown cake with caramel-rum sauce and a scoop of coconut-macadamia nut ice cream on top.  We shared this and still didn’t finish it.

So ends the sweet trip to the island of Maui.  Can’t wait to return… hey, I’ve got quite a few more snorkel sites we’ve yet to conquer! 🙂

Maui trip update

Well people, it’s certainly been an eventful first-ever visit to Maui!  We had a memorable day yesterday, snorkeling in two different areas, getting sunburned and exhausted.  But what fun!  We saw our first green sea turtle and then a second one when we moved up to Kapalua Bay.  We got out the boogie boards and had a ball on those too.  We have been watching the Humpback whales, spouting and breaching … frolicking in the warm waters.  Awesome sight!

We love our little studio condo – just the right size for the two of us.  We fell into bed, so tired last night and were truly shocked when at 10:15pm someone was POUNDING on our door!  I ran to the door where a guy informed us there was a tsunami coming and that we needed to get to higher ground.  This 2nd floor condo is literally 30 feet or so from the ocean (built 40 years ago when that was okay) and we knew we better get OUT.  It was then we heard the long blast of the tsunami warning alarm.  I couldn’t believe how fast we packed up our stuff and how easy it was to decide what we really needed versus what was easily replaceable.  We were in the car by about 10:30 headed up the highway towards the West Maui Airport which just happens to be high on a hill.  We were in good company…. the road was CLOGGED with cars, bumper to bumper.  It took us at least an hour to go about one mile.  Once there, we were directed to park in a lower parking area, as the upper area was already full.  The first wave of the tsunami was supposed to arrive  about 3 am, so about 1 am we began the half mile trek up the hill to the airport.  That was a heck of a workout, I’ll tell you!  We knew there were bathrooms up there, and that was the main reason we went up.  Us and what seemed like several hundred other folks.  It was there we spent the night.  They had the radio on, keeping everyone updated regarding what was happening here on Maui and the other Hawaiian Islands as well.  I’d forgotten how nasty it is to have to stay up all night…  that horrible nauseated feeling and scratchy burning eyes, the desperate feeling like you want to sleep, but you just can’t.  Some people could, and yes, I envied them.  The whole thing was totally calm and what seemed to be very well organized.  I send out HUGE kudos to the Airport security/maintenance guys who kept the bathrooms open and functioning with plenty of toilet paper, paper towels, and hand soap!  Believe me, the ladies room got LOTS of use!  About 7 am we wandered slowly down to our car, hoping the “all-clear” would come soon.  We had to wait till 9am until the Hawaiian authorities determined it was okay to return to our homes.  What a joy it was to get back to the condo and find everything absolutely fine.  Even the electricity was on and we could make some MUCH NEEDED coffee.  After a small breakfast and some delicious Kona coffee, we drifted off for a morning nap.  Well, chalk up another remarkable and unforgettable experience…not one that I ever care to repeat, to be perfectly honest.

Tonight, the “show must go on” — the Luau I’d been so looking forward to will indeed be held- YAY!  I’ll have a report on that as well as the last bit of our short trip to Maui real soon.  In the mean time, here are a few photos…

John, on the sandy beach right outside the condo

Enjoying the waves and water out front of the condo

"Happy hour" on our first afternoon here at the Maui Kai condo

Stunning sunset, the evening of the tsunami

10am the "morning after" the tsunami.

Wall to wall cars on the road up the hill to the West Maui Airport… the morning after the tsunami.