Maui 2014 Day 9 – Bittersweet Ending

Well, the last day has finally come, so we decided to make the most of the time we had left.  Our flight out wasn’t until 3:30, but checkout time was 11 AM.  Rather than eating out, we decided to enjoy one last breakfast on the lanai.

Hawaii Day 9-17After breakfast, we procrastinated a bit and skipped packing to go for a walk on the beach.  We realized this was our first time to walk on the beach at the Honua Kai!  We had been so busy doing other activities that we didn’t get much time to enjoy the beach.

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We saw someone out snorkeling, not sure how good the snorkeling was, but it would have been nice to wake up one morning and try it out.  Oh well maybe next time.  We stayed out as long as we could, but eventually we had to head back to the condo and get it all packed up.

It took a bit to get all packed up, but everything fit back in our bags, success!  One neat feature with the condo was that they said to leave any unopened food / drinks and they would donate them to a local food bank.  Since we got quite a bit of water / sodas from Costco we were able to make a good donation.

We finished packing right at checkout time and since we had some time to kill we dropped our bags off at the front desk and decided to go to Duke’s for lunch.  Lunch was great, just what we needed before we hit the road.

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And with that, we ended vacation mode and entered travel mode as we made our way back to the airport.  We stopped by Maui Coffee Roasters on our way to the airport to pick up some coffee for us and as gifts for our parents.  Next up was a last stop at Costco to top off the Jeep’s gas tank, then we were off to the airport.

We dropped off our trusty Jeep at the car rental area and took a quick shuttle to the check in area of the airport.  Since our first leg was to Honolulu, we didn’t have to do the ag check, also security wasn’t too bad so we made it through with plenty of time.  We had a quick flight over to Honolulu on Hawaiian Airlines which was on time.

Once we landed in Honolulu we had to switch airlines, which required us to collect our checked bags, take a shuttle to the American Airlines area, do the ag-check and then re-check bags with American.  But from there, it was smooth sailing, a direct overnight flight back to Texas.

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Under most circumstances we would have been sad to see this amazing trip come to an end. But as much as we loved our time in Maui, it was time for us to get home.  This was our first time away from our little guy and we were ready to get back to him.  The facetime calls and being sent multiple pictures each day really helped, but we were ready to see the knuckle head in person.  A HUGE thanks to both sets of awesome parents for taking care of him while we were gone so we could enjoy this amazing adventure!

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Needless to say, we will definitely be heading back to Maui someday.  We may not know when that day is, but we can’t wait to take our little guy to Maui when he gets older and show him all of these amazing experiences we got to enjoy!

Maui 2014 Day 8 – Kapalua Bay and Nakalele Blowhole

Day 8 was our final full day on Maui 😦  We decided to keep it low key and stay in the Kaanapali / Kapalua area.

For breakfast we decided to head down the road to Napali Shores and check out Gazebo.  This place gets pretty crowded so we had to wait about 40 minutes to get seated.  After the wait, which included complementary coffee, we got a great seat right next to the window with a fantastic view of the ocean.  C really enjoyed my pork fried rice that I ordered at the Kihei Cafe so she decided to try the Gazebo version.  Me, I ended up with the macadamia nut pancakes.  Both meals were great and we were glad we stuck it out and waited through the line.

After breakfast we made our way up to Kapalua Bay for some snorkeling.  We got very lucky and found a spot in the very small parking lot, it looks like most people had to park on the street.  The bay was very calm and protected which made for great snorkeling.

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There was a decent amount of people snorkeling, but there was plenty of snorkeling areas so it didn’t feel as crowded as black rock.  We dropped off our gear and decided to start snorkeling on the right side of the bay.

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We came back to shore for a quick rest and then headed back in to check out the snorkeling on the left side of the bay.  Unfortunately I forgot my camera for the second trip, but it also had good snorkeling.  Overall, we enjoyed Kapalua Bay over Black Rock, quite a bit more to see when snorkeling and the entry wasn’t too bad.

After snorkeling, we decided to take a quick walk down the path to take in the views before heading back to the Jeep.

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At this point we were getting hungry and decided to pick something up to take back to the condo.  I had read good things about Ono Tacos which is near the Honua Kai, but we had trouble finding it.  I think they had just changed locations and google maps had not been updated at the time (I just checked and it looks like google maps now has the right location).  After a bit of searching, we found it, on the west side of Lower Honoapiilani road just south of the ABC store.  It was a bit smaller than I expected, its basically a taco stand set up on the patio of a rental store, but it was very tasty.  I got the torta and C got a fish taco and an al pastor taco, both were great and we enjoyed coming home to our condo to eat.

We still had a little adventure left in us, so after lunch we headed out to check out the Nakalele blowhole.  The drive out there was enjoyable, the weather was great so we put the t-tops down and took in the beautiful landscape.  We passed the plantation course at Kapalua, I wish I would have had time to play some golf on this trip, maybe next time!

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After Kapalua the road started getting more narrow and the landscape felt a little more remote.  We stopped at a few cool look out areas.

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Next up was the Nakalele blowhole, we followed the directions in our Maui Revealed book and stopped about a half mile past mile marker 38.  Quite a few people had the same idea so we parked next to the cars already pulled off the road.

Hawaii Day 8-7We passed some ominous signage on our way to the path.

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We were surprised at the walk down to the blowhole.  We expected a trail, but instead it was more of a walk down a real rocky hill.

Hawaii Day 8-42It took a decent amount of time for C and me to get down, but we made it!  Some cool views on the way down.

Hawaii Day 8-11We were fortunate, the blow hole was really pumping when we were down there.  We started by standing back quite a bit to get a feel for where it was safe to stand.

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At this point C was a little freaked out by the warning signs and how big the blow hole was, so I was on my own to check it out.  I didn’t get too close, but even this far back you could feel the ground shake a bit as the water gushed through.

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The hole would blow intermittently depending on the waves so I could easily see an unsuspecting tourist sticking their head over the hole to check it out and being knocked over by the water.  But it was completely safe if you kept a good distance, basically standing on any ground that was dry.

While I was down there I scoped out the famous heart shape cutout in the rock.

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We stayed and watched the blow hole a little longer before making the hike back up the rock hill to our Jeep.  The drive home was nice, when we made it back it was time to change for our reservation at Merriman’s for dinner that night.  Made a couple mai tais in the condo, posed for a quick picture on the lanai and then we were off.

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We had scoped the area out earlier since Merriman’s is right on Kapalua Bay.  Our reservation wasn’t until 7, but we had read so much about the view from the patio that we got there around 5:30 to take it all in.  All I have to say is wow!  The view was absolutely breathtaking.  We sat in the very front of the patio and had a panoramic view of Kapalua bay to the right and Molokai and Lanai to the left.

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So the patio area of Merriman’s is self seating, but it has a reduced appetizer / happy hour menu.  The day we went the patio area was not very crowded until about sunset, so getting there early helped.  We started out with a couple drinks and then got the Poke as an appetizer which was fantastic.  As if the view and setting couldn’t be any better, we noticed some whales playing off in the distance.

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As it got closer to sunset we ordered another round of drinks and enjoyed the show.

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Hawaii Day 8-38This was an absolutely amazing start to our meal, truly a million dollar view for sunset.  I would highly recommend catching a sunset here, even if you don’t stay for dinner.

Needless to say it would be pretty hard to live up to sunset on the patio, but dinner did not disappoint.  We requested a seat with a view of the ocean, which we got, but after the sun went down there wasn’t too much to see except the patio lit up with torches.  I felt like getting a nice steak tonight so decided to go with the ribeye which was fantastic.  C couldn’t decided between the fish special and scallops so the waiter recommended she do a half portion of each, knowing how indecisive C is when she orders food, this was right up her alley.  Both dishes were great so she was happy she did the split.  And we couldn’t pass up the desert either.

Hawaii Day 8-39Since this was our last dinner in paradise, we decided to splurge a bit on dinner, but it was a great experience.  I would say the drinks and appetizers on the patio at sunset was probably the best dining experience I’ve ever had all things considered.  While we really enjoyed Mama’s, C and I both agreed the Merriman’s was our favorite restaurant during the trip.

It was difficult, but we had to leave and head back to the condo.  We walked around the Honua Kai a bit to take in the night time feel before calling it a night.  We had some packing to do, but that would have to wait until tomorrow.

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Maui 2014 Day 7 – Road to Hana

Day seven started out early as we had to make our way all the way across the island from Kaanapali to the Hana Highway.  We made it out of the condo around 7 and made our way to Paia.  We had scoped it out a few days before, so we decided to stop at Anthony’s for breakfast.  Cool place, we enjoyed the breakfast and decided to get a couple sandwiches to go for lunch later.

After our short stop, we hit the road to Hana.  We had read so much about it, but we were still surprised how scenic the drive was and how windy the road was!  We took out the Jambox and C started streaming her Hawaii playlist from our phone since the radio was cutting in and out.  It was raining on and off at the start so we didn’t put the t-tops down, but we enjoyed the drive anyway.

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Hawaii Day 7-2The first couple stops were a little crowded, so we passed them up to try and push our way past the traffic.  We did stop at a couple look out areas to admire the view.  The first waterfall we stopped at was the three bears falls.

Hawaii Day 7-4Cool view, it was right off the road, only complaint was the foliage was growing up in the foreground and blocked the view some.  Oh well, that’s nature for you.

About this time was when we started looking out for Aunt Sandy’s for banana bread, but we couldn’t find the stand!  I had written down a mile marker location but it was not correct.  We ended up stopping at the Halfway to Hana stand and picked up their banana bread which was excellent!  We ate almost the whole loaf before lunch.

Next stop was the Wai’anapanapa park to check out the black sand beach.  After finding a parking space, which involved me parallel parking much to C’s amusement, we started down the path towards the beach.

Hawaii Day 7-7We took the path to the right to walk out on the rocks and check out the lava tubes.

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Hawaii Day 7-10On the way down towards the beach we passed this graffiti plant.

Hawaii Day 7-13A short walk down brought us to the black sand beach.  We also found this cave right next to the beach.

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Hawaii Day 7-15Next we headed back to the Jeep and got back on the road.  We decided to pass through Hana and continue until we reached Ohe’o gulch.  Up until this point the road had been very windy but normal width except for the bridges.  Once we made it past Hana the road seemed to straighten out some, but it was noticeably more narrow which made for some fun encounters when we had to pass some large construction trucks going the opposite direction!

We paid the admission to the state park and found a parking spot.  There was a nice area with picnic benches so we decided to stop and have our packed lunch.  Hard to beat those views.  At this point we thought about hiking the Pipiwai trail, but looking at the clock there was no way we could hike the full trail (2 miles each way) and make it off the Hana highway by dark.  We opted instead for the shorter trail which took us down to the coast and had a view of the sacred pools.

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Hawaii Day 7-18We didn’t try it out, but there were quite a few people swimming in the pools.

Hawaii Day 7-22Nice little trail, we hung out a while at the pools and watched some guys jumping off the rocks before we headed back to the Jeep.

Since we were almost there, we made one more stop to see Lindbergh’s grave.  Hard to imagine the world famous aviator was buried in this remote corner of Maui.

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Hawaii Day 7-25The church had a scenic lookout area.

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That was as far as we got, we contemplated making the full loop around the backside of Haleakala but decided against it.  As we backtracked we snapped this shot of a Packer’s fan house, it was unexpected to see in this remote area!

Hawaii Day 7-32On the way back we made a couple more stops at some lookouts.  It was kind of funny, the winding road took so much concentration I didn’t realize we passed over this waterfall until we stopped at the lookout area afterwards.

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A shot of our trusty Jeep.

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We thought about stopping at the twin falls, but it starting raining at this point so we made our way back to the condo.  All I have to say is wow, that was an incredibly scenic drive, but man was I beat down by the end!  We left the condo at 7AM and I don’t think we made it back until close to 5 pm.  I’m very glad we did it, but I think it will be a while before I drive it again, even then I would consider staying the night in Hana to break up the drive and so that we could do the Pipiwei trail without worrying about getting back before dark.

Needless to say we were exhausted after that drive and didn’t feel like driving any more.  So we decided that tonight was the night to give Duke’s a try since it is on the grounds of the Honua Kai.  Dinner hit the spot and we even splurged for some of the giant hula pie for desert.

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We took a quick stroll around the resort and then called it a night.  Another action packed day, we decided to keep it more low key the next day since it was our last full day before our vacation was over.

Maui 2014 Day 6 – Whale Watch and Black Rock Snorkel

Our whale watch with Trilogy wasn’t scheduled until 10:15 so we were able to sleep in a bit.  The whale watch sailed out of Kaanapali, so we parked near whalers village and checked in with the Trilogy crew.  Instead of boarding at a dock the boat pulled right up to shore for us to get on, got a little wet but no big deal.  The captain gave us a quick safety briefing and off we went.

Hawaii Day 6-14Honua Kai in the distance, it started to get pretty windy and a little rough.

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We started our search for whales, but it was a bit tricky spotting them with the rough seas and white caps.   A lady and a couple kids got sea-sick with the rough ride 😦  C and I were fine, but we did feel bad for those that weren’t.

It took a bit, but we spotted our first whale.

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Which turned out to be mom and baby whale.

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Hawaii Day 6-23The captain had to cut the engines because the whales were close.  As we were drifting the whales spotted us and came right up to the boat.  I was so focused on the mom and calf that I didn’t realize this big guy was right next to the boat!  The captain said this was the male escort.

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I didn’t appreciate just how big these whales are, this guy was nearly the same length as the boat.  The three whales stayed around the boat for a while,so we got some pretty cool pics.

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The whales gave us a couple waves before they got bored and moved on.  I wish I would have got a better shot to show just how close they were to the boat, at one point the captain took out his cell phone and snapped a few pics!

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The whales stuck around for quite a while, afterwards the captain tried to find some more whales but we didn’t have any luck before our time ran out.  We enjoyed the cruise back, even if it was a little bumpy.

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Hawaii Day 6-46 A very, very neat experience.  While it would have been nice to catch some breaching, we felt very lucky to see them up so close.  Definitely a must do if you are in Hawaii during whale season.

After we got back to land we decided to give Black Rock a try for snorkeling since we were in the area.  We were surprised how crowded this area was.  But we made our way into the water to give it a shot.  There were some folks lined up to jump off the black rock.

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Despite the large crowd, we did manage to see a turtle.

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Black Rock was an OK place to snorkel if you are in the area.  But I think there were other places better for snorkeling.

After our dip we dried off on the beach, dropped our gear off at the Jeep and went to lunch.  We decided to give Hula Grill a shot.  Cool location, we ate in the barefoot grill which was a sandy area outside and enjoyed the live music.  After lunch we drove back to the Honua Kai to relax for the rest of the afternoon.

With out batteries recharged, we decided to spend the evening checking out Lahaina, so off we went.  We drove down front street and decided to check out the giant banyan tree first.

Hawaii Day 6-32Then we strolled down Front street and checked out the shops.  We picked up some shortbread cookies from Honolulu Cookies to take back with us as gifts.  Then we swung by Elephant Walk to pick up a swim suit and hat for the kiddo.  We had seen some infants  with the safari looking swimming hats and thought it would be fun to pick one up for this summer.

We asked around for a good place for happy hour and decided to swing by Kimo’s to check out the sunset.  What a great venue!  Right on the water, excellent place to grab a couple drinks and enjoy the sunset.

Hawaii Day 6-48Hawaii Day 6-35After we finished up with our drinks it was time for dinner.  We had been eating tons of seafood during the trip so we decided to change it up a bit and get some Italian food at Longhi’s.  We were surprised how empty the restaurant was, even though it was only 7:30.  We think it was the combination of it being a Monday night and the fact that everyone on Maui seems to get up early and go to bed early.  Dinner started off well with a great clam dish.

Hawaii Day 6-49For some reason, the service from here on out slowed to a crawl, which was kind of strange since there was barely anyone else to serve!  For the main dish I wanted to get the chicken cannelloni but they were out so I got the lobster cannelloni.  Turns out the lobster cannelloni was too rich for my tastes that night.  C got the chicken alfredo which was pretty good.

Again, after a long day of excitement we were ready to get some sleep.  Tomorrow was road to Hana so we needed our rest!

 

Maui 2014 Day 5 – Helicopter Tour and Ioa Valley

Day 5 started with breakfast on the lanai.  Hard to beat drinking Kona coffee and watching the whales.

Hawaii Day 6-12Next was off to the airport to check in with Air Maui for our helicopter tour.  We actually got the tickets through Costco, link below, which saved about $50 a person over the Air Maui website.

http://www.costco.com/Air-Maui-Helicopter-Tour-E-Ticket.product.100109683.html

We did some research and found the earlier flights were better as the winds pick up as the day goes on.   Our flight took off at 10:30 and we booked the 45 minute Molokai and West Maui tour.  After a safety briefing we walked out to the flight line and boarded the helicopter.

Hawaii Day 5-10I didn’t get a good shot of our helicopter, but the above shot is looking down the flight line of the other tour helicopters.  We lucked out and got seated in the front two seats next to the pilot.

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We took off and headed north along the coast, the ride during the whole flight was smooth, not as smooth as an airplane, but very comfortable.

Hawaii Day 5-12We continued north across the channel to Molokai.Hawaii Day 5-13

The waterfalls were really pumping on Molokai which made for some pretty spectacular views.

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Hawaii Day 5-17Next we traveled along the cliff line.

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Hawaii Day 5-21We didn’t really appreciate the scale of the cliffs / waterfalls until the pilot took us in for a closer look.

Hawaii Day 5-23Some more cliff and waterfall views.

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Hawaii Day 5-28The fuzzy picture below is the only shot I got of some mountain goats on the cliff edge.  Crazy that they are on the side of this giant sheer cliff.

Hawaii Day 5-29A zoomed out view of the cliff the goats were on:

Hawaii Day 5-30Back across the channel to Maui

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On our way back we ran into these guys!

Hawaii Day 5-33The pilot circled around a couple times and we got a bonus whale watch on the helicopter tour!

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We continued down the coast back to the airport.

Hawaii Day 5-40That wrapped up an absolutely spectacular helicopter tour.  For some reason, with all the other activities we had planned, I wasn’t expecting much from the helicopter tour but it turned out to be one of my favorite things we did while on Maui.  Its a little pricey, but I would highly recommend it!

After the tour, we headed down to Paia again for lunch at Flatbread Company for pizza.  Cool place, unique pizzas and we enjoyed watching them fire pizzas in their oven.Hawaii Day 5-7

After lunch we made our way to Ioa valley.  The weather didn’t look very promising but we gave it a go anyway.  Parking was a little difficult as the lot was pretty small and it took a bit to find a spot.Hawaii Day 5-44

Hawaii Day 5-42It was raining on and off, but that made for good viewing of the stream.Hawaii Day 5-43Hawaii Day 5-6

Made it to the look out area of the Ioa Needle.

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Pretty cool place, the trail / walkway wasn’t very long.  I was expecting it to be a longer hike, but with the rain we were thankful that everything was so close so we didn’t have to get too wet.

Back to the condo we went, it had been a pretty full day so we took an afternoon nap and had some mai tais on the lanai while watching the sun set.

For dinner we placed a take out order from Star Noodle to bring back to the condo.  This place had been pretty hyped up so we were excited to try it.  We got there to pick up our food and heard the wait for a table was an hour and a half!  So we felt fortunate to be in and out quickly.  We ordered the pork buns, pad thai and a ramen dish.  The pork buns and pad thai were good, but we didn’t care for the ramen dish.  We may have gotten a skewed impression of the food since we ordered take out, but I don’t think we would have been happy had we waited an hour and a half for that meal.

Off to bed, the next day was going to be another full day of whale watching, snorkeling and strolling around Lahaina.

Maui 2014 Day 4 – Honua Kai Check In

When we planned our trip we couldn’t decide whether to stay in south Maui or west, so we decided to split our time to give both locations a shot.  We ended up staying 3 nights at the Wailea Ekahi Village and 5 nights at the Honua Kai in Kaanapali.

Checkout was at 11 am so we decided to make the most of our last morning.  We got up early and took a stroll down to the beach.  The walk through the resort was nice, the grounds are very well kept.

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It was a little overcast, but the view towards Molokini was great and these folks looked to be enjoying their outrigger canoe ride.

Hawaii Day 4-2Just soaking in the views before we left.

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Here is a shot of the Ekahi Village pool area near the beach, they had a couple other pools scattered on the property.  This main pool area had a pavilion area with grills and a couple refrigerators so it would have been a cool place to have a cook out, but we didn’t have time.

Hawaii Day 4-9A couple more shots of the grounds.

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Hawaii Day 4-14We had some time so we headed out to Kihei Caffe for breakfast.  There was a bit of a line but it moved quickly.  I got the pork fried rice and scrambled eggs and it was fantastic, I would have never thought of that as a breakfast food but it worked.  C got macadamia nut french toast, which was also great.

After breakfast we walked across the street to the Kalama Beach Park and watched the surfers.  This area looked to be a popular place for surf lessons as there were tons of beginners in the water with instructors.

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We didn’t have time this trip, but next time I’d really like to try out surfing and / or stand up paddle boarding.  They both looked fun.  It was getting close to checkout time so we headed back to the condo and packed up our things.

So overall impressions of the Wailea Ekahi Village.  We really liked our stay, our unit had an updated kitchen and bathroom and our lanai had a view of the ocean in the distance.  We didn’t quite know what to expect when we booked it, but C and I both agreed that we wish we would have spent more time here.  Its not that we didn’t like the Honua Kai, it was that Ekahi Village and Wailea in general was much more laid back and quiet when compared to the resort feel of Honua Kai.

My only advice would be to try and stay in an updated unit (its an older property so some of the units are a little out dated) and I would get a unit near the bottom of the hill.  It is such a huge complex that if you booked a unit at the top of the hill you are in for a long walk to and from the ocean.

Checkout was at 11 and the condo at the Honua Kai wasn’t going to be ready until 3, so we slowly made our way up the coast towards Kaanapali.  We still had quite a bit of time to burn when we arrived so we dropped off our bags with the bellman at the front desk and headed out to Whalers village.

We looked around at the shops and bought some souvenirs which allowed us to get our parking validating.  Next up was lunch, we went to Leilani’s for a quick burger and view of the ocean. 

Hawaii Day 4-12After lunch we started walking down the boardwalk towards black rock  On the way we got to see a whale playing off in the distance.

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Hawaii Day 4-13After lunch we got a call saying our condo was ready so we made our way back.  Since we rented through an owner (found through VRBO.com) they had a local contact on the island that met up with us and gave us the tour of the room.  The room was great, a 1 BR studio on the 5th floor so we had a view of the ocean from our lanai.   Here is a link to the owners VRBO site:

http://www.vrbo.com/428990

Some shots of the room, very nice place.

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The sliding door to the lanai opened all the way which was pretty neat, we did that a couple nights.

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We originally had plans to eat out again tonight but decided we felt like cooking instead.  We picked up groceries at the Times Market across the street and some Poke at the fish market in the next shopping center over.  Dinner was rib eyes with a blue cheese sauce, mashed potatoes, asparagus and the Poke as an appetizer while we cooked.  It was a good change of pace to stay in.

Off to bed to get ready for our awesome helicopter tour tomorrow!

Maui 2014 Day 3 – Trilogy Snorkel And Mama’s Fish House

Day 3 began bright and early as we made our way to the Ma’alaea Harbor for our Molokini snorkel.  I checked the local Maui weather website and it didn’t look very promising. Speaking of which, this was the most recommended website for Maui weather: http://www.hawaiiweathertoday.com/maui.php

It took me longer than I care to admit to figure out that the website will tell you the weather in the different areas of Maui by clicking on the map.  Weather forecasts in Maui are not the most reliable, but this is about as good as it gets.

We checked in at Buzz’s Wharf and they directed us to the free parking near the aquarium.  After the safety briefing we were informed that we would not be going to the Molokini crater 😦  It turns out the trade winds were blowing from a direction that pointed straight into the catchers mit which results in un-safe snorkeling conditions.

We were bummed, but they said they were taking us to two spots that were protected from the winds.  Shortly after we left the harbor it started raining, but it was brief and resulted in a pretty spectacular rainbow!

Hawaii Day 3-1On our way out to snorkeling the crew passed out cinnamon rolls and coffee / fruit juice for breakfast.  We made our way north along the coast  and as promised the winds died down and the waters calmed.  As bummed as we were to miss out on Molokini crater, the snorkeling at the two spots we stopped at was great.  I mean how can you be upset when your view looks like this: Hawaii Day 3-3

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We tried out these rash guard shirts on this trip.  They are supposed to go under a wet suit and protect your skin, but we used them while snorkeling to keep from getting sun burnt.  I’m kinda lazy when it comes to sunscreen, so with these all I had to worry about was my legs, hands and face / neck 🙂

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Hawaii Day 3-4After some exploring we came across this guy and followed him around for a bit.

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Hawaii Day 3-10They also had an option to try out snuba which a handful of people did.  It looked pretty fun, they had a crew member guide them around and point out areas of interest and sea life.  We tagged along with them from the surface before heading back to the boat.

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Once everyone was rounded up and back on the boat we headed out to snorkeling site number two.  Unfortunately we forgot our camera on the boat and didn’t get any shots of the 2nd spot.  It was really neat, tons of coral and fish and we saw a couple more sea turtles.

After a good amount of snorkeling we headed back to the boat where they had lunch ready for us.  Teriyaki chicken, rice and a salad with a blue cheese vinaigrette (yum!).  After hours of snorkeling the lunch really hit the spot.  We started making our way back to the harbor when the wind / rain starting picking up, so the crew quickly passed out the ice cream before we rounded the corner and headed back to the harbor.

It was a great trip despite the weather, we’ll just have to make it out to Molokini on our next trip!  Trilogy came highly recommended and they didn’t disappoint, we stuck with them for our whale watch a few days later.

After all of that snorkeling we were tired and crashed at the condo for an afternoon nap.  We actually had to set an alarm because we didn’t want to miss our reservation at Mama’s Fish house!  Speaking of which, we got to Mama’s an hour or so before our reservation so we could enjoy the grounds while it was still light outside.

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Hawaii Day 3-14Mama’s definitely had the most Hawaiian feel of any of the restaurants we ate at.  Glad we got their early, since the sun sets on the other side of the island there really isn’t too much to see during / after sunset.  After taking in the view we headed to the bar and snagged some fruity vacation drinks while we waited.

Hawaii Day 3-20Dinner was great, expensive, but great.  I had the opah, which is sometimes called moonfish.  I had never eaten opah before and it was fantastic, it had a meatier texture almost like chicken.  C got the fish special, which she enjoyed.  We both agreed it was the best fish we ate on the trip.

Hawaii Day 3-17We told them we were in Maui for our 5 year anniversary so C got another lei and we got complimentary desert.  All in all it was a great experience and I can see why its gotten the “must see” reputation when visiting Maui.  I would say it was the 2nd best place we ate at, giving the slight edge to Merriman’s (more to come on that later).

After that we headed back across the island for our last night in Wailea.  Tomorrow we would be saying goodbye to the Ekahi Village and hello to the Honua Kai in Kaanapali.

Maui 2014 Day 2 – Haleakala Sunrise

Got up at 3AM to make the trek up to Haleakala to watch the sunrise.  We decided to do this our first morning since we were still getting adjusted to the time change.  So in Texas time it was like waking up at 8AM, no big deal.

It was sort of funny packing and wearing full cold weather gear in Hawaii but it was needed for the summit!  We brewed some coffee and packed some of the pastries we picked up from Costco, away we went.

The drive to the summit took about 2 hours from Wailea.  The road wasn’t too bad, gets kind of windy as you get near the top.  We read it was best to get to the peak around 1 hour before sunrise to get a parking spot and that was about right.  A crowd was already gathering near the visitor center, but we read there is a path to the right that leads to a more secluded spot.  A little bit of a trek in the dark but it was much quieter up there.

Hawaii Day 2-1We got their early enough to see the stars.  As the sun started coming up the clouds really started to light up.

Hawaii Day 2-6It was pretty remarkable how quickly the sun came up.

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Very neat experience, pictures don’t do it justice.  It was worth waking up at 3AM and making the drive, especially since I would most likely wake up at that time anyway on our first morning with the time change.

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Hawaii Day 2-23Once it was time to go we drove up the road a bit to look at the observatory from a distance, then headed down the mountain.  There were a couple neat lookout areas, we stopped at one and caught a view over the valley area of the island.

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It was interesting to see the groups of people who did the bike down Haleakala tour.  Basically a bus would take you to the summit for sunrise and then would drive you down to the bikes which you would ride the rest of the way down.  There were 3 or 4 groups of people doing this that we had to dodge on our way down.

Since we were in the area we stopped in Paia and ate at Charley’s for breakfast.  This was our first encounter with Paia and it was a pretty neat town that has a sort of hippie vibe.  With the time change I was able to catch part of a NCAA tournament game at breakfast, sort of weird watching a sporting event with eggs and bacon!

Drove back to Wailea and stopped by Snorkel Bob’s to rent snorkel fins.  We brought our own masks and snorkels, but decided to rent the fins to save on space.

Spent the rest of the day hanging out at the condo and going to the pool / beach.  Made a stop by Pita Paradise to pick up lunch and took it back to the gazebo area at the condo.  I got the lamb gyro and C. got the fresh fish pita, it was fantastic!  It was more of a sit down place than I thought, so I’d probably check out their dinner if we went back.

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After a nap and more hanging out by the pool we got ready for dinner.  We had reservations at Monkeypod and were able to sit outside.  The restaurant didn’t have too much of a view, but it’s up on the top of the hill so we were able to see the water in the distance.

Hawaii Day 2-29Monkeypod wasn’t bad by any means, but I was a little disappointed with the food, I think I had too high of expectations.  I got the saimen noodle dish and C. got the Mahi Mahi.

After dinner we were ready to crash, I think I made it to 8:30 this time.  It had been a long day and we needed our sleep for our early snorkel adventure with Trilogy the next day!

Maui 2014 Day 1 – Travel Day

After much planning the big day has arrived!  To plan our adventure we’ve been scouring the Trip Advisor forums and read  Maui Revealed cover to cover.  It was funny how many other people we saw in Maui with their Maui Revealed book, it was a great resource especially on the road to Hana. We dropped off the little one with the grandparents the day before and we are off to spend the next 8 days in Hawaii. We were fortunate to book our flights on miles, but to make the schedule work out we had to take the 6:50 AM flight out of DFW and had a 2 hour layover in LAX. Hawaii Day 1-1We got to try out our new credit card which got us access to the AA admirals club lounge.  Pretty neat, got some breakfast snacks, coffee and watched the planes come and go.  Made a quick facetime call to see the kiddo and then we were off.  Decided to snag a pizza to take with us on the flight for lunch. The 5 hour flight seemed to take a while, but we had the IPad loaded up with TV shows (Walking Dead and House of Cards) so that helped pass the time. Hawaii Day 1-002-2   I surprised C. with a lei I ordered from Hawaiian Airlines.  They were waiting on the way to baggage claim with a sign and she walked right by it! Hawaii Day 1-003-2 We got a good tip on the Trip Advisor forum, so C. stayed and picked up our checked bags while I went to the car rental counter to pick up our Jeep.  This worked out really well as I was the first customer in line and pulled up to the baggage claim area right when C. had the bags ready. First stop…Costco!  Picked up some essentials: Trader Vick’s Mai Tai mix, dark rum and beer as well as some snacks.  I have to say I was surprised how good the mai tai mix was considering the price, the dark rum on top made it even better, glad we picked up two jugs!  I decided to stand guard at the jeep while C. shopped to make sure no one took off with our luggage. Hawaii Day 1-004-2   One quick stop at Maui Coffee Roasters to pick up coffee for the week and we were off to Wailea to check into our condo.  We stayed the first 3 nights at the Wailea Ekahi Village, we both agreed that we should have stayed longer! Dropped our bags off and took a stroll down to the beach.  They had a really neat layout with the condos on the outside and a lawn in the center which ran all the way down the hill to the beach and pool area. Hawaii Day 4-026   Hard to imagine we were in the cold Texas weather only a handful of hours ago! Hawaii Day 1-005   About this time is when the 5 hour time change really started to hit us.  We made our way back to the room, got un-packed and headed out to grab a quick dinner.  We stopped by Eskimo Candy since I had heard good things.  The fish tacos were really good, we also got a combo plate which turned out to be all fried food which was OK.  After dinner we headed back to the condo and crashed, we had a goal of staying up until 8pm and I think we made it. Up next, waking up early to catch the sunrise on Haleakala!