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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