A Few Days in Maui, Hawaii

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I have to admit, I’m pretty depressed to no longer be in Maui! It was a fun-filled trip packed with awesome sights, luxurious activities and good times with Mark & Shaina. Other than seeing these two crazy cats, here are the main highlights, in no particular order, from our holiday:

Highlight #1. First Class (on the way)

Nothing beats a free upgrade! Even though it was just a domestic flight for us, were lucky enough to get First Class. With (genuinely) friendly flight attendants, big cushy seats. And Mai Tais.

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And yes, that is Thornton Wilder’s The Bridge of San Luis Rey. If you’ve never read it I highly recommend doing so (it won the Pulitzer in 1928).

Highlight #2. Swimming with Green Sea Turtles

They are everywhere in Hawaii and they are HUGE! These local green sea turtles are pretty amazing to see up close, and their shells are as big as your arm or longer. They come in close to shore to forage for food on the rocks and they’re not afraid of people. Every five minutes or so they stick their heads above water for air. The first time, I only managed to get few pics of it’s back.

You’re not supposed to touch them, but they don’t seem to care if you stand close and gawk (though one stupid woman did touch one so she could take a photo, and while doing so got viciously dumped by a wave … = karma or “mother nature wins”).

Highlight #3. The Road Past Hana

Unfortunately, the Road to Hana (from the airport to Hana along the coast) was a bit of a let down and somewhat of a tourist trap. We drove it ourselves. The waterfalls weren’t really happening, the Cave of Waianapanapa took all of 2 minutes to get to and look at, the smoked BBQ food we wanted to get at the shop stop wasn’t happening, and the Seven Sacred Pools were closed for swimming!

But – there was redemption. The drive that continued on after Hana/the Sacred Pools was amazing (most tours turn around at this point, I’m guessing). It runs along the southern coast of the island, past the Haleakala volcano. Technically, you’re not covered if you take a hire car along this (dirt) road, but it was well worth it. The views and scenery were spectacular and there was barely another soul around!

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Highlight #4. Snorkelling  

We went snorkelling in two bays here – Honolua Bay and Kapalua Bay.

Honolua Bay was nice but murky near the shore, and further out there wasn’t a huge amount of coral/fish about. The biggest highlight here was probably encountering a GIGANTIC school of fish pretty far out in the bay … at first I thought I was approaching the rock wall, and then I realised it was actually a huge school! Probably the size of a small room. It was fun to swim and dive at them and watch them dart away. Never seen anything like it!

Other than that, Kapalua was definitely the better of the two for snorkelling (though we went earlier in the morning) and managed to see a good deal of tropical fish (though nothing compared to what you see on the Fijian islands). We also saw a cuttlefish, a few cornetfish (very cool), lots of butterfly fish, moorish idols and my fave, triggerfish.

(Check out this link to see what these fish all look like).

At certain points the water was quite shallow, so the reef was just an arm’s reach away and the fish were basically right in your face! Need to get an underwater camera for next time.

This is a photo of Napili Bay (I think) but it gives you an idea of how they all look.

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Highlight #5. The Jeep Wrangler

Spat: “What kind of car do you want to book for Maui?”

Esh: “Just the smallest, cheapest car is fine.”

Spat: “Okay, I booked a Ford Fiesta to save some money.”

5 days later … we are driving off in a fricken Wrangler. Thanks to a cheap upgrade offer at the rental desk and Esh basically wetting his pants with excitement!! It was a chunky but fun car and despite the rain we still took the windows off!

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Highlight #6. Hawaiian Food 

It’s hard to go wrong in Hawaii unless you’re eating at some real touristy place. It’s kind of a blend of Polynesian and Asian food, so lots of stuff with meat and rice. Here’s the first meal we ate – Esh had the must-try Loco Moco, and I had real Mongolian Beef (rah! pretty much impossible to find in Seattle) with Pork Lau Lau (pork in leaf). Yummo

On our last night we also booked ourselves in for a luau at the Feast of Lele, which cost a bomb but included something like 5 polynesian courses (each relating to Hawaii, NZ, Tahiti and Samoa), all-inclusive drinks and cocktails (!!) and of course, music, dancing and info about each culture.

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The food was delish on on the more surprising side, we didn’t end up feeling as full as we thought we would be. Num num num.

Other foodie highlights include fresh fruit from the markets, and the food at the Fish Market cafe across the road from our hotel.

Highlight #7. Sunsets Over the Water

One per day! We had a great view from the back of our hotel. Here’s a video loop that will run through automatically:

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Highlight #8. Our Hotel (Paki Maui)

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Our hotel ended up being a winner (despite the rooms being a bit of a dump), thanks to the beach and water right out the back. Once you get past the rocky shore it’s fine, and we saw another huge turtle here! Drinking a few beers and swimming in the afternoons until sunset became a regular way to end the day.

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Other Honourable Mentions …

This bar in town with amazing views owned by Mick Fleetwood from Fleetwood Mac. Beautiful, but expensive.

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This guitarist who was part of the band at the Feast for Lele. Too many cocktails, boys, perhaps?

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This Bubba Gump restaurant from Forrest Gump, which I can’t actually remember but I’m sure is significant.

These views!

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And awesome friends! (Shaina, I stole some of these from you hehehe)

Til next time, Maui! I suspect I will need my tan back soon.

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