Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Maui 2016 - (Sept 9 - Sept 15) Part 2

Sept 9 - Honolua Bay

The plan was to checkout the conditions at Honolua Bay and if good, stay.  If not, continue to one of the other bays.  Around 9:00, we stopped at the overlook, and snorkelers were already in the water.  It was currently cloudy with a few showers.  I had checked Surfline and MyRadar app, and it looked like we would get a break in the weather so we decide to go for it.

Parking wasn't a problem since we were there fairly early.  We have snorkeled at Honolua Bay before so we had an idea what to expect. There are 3 outhouses at the trail head.  Once you do the trek into the bay there are no facilities. It's about a 1/4 mile walk to the bay through a jungle like environment. (This is approximate, it might be a tad more)  We stopped for a a moment to seek shelter under a tree to wait out a passing shower.  Clouds would continue off and on, but that was it for the rain.

Most people put their gear on and launch from the cement ramp, but we chose to navigate the rocks to the right to find our resting spot and prepare to enter the water.

Mike is always faster at getting in the water than I am.  I like things just right.  Plus, I have the camera to deal with so I am more cautious.  As soon as I enter the water, Mike is pointing at something. I then find out that an octopus swam by him and had sought shelter under a rock.  I have always wanted to see an Octopus so I was thrilled when I could actually see him!  (Coincidently, this was the same spot our youngest son spotted an octopus when we were here before.)  The weather conditions were still cloudy at this point, and water visibility near the shore wasn't the greatest, but I managed to get a semi-clear picture of him.

We continued to float outward, but stayed towards the right side of the bay. Things got clearer and clearer and the underwater world  thru our lenses came to life.  

I have to say that our patience was tried a couple of times on this outing.  Mike and I, and even other snorkelers, would calmly be doing our thing, when out of know where, swimmers with Gopros would cut us off, dive down and go after the fish we were intending to take pictures of. Poof! Everything scatters. This happened several times.  A couple of times we just looked at each other, shook our heads and laughed. 

I love the different varieties of fish in this photo

We encountered a lot of different eels this year.   They seem to always have a fish following them. Except for the huge Moray eel.  Don't think anything will mess with him. 

This guy was amazing!

After a couple of hours of snorkeling, I usually start getting cold so we head for shore.  I keep reminding myself that I need to get a rash guard shirt to help keep me warm.  Maybe next trip. 

Later in the evening, we walk over to Napili Bay to capture some sunset photos.  We had very few great sunsets on this trip. This was one of them.

We wondered where these two planes were going flying so low??
September 10 - Swap meet and driving around exploring

We were up early so we decided to drive over to the Maui Swap Meet.  We purchased some produce, several bars of handmade soap and a child size Hawaiian apron for my granddaughter. She loves to wear mine so now we will be too cute in our matching aprons!

While driving around, I wanted to stop by the Kealia wildlife refuge and take a walk on the boardwalk. Not too much wildlife to see today and it was hot.  Snapped a couple of shots of these birds to send my son who loves to photograph birds as well. 

When driving through Kaanapali, we decide to stop at Leilani's for a late lunch.  Lunch was delicious.  Mike had the burger and I had the scrumptious fish tacos.

We didn't want to just sit around the condo so we decide to take a quick hike on the Ohai Trail. We got there later than I would have liked.  It had become mostly cloudy at this point so picture taking isn't as dramatic as it could have been with more blues skies.  I did take a few pictures. We thought we might return another day but it never worked out.

As we were heading home, we could see the heavy cloud cover, and knew we wouldn't be able to view the sunset.  We decided to call it a day.

September 11 ~ One more time at Honolua Bay and Slaughterhouse Beach
Lookout over Honolua Bay
I had been paying close attention to the current and future forecast for weather/surf on Maui.  West Maui was still considered the place to snorkel for now, but as the week continues it will dramatically change.  (More on that later.)  

After some morning clouds, things cleared up to give us a nice snorkel day.  The surf was even relatively calm.  I'm trying to post a different assembly of lead characters in this post.  We often see the same fish over and over so I'm always happy when we discover something/someone new.  Some of these pictures I have edited slightly and some I have not.  It was a good day with fewer people which surprised us for a Sunday. 

These first two fish were VERY friendly, almost pesty.  I wondered if maybe someone had been feeding them because they kept swimming directly at us or under us. 

The only turtle we saw.  I took this one picture and quickly left because the other snorkelers from the tour boats were swarming him. 

I have to pause and reflect for a moment on the fish below.  For some reason I love this guy. He was one of my favorite fish. I couldn't put my finger on why I was drawn to him.  Was it because he appeared, stoic? serious? grouchy? sad? annoyed? handsome?

<3 <3 <3

Then it hits me... It's his mouth and what almost appears to be an underbite which gives the characteristics of the descriptions above. When I think of underbite, I think of my wonderful French Bulldog, Lulu!  Us frenchie owners are a crazy bunch that can see our breed in many things.  Even when on Maui!  LOL 

As soon as I saw this rock formation at Waianapanapa State Park a few years ago, guess who I thought of??

Sorry, I digressed... back to the fish

We have never seen these guys before.  They were down deep and liked the protection of the coral.  I zoomed/cropped for this shot

Another fish new to me

This guy startled me. I glanced up to my right to see we were about ready to run into each other. Another fish I had not seen before.

Another eel...

Mike has a way of spotting things that camouflage.  He spotted this flounder, but just as I realized what I was looking at, he started floundering away.

We finished up at Honolua and wanted some beach time to eat lunch and relax.  We lucked out and snagged one of the few parking spots for Slaughterhouse Beach. The beach is one cove over from Honolua. Wow, I really loved this beach. If we had more time on the island I would return here.  (However, limited parking, no facilities, limited shade in the afternoon, and the sand gets hot.) These are the stairs leading down to the beach.

We sat for a while and enjoyed our lunch. I decided I wanted to do some snorkeling before the wind started blowing too much. The water was crystal clear, but because the wind was picking up, the sand was starting to churn up as well.  I snorkeled for maybe 30 minutes staying near other snorkelers.  There were a few fish here I had never see before.  

I was coasting back in to shore when I noticed a young turtle swimming rather quickly right at me and continued right on by...

That was it for our beach time for today.  

After dinner, we decide to go for a walk on the Coastal Trail and see if we could find a good location for the sunset.  As we follow the trail on the rock/lava fields we notice the beginning of a rainbow. We walk a little further towards the ocean and see the rainbow is now full. Then quickly realize that rainbow is attached to a very dark rain cloud. Oh, no...

With in a minute it consumed us and others. We had no protection. By the time we made it off the trail we both were soaked! We both had our cell phones and cameras and were fearful of the outcome.  Our cell phones survived, Mike's expensive camera survived, but my favorite point & shoot camera didn't handle the water well and passed away. : (  **Lesson learned: If you don't take your camera bag, always carry a ziplock bag just in case!**
Thanks for years of capturing so many fantastic memories little camera! RIP
Well, being true Oregonians we decided to stick around for the sunset anyway. I was thankful my phone still worked. I was able to capture two pictures before the sun set behind a thick bank of clouds and faded without much glow. 

September 12 ~ The rain theme continues so we head south...

Once again, checking the weather site, surf sites and radar, it seemed the south side of Maui would be the place to be for decent weather.  We drove down to Ahihi Cove.  We snorkeled here last year and saw many plus-size fish compared to other areas. This year there were plenty of fish, but by the time we got there at 10, the water was slightly stirred up and visibility was not the greatest.  We stayed inside the cove the entire time.  We don't feel comfortable going out any further like some snorkelers do.  This will be the last snorkeling of the trip.

After snorkeling, we didn't want to change locations so we just stayed here and relaxed for awhile. 

These guys go in circles around the cove munching on the coral. They munch so loud you can hear the crunch.

I don't think I have ever seen this fish before.

That look you get when you realize bigger fish are after you.  A little startling for me too! We decided to get out of the water at this point. 

On our way back to Kapalua, we decide to stop and have lunch in Kihei.  Mike got a plate lunch from Da Kitchen and I got the fish tacos from Paia Fish Market.  We drove over to Kamaole Beach II and enjoyed our lunch at the park. 

We returned to the west side of the island.  From what we could tell, it had been raining here off and on all day.  The rain continued throughout the night...

September 13th ~ The rain continues for much of the island

We wake up to a drizzly morning with a brief shimmer of the sun to  give us an vibrant rainbow.  

As we sit on the lanai having breakfast, we discuss what we should do today.  The rain had been pretty heavy over night in many places so I knew we would not get in the water and couldn't do any hiking trails either.  I really didn't want to drive down south again, but I also wanted one more beach day before we had to go home.  Kihei/Wailea/Makena area still seemed dry so around 10:00, that's where we headed.

This is what our drive looked like thru Kaanapali.

Once we reached Olowalu, the skies started to clear. We continued down past Makena and found a little beach cove to hang out at.  The skies were not as clear as the day before and we were getting the occasional rain shower, but you could not ask for better scenery! The contrast between land, sea and sky was stunning!  I only wished my other camera was still with us.  I used my iPhone and TG4 for these pictures. 

The storm clouds continued to roll down over the mountain and after sitting through the second shower we decide to pack up and make the jaunt back up to Kapalua in order to get clean up and go out to dinner. Hopefully catch a good sunset too.

By the time we reached N. Kihei, it was 2:30ish.  The traffic was bumper to bumper for miles.  We didn't get to Lahaina until 4 pm. We decide to go ahead and stop in Kaanapali for dinner at Leilani's.  

After dinner, we decide to walk the boardwalk and stick around for the sunset.  I can't believe we have never walked along this beach before!  We walked south for a while until we noticed another storm cloud in front of us so we turned around.  We didn't want to be too far from Whaler's Village if the rains came again.  We found a spot to sit on the beach in front of Hula Grill to wait for the sunset.  Not a bad spot because we were able to listen to the live performers at the restaurant.  We were fairly sure that one of the singers/guy on ukalele was "Peter" from the Slack Key concert we attended.  It was such a treat to be able to sit and listen again.

Sunset didn't pan out like we had hoped and the skies began to pour down rain once again.  Rain, thunder, lightening and emergency alerts about flash flooding continued throughout the night.  Several times I checked the radar and could not even see Maui!  The island would see some major flooding in the next couple of days.
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I was sending my kids screen shots of the radar asking, "Where on earth is the island of Maui!?"
When we were walking the pathway to our condo, these guys were a plenty!  Reminded me of Oregon!

September 14th ~ Our 25th Wedding Anniversary

Twenty five years ago we arrived on a white-knuckled flight out of  Oahu. The weather then was reminiscent of the weather we were currently experiencing on island.  We only spent 4 short days at the Napili Bay Resort on Maui before continuing on to Kauai, and it RAINED 3 out of those 4 days.  Maybe not a bad thing for a honeymooning couple. ; ) 

All I remember is that awful plane ride, splashing in puddles in Lahaina in flip-flops, the seaweed at Napili Bay and the LOUD surf in our room because there was no glass in the windows only shutters. Something I hated then, but would now love!

We had no internet, no apps, no weather guides, no travel guides and most important... No TripAdvisor forum to advise us where to go when the weather was not, "postcard perfect."  Somehow we still found a way to love the island and so we returned... 

Our day... We woke up early to more phone alerts of flooding, boil water advisories and road closures. The rain was still continuing for half of the island. 

We decided to begin our day having breakfast at the Sea House Restaurant in Napili.  As we went to park in the Kapalua Villas parking lot, we noticed this tree that was down. We had had a lot of thunder and lightning the last few nights so I can't confirm if this was the result of this or not.

A beautiful start at the wonderful Napili Bay. Blue skies for now.

The views from the Sea House Restaurant are always memorable. The breakfast was very simple and there was no wait.  I over heard another customer say the wait time at the Gazebo was over an hour.  

After breakfast, we took a stroll down the bay to recreate some memories.  

The upper left unit is where we stayed 25 years ago

No way I'm putting a bikini on!

I posted this picture on my Facebook page and several family member thought my husband's above picture was our 17 year old son! 

I really wanted my husband to recreate this picture, but he refused to take off his shirt and lay on the wet sand! lol

We quickly finish our trip down memory lane because it started raining and people probably thought we were a bit crazy.

We are use to these radar pics in Portland, but not Maui.

We returned to our condo where we spent much of the afternoon relaxing and packing for our return home tomorrow.  

Around 4:30, we made our way to Lahaina for our dinner reservation at Mala Tavern.  We had the perfect table with a view and splash guard!  Atmosphere was fun, service was excellent and food was on point. *Nothing special for an anniversary even though I told them twice, but who needs dessert anyway?!**

Seared Ahi Bruschetta 

Sautéed Fresh Market Fish (Monchong)

Fish Sandwich 

We were hoping to finish our trip with a stellar sunset, but it just wasn't in the cards.

Thunder and lightning continued as we entered the Kapalua Villas.  I noticed a cloud off to the right lighting up so I had my husband pull over so I could try and get some pictures.  I missed some spectacular lightning bolts!  However,  I did capture these pics using a video.  Not the best quality, but then again I was in our car using an iPhone

September 15th ~ Departure day

I strongly dislike departure day.  Most of you "get this" so I'll move on. 

We departed for the airport around 8:45a.m. to catch our noon flight.  I'm glad we left a little early. Traffic was more congested than expected with some areas, stop and go.  While we were moving slowly with traffic, I snapped some shots to show the affects of the heavy rains the last few days.  News of some of the devastation on the island has been heartbreaking. Especially seeing the damage that was done at Iao Valley State Park!  

We had a wonderful time on Maui.  Even with the crazy weather and traffic, it felt like we were home.  It was the perfect trip to rest, relax and recharge.  

However, we missed our granddaughter terribly.  We got confirmation today that she had broke her little arm when she took a tumble off her play structure the other day.  I'm glad we arrived home in time to be with her when her cast was put on. 

Look how great her cast matches her new apron!!  She is such a trooper and LOVES the apron. 
Thank you to all who took the time to read this.  I find reading the blogs of other travelers very helpful and each one is unique. 

I'm always hoping to return to Hawaii.  The islands have a way of calling you back.  

Until then...