Sunday, September 11, 2016

Maui 2016 - (9/5 -9/8) Part 1

September 5th ~ Travel day

The month of September marks our 25th wedding anniversary.  We decided to return to one of the islands where we honeymooned.  We chose Maui. This is our 7th visit to the islands and our 5th visit to Maui.  
I booked a direct flight out of Portland, OR which departed at noon. This is the first time traveling that we didn’t have to get up before the crack of dawn to catch our flight.  It was so nice to get some last minute things done in the morning.  The downside is, it’s a later arrival on Maui.

We said our goodbyes to our children, our dogs and our almost two year old granddaughter who lives with us.  That was probably the hardest part.  We love that little girl something fierce!  We are such a huge part of her life and I worry how she is going to deal with our absence. 

Flight time…. We flew Alaska Airlines. On time, smooth flight and arrived at 2:30, 30 minutes early.  Our rental car was booked with Alamo thru Costco.  The day before our flight I checked in on Alamo’s web-site to “skip the counter.”  Once we shuttled over to Alamo, we walked directly around to the back and an attendant pointed out the row of cars in our class that we had to choose from.  The one we chose had a lot of scratches and a few dents so I took pictures and had the attendant document as well. We were out of there in probably 10 minutes.  We did this process last year as well so we had the skinny on the process.

Normally, our first stop is Costco.  We have a large family so I know and love Costco well.  Even though it was just the two of us, I know how to shop there with out over buying.  I knew just what we were going to buy, but then I realized it was Labor Day… Costco was closed. The horror! **Roll eyes here**  So, we headed west. 

On our way to Kapalua, we stopped at Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop.  We ordered the Club Sandwich and a Reuben. Both delicious, but I think my husband could have used a side of something.  My intention was to get a few pies to go, but as delicious as they looked, I couldn't stomach spending $7-$8 for a single serving pie.  We would survive. 
Club sandwich
Next stop was Safeway for some groceries to tide us over for a day.  Whoops, missed the turn and drove right on by. I tried finding Foodland next, but I guess we missed that too.  By the time we drove by Times Market and Napili Market, we decided to go ahead and drive to our condo and unload our gear and regroup. 

We contiuned to Kapalua Golf Villas where this will be our home base for the next 10 days.   
We found our unit, unloaded our gear and set out on a grocery run.  I wanted to go to Island Grocery Depot, but they were closed on Labor Day as well. (We did return here on another day, and I really liked the store, selection and prices.)  We ended up at Safeway wondering around the cramped isles wondering what we should get.  We eventually figured it out, purchased our goods and sauntered back up to the condo.  By this time, we had missed the  sunset, but we had food & wine and we were happy to be on Maui for some much needed R&R!

Normally, I’m a picture taking fool, but not today.  Just taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the island we will call home for 10 days.

September 6th ~ Kahekili (airport) Beach 

Out of bed by 5 a.m. thanks to the time change and family members feeling the need to text us with morning updates. 

Went out for a walk around 6ish to get familiar with ins and outs of the complex. We walked just up the hill in Kapalua to see the sun welcoming us and casting a beautiful glow upon Molokai.  Clouds and rain showers joined in to form a perfect rainbow in front of us. 


First beautiful morning on our lanai
By 7:30 drove to the Farmers Market and the coffee store in Honokowai for a few more groceries.

Since we had to rent some snorkel gear, we planned on spending the day at airport beach and do some snorkeling. I have my own mask and snorkel, but still needed fins and Mike needed a full set.  We rented at The Snorkel Store. Very helpful and good equipment.  

We arrived at the beach around 9:30ish.  I love this location for the ample parking, facilities and beach access.  We stake our claim under some tree shade and sat for a bit watching the wind and the waves roll by.  It was pretty windy, and we had some cloud cover off and on. I knew snorkeling conditions were not going to be the best, but we decided to go for it.  

For this trip I purchased the Olympus TG4 so the pictures from this outing are me getting used to the camera in less than desirable conditions.  For those who are getting ready to use this camera for the first time, here are a few of my suggestions.  I like to key the operating noise off or down.  Know what settings you want to have your camera on before you get in the water.  Know that each time your camera powers off and you power it back on, your setting will remain but it automatically turns the flash back on.  You want your flash off so be familiar with how to do that easily.  **Edit** I just discovered that the camera doesn't completely power off when in use, it goes into sleep mode like you computer. So, all I did was press the picture taking button and the settings remained the same.  The "no flash" remains on.  I had a hard time seeing my LCD screen while taking pictures which caused me to not center a lot of my pictures and chop off some tails and fins.  As soon as we returned home, I looked up how to brighten my screen and that helped a lot on our next outing.  

Here are a few pictures for this day.  We didn't have much success for seeing fish, but it was the first time I've seen turtles at this location.  I did try and brighten a few of my pictures because they came out fairly dark.
I know this isn't the best pictures, but it was my first picture with the new camera. 

This is an aqua man know as, "Mike."  His first time using my old camera. He's not a fan of taking pictures underwater, but I wish he was because he can dive so much better than I.
After taking several pictures, I realized my flash was on, and I was thankful I knew how to turn it off quickly. 

When we happened upon these two beauties, I was really hoping the sun would pay a visit to help brighten up the photos.  They were also in deeper water so that didn't help much either. 

If you take the time to continue following my blog, you will see the picture clarity improve. I was getting cold so we swam ashore. We stayed for a while to warm up then continued on our way. 

We were wanting to try some new restaurants this trip so on our way to Costco we stopped in Lahaina and dined at The Shark Pit Social. Food had good flavor although small portions.  Service was slow with food items coming out at three different times. Cool place though. 

Beautiful well behaved dog

Delicious Brussel Sprout Caesar Salad

Fish tacos... went away still hungry
We made a quick stop at Maui Grown Coffee. 
Sadly, they were out of our favorite blend.

Cruised over to Costco and made it back to Kapalua to grab some snacks and head out to watch our first sunset of the trip. 

While we were waiting for the show, we noticed this millipede scurrying along.

The final end to a beautiful day.

When palm trees aren't available, there's always grass.

September 7th ~ Kapalua Bay

We were going to start the morning snorkeling at Honolua Bay, but after looking at the conditions we decided against it and headed to Kapalua Bay. We arrived around 9ish and knew the lot would be full so we parked in the tennis court parking lot.  

Walking over to the beach, we spotted an empty spot down by the bay under a shade tree that we liked.  Just as we were about there, we were cut off by a couple of ladies. They spotted the same spot for their group.  So we stood for a moment and looked down the beach at all the pretty Montage beach umbrellas and loungers taking up prime real estate. Awww, must be nice, but we spotted the perfect shade spot right in the midst of them for free! 
Mama needs her shade

We quickly grabbed our gear and headed into the water.  Again, the water had some movement in it with some waves, but we were hopeful things would settle down soon. 

We came across some very curious young turtles.  I actually had to move out of their way just to give them space. Here are some of my pics from today...

"Hi mom, I'm home."  The larger turtle proceeds to swim over and put a fin over her back! <3

Here are a few videos I took as well... I have no idea if the videos will play so I may change that later.

After viewing enough turtles for the day, we headed in for delicious PB&J's.  We rested for a bit.  Later, I wanted to snorkel again, but Mike was done. We agreed I would go back in and stay near other snorkelers, and he would watch me from shore. My main objective was to stay near the shallow areas and float calmly about in order to capture some different fish pictures. 

"Ya, I see you, lady."

I got so tickled with this little guy. He kept following me around as if to say, "take my picture!"

The gate keepers

My neck was starting to hurt so I decide to swim over to the right side of the bay and exit. I was maybe 20-30 feet from shore when I almost ran into the largest sea turtle I had ever seen. He was huge! He was somewhat intimidating as I stopped to watch him eat.  Pictures don't do this fella justice! Plus, the water was really kicking up debris so they are not very clear.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching this gentle giant for awhile by myself. I was so amazed that no-one had noticed him yet and thankful at the same time. It wasn't long before a young female snorkeler happened upon him too.  She watched for a few seconds then left to tell her group. I then departed not wanting to watch as a small crowd descend upon him.  I was secretly hoping he would swim away...

Here's a short video... 

Time to switch gears, get out of the water, off the sand and get ready for some Slack Key Hawaiian Music!  First, we need food so we hit up Honokowai Okazuya Deli. We ordered the Mahi Mahi Lemon Caper Sautee. (DELISH!) And the Teriyaki Steak which my husband liked... I think.  

On our way back the condo, we say hello to these creatures of Maui.


Time for the Masters of Hawaiian Music! Since we are so close to Napili Kai, we drove down and parked in the tennis court lot of the Golf Villas.  We find our way over to the pavilion, but had about 20 minutes to jump down to Napili Bay to get some sunset pictures.

 We arrived when doors opened at 6:45. Selected our seats in the second row and wait 45 minutes for the show to start.  While waiting, we walked around, filled out a form for a drawing at the end of the night, and visited with George Kahumoku Jr.. He has one of his four Grammy's on the table and welcomes people to join him for a picture which I did.  We chatted for a bit about Oregon and his farm here on Maui. We told him we were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and he graciously invited us to his farm one morning for breakfast.  The introvert in me will probably not follow through. 

The show begins, and we were entertained with wonderful stories, singing, instrumentals and hula dancing. (Wainani Kealoha is a timeless beauty!) At the end of the evening, they held a drawing and Mike actually won a book by George called, A Hawaiian Life. We never win anything and what do you know, it's a Hawaiian life!  Sounds good to us! 

September 8th ~ Garden of Eden Arboretum & Botanical Garden

We need to take a break from the beach/snorkeling since my neck was bothering me so we decided to take a drive to the Garden of Eden located around mm10.5 on the road to Hana. I've been struggling lately with carsickness and it's so frustrating! We have done Road to Hana before and I didn't get sick, but this time it hit me around mm8. I managed to make it to the garden. I just felt yucky for a while.

To get into the park it's $15 each, but since we had AAA, we received a $5 each discount. Once parked, we took our time strolling around the grounds.  Here are some pics...

I was a little nervous about how I would feel on the return drive, but I managed (just barely).  

**I do have to mention something... I see the same thing happening here that I do in our hometown.  We live at what's considered, "the gateway to the Columbia River Gorge" in Oregon.  Extremely scenic highways & waterfalls much like Road to Hana.  Please be considerate of the land and the residents. Be careful where you park.  If there isn't a spot, move on.  Please don't stand in the middle of the bridge where cars are traveling just so you can get a photo op with a waterfall.  Please pack out what you pack in and stay on the maintained trails. AND pay attention to your surroundings. Standing on the edge of a cliff or waterfall may seem cool, but I bet the people who have lost their lives this year in Oregon would do things differently if they had the chance!** Sorry, rant over.

We did stop for a bite to eat at Miso Phat. I only wanted soup and Mike had the Poke bowl. 

Ended our day with a beautiful sunset in Kapalua.

This was from our condo just before we headed down to the beach

These remind me of the Sandpipers we have on the Oregon coast, but I believe these are Pacific golden plover?
I took this pic for my son. He has taken up photography as a hobby and is excelling at night time shots. I can't even come close to what he can do, but hey, there's the moon!

Good night and thank you if you took the time to read this! More to follow in the next few days.

P.S. As much as I love Hawaii, my heart is missing this little girl!
<3 <3 <3

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