We are back home now and already talking about when can we go back to Maui? Is Christmas too soon?
I caught a cold when I got home - probably on the plane - so it has taken me a while to get this post done. Today while lounging around, we watched The Endless Summer. It's a fun, around the world surfing documentary from 1966.
Here it is, my account of our last day and trip home.
Tuesday August 15, 2017
I was up early and James told me if I get up and go for a walk to wake him up. So I did. It's so nice to walk first thing in the morning. It's a bit cooler and you see all the dogs out for their morning walks. We brought home warm cinnamon buns from the Cinnamon Roll Place down the street.
We also popped the bottle of prosecco to celebrate our last morning. Actually we weren't celebrating, more like acknowledging our last morning. Or trying to drink the alcohol we bought on our first day at Costco and didn't drink.
I love this bumper sticker.
We went to the pool for our last waist whittling session led by Aunty Mary Lou before packing up. What will happen to our waists without our daily aquasize?
We were out of the condo by 11 am and brought all our left over "stuff" over to Aunty Mary-Lou's. The person she rented from allowed them to have the condo for the day which was very handy!
Erin was thinking of walking down the beach to sell her left overs...
Our flight was at 10:40 pm so we had lots of time. We decided to drive to Paia for lunch.
Paia is interesting - it definitely has a surfer/pot smoking vibe to it. We had lunch at Flatbread which was very good.
We continued down the road to Ho'okipa to watch the wind surfers and surfers. The highlight was the beach was full of Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles (Honu) sunning themselves. There had to be 20-30 turtles on the beach and in the water around it. Spectacular! A very special treat for our last day.
James and I walked around the Kihei 'hood until it was time to take Stinky (our rental van) back to the car rental place. I didn't get a photo with all of us and Stinky but here is the Kraft-Mullane clan with Fred.
We all flew to Vancouver on the same flight and then went our separates ways (after hitting Starbucks) - Victoria, Calgary, Saskatoon and Edmonton.
We made it home safe, sound and tired. We were happy to see the dogs and like always, they were well looked after while we were away.
We had such a wonderful trip. Maui was perfect! It's a magical place where stress seems to melt away. Must be the tropical air. Or the Mai Tai's!
Thank you to my family for an amazing vacation together. It was the perfect way to celebrate mom and dad's 50th anniversary and Aunty Mary Lou & Uncle Rick's 40th anniversary (and retirement). We shared lots of fun times and made lasting memories!
Monday August 14, 2017
I was up really early and decided to go out for a walk. There are a lot of people up early in Maui. Must be the squawking birds.
We were at the beach by 8.30 am this morning and put in a solid four hours of boogie boarding and snorkelling. While out snorkelling we saw a couple turtles. One was huge and majestic. S/he floated through the water around us and then came back to our beach area as if to say goodbye. James thinks it was because he bonded with the turtle. Who knows.
Kate built a fortified sand fortress. We all felt safe by the added protection of the sticks. We enjoyed sunning ourselves and cooling off in the water.
We did some shopping and thought we would check out the 5 Palms for happy hour as many people suggested. We took pictures of the views but didn't stay.
We headed over to the Shops at Wailea to pick up some shirts that were to be in stock today at Malibu...and went to happy hour at Longhi's.
We are trying to use up our food so we BBQ'ed and then had ice cream birthday cake for Ben and Kate. Ben's birthday is Aug. 29 (how can he possibly be 12 already?!!) and Kate's birthday is September 25. She'll be 8.
Now we have the sad chore of packing up. We don't leave until late tomorrow evening but we need to be out of the condo by 11 am. Luckily the owners of the condo Aunty Mary Lou rented are giving her the day at no charge so we will all go over there.
We have a full day left of Maui sunshine and we will be sure to seize it!
Two of these things I like. They don't include hops, grains and yeast.
This post is for Saturday August 12 and Sunday August 13,2017
Saturday morning we loaded I to Stinky (our van) and went to the beach around the Fairmont in Wailea - I think it was Polo Beach. The waves were awesome for boogie boarding. We had so much fun! A couple flip outs and a few big waves required some quick bathing suit readjustments before standing up. No need to expose too much to the world. We are not at Little Beach!
After our beach morning we headed over to Maui Brewing Co. in Kehei for a tour. The tour was good. The company was started by a married couple in 2004 originally in Hana and is growing. They try to source as much as they can locally and one of their values is about having fun and enjoying life.
After the tour we tasted their top four beers. I don't drink beer and don't particularly like it. Unless I'm in China but that's another story. We also got a token to trade in for a pint of any beer we wanted. I think they had about 30 types on tap. Aunty Mary Lou and I chose rootbeer. They make their own rootbeer and it is really good! Much better than beer in my opinion.
t is interesting to note that you can buy the Maui Brewery beer cheaper at Costco than you can at the brewery. How does Costco do it?
We spent some time at the pool before dinner and then sunset. We ended the evening by walking down the street with the kids for ice cream.
Sunday August 13, 2017
Aunty Mary Lou, Uncle Rick, James and I decided to drive out to La Perouse Bay to see the lava fields. The road gets a bit narrow past Makena but it is worth the drive!
The lava fields are from the last lava flow on the island in the 1700's. All the black lava rock is pretty amazing and the waves crashing in against the rock are mesmerizing. I could have watched them all day. Powerful and beautiful. Uncle Rick said watching the waves was better than the helicopter ride. Hmmm...I still put the helicopter above the waves by at least a smidge.
Sunday was a relaxing day. We worked on our journals, shopped and then played cards. Ben made a come back from behind in the card game and ended up winning because mom decided the lines were to small to keep score...or something like that. Her lambsy playing friends would not be impressed.
We went to Happy Hour at the Shops in Wailea followed by more photos of the sunset. We even did some hula to the ukulele at sunset. Aunty Mary Lou has the video proof.
After sunset we went to the Thai food truck - Aloha Thai Fusion. Everything was delicious!
And those were our days. Pretty perfect...except for the beer.
Is it me or is snorkel a funny word? It reminds me of the Modern Family episode with Snorkels the sea lion. Such a good episode.
Anyhow, here's my post for Friday August 11, 2017
Another early morning - this time we all went to Lahaina for 7:15 am to take a dolphin and snorkel adventure with Pacific Whale Foundation Tours. Before I describe our day I have to say I was so impressed with Pacific Whale Foundation. They are a not-for-profit and all the staff were educated professionals (all marine biologists). Their focus is to teach about the oceans and conservation. And they were incredibly nice. Of course I am partial to supporting non-profits.
OK on to our day...
We think we got the best seats on the boat right in front of the captain.
As we sailed toward the island of Lanai the crew spotted a pod of spinner dolphins. We were entertained by them for quite a while. Some were playing around and underneath the boat and some went spinning up in the air. The highlight was watching the baby dolphin practice it's spinning. It was about the size of a football and would come flying out of the ocean like a little torpedo. It was hilarious! I wasn't fast enough to get a photo.
We anchored in the bay of Lanai which is 98% owned by Larry Ellison (of Oracle). Lanai used to be full on pineapple production, but that's a thing of the past. Now the natural landscape has taken over again.
Snorkelling was lots of fun. I saw two turtles and tons of fish. I bought a fish reference guide so I know what I'm looking at. Back on the boat we had a delicious BBQ lunch and drinks. The ride back was through choppy water which I absolutely love. There were a number of sea sick people on the boat though!
We looked around Lahaina a bit and then headed up the road to Kapalua and Ka'anapali. We saw the PGA golf course that features the Hawaiian Open. Tiger Woods used to have a home here before he made some poor decisions. We did a bit of window shopping at Whaler's Village and then it was time for happy hour. We listened to a band while enjoying our refreshments.
There was a light rain as we drove back toward our Condo. The traffic was horrible but we were treated to a beautiful rainbow.
Back at the condo we had dinner and walked across the street to watch the sunset. The sun sets at 7 pm. It was stunning as always. Mahalo nui loa Mother Nature.
Thursday, August, 10, 2017
On Thursday morning, Alana, Erin, James and I were up while the sky was still dark and before the birds started chirping. That's early! We were at the airport before 5 am to catch our Hawaiian Airlines flight to Oahu. The flight over was short - about 15 - 20 minutes - just enough time for a quick coffee (or water in my case) in the air. The driver from Discover Hawaii was there to meet us and brought us to meet up with our guide, Kona, at Pearl Harbor (I hate spelling harbour without a U, but I will out of respect).
What an amazing tribute to the events of December 7, 1941. We walked through the museum area which explains what was going on at the time, the events leading up to the attack and why the Americans were caught off guard. It is really well done. At 8 am everyone stopped to listen to the Star Spangled Banner. We then went in to the theatre to watch the film with actual footage from the day. It's unbelievable that they had all the footage - especially the Japanese footage. From there we took the boat over to the sunken USS Arizona site. The memorial is stunning - it rises out from the harbour sitting above the sunken ship. Inside are the names of the 1172 men who were killed on the ship from the attack. There is a memorial for those who survived but decided to have their ashes buried with their fellow soldiers on the Arizona. There are only 5 survivors still alive who served on the USS Arizona.
In total 2335 military service people and 68 civilians were killed at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The Japanese lost 55 men.
Our next stop was completely different. The Dole Plantation (really, a big pineapple themed gift shop) where we had Dole whip. It was good. Most of the pineapple companies on the islands have closed down. They now only grow pineapples to supply the islands - not for export. Same goes for sugar cane. We've heard many different versions of why these two exports which once ruled the Hawaiian economy are no longer in existence. The short (and consistent) answer - not enough profit for the companies producing them.
As we drove we could see the fields of pineapples. A lot of labour goes in to growing pineapples.
We drove along the north shore to see all the beaches. In the winter there are tons of surfers and surf competitions. At this time of year the beaches here are quieter. Waikiki Beach is another story - it's crowded with people! We stopped at Sunset Beach for a photo opp.
Next up, the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie. The Center celebrates the Polynesian nations that settled in Hawaii - Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Aotearoa, Tahiti. There is also a group of indigenous Hawaiians. We had a big buffet lunch and then followed our guide around to some of the shows. They were interesting to see.
The Center is operated by The Church of Latter Day Saints and most of the employees and performers attend the Brigham Young University down the street.
Switching gears again, we went to the Byodo-In Temple. It was built in 1968 for the 100 year anniversary of the first Japenese immigrants to Hawaii. We all gonged the Bon-Sho (sacred bell) on the beautiful grounds. We will all now have happiness, blessings and long life.
Inside is a 9ft+ golden Buddha - thought to be the largest figure carved outside of Japan. And through the temple is of course a gift shop.
We drove up for a view of Oahu before making our way back to Honolulu. The prices of real estate seem crazy here from what our guide told us. Homes no where near the ocean that kind of look like a run down trailer are $1 million.
We were dropped off at the gorgeous Moana Hotel - the first hotel in Waikiki in 1901. We took a quick peek inside.
We learned about Aloha Fridays when the business people in Honolulu wear flowered shirts and mumus to work.
We had dinner at the airport and finally made it back to our condo at 10 pm. It was a full day. It was great to see Oahu - Pearl Harbour was the definite highlight - but I love Maui!
There are t-shirts for sale in the tourist shops that say "I survived the road to Hana". With that kind of publicity we knew we had to give it a try. We wanted to do the full circle, through the red dotted line on the map. Apparently if you drive this dangerous rocky road (the red dotted line portion on the map) in your rental vehicle, your insurance is void. I'm not sure if that's true, but we decided a tour would be the best way to do the trip.
We were up early Wednesday morning to be picked up by Discover Hawaii Tours at 6.25 am for our Road to Hana tour. We were picked up in a cab at our condo by a wonderful woman who is originally from Vietnam and has lived in Maui for 27 years. She brought us to a meeting point where we met the van that we would be with all day.
Our guide, Junior was the most unique guide I've ever had. He entertained us all day. He shared Hawaiian history in a memorable way and most importantly, he was a really good driver!
We started with breakfast (pineapple and muffins from the back of the van) just outside of Paia. Once we finished, we were on our way to the twisting, narrow road to Hana. We made stops along the way to check out sites; we got up close to a waterfall, watched coconuts being cut down, walked along the black sand beaches in Wai'anapanapa State Park (black sand is hard on the feet), visited a flower farm (white ginger flowers are pretty cool) and of course bought warm banana bead (twice). Oh and a highlight was seeing the gazebo from Fantasy Island. I loved that show as a kid - even though it often scared me.
We had lunch in Hana and checked out the shops. The woman who runs the post office also runs the bank so both can't be open at the same time. I thought the bank looked especially secure.
We did then complete Hana circle which means some pretty terrifying dirt road - jagged rock cliff on one side and steep ocean cliff on the other. The scenery was outstanding. It's legal to ride in the back of a truck here and we were shocked when we saw a couple trucks with people loaded in the back. That's crazy!
We learned about all the famous people who have homes on Maui - including Oprah and her 5 mile long driveway.
We had a full day and made it back safe and sound around 6 pm. The entire trip was awesome!
We survived the road to Hana but I probably won't buy the t-shirt.
Tuesday Aug. 8
We spent Tuesday morning at the beach. First we snorkelled at Ulua Beach in Wailea. We saw lots of fish along the reef. The waves at that beach were not good for boogie boarding. We headed up the road to Big Beach. It is a beautiful beach with some people sunning themselves but very few in the water. The waves were pretty strong so we just dipped our toes in.
We got some fish tacos from the Jawz food truck and tried a fresh coconut along the road. The first time I've had fresh coconut. Good.
We had a quiet afternoon and then went for dinner at Cafe O'lei. Kate and I have been talking about shave ice for a while so we decided to try it out. I didn't understand the hype of shave ice but Kate assured me it's good. We went to Local Boys and we both had volcano - root beer, vanilla and cherry. I had vanilla ice cream with mine. Kate had mango.. And cream on top. It was very tasty but a bit sweet. Connor finished mine.
Monday morning started with a surf lesson for James, Connor and Ben. Uncle Rick was going to try surfing too but he has an ear infection and is staying away from the waves for now. The lesson was just down the street at the Surf Shack. Tyler, the instructor, was living up to the surfer stereotype and was about 20 minutes late for the class. Dude.
All the guys got up on their boards and had fun. They learned that manners out in the ocean will get you no where. You need to be selfish and take the wave when you see it.
The rest of the day we sat around the pool until getting ready for the luau. We bought tickets for the Grand Luau at Honua'ula at Costco. The hotel grounds are stunning. We were there at the time we were told which was too early so we checked out the beautiful bar.
James bought a special shirt for the luau. I'm sure he'll get a lot of wear out of it at home. Or it might have a special place in his drawer beside the be-dazzled shirt he bought in China a few years ago.
The luau was good. Lots of food and drink, a hula lesson and a show. And the view was pretty spectacular! We even tried the purple Poi - a condiment made from taro root. It was kind of bland.
After the paid entertainment, we were treated to a shadow show under the table courtesy of Kate and her new friends from San Fransisco. the table was illuminated by 6 iphones.
We are celebrating three anniversaries on this trip...it's Kevin and Liz's 25th, Aunty Mary Lou and Uncle Rick's 40th and mom and dad's 50th. They were all announced at the luau this evening.
The luau included valet parking. Of course Fred. the Ford Focus station wagon was the envy of all waiting for the valet...
This post covers Saturday and Sunday.
James, Uncle Rick and I saw Maui from above on Saturday morning. We did a helicopter ride with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters. This was the first time I've been in a helicopter and a definite highlight of the trip! We did the 45 minute West Maui and Molokai tour.
There were five of us in the helicopter with the pilot, Glenda. Uncle Rick and I sat in the front and James was in the back with a kissy French couple. The sights were outstanding! It was like being in an IMAX movie when we flew over the sea cliffs on Molokai. The waterfalls were stunning and the shades of blue in the ocean spectacular. We were told if you come in February you will see all the whales with their babies before they head to Alaska. I highly recommend a helicopter tour.
What I don't recommend is going to Walmart on the Saturday before back to school. It was a zoo but the guys were low on beer.
We went to the beach in the afternoon. After getting tossed around by the waves, we headed to the pool. We heard Coconuts had good fish tacos so we went to try them out. They were good but I'm surewe can find better.
Sunday morning we were up early to go snorkelling and boogie boarding in Wailea. We saw lots of fish and the turtles were swimming around us. It's good to get out early before the trade winds arrive. The morning was capped off with a visit to the Cinnamon Roll Place for a fresh box of right out of the oven cinnamon buns. Yum!
We went back to the condo to clean off the sand from every crevice and headed to the Maui Ocean Center. It's an amazing aquarium. We had fun learning about the coral, the fish (many that we've seen snorkelling) and the turtles. The highlight was the sharks and rays swimming above us.
It's tradition (according to Alana and Erin) to get ice cream at Hula Ice Cream and Hula Cookies after visiting the aquarium. I'm not going to mess with tradition. We had a cookie ice cream sandwich. D'lish!
Next we ventured down the road to Lahaina. We saw the big banyan tree and looked at some shops. We will be back later this week for a different snorkelling tour so we will poke around more then.
The past two days have been fabulous!
We were up early to meet our snorkelling tour with Four Winds II at 7am. Destination - Molokini, a submerged caldera that has coral reef and many species of fish. Once on the boat, we learned about Snuba and decided to give it a try. It took about an hour to get out to Molokini. The ride out was beautiful and we learned about the islands in the area. Above, Molokini is a bird sanctuary - no people allowed - and below it is a marine reserve. No touching the coral!
We were in the second snuba group so we started with snorkelling. Amazing! The water is so clear and there were many different kinds of colourful fish. Unfortunately I have no photos.
Five of us tried snuba and it was an experience like nothing else. It felt like we were visiting a different world. Which I guess we were. We were the humans in the fish tank. Snuba (cross between scuba diving and snorkelling) allows you to go up to 15 feet deep with an oxygen tube to explore even more. It's hard to explain but it feels like you are suspended in time and you are totally present to the sights around you. The gradation of blue underwater is unreal. I only wish we had a little more time because by the time you understand how it all works (and get you ears de-pressurized) it's time to come up. I would do it again in a heartbeat!
On the way back we saw a bunch of dolphins -spinners and bottlenose. They were in sleep mode so no playing in the wake.
The tour was definitely a highlight so far!
Back at the condo, we went to the pool to cool down for a bit and played some ping pong.
We went for Happy Hour #1 at Monkey Pod where Alana and I had what was billed as the best Mai Tai on the island. It was very good - the best I've had so far. We then ventured to the shops at Wailea for Happy Hour #2 where I had another Mai Tai - not the best but good and it had Hawiian kitsch. The Edmonton Eskimos were on TV. Have I mentioned there are a lot of Canadians here? We may go back tomorrow for the Saskatchewan game.
We ended the day at the beach watching the sunset and Alana, Kate and Ben boogie boarding.
Next up: Helicopter ride!