Saturday, April 21, 2012

Maui Recap

We arrived on a windy day, but the temperature was pleasant and in spite of the Red flags on the shore alerting us to high surf we quickly hopped into the ocean for an inaugural dip.   We weren't in much danger with our water activities, which mostly included hoping waves and some light swimming.  Had we been attempting to snorkle around the reef that was a few yards into the bay, then it would have been an issue.  Later in the week when we ventured out we realized that the coral at some points is only about 1 -2 feet under water and swimming over it in rough waters would be extremely dangerous.

We stopped at Costco after picking up our rental car and purchased supplies for the week.  By supplies you know I mean wine and the required jug of Trader Vic's Mai Tai.  Sadly, we ended up having to return some of the wine as we were not as 'winey' as we thought we would be.

Our days mostly started out with breakfast, either at the Gazebo restaurant next door or at home with leftovers from the Gazebo restaurant next door.  This was a popular place that opened at 7:30 am, and the line started to form at 7:00.  We foolishly arrived at 7:20 and were in the second round of seating.  The wait, however, was worth it!  Macadamia nut pancakes with a coconut whipped cream topping.   (DROOL)  We also ordered their house breakfast fried rice.  HOLY GUACAMOLE, this is a tasty treat.  Along with fresh onions and peppers this rice is chock full of bacon, ham and sausage.  It was a mouth watering savory companion to the fluffy but sweet pancakes.   The serving was huge and thus there was enough for us to have it for breakfast the following day and if we had been super frugal the day after that.

The blow hole
We did a few road trips, the first was to the Maui Blow Hole.  The  rental car road map stated that there were parts of the island that we weren't allowed to drive, but they didn't give actual mile markers.  I'm a nervous nelly and assumed we were in the "red zone" the minute the road switched from a four lane to a narrow 2 lane.  The drive to the blow hole was easy and my anxiety was for nothing.  This isn't a park or a sight that is marked with signs. We drove until we saw where all the cars were pulled over and decided to get out an see.  Sure enough, over the bluff there it was.    When the lava cooled, I'm guessing a few weeks ago, a tunnel was formed and when the surf crashes in a rather impressive spout of water shoots out.

We decided to hike down the "trail" to get a better view.  It is not a state park with any kind of maintained walkway, but we saw moms with kids and older folks making their way back up, so we thought we could do it.  If you are not sure footed, or can't chew gum and walk at the same time, this is not a hike for you.  The human brain is working overtime with each step, focusing on balance, the next step, which rock looks the most secure and how not to fall on your ass takes some effort.   
Our beach, Napili Bay

Hand painted signs inform you that you should not venture to the wet rocks and NOT down to the flat surface where the blow hole is.  Recently, some Darwin Award Winner went in for a better photo op and got sucked in.  The news stories didn't say if his body was recovered, but I would hope for his family that what goes in, goes out.

Anywho... we didn't go that far.  We hiked down to about two thirds of the way to where we could get good photos and then stopped.  Our big camera earned her place in our home with some great shots.

Another day, we decided to drive some of the way to Hana.  That is a fun drive, but not one for a passive driver.  It took us about 3 hours to go 30 miles.  Its faster on the way back because we didn't have to stop and take pictures along the way back.  The road is VERY twisty and narrow.  There are lots of one lane bridges and for the most part people were considerate.  A couple times we had to get the hell out of the way of a tour bus and a VERY large delivery truck.    We also had to dodge an asshole whose hug the wall skills sucked.  No matter, it was a beautiful drive and we stopped at a lovely place and had our boxed lunch that we picked up in Paia.    We didn't make it all the way to Hana, but we weren't trying to get there.  The guidebook says the trip IS the destination, and we wanted to get back in time for a good dinner.  Since it was our vacation and we were in agreement it was a perfect outing.

windy, but happy
I booked us into the Four Winds II, a catamaran day-trip to the tiny island of Molokini.  This little horseshoe is a sanctuary and walking on or even touching the island is prohibited.  The boats come and moor on the inside of the crater and the happy (mostly pasty white) tourists tumble into the sea to snorkel.  The trip was worth the cost, but not for the snorkeling.  We enjoyed meeting the very friendly crew, other vacationers and the open sea.  We saw some whales (but not at close range) and the sea life at the crater was nice, but we had more colorful fish at our little bay by the condo.   Also, we saw a LARGE turtle at our bay as well - that was amazing and very exciting.

The boat trip day was a lot of fun, but because we started so early, launched at 7:00 am, the cool icy wine that started to flow at 10am didn't seem so wrong.  Turns out... Terri drank all day and half way though the movie we rented for the evening (and the entire bottle of red wine that "we" opened and "I" drank) I went to bed to watch something else and Jason said when he came to bed he watched about an hour of tv and I didn't move at all.  He said he did a breath check to see if I was alive, but clearly my day was OVER.   The next morning, Terri not feel so good.  (sad face)  I think I had a mai tai with dinner that night, but it was a water day.  Whoops.

Our other beach excursion day was to a bay we saw on our way to the blow hole.  This cove had actual stairs down to the ocean and a nice flat beach.  The beach at the condo was great for swimming and snorkeling, but had a wicked pitch that made hanging out ocean side a bit iffy.  This little beach was protected from the wind and nicely flat.  In fact, unlike our beach that dropped off to about 6-10 feet deep at about four feet from shore, this beach was shallow for yards and yards off shore.  The surf was great for body surfing and we think it would be a nice place for kids to play.  (We're already talking about when to come back with a larger crew, including the Peanut.)

At the luau
Our night time activities included dinners out at multiple beach side places and an evening at a luau.  I think the luau is a required activity and the one we (I) chose was a winner.  Somehow we were seated in the front row which gave us an unencumbered view of the pretty dancers.  The different thing about this luau vs. the other shows is that they had four shows, each from a different pacific island region, Hawaii, New Zealand, Samoa and Tahiti.  Each dinner course was from the featured region and the dances were native to that area as well. 
We did cook "in" one night and our rib eye and tater tot meal was superb.  We had to gift our second rib eye to the leathery couple downstairs on our last night, but we always had the option to eat it. 

Lucy was never far from our minds and about mid-day Thursday I was aching to go home.  Friday was rough because my desire to be home was in over drive and my vacation is ending sadness was happening at the same time.  We kept ourselves busy and made sure to savor our last day.

I give us an A+ for packing in lots of fun activities, but not over doing it.    We tried the Shave Ice (a glorified snow cone) and loved the one at the shop where she made her own syrups. 

We get a B- for escaping the tourist shopping enclaves.  We are returning home with t-shirts and a loud hawaiian shirt for Jason, a semi-loud hawaiian dress for me and a pink and yellow floral beachy dress for Lucy.  I picked up a snorkel set (fins, mask and breathing tube) from Costco - which was a great buy.  Jason opted to upgrade his breathing tube that was purchased in the 1990's and his price point was the same as my entire kit.  His goggles are made with his prescription, so that the love of my life who is blind as a bat can see the fishies, therefore he only needed an upgraded snorkel tube. 

I give us a C- for staying up late, the three hour time difference is rough.  I was thankful for the days we 'slept in' until 6:00 am.  We got some wonderful uninterrupted sleep and the time zone is NOTHING to complain about.

We get an A+ for sun management.  We are a pretty brown, without any burns or scally skin.  My self tanner with sun screen helps that a lot, but we both started out WHITE and are returning home with a healthy start on the summer glow. 

Vacationing without Lucy was good and bad.  Every time I saw a family with a "Lucy"  I felt pangs in my heart, but I know that for the 20% of the time that she would have been happy 80% of the other time she, or we would have been miserable.   Grandma and Grandpa did a great job and other than some strange 4:30 am wake ups she was fine. 

We get in tonight at 8:00 pm and she'll already be in bed, but I'm sort of hoping for a middle of the night wake up so I can get my hands on my girl.  This mothering thing is bigger than I thought it would be. 
We will certainly invoke the grandparents again for future vacations, but I can wait. 

Talk with you soon. Mahalo

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