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Maui 2021. Week 1 (and a bit)

Now that the world is getting back to normal, we are traveling again! In October 2020 we were booked to go to New Zealand but, of course, everything was shut down due to CoVid. So we postponed (like the rest of the world) travel for a year. Summer 2021 rolls around and Kris and Dave are fully vaxxed (yah!), but NZ is still a bit behind. And remains closed to the world so we postponed once more. Hmm, where can we safely go? Oooh Hawaii. Yeah let’s go there. So here we are. Maui in 2021.

In 1996 our first international vacation as a married couple was to Maui. So to reboot our travels, we started again??? Sorta. We’ve always loved Hawaii but with so many other incredible places to see, we’ve not been back since 2010. We were just going to go to Kauai but flights are a bit limited still and nothing is direct. Our choices for lay over were LA, Seattle, San Francisco…. Or Maui. Hmm, which should we choose??? So a short layover grew into “hey while we are there we should do….” So here we are with a week and change as a ‘layover’.

BTW, when your airline sends you a “minor schedule change” email make sure you actually read it! Over the years we’ve received dozens of these. Usually they just say “Your flight now leaves at 1835 instead of 1831 blah blah blah.” Except apparently Dave got an email in September saying our October 21st departure had been moved to the 20th. Hmmm. Not so minor a change! In the evening of Tuesday the 19th we are all getting our flu shots and Dave gets an email saying it’s time to check into the WestJet flight. But you can’t check in more than 24 hours right? So he ignored it. Wednesday morning (the 20th) something was nagging him so he logged into WestJet and sure enough they said we were flying today not tomorrow. So Dave calls WestJet to find out the real deal. How do you tell your wife at 1330 that you are flying at 1830, 24 hours earlier than planned? You tell her you are getting an extra day in Hawaii is how! Dave contacted the AirBnB host to ask if we could come early. Nope, unit is booked. Thankfully we found an available hotel in Ka’anapali that was reasonably priced. We changed the car rental and packed (in a hurry). Our previous travels served us well as we had already organized stuff for the trip and just had to add the last bits to the suitcases. The moral of the story is read those emails closely! Rough right, we were “forced” to spend an extra day in Maui. And yes the WestJet call center lady was friendly and great but even she said she wasn’t going to offer me sympathy.

Sadly, we had one more hiccup before we got to enjoy our trip. This was the sight of Kris’ almost brand new suitcase sitting on the baggage carousel when we landed. What they had to do to rip off two wheels we are not sure, but WestJet has already given us a credit to buy a new one. Not quite what we planned to do with that extra day, but at least we have lots of time.

Thursday morning bright and early we had breakfast at the Royal Lahaina hotel, went for a nice beachside stroll in Ka’anapali, shopped for groceries and then finally checked into our condo. We also took the opportunity to find Kris a new suitcase at Macy’s in Kahului. Funny, the poor blue suitcase made to Paris and Madagascar and back but got destroyed on a bumpy flight to Hawaii.

We have rented a beautiful condo in Kihei on AirBnb. This is the view from our lanai (patio). If you look closely enough you can see the ocean at the bottom of the hill! We have a ground floor 1 bedroom, 2 bath unit in Maui Kamaole complex. We highly recommend it. Quiet, spacious and very nicely run. We are sharing the space with lots of interesting birds (egrets, myna, zebra doves and francolin) and little geckos (mo’o in Hawaiian). The mo’o are deeply respected by and sacred to the ancient Hawaiians as part of an intricate communication system with the gods.

Lanai of I106
A larger Mo’o. They eat bugs so we like them.
Grey Francolin. Their call is LOUD.

Bumpy/rushed start to the trip aside, we love it here. Do we have to come home?

This trip is a mix of a few hikes, snorkelling and lots of relax time. We’ve been here a few times so it was more about rejuvenation than full-on touring. Having said that we can’t just sit around and do nothing.

We visited Whaler’s Village in Ka’anapali for the requisite lunch at Hula Grill. Most of the tables outside are in the sand and you are allowed to go barefoot.

On the 24th Kris had a milestone birthday. Here is the Birthday Girl at 50:

We celebrated the day by going to the Maui Ocean Center which is an amazingly well done aquarium/education center.

We at lunch in Seascape restaurant at the aquarium. The chef is a local who mixes Hawaiian style plates with high end ingredients. Elevated mix plate. Dave had pork belly and Kris Huli Huli chicken with edamame and macaroni salad. Mmmmmm! Oh and some $5 tasty Mai Tais.

Somehow in all our trips to Hawaii we’ve never had a shave ice. Time to rectify that. Ululani’s is said to be the best on the island. The line-up was around the corner every time we drove by, so others must agree. The mix of guava and lilikoi (passion fruit) was really good.

To round out the birthday celebration we had a very nice dinner at 5 Palms. Steak and lobster for the birthday girl.

Our first hike was up the Waihe’e Ridge trail. ~7km of red dirt/clay and 484m of vertical elevation. That’s 1489’ of vertical UP and then back down. Well worth the thigh pain the next day!

This would be very slick after a rain!
The view of the Waihee Valley
Selfie at the top.
What most of the trail looked like.
The view down to Kahului

We found eucalyptus trees and soursop fruit.

We crushed a few leaves in our hands to invigorate ourselves. Smells like the spa!

We had planned on driving to Makena to snorkel with turtles but we found a bunch right across the street from the condo at Kamaole III Beach. No need to drive! Years ago turtles were quite a rare site, ergo the plan to drive. Now there are tons around. Awesome.

Total crap photo but “Pics or it didn’t happen right?”
Tons of urchin all over the place. A good sign of a healthy reef.

We drove to Hana again – maybe the last time? We first did it years ago and decided a repeat would be good. The road has improved but is still nice and curvy. Dave got a forearm workout in steering all day 😀

We stopped at some rainbow eucalyptus trees. They were imported from the Philippines as fuel for the sugar cane industry. They grow fast and burn well apparently. When the eucalypts shed patches of their outer bark at different times, the inner green bark darkens to orange, blue, purple or maroon tones.

Just further down the road we hiked the Waikamoi trail. A nice short loop through beautiful jungle.

Lots of roots to step around.

In the coastal portion of Haleakala National Park we hiked the Pipiwai trail to the Waimoku falls. Waimoku basically means “pissed off water”. There were abundant signs about dying if you fall of a cliff or try and swim. Lots of them. We didn’t go near the edges or try to swim.

The hike begins through a beautiful bamboo forest. When the wind blows through the bamboo the trunks bang together like Kris’ wind chimes!

Except the bamboo forest sounded like a wind chime. Not so quiet but definitely nice to listen to

Close to the middle of the trail is a huge banyan tree.

But the real prize is the 400’ waterfall at the end.

Not much water near the end of the dry season. Can only imagine the full falls during the rainy season!
Random pretty flower on the trail.
African tulip tree.

Ohe’o Gulch sits at the end of the river as it empties into the ocean. You can see the 7 Sacred Pools from the road bridge (although there are many more than 7 up the river). When we last visited the sacred pools in May, there was barely any water in them. Kris wanted to see what they would look like full of water in October. Unfortunately, we seem to be here in Maui at the end of the dry season so we didn’t quite get the rushing falls we were hoping for.

Afternoon picnic in the back of the Jeep anyone?

We took the full loop road home as there was an organic farm we wanted to stop at for coffee and starfruit. You can’t beat hand picked, locally roasted coffee. Mmmm. This section of the road isn’t really recommended for tourists but Dave likes a challenge!

Parts of the two way road are a little narrow!
We made it and we earned the bumper sticker.
The views are worth it though!

We have learned that renting a condo with a kitchen works well for us as we can make breakfast at home and eat dinner in when we don’t feel like going out

Cheerios and macadamias. You need to try this combo!
Pineapple salsa chicken and Kuli greens with pineapple, papaya, Macadamia nuts and balsamic drizzle. All on the quiet lanai.
Gluten free french toast with fruit and macadamia nuts!

Saturday we pack up and fly to Kauai. Seems the “layover” accomplished a lot.

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