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January 26, 2011

On Maui Time

Arrived at Kahului Airport yesterday at 4:50pm local time, via Toronto & San Francisco. We were met at the airport by Liz's friend, Melissa. We are staying in a private residence, in an ohana unit (think granny flat) at Ka'anapali - nice area.

This morning we left at 4:30am & drove almost 2 hours over to Haleakala National Park to watch the sunrise from the top of the volcanic crater - 10,023' - the highest we have ever been outside of an airplane. About 200 people from all over were there, including a couple from Saskatoon. Very cool & windy from the top of the crater - well worth it as the views were spectacular. Breakfast at Grandma's Coffee House in Kuna, then back over to Lahaina/Ka'anapali area for a relaxing afternoon.

Pic below - Liz with lei by the pool.

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How's the weather back in Canada?

January 27, 2011

Sunrise at Haleakala

Sunrise from the rim of the Haleakala crater, Wednesday January 26, 2011 at approximately 7:00am

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Around West Maui

We're using Maui Revealed as our main resource, in addition to some great suggestions from our friends. Today we drove around West Maui in a clockwise direction, starting a few minutes before 9:00am & returning to our base around 4:30 pm. We spent time in Honokowai, Kahana, Napili, Kapalua; stopped to see the Dragon's Teeth at Makalua-puna Point, the surfers at Honolua Bay, the Nakalele Blowhole; hiked the Ohai Trail; paused to buy some banana bread at Julia's in Kahakuloa, and continued around the island on some very narrow roads.

The photo below is Julia's in Kahakuloa, a popular stop for excellent banana bread.

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Today is Thursday and a large cruise ship sits off Lahaina - likely a good day to avoid downtown Lahaina.

What's the weather like, you ask? Sunny and warm - the temperature got above 80 in the late afternoon.

January 28, 2011

Snorkeling at Olowalu, a family reunion & dinner at Mala

I plan to do some snorkeling while we're here, but I haven't done any for several years. So early this morning we drove south past Lahaina to Olowalu, a beach recommended by a friend of our host.

As an aside, almost everybody we have met through our friends is at least a generation younger than us. They have all been drawn here by the climate and lifestyle. The unifying factor seems to be surfing. There's Tim from North Carolina who works as a roofer and car mechanic when he's not surfing; Kyle from Texas who does some house renovations when he's not surfing; Melissa from Ontario who cleans houses and condos when she's not surfing; Tiffany from New York who works at two restaurants when she's not surfing; Michael from Arkansas ...... well, you get the idea.

Last evening one of them mentioned an old couple driving a car - "they must have been 60" - who caused a traffic problem along Hwy 30. Hey, I remember 60 - it was a few years ago.

Olowalu beach was almost deserted and it was a great place to try out and adjust my equipment. Shortly after 11:00am we packed up & headed off to Kapulua Airport to meet one of my two younger brotherts, David, & his partner, Marcel. They decided to come to Hawaii when they learned we would be coming to Maui. David & Marcel have been in Honolulu for four days, are on Maui for the next five days, before returning to Honolulu for a short visit and then back to Canada.

We were happy to greet David & Marcel & drive them into Lahaina to their hotel. As a bonus their room at the hotel came with a parking pass, which we will use for the next five days. Parking is always at a premium in Lahaina.

Below - David & Marcel at Kapalua Airport

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For dinner we went to the highly recommended Mala Ocean Tavern.

January 29, 2011

Whale watching, Ka'anapali Beach, the feast at Lele

Whale watching, Ka’anapali Beach, the feast at Lele

Off before 8:00am, into Lahaina to meet up with David & Marcel at the Pioneer Inn, then over to sign in & catch the boat at the Pacific Ocean Foundation slip in the harbour. We were on the water for about 2 hours between Maui and Lanai - saw lots of whales, some up close - see below.

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In the evening we enjoyed an upscale luau experience at the feast at Lele.

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January 30, 2011

Sunday at the beach

"Plan A" for today was to take the ferry over to Moloka'i, rent a car & explore the island - BUT the ferry doesn't run on Sunday - looks like we'll be doing that on Tuesday.

OK, so we go the "Plan B", beach time - the same one we visited briefly yesterday, but guess what? It has more than one name. Technically, it's part of Ka'anapali Beach, but this area north of Black Rock is also called Kahekili Beach Park and the locals call it Airport Beach. Whatever the name, it's a great place for a morning swim, with a boardwalk most of the way to Black Rock and parking available whenever we go there. OK for snorkeling & SCUBA, but perhaps best for just relaxing. And less than a mile from where we are staying.

Below - Ka'anapali, Kahekili or Airport Beach - a great beach, whatever it's called.

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Into Lahaina for lunch at the Pioneer Inn with David & Marcel, then back out to the upscale Whalers' Village Shopping Center in the Ka'anapali Beach area. A Skins Game was underway on a golf course on the property featuring Tom Watson, Fuzzy Zoeller, Bernhard Langer & a few more superannuated golf pros. Interesting to those who finds those kinds of things interesting.

Saw a great T-shirt in a shop. "I'm off to Maui ..... my boss thinks I'm coming back."

Back into Lahaina for pizza at the Maui Revealed recommended Lahaina Pizza Co on Front St. Excellent pizza.

Your Maui Weather Report: Cloudy skies with sunny breaks, with temperatures in the low 80's, and a gentle breeze near the water. Slightly cooler on the hillsides, with signs of precipitation in the valleys in the interior. Warm and dry along trhe coast in West Maui - a beautiful day.

Off on a snorkeling excursion to Molokini tomorrow - have to be at the dock in Ma'alea by 7:00am. An early night this evening.

January 31, 2011

SNUBA in the morning, Kihei & Wailea in the afternoon

Up early to get ready to drive to Ma'alea to catch the Four Winds II by 7:00am and a snorkeling excursion to the crescent-shaped volcanic crater rim-island of Molokini. However, the winds were from the north, making the waves at Molokini too high, so we went to an alternate site for a couple of hours where some of us tried a mini-version of SCUBA called SNUBA, where you breath through a regulator, with the hose tethered to an air tank on a small raft on the surface. We also saw several whales on the way out from Ma'alea & some sea turtles swimming in the ocean on the way back.

Below - Sea turtle off Ma'alea. Sea turtles don't move as fast as whales and are easier to photograph.

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In the afternoon we continued past Ma'alea, turned right and drove a few miles south through the Kilhei and the very upscale Wailea.

Back in Lahaina by late afternoon. Another cruise liner, a Holland Amertica ship, sitting off Lahaina. - a long line of passengers in the harbour going through a security check before being tendered back to the ship. Glad it's not me.

Dinner was a Luna burger at the Cool Cat Cafe in Lahaina. Our server was from Colorado.

Hopefully, off to Moloka'i in the morning.

February 1, 2011

A Day on Moloka'i with Michael and Melissa

Off before 7:00am with our friends Michael & Melissa to the harbour at Lahaina to buy return tickets for the ferry to Moloka'i, another of the islands of Hawai'i. On Moloka'i we rented a car for the day & spent the next seven hours touring this small island. Moloka'i is just under 2 hours away from Maui, approximately 38 miles long and 10 miles wide, with a population of 8,100 and a dramatically different culture and economy. No mainland surfers, timeshares or large developments here; this is a much more genuine Hawaian experience with some great views and memorable experiences.

By far the most emotional experience on the island was looking down on the Kalaupapa peninsula, where Father Damien arrived in 1873 to assist the colony that had been exiled to the remote area, suffering from Hansen's disease, the proper term for leprosy. The colony is still active with a dozen afflicted people still living there. The view from the Lookout was a view into history.

Below: Melissa on Moloka'i

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David & Marcel met us at the dock when we returned - announced that they had reserved an ocean-side table at Lahaina Prime Rib & Fish Co. restaurant for our final evening together. Our server was from California. David & Marcel are flying back to Honolulu tomorrow for a day before returning home to Canada. We are already talking about Next Year On Maui. It's been great spending time with my youngest brother.

February 2, 2011

The Road to Hana and beyond

Off by 7:00am to drive to the opposite side of the island from where we are staying. The Road to Hana is one of the de rigeur aspects of any visit to Maui of more than a few days. Following Maui Revealed, we stopped at several recommended places, but also missed a few for a variety of reasons. We saw some of the vaunted waterfalls, but others were not flowing and still others were too much of a hike for us today. Highlights included Nahiku, a refreshing stop at Glen's Coconut Ice Cream stand ..... photo below

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... swimming at Black Sand Beach, Wai'anapanapa Caves, the 7 Sacred Pools and driving completely around the island. Most people turn back at Hana and they miss an unique experience featuring a completely different landscape, some great views of the ocean and mountain and a drive through the Upcountry. They also miss a stretch of several miles of unpaved or patched road, the setting sun causing some visibility problems and cattle blocking the road.

Below: swimming at Black Sand Beach

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We arrived home shortly after 8:00pm.

February 3, 2011

Airport Beach in the morning, Pa'ia shopping, Ka'anapali Beach at sunset,

Two days to go. Liz said that this was the first place we have visited that she would like to stay for at least a couple of months. We are already discussing our return trip, possibly in mid-February next year, but it's a bit "early days" as Brits say.

We spent the morning on Airport Beach at the end of our road. In earlier posts I have referred to this as Ka'anapali Beach or Kahekili Beach Park, but we're into double digits in days now, developing reasonable tans, done a lot of the tourist "must do's", and we're beginning to adjust to "Maui time"; so Airport Beach it is.

Over to Pa'ia in the early afternoon. We had passed throught the village early yesterday morning on the road to Hana - quelle difference! The place was packed - parking available only by pulling over to the side to the road outside of town.

Excellent pizza lunch at the Flatbread Company. Annie, our server, is from Michigan.

While Liz shopped, I spent some time in Anthony's Coffee Company, reading, drinking coffee and chatting with the owner. He's been there 17 years - said I would drop in to see him next year.

A recommended leisurely activity is a walk along Ka'anapali Beach at sunset - the Ka'anapali Beach south of Black Rock - so on our way back from Pa'ia that's what we did.

Sunset at Ka'anapali Beach, Maui, with Lanai in the background.

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February 4, 2011

Another day in paradise

Our last full day on Maui - relaxing morning chez nous and on Airport Beach; lunch & a bit of shopping at the nearby resort complex on Ka'anapali Beach; mid-afternoon into Lahaina for a final visit and a Happy Hour drink at the Pioneer Inn; an excellent final dinner at pacific'O in Lahaina with our friends, Melissa and Michael - see below. Our servers were from Southern California and Chicago, Illinois.

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Many people have commented on the number of Canadians on Maui - by some accounts they outnumber American visitors - impossible to believe. But while this is a great place to visit, there are signs of continuing economic difficulties and the Canadian $ is at par or slightly higher than it's American counterpart. Plus, of course, Canadians like to get away for at least part of our winter. Perhaps Maui is more affordable and even more attractive than in previous years. Before we get too pleased with ourselves, there is a Q & A common among servers on Maui:

Q - What's the difference between Canadians and canoes?

A - Canoes tip.

Below: Airport Beach with Moloka'i in the background. Clouds are a common sight over the higher elevations of Maui & Moloka'i, but most often the coastal areas are clear and sunny.

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Tomorrow, we're going home. Sigh.

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