Our last day…and we packed it!

It’s Tuesday, 7/27 and our plane leaves Maui at 9 p.m. local time. We had to be out of our rental at 11 a.m. leaving a nice big hole of time to fill with any last minute activities. What to do, what to do.

First, it was off to get henna tattoos. We had seen this booth/tent in Lahaina each time we ate at Moose’s, and we thought it would be a good (although not entirely permanent) way to remember Maui. Me and the kids each got one. Then it was off to a last lunch at Lulu’s (which was one of the first places we ate back in June).

After that, it was into the car for a drive to Kahului. We returned the surfboard, dropped Mike off at Starbucks to work (dedication at every turn!) and headed off to our next adventure. As Mara says, today was like a mini-summary of our time in Maui…

Last stop at Ono Gelato in P’aia

Hiking the Waihou Spring Trail (stopping short of the actual spring due to time and lack of water – so not really any spring this day)

We then picked up Mike, grabbed a quick bite of Mexican at Las Pinata’s and headed for the airport. It was sad to leave – we have had a great summer that truly was something that many people just dream about. But, we missed our family, friends and plenty of things about our hometown. Like lots of us have said before – it’s good to get away, but it’s good to get back home, too.

A Hui Hou (until we meet again),
P.S. – We made it home without any issues at all…no delayed flights, no weather issues. The kids immediately started calling friends…

Winding Down…

It’s the Monday before we leave – our last full day in Maui. After our busy Sunday with snorkeling, this was more of a laid back day. We hung by the pool. The kids played with new friends they had made. I ran around doing some last minute things: going to the post office to send some stuff in advance of our departure, getting some souvenirs for folks and taking in the last bit of fabulous weather. Ah, yes, and we started seriously packing since we had to be out of our rental at 11A (this was not my favorite part of the day).

Mike and the kids, plus Lilly (one of our new friends), took in one last sunset at Airport Beach. Another crappy sunset in Maui.


Snorkeling at Molokini

In our last big family adventure of this Hawaiian adventure, the four of us got up early (that’s sort of a theme on some of these things) and headed to Ma’alaea Harbor for an 8 a.m. snorkeling cruise.

There are so many options for tour providers and different types of tours that it can be hard to decide. Thankfully, TripAdvisor has worked out well for us – especially on activities. Combining this with the guidebooks, we decided to go with Trilogy. And, we were not disappointed. These guys have been in business for nearly 40 years for good reason.

We started off with some brief instructions, an overview of the day and then warm cinnamon rolls with fresh fruit while on our way to Molokini. Did I mention the hot chocolate and Kona coffee that was ready for us when we got on?

We snorkeled the crater for a bit – Mike and Max together, me and Mara doing the same. The water was very clear and we saw some great fish. From there, we headed back to the Wailea shoreline to scout out sea turtles and different fish. The water wasn’t nearly as clear, but the sea turtles were there. Mike got some great underwater pics (thank goodness for those disposable cameras) that we can’t wait to get developed.

After a great lunch, it was time to had back to the harbor…across plenty of white caps that soaked the front (including Mike, Max and Mara). Once we got to the point of putting the sail up, Mike had a chance to show off his driving skills. What a way to cap off the day!


Sleeping with Sharks

Calm down…this isn’t some Mafia reference. This is what Mara and Max did on Friday night – courtesy of Maui Ocean Center. When we visited this aquarium with the Gs, we saw that July was Shark Month. One thing led to another, and we found that they had a sleepover going on while we are in Maui.

Never ones to pass up a chance for an adults-only dinner, Mike and I got the kids signed up! Off they went to feed sea turtles and hammerheads – not to mention sleeping in the giant shark tank viewing room! And off we went to have a fabulous dinner at Roy’s Restaurant in Kahana. Our server was wonderful as were Mike’s blackened Ahi, my butterfish and the lobster potstickers. YUM!

Then we all spent Saturday lazing around…the kids recovering from getting up at 6 a.m. to feed the turtles and sharks (again), and our recovering from a night out with real drinks. Good thing we had a day to rest…we needed it for our Sunday snorkeling adventure.


Outrigger Canoeing Rocks!

Thursday, 7/22, found me and the kids up bright and early for an 8 a.m. outrigger canoe adventure. Outrigger canoeing is the number 1 sport on Maui (and I think in Hawaii overall).

Maui Paddle Sports totally rocks. They know so much history about the islands as well as about outrigger canoe as a sport (and before it was even a sport) that it is just amazing. Not to mention that they are great with the kids. There were 6 of us in our canoe – me, Max, Mara plus 3 guys from Maui Sports. Thank goodness they were paddling!
We saw several sea turtles plus the clearest water. Highly, highly recommended. (Good thing we went in the morning…it rained all afternoon!)

Snorkeling at Black Rock

Black Rock is a fairly well known spot in Maui – especially West Maui. It is an outcropping of lava rock – on top of which part of the Sheraton stands. On either side of it is Dig Me Beach. The Sheraton has a torchlighting and cliff diver (which is a little overstated) each night at sunset. You can also jump off of it during the day if you are so inclined.

What is also does is create a wind break in the ocean making is a perfect snorkeling spot. It does get crowded because the beach is easy walking distance from the major resorts (Sheraton, Westin) and because families with kids can snorkel without spending an arm and leg on a cruise (especially for younger ones). And based on what we saw today, I totally get that. Four sea turtles so close you can touch them, a foot-long eel and fish, fish, fish. The turtles sort of freaked us out – clearly they were used to swimmers. But we don’t have an underwater digital camera so no pics of that.

As usual, the kids used their imaginations and started creating the Maui version of snowballs…


Banana Bread!!!!!

There is a little roadside stand about 3 miles AFTER the road goes to one lane in West Maui. We discovered this little gem near the end of our first week here by complete accident. It was the beginning of many adventures that day. In looking back at the blog, apparently I hadn’t started my writing career here, so you may not be up to speed. Here’s the summary…

  • We went looking for the Olivine Pools and overshot…ending up on a one lane road. This being my first Maui mountain road experience, I freaked out (as much as possible given the need to maintain some compsure for the kids’ sake).
  • We kept hoping for more than one lane and found banana bread. Followed by misunderstanding which direction to go from the stand – thereby driving around the whole upper part of west Maui coming in the back side of Kahului. Did I mention the gas light came on about 4 miles into this?
  • Got gas, started back to Lahaina…only to be stopped by a wildfire which shut down the highway. Thanks to Travelocity (and Mike!) and Wal-Mart, the kids and I spent the night in Kahului and got home the next day.

Back to that banana bread…the signs kept saying it was the World’s Best. High hopes were there on our first visit and it didn’t disappoint. So much so that we went back. It didn’t seem nearly as far this time…of course, we’ve driven all sorts of Maui roads since then!

You can get your own right here: Julia’s Banana Bread



Hali’imaile General Store & Surfing Goats

Tuesday, 7/20 finds us a mere one week away from departing Maui. Granted, we don’t leave until about 9 p.m. Maui time, but it’s still 7 days on the calendar. Time has sure flown. In honor of this, Mike headed to San Jose today. He likes to keep his flying muscles in shape. He’s been working on his first-class ones, though, and they may not be much help in our day-long flight home in coach.

The kids and I took advantage of our time on the other side of the island to visit a couple of new places. First, up: Hali’imaile General Store where we had lots of amazing food including desserts for all of us. I ate every last bit of the Pineapple Upside-Down Cake (with ice cream). YUM! (Interestingly, we found out about this by watching TV – not paying attention to the guidebooks. We happened to be watching Food Network and saw an episode of Giada’s Weekend Getaway…and she was in Maui.)

After that, we drove on to Surfing Goat Dairy. We got to feed, pet and even milk the goats. They make goat cheese right on the farm in all different varieties. The base cheese, the “Udderly Delicious” chevre can be ready to go within 24 hours after milking since they do all of the processing right there on the farm. We got to sample various kinds. The kids didn’t care for any of them…go figure.


We see a play and some penguins

This Sunday afternoon we did something a little different: we went to see a play. We’re not a play-seeing family in general, so this was a new thing for us. And why not? We’ve done lots of new things while on Maui!

This one was a local kids’ production that was part of a 5-week camp. It was a musical version of “Alice in Wonderland” – and was held at the Westin. The bonus for us was that we knew someone in the production. One of the supporting cast lives in the same complex we are calling home this summer – and she’s the same age as Mara.

The kids did a great job and it was a fantastic way to spend Sunday afternoon. After that, we walked down to the Hyatt to see the penguins. Yes, penguins. I just couldn’t resist throwing that in. They were little ones so they were pretty cute – and I swear they had dog houses that they lived in. They were painted black and a little sculpted to look like rocks…but still.


P.S. – We have walked through the Sheraton, Westin and Hyatt all in the last 3 days. Max is intrigued by the fancy pools and water slides. And, I’ve got to say that the properties are gorgeous (like you’d expect something less). Max has requested at least a 2-week stay in one of them…and he’ll be saving his money for that! For me, our home away from home has been wonderful, and I can’t imagine going to back to staying in a (little) hotel room…