Exploring the Island of Maui
I don’t even know where to start with this trip. It was such a perfect first introduction to Maui and I now have a long list of things I want to do when I return some day. This was a family trip with Mike’s parents, grandparents and other extended family. We were a big group, but it was fun to have so many people to share the experience with. This place is so stunning. I had my face glued to the window as we landed, taking in all of the varied terrain on Maui and it’s smaller surrounding islands.
After we landed and had retrieved our bags, we loaded into a van with Mike’s parents and began our adventure. We started the trip off right by heading to Maui Brewing Company. After a delicious lunch of island inspired cuisine and beer, we gathered for a tour of the brewery. The brewing facilities at Maui Brew Co. are amazing in their eco friendly efforts. From solar, to capturing the CO2 released, and many other measures. The rest of the evening we relaxed and went out to the beach for our first sunset of the trip. I left my camera at home and just took in the view, allowing a sense of calm to wash over me.
Half of our group planned to drive the road to Hana, so our car decided to drive halfway with them and see some waterfalls. It was a long day and we saw a lot of amazing things but since I still have 6 more days to write about, I’ll keep it brief. Black sand beaches, a lava rock hike, friendly feral cats, local fish tacos, 7 rainbows, walking through a lava tube, exploring an ancient temple, and jumping in a natural pool under a waterfall.
(this lava tube was used as a potential fallout shelter during the cold war)
Day 2 started with breakfast at the best spot on the island, The Gazebo. Eggs over fried rice, macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup, and a side of rainbows. The weather was rainy and windy so we decided to head down to Lahaina for the day. By afternoon the sun was out once more and we decided to drive over to mile 14 where I had my first try at snorkeling and loved it! I saw 2 turtles and a lot of fish. I also unfortunately saw a lot of dead coral as well.
The next day the weather was perfect so we took a ferry out to Lanai. (Check out the flying fish in the top, middle photo.) Here we snorkeled again and Mike and I went to explore a secluded cove amid some beautiful cliffs. After we explored nature, it was time to explore the drink options in Lahaina. Our favorite that day was the roof deck at Fleetwood’s, great drinks paired with an unbeatable view.
The following day I woke up feeling terrible. Something had set my stomach off and I couldn’t move around or eat much. Luckily, Mike was off playing golf so I just had a lazy day of reading with a bit of walking along the shore. It was windy again so we didn’t hike far but later that night we were rewarded with another amazing sunset.
The next day was maybe the best. We went on a whale watching tour with Ultimate Whale Watch. I highly recommend this group. They were great tour guides, very authentic with lots of knowledge of the island and the marine life surrounding it. We were able to see 2 male adolescent whales, one tail slap in the distance, another male on his own, and listened to whale songs using a mic under the water. Then, just as we had started to head back, we spotted two whales swimming next to each other just ahead of us. As we got closer, we realized it was a mamma and brand new baby whale. The baby was so cute because it did not have much motor control yet. It would swim to the surface and then kind of just flop over instead of doing the full arc you usually see. Simply adorable. You can see her a little in the photo on the bottom right. I took better videos than photos unfortunately.
The last night with everyone together we went out on the town in Lahaina. I was into the coconut cream drinks that night as you can see. The best part of the evening was going to a bar with a guitarist performing covers of rock songs. We inadvertently started a sing along with the entire bar and had a blast belting out classics like “Country Road” and “Sweet Caroline”. We even got in trouble for dancing too, apparently that violates their licence. Whoops.
Saturday everyone had to leave but Mike and I. That morning we took one last snorkel down in “turtle cove”. I wish I had brought an underwater camera because I had the most amazing experience with a turtle there. He was floating at the surface less than 20 feet from me. When he saw me he started slowly swimming toward me as we watched each other. Eventually he got bored and left but it was a breathtaking experience to be that close to such a beautiful creature. After seeing the family to the airport, we decided that it would be a good day to go to the top of Haleakala to watch the sunset since out airbnb was now much closer. One the way up, we stopped to tour Hali’imaile Distilling and discovered that there was also a really cool glass blowing studio nextdoor where you could watch the artists at work. I highly recommend doing both.
Out airbnb was a perfect gem of a spot. Didn’t look like much from the front but then you realize it backs up to the ocean and you just can’t beat that view. Apparently, when it’s not as windy, you can snorkel right from the rocky beach there. Guess we’ll just have to go back and confirm this. These are photos from the first morning there.
Our last full day on the island we went for a hike on the Waihee Ridge Trail. Great trail with stunning views and nice varied terrain. I could not have asked for more from this trip (except maybe less stomach issues.) I’m already dreaming up our next trip out there.