Friday, March 28, 2008

No Ka Oi

This post is a little daunting as I sit down to write it, so I will attempt to keep it brief since I recognize that not everybody wants to know every little detail about our week-long trip...

Day 1 - We arrived in Kahului, Maui on Sunday evening after a long day of traveling. Everything went smoothly until it came to finding our hotel in Kihei. I had "MapQuest-ed" some directions before we left and they were completely wrong! Thankfully one of our maps was able to get us to our final destination :) Our hotel grounds were beautiful, complete with dozens of coconut palms and a Maui-shaped pool - not to mention being right across the street from the ocean where we saw many a Maui sunset. The hotel itself was pretty old and dated, but we were happy with it and would definitely go back. The town of Kihei felt perfect - laid back with a good mix of locals and tourists. We were close to a lot of great beaches and we also felt pretty centrally located on the island.

The view from our hotel room lanai (patio):


Day 2 - Our first full day we found our way to Big Beach. It's a really long stretch of beach that is totally undeveloped.


Erik quickly realized that he only had to go out a few metres in the water before he found coral and tons of tropical fish. So, out came the snorkelling gear. My first experience of snorkelling was actually quite humorous. First lesson learned - don't put on the flippers until you're IN the water! Do you know how hard it is to walk on sand with those things - and then get past the breaking waves... ? We must've looked so funny. In fact, I know we did because when we saw other tourists do the same thing later on in the week, it looked hilarious. Once we finally managed to get in the water, it was time to put on the snorkelling mask. I had a really tough time with this. I'm a nose-breather and so the mask felt suffocating since I had to rely on my mouth breathing through a tube. I felt like I was hyper-ventilating! So there we were in water too deep for me to reach and I'm literally panicking, but laughing hysterically at the same time. The combination of having to keep myself afloat and breathe through that suffocating tube proved to be too stressful for me, so Erik got the boogie board for me to float on. That helped me relax and breathe a bit more normally. Once I actually got out there and saw the amazing fish I was glad I had perservered!

I borrowed this picture from the internet since snorkelling was the one thing we couldn't get pictures of (we did end up buying an underwater camera later in our trip but the pictures didn't do it justice!). This gives you an idea of what we spent a lot of our time doing (and seeing):


Day 3 - We went exploring across to West Maui where it is much more resort-ish. We tried to find Kapalua Bay and didn't have luck that day, but we ended up on another beach in Ka'anapali which was so fun. More snorkelling was had there which was cool until we saw a really disgusting snake-like thing on the ocean floor. It kind of freaked me out so I went back to the beach for awhile :)

We drove back and stopped at a little beach just south of Lahaina where Erik boogie boarded for a little while. I sat on the beach watching the surfers and some humpback whales in the distance.


Day 4 - We chose this day to take the drive down the Hana Highway which is a full-day's trip on a windy road that takes you to the town of Hana and then on to Halakeala National Park. The distance itself is only about 50 miles, but the road is slow going and there are lots of stops to make on the way - watching surfers, checking out waterfalls, hiking down to a black sand beach, etc...

Ho'okipa Beach:


Many beautiful views from East Maui:


The scene at Wainapanapa State Park:



The day started out great, but ended off bad. You have to drive back the same way you came, so driving on the way home starts to feel a little old. You've already seen everything and you're just ready to be done! Erik was even feeling car-sick from all the twists and turns on the highway. So, we decided to stop and stretch for a few minutes and that's when the worst happened. I climbed back into the car and pulled my door shut, when - crunch! I looked down and realized that the camera had slipped out of it's unzipped case around my shoulder and ended up between the car door and the car. The display screen was totally wrecked and wouldn't display any images except a big black streak. I felt terrible and Erik was trying really hard not to be upset at me, but we drove the next half hour in silence. It was awful. In the end we decided to stop at Costco and buy ourselves a cheap digital - we just needed a way of taking pictures for the rest of the trip. After it was purchased we made the collective decision to put it behind us and not let it ruin our week. And by the evening we were feeling much better about the whole thing.

Day 5 - This was the best day by far - we both agree. Earlier in the week we had made the decision to book ourselves for a 6-hour snorkelling trip. There was a bit of trepidation on both of our parts - Erik doesn't really do boats, and I was a little worried about the whole snorkelling part after my first experience. But, boy were we ever glad we went through with it!

We boarded the boat at 6:30 am with about 60 other people. We ate breakfast in the harbour while the sun was rising and everyone was boarding.


Then we took an hour-long ride to get to our first snorkelling destination. We were barely out of the harbour when we saw our first pod of humpback whales. They were swimming so fast - our guide said there were probably several males chasing a female.



The first stop was Molokini crater. It's best seen from an aerial view, so I snatched this picture from the internet to show you.


The water there was crystal clear and it made for amazing snorkelling. I was pleased to learn that the boat cruise provided floatation devices to wear for swimming and it made for a stress-free experience for me :) It was absolutely beautiful - so many different fish and coral.

After about an hour we headed to our next stop dubbed "Turtle Town" for its high population of sea turtles. On our way there we were joined by a pod of spinner dolphins. It was amazing! They kept their distance at first, but then suddenly they were surrounding the boat, jumping and diving all over the place!


"Turtle Town" lived up to it's name and we saw a couple of massive turtles. They are really huge and a little freaky to see for the first time, but it was beautiful and totally worth it. After we finished there we started back to the harbour, eating a BBQ lunch on the way and chatting with the other passengers.

That evening we headed up to Lahaina to check out the cool shops and have supper. We ended up eating at "Bubba Gump's":




Day 6 - After consulting our Lonely Planet Maui guide (which was super-helpful) we found out how to get down to the beach we had been trying to find earlier in the week (Kapalua Bay). It was definitely a nice little spot.



It was a bit more of a crowded beach and there were lots of young families there as the water was shallow and sandy and the waves were small. Watching the little kids made us think of how much fun our own kids would have there - but when we saw how busy some of those parents were, we felt so blessed to be able to enjoy it without the added stress. We did find ourselves talking about the "next time" we come to Maui, and "when we bring the kids" :) I hope there will be a next time!

We drove up the west coast a little bit further that afternoon and stopped at DT Fleming Beach. The waves there were a little bit more intense and after watching the boogie boarders for about 15 minutes, Erik decided he had to go in! I had fun watching the action from the beach and managed to get a video of him catching one of the waves.




Day 7 - Our last full day! Oh so sad :( We went back to Big Beach that morning.


That afternoon we headed to the market to pick up the last of the souveniers that we wanted. We enjoyed a yummy & cheap supper at Maui Tacos and then watched our last Maui sunset at the beach across from our hotel.



Day 8 - Our plane didn't leave until the late afternoon, so we got up early to enjoy our last chance to be at the beach. We tried a new beach called Polo beach which was pretty close-by and I think it might've actually been my favourite. Some beaches were better for snorkelling but not so great for swimming while others had more intense waves for surfing or boogie-boarding. But this beach seemed to be good all-around. I was sad we had only found it on our last day! We tried to soak in the last bit of sun on our barely-tanned bodies and then it was time to go pack up.


Our flights home went as scheduled, but flying through the night was not something I wish to do again! I have become a nervous flyer and there was quite a bit of turbulence on that flight. Plus, we happened to be seated right beside the bathrooms. So, if I did manage to relax enough to fall asleep I was woken up every few minutes by the thunderous flushing of an airplane toilet. When we finally got to Seattle I felt sick with exhaustion and we still had one more flight to go. After a little catnap on the last flight and a cup of Timmy's in Aldergrove I was feeling a bit more like myself.

OK, this has not been as "brief" as I had planned, so I'll try to wrap it up: Overall, Maui was the perfect vacation destination. The title of this post is Maui's slogan which means "the best" and, even though we don't really have much to compare it to, we would whole-heartedly agree! I loved having so many different beaches to explore and so many different kinds of landscapes to see on such a small island. There were lots of cool shops and restaurants. And there was so much more there that we didn't even get a chance to see. I think what I loved the most about not having the kids was the fact that I didn't need to wear a watch. It never mattered what time it was. We could stay at a beach until WE were tired of it. Erik and I aren't super spontaneous, but it was nice to decide on a whim that we wanted to take an evening stroll on the beach, or head out for ice cream. And when we went out shopping I didn't even need to carry a purse :) I have never been away from either of my kids longer than a short night so this was pretty significant for me. And even though I thought of the kids often, I didn't really feel home-sick for them. I just embraced the freedom!

We were both antsy to see Micah & Keziah by the time we were heading home though and I was very curious as to how they would respond to us when we returned. Micah acted a bit silly when he saw us (which I totally expected), but he warmed up to us quickly and chattered about his week with Grandma. Keziah acted as though we had never even left - which was kind of nice because I worried that she might forget me :) This last week has been exhausting as we recover from our jet lag and short night on the plane, but the kids have actually been so good. We are so thankful to Grandma Toews who spent some LONG days (and long nights!) with the kids - and also to Grandpa and Auntie Rosanna for their help. We felt so blessed to have this opportunity, though we are starting to think that it might become addicting... :)

22 comments:

Lindsay said...

sounds just like my last trip to Maui! I recognized it all. Glad you had such a good time. Maui no ka oi (it really is!) :)

Kara said...

Sounds like you guys had an incredible time. It makes me want to be there just looking through your pictures.

Trev & Rebekah said...

Wow! Do you feel like it was a honeymoon all over again? Do you feel like a new and fresh love was formed between you two?
What is the time difference that you had to deal with? How did your kids deal with the time difference when you came to MB? I'm worried about Isaiah when we come out to BC.

Cheri said...

Sounds like you guys had an amazing time! You are an inspiration for me, James. Grant would really like to go somewhere's warm just the two of us but it is soooo hard for me to think about leaving my kids for that long, so seeing that you could do it with your little ones gives me hope and inspiration to give it a shot. It wouldn't be until January/February of next year when Sawyer's weaned but it's fun to think/dream about sometimes...we'll see if it actually happens...

Karen said...

great post, Jamie! I'm glad you had such a fantastic time. Too bad about your camera :(

Lorrie said...

I seriously felt like I was there as you described it, great post Jamie and awesome pictures! Nice to hear you both had a great time.

Bonnie said...

Definitely looks "the best" to me too! :) I'm so glad that you guys were able to relax and enjoy your time without fretting about the kids too much. You deserved a break and its great that you had such a fabulous time. And I can totally relate to the snorkeling hesitancy you felt Jamie! We went on a snorkeling day trip on our honeymoon to Belize and I also found it REALLY tough to get used to having my head in the water, and breathing through a tube. It was SO worth it once I got the hang of it though and I'm so glad you didn't give up :) Thanks for this post... it gives me something to dream about seeing as we won't be going anywhere warm for a while :) Hope you're doing well!

teresia benedicta said...

lovely pics! i love whales, so thank you for sharing the short video!!!i´ve seen many whales in south africa and i think it´s so special to watch animals in their natural surrounding!
like one of the commenters said before: reading such a good experience from being away from your kids makes me more secure leaving my own kid for weekend.....
have great week!
leslie

Wenona said...

You took some fabulous pictures! I'm glad you decided to get a new camera so you could continue taking pictures. I think it's great that you and Erik could get away, just the two of you, and enjoy doing so many different things together. Good job with the snorkeling - my first experience I panicked too and my husband had to calm me down! Breathing under water is NOT natural!!

Charlotte said...

Jamie you are so beautiful!!!

Katrina said...

Thanks for sharing all those details, Jamie. My husband and I are going to Maui in May, so it's fun to hear about what we'll get to see and do!

Kathy's corner said...

hat was great, and made me want to go back as well. Maybe dad and I will have to do the Haggai thing and go for 3 months. Sounds like yo ahd a great time. Sorry about the camera, but like Brad said, "In the big scheme of things, it's only a camera" love mom

Tim and Kelsie-Lynn said...

great post! So glad you guys were able to enjoy your time away. And I agree Maui looks like the best vacation spot I could think of. Thanks for sharing! It was fun to read.

Melanie said...

Wow Jamie, you really are the guru blogger. The descriptions, pictures and video were great. Felt like I was there with you. :-) I'm so glad that you had a good time!

kelly said...

Wow - amazing pictures, and great stories! You guys obviously had a great time, sans children, which is something to be proud of! I'm glad you embraced your freedom :)
And major pat on the back to erik for dealing with the camera situation as he did. Half hour to stew/brew/getoverit, and a wise decision to leave it behind you.
and way to go jamie on the snorkelling! i'm claustrophobic, so i'm not sure i could do it without a flotation device either! :)

Anonymous said...

oh Jamie, you make me miss Maui already!!! sounds like you guys had a great time. I react the same way as you snorkeling :) Oh, i'm not going to be able to make it to clothing group.. i was really looking forward to seeing your purchases and living vicariously through you... did you buy that dress at H&M? i would have bought it too if i wasn't prego...
Andrea

Erin said...

I'm so glad that you guys had such a fun trip..sorry about your camera, :( but glad you got a new one so we could still share in your awesome pictures!!!

Dianne said...

A great read! And amazing photo's! Sounds like a trip I need to add to my to-do list. Glad you guys could have a memorable trip.

Janelle said...

these pictures make me want to get over my fear of flying!!! :) :)
i'm just so glad you took the plunge & went on this trip! i hope it was refreshing for you!!! :)
hey - any chance of meeting you guys anywhere this summer???

Heather said...

Thanks for the awesome trip report! Polo Beach is right behind the hotel that we stay at each year in Maui - the Kea Lani! I love that beach too - but I am embarassed to say that I've never swam there. I am nervous about the ocean.

patti said...

what an amazing trip you had! glad you 2 got to get away.

Amber said...

I loved reading this post!! (and I would have been one of those people who wouldn't have minded even more details than that!!! but it was great!) I'm so happy that your trip was such a great time for you guys!

Oh, and I cringed while reading about your camera! That SUCKS! But, I guess it's something you will always remember about your trip :)