Journey to Paradise: Maui

Trip Start Aug 09, 2008
Trip End Aug 23, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Hawaii
Sunday, August 10, 2008

Being in a suite gave us a VIP access to Lazy J for breakfast. They have a continental buffet and you can also order hot breakfast. We had the pleasure of meeting Erin, the waitress. She is such a sweet and lovely young lady. She's very good to the kids. She's very patient and efficient.

We rented a car from Thrifty. While having dinner at Teppenyaki last night, our waiter, Anthony told us, if we rent a car and the pick up is at the airport; to take any shuttle that is available first because they will all go to the same place. Just tell the driver that you don't have a reservation and will be renting from them. And you don't have to wait. When we disembark, we saw Alamo Shuttle first so we took it with 2 other parties. When we arrived there, we crossed the street towards Thrifty while the one party went to National and the other one went to  Alamo.

 Road to Hana: I asked the kids if they want to travel the "Road to Hana" (where we can see waterfalls, black sand beach and red sand beach, not to mention the shoreline) or whether they want to snorkel in Molokini Crater or go to Maui Ocean Center. They want to do Hana so off to Hana we went.

We did not plan on making a stop in all the sights mentioned in the blue book. We have an invitation to the Ship Captain's Cocktail Party at 7PM and we want to see the sunset in Haleakala. We are considering to go to either of the two. But as we headed out , all we care about was to take our time to enjoy the Road to Hana.

Our first stop: The four waterfalls of Na'ili'ili-haele
We took the trail past 5 mile marker. It was drizzling. The trail was wet and slippery. We hanged on to the bamboos. Thank goodness they were there. We crossed a stream then up the slippery hill. It's a good thing we wore Keen sandals. There were people who wore brand new white sneakers. They took it off when crossing the stream. We did not really find the 4 Waterfalls. I don't think those people we met along the stream found it either. They only told us about the one waterfall and the European couple who caught up with us turned around too.
We passed by the Painted Bark Eucalyptus Trees. It started raining. But the blue book said not to worry. It will get better past Nahiku. (It did even before we reach Nahiku). We stopped by and took pictures of Kaumahina State Wayside. The view of the ocean was awesome. We stopped at this turnout past MM 14 and savor the amazing view of Honomanu Bay and the zigzag Hana Highway. We also took the road to Ke'anae Peninsula and took few pictures where the ocean was smashed through jagged lava boulders. We stopped by a stand just before the ballpark and had some tasty banana bread. Back on the highway, after MM 19 we stopped by long enough to take a picture of the Three Bears Falls. It was crowded at this place. There were lots of people posing so it is hard to get a good view of the falls and there's no parking on this site.
After MM 22 is the Pua'a Ka'a State Park. We walked passed the picnic tables and saw a small water falls and pool. Then we went to Black Sand Beach in Wai'anapanapa State Park where the kids had fun playing tag with the surf. We also went inside the lava tube to the right and watch the water fight its way inside. We stopped by Hasegawa General Store and bought "I survived the Hana Highway" T-shirts for the kids. As we crossed a bridge, the traffic was slow because of people passing by. As I look to my right side I saw this beautiful waterfall about 200 feet. We passed Ohe'o Gulch and parked at the HNP South parking lot. We decided to hike Pipiwai Trail. Half a mile into the trail is the Makahiku Falls overlook. The hike towards this overlook is very rough. As we continue our hike we went through a gate. We took a picture of a banyan tree along the way. We took a side trail and saw a waterfall that freefalls into an emerald green pool that has undercut the mountain forming a cave. We passed two bridges then onto a bamboo forest. It's a good thing they constructed a boardwalk here otherwise we will be hiking on a muddy, slippery and rocky trail. It was drizzling. This bamboo forest walk seems endless. I almost gave up. Then we have to climb up another jagged trail. At last the amazingly beautiful 400 feet down the back of a three-way sheer wall of lava, the Waimoku Falls. To get closer to the falls, you have to cross a stream and climb another rocky path.(Thank goodness for Keen Sandals here).  The beauty of this falls sucked up all my exhaustion away. I feel full of energy again and walked all the way to the falls. I was really mesmerized. The water was cool. On the hike back it was raining and we were really drenched. It's a good thing we had extra clothes in the car. As DH, DS and DD2 headed to the car, DD1 and I went to the Ohe'o Gulch Falls trail and up to the bridge. There was a Park Ranger on the bridge. Swimming is not allowed on the falls pool.
We stopped at the red sand beach. It was our goal to visit every colored sand beach during this trip whenever we can. This secluded beach cove got its reddish color of sand from the high amount of iron that was running in the lava at the time it gushed from the center of the earth. The trail was difficult. Since it was raining, it was slippery too.  You can't even swim because the surf was really rough. Only DH attempted to go down the beach to take pictures.
We park the car at the sea wall. We were back at the ship between 8-9PM.  We went to Cadillac for dinner. The service here was so slow.
Maui Day 2
We started our day by having breakfast at Lazy J. Just can't resist the steak and eggs. We went to Ka'anapali. We parked at Sheraton Hotel Parking. It cost us $12.00 for about 3 hours parking.  We can't find the public parking in this area and this is the closest parking to Black Rock. We don't want to walk far. The hotel lawn was neat and beautiful. The long stretch Ka'anapali Beach was breathtaking with its soft powdery sand. We snorkeled at Black Rock. The water was clear and the visibility was good. DD2 enjoyed swimming. She does not usually get in the water but here she enjoyed the waves so much. There were people jumping off the rock.
We wanted a quick lunch. We ate at McDonalds in Lahaina. Then we went to Haleakala National Park. We stopped at the Visitor's Center. DD1 signed up for Junior Ranger. She collects Junior Ranger badges of every National Park  we've visited.
We drove to the Leleiwi Lookout (8840 feet elevation). Some people parked their car, crossed the street and take pictures with the clouds below them. (In this area your are really looking down at the clouds). Follow the trail to your right. When you get to the end you'll be treated to a view of the crater.We proceeded to the summit and climbed up the stairs to the observation deck (10,023 feet elevation).  It was very windy. I was not really impressed of the view from here. On the way down, DH dropped DS and I at the top of the sliding sands trail. We did not really go down the trail because I know for sure I won't be able to climb up (HA! HA!) We just took pictures then walked to the upper visitor's center where DD1 already hand in her Junior Ranger workbook and received a badge. The view from here was awesome. On the way back we stopped by the Kalahaku Lookout where the view was unbelievable. It was awesome. We took more pictures.

We left HNP around 3PM. We returned our car rental then  went back to the ship. Our afternoon snacks were already waiting. Suite treats are delivered daily at 5PM or 10PM. You can choose from dried fruit (banana chips) & nuts (walnuts), potato chips, tortilla chips & salsa (this is good), Veggies & Dip, soft pretzel, brownies, chocolate-covered strawberries and assorted cheese and crackers.
Monday night was lobster night. We had a reservation at Skyline for 6:30PM. When we arrived they had no table for us. I wondered, "What's the point of making a reservation if we have to wait (like those who did not make one)?"  A waiter took us to a table, before we even got the chance to sit down another waiter slammed menus on the table where we were standing and seat another party on the same table. We end up going to the back. Since it was a lobster night it was really crowded. When we finally got seated, I told our waiter, Hugh Brandon that we really need to be out before 8 PM because we have a Cruise Critic Meet and Greet at 8PM. I don't want to be late because I'm the one who set it up. Hugh understood and made suggestions as to what we can order so that we don't have to wait too long for our dinner. Hugh was so nice. He's very good and efficient. I end up writing a S.T.Y.L.E. card for him. We left around 7:30PM. Hugh even served us dessert.
We had a good turn out for our Meet and Greet. We had about 20 people. I made name tags for everybody. I also gave each party a magnet with the ships picture, ships name and the date of our cruise as a souvenir. We exchanged some knickknacks from the states where we came from. None of the ships officers came. We met at Diamond Head A. They provided us with snacks. We had a good time getting to know each other.

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