Trip Start Jul 10, 2008
1Trip End Jul 20, 2008
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We are back home and my third and fourth boobs are well tanned. I discovered about 3 years ago that I had a severe case of armpit fat. I tried relatively hard to get rid of it before our wedding (well maybe not that hard since I refused to diet or give up drinking, but I did hit the gym four times a week!). It wasn't going away. I went to my ob-gyn for an annual; she noticed them and told me that I have extra breast tissue under my armpits. No, I told her, it's armpit fat. She told me that it's extra breast tissue and that I would not be able to get rid of it. I insisted that it was armpit fat since I never had it before. "Sweetie, there are a lot of things that we didn't have before that we have now. It's called aging". Hence, I fondly refer to them as boobs 3 and 4.
On another note, I had an epiphany on this trip that I should write about the 101 ways Ric has tried to kill or maim me since so many have occurred on this vacation. I love Ric to pieces, but he is a typical daredevil and prankster which would be fine if I would admit that I can't do a lot of outdoorsy and extreme stuff, but I refuse to do so. Besides, he would totally never let me live it down (I would do the same too) if I gave up on something. So, you'll find a few ways he tried to kill me peppered throughout this blog.
Anyways, I digress.
During our last trip in December, we stayed at the Grand Wailea Resort. It was really nice (we used miles). It is right next to the Four Seasons and shares the same very nice, very calm beach. However, I felt that the service was lacking. We had to get our own beach chairs that were tied down and there were no drinks served on the beach (you could go to the bar and get one and bring it to the beach). If we actually had to pay to stay there, I would have been flipping out. In hindsight, if we pay to stay somewhere nice next time, we will stay at the neighboring Four Seasons where we saw people on the beach getting chairs and umbrellas set up for them, getting fruit and spritzed by Evian water periodically. Here are pics of the beach and the resort.
This time, we went in July and decided to rent a condo in South Kihei. It was about $100 a night for a one bedroom. There was only AC in the living room, not the bedroom, but it cools down considerably at night (not freezing, just a really nice sea breeze). Right across the street from Kamaole beaches I, II and III. Lots of strip malls and very beachy quaint with cute bars, low key restaurants.
We went to a welcome party for the wedding at Kahana Village in Kapalua. Stunning views of the ocean from their condo. So beautiful. The bride and groom had a three bedroom condo that was really nice right on the greenery and the beach in front. A few pics of the view from the condo's terrace.
Hana Kai Maui in Hana
A very pleasant property and our room was a studio apt with a terrace facing the ocean. It was very nice. There was a semi-stocked kitchen with a microwave. This came in handy since we brought food for dinner and were able to heat it up. There is also a BBQ grill that can be used on the premises. No AC, no TV. The AC was not necessary as the ocean breeze came through and was actually a tad chilly but very nice. We both loved the room, very low key and peaceful. You can hear the ocean waves and it will lull you to sleep, especially since we had a long day of hiking, waterfall hunting, slipping on rocks and swimming in freshwater pools. Only complaint - walls are super thin. You can hear everything your neighbors are doing. Yes, EVERYTHING. $200 a night.
Da Kitchen (Rainbow Mall, South Kihei) - YUMMY
On our last trip, the dude at Boss Frog's recommended this place for local cuisine. It is soooo good. Local divey food. We shared the Hawaiian plate lunch (it's huge). It has lomi lomi salmon (regional staple salsa type thing with salmon), lua lua pork is wrapped in taro leaves and is so fatty and so good and Kulua pork (shredded pork) and rice vermicelli with chicken. I can eat this for at least 3 days straight. Kalbi ribs special was really good too. I wasn't wild about the fried noodles, teriyaki chicken (big chunks of breast meat never appeal to me).
Café O' Lei - OK
The plate lunch ($10) was God awful. It was a few chunks of char siu pork that was so fatty and dry in a bad way, we didn't even try to finish it. The manoa wrap ($8) was really good (lettuce wrap with ground pork stir fried with lots of good herby stuff and spicy).
Alexander's Fish and Chips - OK
Pretty decent fish and chips. They tempura deep fry mahi which was good but not wow. Decent for a beach lunch ($12). Small portion, so don't share.
Star Supermarket - GOOD
We bought a block of ahi sashimi and some marinated ahi poke. Really good and fresh. About $15 total. We also bought some saimin that was really yummy too (got to use that awful pork from Café O'Lei, cut it up and stir fried with spinach, bean sprouts with the saimin). There is a buffet type thing where you can buy cooked food by the pound. It was actually pretty decent for a cheap quick lunch or snack.
Foodland Supermarket - GOOD
We bought marinated ahi poke and octopus. Very good. About $5-6 a pound.
Koiso Sushi Bar - SUSHI HEAVEN
Small 14 seater sushi bar in Kihei (Dolphin Plaza). It's north of Rainbow mall in a "food court" where there is a Baskin Robbins, Boss Frog's and a few other food places. It's open Monday through Sat 6:00 pm to 10:30 pm. It's always a good sign if you walk into a sushi bar and see Japanese people there. And there they were, about 8 of the 14 were Japanese. The sushi was awesome. We did mostly the fresh fish on the board behind Hiro, the sushi chef (and presumably owner).
We had tai (red snapper), kinhe (a cousin of the red snapper), aji (Spanish mackerel), hamachi (yellowtail), hirame (Halibut), abalone, mirigua (giant clam) and a spicy tuna roll. The aji and kinhe were amazing, like butter. Everything else was really yummy too. It was pricey, anywhere between $6-$9 for two pieces (we think, I kept asking for 2 but the bill would have been way underpriced if it was actually that much for one piece each), but so worth it.
Pupu Lounge - JUST SAY NO
We should have sat at the bar and had a drink instead of dinner the second we stepped into this place. It had all the cheesiness of a tropical island type restaurant where they would fawn over you and do stupid touristy things they think you want them to do. They didn't do any of that, but it had that kind of feel.
The food was not good. We had the fresh catch (hebe, no clue what kind of fish that is) macadamia nut crusted ($24) and Ric had the surf and turf (local 14 oz strip and grilled fresh catch) ($28). The fish was pretty bad. Overcooked and dry. Much worse than the fancy shmancy restaurants. We had to take it home and doctor it up (I chopped it up and stir fried with peppers, mango, salt, pepper and had it with salsa - fish tacos). The steak was decent. It did actually taste different in a good way since it was local beef. I imagine that it would have been awesome at a good restaurant. Speaking of local beef, one of the workers at Mendes Ranch was telling us about Big Island beef. Apparently, Parker Ranch cows are fed pineapples so the meat is a lot sweeter and really good. They sell them only in Waimea. Ric was salivating hearing about it and pissed that we didn't know about it when we went. Anyways, back to Pupu. Go for the drinks and have an appetizer at the bar. There are a lot of good tropical drinks like the Lava Flow, Mango Bellini. Those were good.
Maui Tacos - So so
I'm not sure what all the hype is for. I thought their fish tacos were average. It's a decent lunch to grab and eat, that's about it.
Local Boy Snack Shop - YUMMY
Just a bit farther north of Pupu Lounge. Luckily, the Pupu Lounge waiter suggested that we go to this cigar shop right by them for Hula Cigars. I saw someone walk around with shaved ice and figured I should have another (I've already had about 3 of them during this trip) for the last time in a while. It was sooo good. Definitely the best shaved ice place we went to. They put locally made vanilla ice cream at the bottom and the shaved ice is like a slushie/icee type ice as opposed to little harsher chunks. They also put some sort of evaporated milk on top. Really really good. $3.50 for a "baby" size.
Cigar shop right next to Local Boy Snack Shop
Not that this is food, although I suppose some would beg to differ. We went crazy looking for a Hula Girl store (which is locally made stuff, we were specifically looking for cigars). The Pupu Lounge waiter told us to go to this store. I'm not sure if it even had a name, probably did, but I didn't notice. Anyways, they have Hula Girl cigars which are flavored. Big guys cost about $7 and they have little packs of three for $3. Vanilla Mc Nut, Chocolate Mac Nut, Mango, Coconut and a few others. The cigars were ok. You don't taste the flavor too much. Key West flavored cigars are still the best so far!
Aloha Mixed Plate - GOOD
We had the Aloha plate and Hawaiian plate (under $10 each). The Shoyu chicken on the Hawaiian plate was good, so was the mahi mahi. The shredded pork on the Aloha plate was good but not as good as Da Kitchen.
Plantation House - DECENT
We were here for the wedding dinner and Ric had the fish and I had the lobster. The lobster was really good, fish was just average. Hate it when fancy restaurants overdo the fish.
Miyaki Fish Market - SASHIMI HEAVEN
We were so disappointed that we didn't catch any fish on the deep sea charter, so we decided to check out this fish market in Anchor Square, Lahaina (right along the main highway 30, by a Shell gas station). Captain Kim Miyaki has his own boat and owns the market. All the fish was really good looking. He had a board behind him that indicated what was the fresh catch. He was really nice and answered our questions. And by the way, he was cute. hehe He had these little sashimi plates for 2.99 each (about 10 small sashimi pieces). That day, he had moilua and uku. He also had a bunch of other fish.
I started to go into sensory overload so I asked which fish would be good both grilled and steamed Chinese style. He suggested the uku which he said we could also eat sashimi style. Done. Hey, he's Japanese, so I trust his opinion on sashimi. We bought the moilua sashimi and a slab of uku (a little under a pound). $17.60. We did some of the uku sashimi and had the moilua. It was sooo good. So fresh and not fishy at all. It was just as good if not better than the fancy shmancy Japanese sushi restaurants in NY that we go to when we feel like dropping some serious bucks for awesome sushi and going home still hungry. We lightly seared the rest of the uku with just salt and pepper and lime squeezed on it. It was also amazing.
Local Food - YUMMY
We were super hungry after the deep sea charter and just wanted a little something before dinner. I saw this sign from the street while driving and wondered whether a little hole in the wall (or more accurately, food truck) called Local Food was going to be good (in Anchor Square right by Miyaki Fish Market). We figured we'd try. The plate lunches are $7 and the lady (I think she cooks everything herself and her kids were sitting around doing homework and stuff, so it was totally a mom and pops shop truck) suggested the kulua pork with cabbage. Now mind you, by this point, I've had kulua pork twice in 4 days already and was a tad reluctant to do it again, but I said what the hell. It was soooo good. Better than Da Kitchen. The cabbage was still slightly crunchy and the pork was really juicy. The homemade mac salad was also much better than anything I've tasted elsewhere with the plate lunches. Word to the wise, order one each. Ric and I finished the shared one in two minutes. No joke! Shaved ice was so-so. The ice was not shaved enough and was too chunky.
Pacific O - DECENT
Beautiful restaurant dining on the beach front. The atmosphere and service was great. The fish is fresh catch prepared about 6 different ways. Ric had the basil tomato prep and I did the wana (sea urchin whipped cream). It was just ok. My complaint about these fancy shmancy Hawaiian restaurants (other than Alan Wong's and Roy's) is that they overdo the fish. Overkill with too much saucy fanciness. I'm a total purist and think that seafood should be simple so you actually taste the fish, not the spices or other crap they put on the fish to make it all fancy. So while the atmosphere was nice, the food is not worth the money. I'll take a food truck or hole in the wall fish and chips place anyday.
Here's a pic of the view during dinner on the beach of the restaurant:
Lahaina Fish Co. - ok
I had the ahi sashimi which was ok. Ric had the mac encrusted fresh catch (can't remember what it was). The food was ok, not spectacular.
Saigon Café - YUMMY
It's hard to find as most of the guide books will tell you. It's on Main St but if you keep going down Main St., it breaks off and is confusing. The best way to get there is to take either a left or right on Central (you can only go one way on Central), right on Nani (really quick right), right onto Kaniela. There's no sign, but it is isolated by itself on Kaniela and Main.
The food lived up to its hype. Being from NY and being able to get amazing Vietnamese food at the drop of a hat, I was a tad skeptical. We ordered the Vietnamese burrito ($23.95) and the day's special, oxtail soup with noodles ($10.95, I can never say no to oxtail). Both were really yummy. The Vietnamese burrito dish was huge and we barely finished. It's good to share. My only complaint is that I think it's ridiculously overpriced for Vietnamese food, but I guess it's Maui, they can charge whatever they want.
Manana Garage - JUST SAY NO
Frommers had a great review on this place so we decided to do an early dinner before our flight since it is about 5 minutes from the airport. I have to assume that there is a different chef because I usually trust Frommers. It was very mediocre. The ceviche ($13) that Frommers raved about was bland, I had to add salt to it and even then it was so-so. We also had pork cutlets over pasta ($14) which was average (I had no idea that it was Italian style, I could have done a better job using Pregresso bread crumbs). We saw this diner type looking restaurant across the street that said "Local Food" and we thought about it but wound up at Manana Garage. If anyone goes there, please let me know how it is so if it is good, I can live vicariously through you!
Last trip, I was so traumatized by the first 6 days of pouring rain that we didn't do a lot of exploring the island since we wanted to capitalize on beach time and we were staying at the Grand Wailea, so we wanted to make the most of it. This trip, we explored the entire island.
Other than the reserve areas, snorkeling seems best in the morning (aka before 10am) when the water is more calm and there is more visibility. In the afternoon, the waves are huge and it's much cloudier probably because the wind pushes more sand around. It's also so much more work to fight the waves and you can get pushed around quite a bit, I nearly got thrown into some of the corals/rocks. Although I must lay claim to the "wave fighting diet". I lost a few pounds getting thrown around on a daily basis (you swim sooo much to get to fish, to get away from rocks all while fighting waves).
We saw whales from the beach in December. We sat at Big Beach for quite a while and saw them from a distance, whale tails, typically.
Kamaole I, II, and III.
Since we were right across the street, we came here every morning to run and then snorkel. Mornings are good because it's less crowded, more visibility and less windy. Snorkeling was decent, but it was a bit cloudy. Ric saw squid on one day when I refused to get tossed around anymore. The current is pretty strong, so be careful! I almost got thrown into the rock/coral a few times. However, this is a very nice calm lapping waves beach throughout the day. It was so nice to spend our last day on this beach not fighting waves. It gets windy/sandy so we brought chairs for the afternoon. Pics of Kam II.
Ahini Nature Preserve/Fishbowl
Not quite a beach, more like a black rock area. It's down past Wailea and by the lava rocks. Access is a parking area behind gates. We just saw a few cars parked there and decided to check it out. We walked down a long path of small rocks to get to the black rock beach area. There is a lot of coral and it's really rocky except a small patch of sand by the left side. The snorkeling here was awesome. We saw lots of interesting fish and eels and one huge sea turtle (on the left side of the beach). I was so close to it and the current was really strong and kept propelling me towards him. I was literally less than a foot away from him and I was terrified that it might nip at me or that the current would push me right into him. I was definitely close enough to touch him. He just stared at me mostly and was completely harmless.
Really pretty and not so crowded beach where the locals seem to hang out more so than other beaches in Kihei. We went twice because the first time, we hit it in the afternoon and the waves were going strong so we decided to snorkel in the morning another day.
Ric trying to kill or maim me, No. 101 - We tried body boarding here for the first time. Ric tried to kill me, knowing that I can't swim but I'm kinda crazy since I'll go snorkeling in relatively deep and tumultous water. I basically have a boy personality since I would rather die than admit that I can't do something and I never back down from a challenge (until this trip was over anyway). He encouraged me to hit a big wave. "Just hold onto the board tight and let the wave push you to the shore". Blind leading the swimming impaired blind since it was his first time too. Boom, I got "powned" (Ric's favorite new word from here on out) by the wave. I lost the board (which is pretty difficult since it has a Velcro strap that attaches to your wrist), my goggles, went completely under, got flipped around, boobs 1 and 2 came out to hang out with their sisters and my suit was filled with mounds of sand that took days to fully get out. Hours later, I was still dripping sea water from my nose if I just bent over. Accordingly to Ric, I just didn't do it right. Uh, it had nothing to do with the power wave? DB.
We went snorkeling in the morning another day on the right side around lava rocks. It was pretty wavy and I was fighting to stay away from the rocks quite a bit. We saw some fish (not a lot) but we did see a sea turtle up close and personal. It was literally staring at me and with the waves pushing him and me around came right at me (as if it was charging at me, that's my story and I'll stick to it), swam right past my shoulder. Very cool.
Giving Ric another chance to kill me, No. 100 - Not learning my lesson from the first time and empowered by my newfound turtle friend, we decided to walk the small path to the right of the beach where you hit another little beach (and very deserted, I might add) to snorkel rocks on the far right side of this beach.
We put on our snorkel gear even though the waves coming in were really high (I was in at my ankles and the waves came crashing in right under my shoulder). "Just swim under the wave and it will roll right over you. OK, ready, GO". I got hit so hard by the wave, it literally made me do a somersault, threw me on my ass, my snorkel mask completely came off my face, my snorkel socks went flying off me (Ric had my fins ahead of me), I got hit by a smaller wave while I was trying to pop up and I got thrown again. Luckily, I had my life vest on which I really think saved my life because it kept me somewhat afloat while I was trying to get up. Ric got powned by this wave too, he got thrown off balance, his snorkel mask came off and he popped up and caught my socks as they were getting carried out to sea. What did we learn from this? Ric miscalculated killing me since it would have been homicide and suicide (or maybe he was just pretending to get powned to make his plan seem real). Just kidding. What we learned was that the waves and the sea are not to be messed with, so be careful.
Fronts the Four Seasons and the Grand Wailea. It's a small beach strip that is very pretty and has nice lappy waves and calm water. No big drop offs in the water (my kind of beach). It's really crowded though with people typically from the two resorts. Allegedly good celeb spotting because they stay at these two resorts. I think we saw Christina Applegate, but Ric scared her away.
Really pretty beach, it's really big and nice. We went to this one in December and saw whale tails and whales blowing from a distance. The sunset here was also gorgeous. The waves though are pretty big and suck you in. I got schooled here by a wave too.
Beach past Polo Beach
It's south of the Polo Beach parking area, just keep driving for about 2 mins and you'll see a bunch of cars parked. Very decent beach with nice small lappy waves. Not crowded at all. The sand is really level in the water, no crazy drop offs. Good peaceful beach.
Kaanapali Beach/Black Rock
The beach is very commercial and lines a whole slew of hotels and eateries. It's a nice long beach, very pretty and good people watching. A bit too crowded for our tastes. The waves here in the afternoon are also pretty strong. I was getting thrown around a bit and had to work pretty hard to avoid being pushed by the waves into the coral/rocks. We snorkeled around the Sheraton hotel (Black Rock) and saw a sea turtle and some fish but we went in the afternoon, so I think there was not as much to see as the morning. We were told by friends that they saw a lot here and they went in the morning. Apparently lots of fish and sea turtles.
It was here that Ric discovered two more ways to kill me.
No. 99 - Grab the body board from your wife and start to catch a big wave body boarding while the board is still velcroed to her wrist.
No. 98 - Tell her that the Velcro strap on the body board is supposed to be tied to the ankle just like a surf board and that a life vest is not necessary.
Driving towards Lahaina, there are several beaches along the coast that are not named. We stopped at one area along the side of highway where we were practically the only ones there. There were surfers to our left and right. The waves look really treacherous but actually don't break until it's very close to shore. So it was nice to get past that point and just chill in the water.
South of Lahaina, a black rock surfing beach
We stopped here to see the sunset one day while watching surfers. Pretty cool. There is no name for this place, but it is one of the many beaches along highway 30 on the road to Lahaina. We just pulled over where we saw a bunch of cars and surfers in the water.
Lots of "Keep out signs" but everyone seems to ignore them and walk past the gate there to get to a rock beach; great snorkeling in calm waters. This is a marine reserve. Thank goodness. I was so tired of fighting the damn waves while snorkeling. Lots of fish and good coral, we saw so many schools of fish and some other people saw octopi.
Olivine Pools (as per Maui Revealed)
This and the Nakaele Blowhole can be found along a drive through Northwest Maui. It is best to go from west to east and drive carefully because there are a lot of one laners with NO railing on the side, so if you are going west to east, you will be on the inside of the mountain. It makes the road to Hana look like child's play.
No. 97 - Ric, of course always likes to convince himself that he's a race car driver so he scoffed at the warnings and drove east to west. That's my husband, middle name danger and always wanting to find the most dangerous (or he calls it "adventurous") way to do something and pretend like it's not a big deal. I was terrified half the time. He pretended not to be, but he was a bit off his high horse after seeing how one car could barely squeeze through certain points.
Before the 16 mile mark along highway 340. Maui Revealed wrote this up and it's actually pretty easy to get to. It's about a 10 minute hike to the pools. One pool is very deep and has a lot of fish in it. It's like swimming in an aquarium. Very scenic.
Between mile markers 38 and 39 on highway 340. A decent size shoulder area with boulders all around where you can park. Actually it's the only large area along this windy highway that you can pull over (there are other small areas but this is a bigger one). It's quite a hike down to the actual blowhole and we were too lazy to do it. We got close enough to watch sea turtles off a cliff and the blowhole from a good distance. Very cool. Check out this video clip (go to the video/photos).
It was as I was peering over the cliff to spot sea turtles that I realized I should write about the ways Ric has tried to kill or maim me. I told him about it. So he immediately came up with No. 96 and others.
No. 96 - easy to do. Point to a further point in the water and say "look over there at that huge sea turtle!". Wait until your wife looks at that point and encourage her to inch forward and crane her neck. She'll fall herself. No push needed.
The water from the blowhole blew pretty high, probably 30 feet when we went. Got a couple of good videos of it. The water is so clear that we actually saw 5-6 sea turtles from way up on the cliff.
We were too exhausted after a day of treacherous hiking off the beaten path and the 4 mile Pipiwai Trail hike at Oheo Gulch to check out all the beaches, but here are a few.
Local beach with a pier. Nice view, lots of local kids playing. Salt and Pepper sand beach.
Salt and Pepper beach. Nice swimming beach because it's really soft and nice sand. You can go out pretty far without a drop off. Really level sand.
We saw it from the highway. Really pretty rolling waves, good for body surfing.
Wainapana State Park - Black sand beach
Over commercialized state park with a small patch of black sand beach. We're spoiled by Big Island black sand beaches. Worth a looksee, but not that impressive.
Deep Sea Fishing
We went with Start me up and they had shares at 169 pp. We got to the Lahaina Harbor by 5:30 am. Painful. Randy was our captain and Yucca was our first mate. Yucca (sp?) is Finnish and couldn't pronounce my name right. He kept calling me Vinny. It was pretty funny. We were on the boat with four other people who were very nice. We saw three pods of dolphins, jumping around, flipping. The first pod had at least 30 of them, all swimming in pairs or threes. Very cool. Unfortunately, we did not catch anything and were disappointed, but apparently, it was a bad day at sea because none of the other boats caught anything either. So to make ourselves feel better for dropping $400 (we tipped them $40), I called this the dolphin encounter excursion. Check out these videos in the video/pics:
On deep sea fishing, we were told by a semi-local (transplant from the mainland) that deep sea fishing is a sucker's bet; an expensive boatride. Why? They typically don't catch fish that is edible and they focus on catching big trophy fish - marlin. If you're lucky enough to catch at all, it usually is a marlin. If you're really lucky, while trolling for marlin, some unsuspecting mahi or ahi may bite, but not often. Interesting theory. I think though that most people would still be pleased with catching marlin, it is an exciting experience, no?
If we return, we will book again with Captain Kim Miyaki (see Miyaki Fish Market) because he's got a charter too and goes out with you. I figure that in the very least, if we catch nothing, I want to learn everything I can from him about fish, which to eat in what way, etc. Did I mention that he's cute? www.mauibluewaterfishing.com
We took the morning ride at Mendes Ranch. It was $110 pp. I picked Mendes because I read somewhere that they do two canters on the trail. Lots of the Hawaii places do not let you do anything but walk. There were about 40 people there and I started to get turned off. I hate when they are so many people around. Luckily, when Rocky (the guy who was separating us into groups) asked about our riding ability, I said I'm advanced. So we got put into a group of 6.
Rocky then drove people in vans up to the horses. It took a while before it got to us (about 20 mins). While driving, he told us that he lived at a certain point on the hill and that some high school kids busted his fence and threw bottles on the ground. Now, this really pissed me off because it is a narrow windy road with some fence and it is scary to drive (not that I did, but I bitched about it all the way when Ric was driving). So Rocky said that he told his sons to sit on the hill and watch for the kids if they come back with their shotguns ready. I think he was kidding and I laughed but he probably freaked out the others. He also told us his brother is psycho and will grill people who park around where he is until one states in a meek way that one is a tourist. Excellent. Love it.
We got saddled up and I got Smokey. Rocky told me that he is super fast. Awesome. Frenchie was our guide. Frenchie told me that Smokey doesn't run, he doesn't gallop, he's just gone. Would I be ok with that? Hell yeah! First thing he did was bust out a cigar. Love it. Cigar smoking at 9:00am. I also discovered that Frenchie used to be a jockey and had an almost paralyzing accident on a horse 5 years ago when the horse was going 40 miles an hour and he flew, head first. 9 months of casts ensued and he decided to move to Maui to be a chef, hated it and found the ranch. Happy as a French clam, that one, now. And he paints. How cool is that. Here he is:
Along the trail, the scenery was of course beautiful. We stopped at two scenic points for picture taking. One was the opening scene of Jurassic Park and the other was a beautiful ocean view area with lava rocks. Frenchie also picked passion fruit and some hybrid apple/guava thing for us to eat. Yummy. He was really laid back and lots of times I was leading the pack while he went and grabbed fruit. Here's the Jurassic Park shot:
Two canters. First one was short but OMG, Smokey took off like a bandit. He shot right out of the gate and was so fast, I wasn't quite prepared. But it was good. The second canter was a bit longer and I was ready. It was awesome. He literally smoked all the other horses and no one could keep up.
We got our butts up at 3:00am and drove to the top of this windy road with no railing at certain points. Make lots of coffee. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Watching the sun rise up 10,000 feet is a once in a lifetime experience. It is freezing cold (blustering) so bundle up good as if it's 10 below. Yeah, it really gets that cold and it's windy as hell. $10 for the park admission which you can also use for the Hana side of the park (it's like a three day thing).
Snorkeling Trip to Molokini Crater
We took Maui Classic Charter's catamaran trip (5 hours with lunch and booze, $99) to Molokini Crater. Nice boat ride. The snorkeling was decent, but I think the fish hid quite a bit because there were so many people in the water. There were three boats there with an average of 200 people. We waited until 30 mins later when most people were coming back up on the boat and I think we saw more fish than others. Water is very clear and blue. We also saw a couple of whale tails along the way since we went in December.
Road to Hana/Hana
We relied heavily on Maui Revealed which is an amazing guide book because it really tells you where to find the "hidden gems". We read somewhere that locals hate this book, presumably because now they have to deal with annoying tourists in spots that they thought were their own to enjoy. Hide the book! We also had an outdated version of it, so get the most recent version. I personally think it should be called "Maui Revealed - How to find hidden gems at your own risk" since a lot of these finds take you on crappy hikes along slippery rocks, cliffs and high places.
We skipped Twin Falls, Huelo, Maui Grown Market and quite a few sights early on in the drive because Maui Revealed suggests that better stuff is ahead and it is so easy to miss where you are supposed to turn off. We started early, like 9:00am and people were already on the road.
* Invest in a pair of aqua socks. There are so many paths, falls and other rocky places where they will come in super handy. Also, wear sneakers for all these hikes.
Mile Marker 11.5
Small turnout on the far side of the bridge with room for about 4 cars. A little bit of a walk (about 5 mins) upstream to a waterfall. Nice but not really flowing heavily.
Mile marker 13 ¼
Tiny turnout on the far side of the white bridge. Rock hop for about 10-25 mins. Man, those aqua socks would have been great just about now. The rocks were so slippery and I kept bending my ankle between rocks. Not fun.
No. 95 - Ric tried to kill me of course by telling me that I should gain momentum on the rocks and just keep run/jumping them. Lunatic. If I did that with my propensity towards clumsiness, I'd probably slip and do a somersault like the cartoons when people slip on banana peels. Of course I had to laugh maniacally, screeching many forms of "I told you so" when he slipped while on his "momentum jumping" and had to slow down.
Anyways, there is supposed to be a waterfall and pool that is decent to swim in at the end of the boulder hopping adventure. No waterfall but there was a stagnant pool. We imagine that it must be really pretty when the water is flowing.
Just before MM 17 - Ching's Pond
There is a path about 75 ft after the bridge on your left that is a slippery path down about 5-10 mins. Be sure to go to the left when going down. We went straight down and got to a point where it was about 4 ft of straight rock down so we had to double back and go to the left and down. At the bottom is a very nice freshwater pond. Water is cold! Locals swim here quite a bit. We saw a very cute family of four kids with grandma and grandpa. Grandpa was telling us that EMI (East Maui Irrigation) has diverted the water flow in many areas which is why the water falls are either not running or are pretty skimpy. On either side of the bridge is a concrete slab. It's about 60 feet from the water. We saw a local dude jump off the concrete into the water. It's a really narrow area of pool where he jumped into so it was really cool to watch. He then scaled the 60 foot rock wall in like 30 seconds when it took me 15 minutes to get down! Very cool.
MM 17 1/3
Fruit and banana bread stand. The banana bread was decent. A bit farther along the road on the left side is Uncle Harry's. He has the yummiest fruit smoothie. Uncle Harry's blend was so good. I also bought a jar of local honey.
Maui Revealed talks of this "me under the waterfall" picture opportunity here. There is a large pullout area because there are two small falls that everyone stops to look at. MR says to go to the right of the higher falls (5-10 mins of squishy muddy walking) until you reach an irrigation duct that has a 200 feet railing that is over the duct and a small stream with rocks about 50 ft down. At the end of the railing, there is a vertical pipe area.
No. 94 - Ric tried to kill me because he just can't pay attention to instructions sometimes. Go right. What? Let's go left because I can't see a good path that way and it'd be fun! He decided it would be a good idea to go left because there were too many people going the right side (all 5 of them). Stupidly I followed him, cursing him along the way while my sneakers got stuck in mud (it reached my ankles) and I had to play Tarzan, practically swinging on branches to pull myself up a certain part of the trail.
We got to the vertical pipe area and being the gentleman that he sometimes can be, walked rapidly across the railing. I started to walk and made the mistake of looking down. I completely panicked, not sure why since I used to play climbing tag and could run along walls much skinnier fearlessly. I never knew I had a fear of heights. I freaked out and had to sit on the railing and go across it on my butt. I was so shaky at the end of it. I told Ric that there was no way in hell I was going back over the railing and it was his fault for leading us left.
At this point, I busted out MR (stupid me, I should have done it before I crossed the railing). Why? Because if we had gone right like MR said to, we would have had to walk across the railing and then walk the vertical plank to get to the hidden gem area. Which means that I never had to walk the railing to begin with since we were on the side where the waterfall is, I would only have had to walk the vertical plank which was not scary.
Again I cursed Ric. Of course it's his fault that I had to now double the effort and cross the damn thing 3 times. Feeling my wrath, he held my hand and led me across this time. I was still shaking. I felt like a complete wimp but who knew that in my old age, I would suddenly have a fear of heights?? I was too stunned to remember to take a picture of it.
Anyways, after the vertical walk, another 3 minute walk leads you to a waterfall/freshwater pool. You have to walk down a relatively slippery downhill path where if you fall, you'd fall into the pool with no knowledge of how deep or whether there are rocks right where you fall. Oh, did I mention I can't swim? At this point, I was in extreme panic mode. I somehow made it down. Here's the slippery downhill path:
Very pretty little waterfall and pond. We were alone for a good while. Ric jumped in and I put on my life vest and did the same. Water is freezing! Totally worth the ordeal, especially if you aren't afraid of heights!
Much later after I had sufficiently calmed down, Ric says "you have to trust me, there was a path on the left, sure it wasn't totally visible but being that there is one, that means it's been traveled by others". Which means it's a good idea to follow "others" who may on suicidal missions? What kind of logic is that? "Well, the path wasn't the easiest, but it wasn't terrible". Well, excuse me if I am not an Eagle Scout and didn't grow up with a scoutmaster for a dad. Tool.
Hanami Falls - it's supposed to be four waterfalls but damn EMI, it was only one. Still pretty.
Eats! On the left side of the road, there is a sweet corn place, smoked fish place and a coconut candy place. The sweet corn is sooo good. I was ready to kill anyone who got in my way. Pricey at $2.50, but yummy. Apparently, it's locally grown in Kula. Smoked fish was ok (btw, the smoked fish place is closed on Thursdays). Good lunch or snack ($6). The coconut candy is yummy too. Hand sliced and baked for 24 hrs apparently. Little ziplock (I mean really small) is $5.
Blue Pool - Do some research ahead of time and see if they are closed. We got there and they were closed (not the "we are closed but enter at your own risk" as many of these places are). They actually had park rangers (I think) stop you at a certain point on Uliano Road to tell you to turn around. The saving grace was that there was a little fruit stand along this road that we stopped off at. A lot of these places go by the honor system, they have the goods out and a box where you put money in. So this one in particular had chocolate brownies ($1, Ric loved them) and actual macadamia nuts still in the shell ($4 a bag). There was a rock and piece of wood that you can use to try them. Incredibly hard to crack, but the raw mac nut was yummy. We tried to crack them at home. Man, is it hard. We have to use a nutcracker to loosen it up first and then use a hammer.
MM 32 or so
Waianapana State Park - Black Sand Beach
Nice freshwater pools to swim in and a small patch of black sand beach. We're spoiled by the Big Island black sand beach, so to us, it wasn't that impressive.
Thankfully, we were smart enough (actually I was smart enough) to stay in Hana for a night so we were refreshed the next morning. It's a good thing to do because either you'll be so tired by the end of the day, nothing regardless of how beautiful it is will appeal to you or you'll miss a lot of the sights. Also, since we started early, there were very little people on the road since one dayers get to this point in the afternoon.
Anyways, you can park just past the 48mm near the Hana side of the bridge. There is an opening in the fence with a trail that leads towards the ocean. The rocks are very slippery and the path is treacherous. It might actually be easier to go through the fence to your left side and walk along the field and the path goes down much better. We were at the top of the cliff looking at the pool. The water again was not flowing, so we decided not to go all the way down. We got lazy. When we got back up, we saw the sign that said the Venus Pool is closed due to too much human traffic, accidents and lawsuits against the owner of the land (Privately owned, apparently). Not sure how much this sign helps since we saw people down there (and we were there) and the signs don't always prevent lawsuits regardless.
MM 44 9/10
Pull over just past the bridge. About 75 ft past the Hahalawe bridge on the left side, there is a path leading down. It's a short slippery path about 5 mins. There is a waterfall and shallow freshwater pool. Very refreshing and cool.
7 Sacred Pools aka Ohea Gulch
There is a park parking lot just past MM 42. $10 (this can be used for Haleakala too within three days). There are two trails. Pipiwai Trail which is 2 miles each way and a smaller trail that is about ¾ mile and is a loop. We did both.
It's pretty straightforward with lots of "Trail" signs. Ric of course, as usual had to go off the beaten path. We took a right by the big banyan tree (trust me, you can't miss it) and found the infinity pool referenced by MR. It was dry so not as pretty as the pictures. There are a few other areas where you can go off the path (but there is still a smaller path) to find little pools and waterfalls. We found one and were about to jump in when we saw a big pile of animal poop on one of the rocks. Having read signs about some bacteria (lepo something) that you can catch from animal excretions in the water, we decided against jumping in.
Back on the trail, we kept walking, very nice path and walked through a really dense bamboo forest. It was really cool. It's so dense that the sun is almost entirely blocked out and it looks dark. When the wind sways, the bamboo hit against each other and make this really unique cackling hollow sound.
At the end of the forest and some not so scary but squishy rock hopping later, we came to the motherload of all falls - Waimoku Falls. Definitely a "me under the waterfall" picture. Everyone was doing it. It was about 1:00pm and there were already about 15 people there, so try to get there earlier to avoid the crowd. Worth the four mile hike.
The other hike back at the ranch was disappointing. The falls were not running, but this is where it's supposed to have 4 or 5 pools with waterfalls where everyone swims even though there are warnings about flash flooding and newspaper articles about deaths.
Closing with yet another way Ric thought of while driving back from Hana
No. 93 - Open the passenger side door, unclick my seatbelt and take a sharp left turn going 50 miles an hour on the Hana highway.