Friday morning we woke up around 7am, had english muffins, headed to
-The Coffee Store: Excellent Lattes, muffins, breads, etc.
then went to our favorite secret beach in Waimea.
We swam most of the morning, then went to
-Wokstar in Kihei: unbelievable asian food, this was one of my favorite stops in Hawaii for good food. You order inside, eat outside…no table service. It’s about $10 a dish, buy one get one half off from 3-5 every day. I think anything you can eat with chopsticks is a go, but this food was awesome. Kung Pao was the best.
We headed back to the condo after a scenic drive through the nature preserve Lava fields in Kaupo, along the Pi-ilani highway. We changed for our no-doors helicopter ride and were on our way. We went with Alex air…it was one of, if not THE coolest things I’ve ever done. I don’t think it’s possible to really see Maui without getting the perspective from overhead. So much of the island is uninhabited, and some of the most beautiful sites we saw were ones you couldn’t get to by land. I’d never been in a helicopter before, so I was shocked at how close you can fly to the land. We soared through cliffs and valleys, saw the 2000′ cliffs on the north side of Moloka’i (a small, separate island), and saw unbelievable waterfalls. Chris was a like a 10-year old boy watching Jurassic Park for the first time-he couldn’t get enough. For those of you that don’t know, Chris wanted to be a paleontologist growing up, and though he left the theatre crying halfway through the first time seeing it, Jurassic Park is one of his all time favs. He was completely enamored with the ride…and I can’t say that I wasn’t, too.
After the ride we went to the grocery store and picked up a bottle of wine, cheese and crackers. We found a spot at a local beach and watched the sunset. It was gorgeous, per usual. For dinner we headed to:
Sansei in Kihei: Sushi and Japanese food–the tuna is caught the same day it’s served, and it’s 50% off after 10PM so they can get rid of it before the next shipment in the morning. Need I say more?
Today, Saturday 10/9, Chris and I woke up at 2am for a bike tour of Haleakala (the East Maui volcano). The tour bus picked us up at 2:30am and drove us with the rest of our group to their homebase, where they gave us warm gear, tea and pastries, and a bunch of paperwork. We used Maui Mountain for the tour. We didn’t read the reviews of them until the morning we were waiting to be picked up, and the reviews (though from 2008 and before) were all terrible, so we were a bit nervous. They ended up being a great company, though the biking gear was definitely a bit dated. They took us up to the summit aby 4:30, more than 10,000′ above sea level. I had on cotton pants and sneakers, a hoodie, a North Face wind blocker, a huge fleece they gave us along with a windbreaker and windbreaker pants they also gave us…and gloves….and I was STILL freezing. It was 29 degrees when we first got there. The sunrise was breathtaking, definitely worth the early start. After the sunrise the van took us to about 6500′ where we got our bikes and helmets and cruised the remaining 29 miles down to the base. There were 8 in our group, a tour guide biking in the front and hand signaling to us, and the van driver behind us blocking traffic. We went 15-30 mph the whole way down, and barely had to petal. It felt a little hairy cruising around some of the switchbacks, but it was awesome to be emersed in the scenery.
We got back for lunch just after 3, and headed back to Wokstar for the lunch special. We got it to go and headed to a new beach in Wailea. It was as amazing as the first time. Our internal clocks were once again completely screwed up after the 2am wake-up. By the time dinner rolled around, we ate more because we felt like we should rather than because we were hungry. Always a mistake. We went to “Da Kitchen” at the recommendation of the condo owners. In addition, the ratings on urbanspoon were pretty good. We were expecting more local food-not true. After our experience here, I left my first review on urbanspoon-and it was not a pleasant one.
-Da Kitchen: Terrible, greasy, barely edible/unedible fast food. We each had a bite before being repulsed, two before we questioned our decision, and three before the food was in the trash and we were out the door. Oops. I felt like a needed a shower when I left.
Chris drove us to Uno Gelato to recover. The gelato was once again phenomenal, and it was cleansing after the poisonous chicken I ingested at Da Kitchen.
Sunday morning we woke up around 7am to drive the road to Hana. Most of the people we talked to before our trip who had visited Maui mentioned is as a “must do”, and our guidebook said tha same. We had some bagels int he room, filled up on gas and grabbed a few waters, and were on our way. It started raining almost immediately after we got on the Hana highway. We pulled over and put the top up to the jeep for the first time and decided to drive as planned. To be honest, the road to Hana was a complete let down. We figured we had either built it up too much in our heads, or most people that have recommended it haven’t driven the northwest coast of Maui. It was like driving through a lush green rain forest. Don’t get me wrong, it was beautiful, but all of Maui is beautiful and this wasn’t at the top of the list when it comes to scenic points. Chris kept referring to Jurassic Park throughout the drive; small comments like, “I wish we would find a T-rex, because I’d love to outrun him in this jeep right now” and “I wish we had a glass roof like in the movie”. We used the guidebook for landmarks to find hidden waterfalls and beaches along the way–you really wouldn’t see much without a guidebook.
After we passed Hana we took the road down again and decided to drive the rest of the southeast coast back from Hana (rather than turning around, as recommended). The road from Hana (driving in the clockwise direction) was far more impressive than the road to Hana. It started pouring again on the way back and we got absolutely soaked. It was almost an appropriate touch to the drive, and we laughed our asses off. The harder it rained, the more we laughed, with intermittent cursing sessions aimed at the black Chevy Malibu driving just about as slow as possible without being in reverse directly in front of us.
The drive in its entirety took about 7 hours, and it was 2:30 in the afternoon when we got back. We were both beyond hungry. We had lunch at:
Fat Daddy’s in Kihei: good drink specials, great barbeque, no chicken options (Chris and I don’t eat pork or beef-but opted for pulled pork when we realized there wasn’t anything we’d eat on the menu. Turns out our digestive systems weren’t equipped to deal with the sudden dietary alteration, but it was great BBQ on the way down).
After a 2 hr mid-day nap, we were extremely groggy when we woke up. We drove to an open-air bar on the water called Spieces and had a few drinks. Chris tried the Molokai Mojito, then helped himself to a few more. He said it might have been the best mixed drink he’s ever had. Chris is the King of strong statements, so take it for what you will. We weren’t really hungry for dinner, so we passed that night.
Monday morning Chris and I split a bagel in our room, stopped at the Coffee Store and got lattes and a lemon blueberry muffin, then checked in at the aquarium for our snorkeling tour at 7:45am. This was my favorite thing we did in Hawaii. We took the Ocean Adventure catamaran from the aquarium. It’s a non-profit trip, so the cost was only $74.99 per person. The boat took off for Molakini snorkel spot at 8:30am. They served bagels and cream cheese, muffins, and fresh fruit right after we took off. I discovered a new fabulous drink call POG, which is pineapple, orange, guava juice.
Once we arrived at Molakini we had an hour to snorkel around. You could see straight to the ocean floor, which was completely covered with coral, and there were hundreds of vibrant fish to look at. Chris and I both loved it and want to get our own snorkel sets for future travels.
After an hour of snorkeling we got back on the boat and took off for the coast of Lanai. On the hour and a half cruise over they served lunch and gave informational talks on the types of ocean life we had just seen. Lunch consisted of veggie burgers, chicken teriyaki sandwiches, and hot dogs. The chicken was actually really good. During the ride we also saw 4 bottle nose dolphins, which apparently don’t come out very often. Once at Lanai we snorkeled for another hour, then got back on the boat and enjoyed the open bar on the entire way back. In addition to free alcohol we saw a few hundred spinner dolphins, which melted my heart. I think that dolphins are the puppies of the sea–they couldn’t show off enough, especially the babies.
For dinner that night we headed back to Sansei for half off sushi (Sun and Mon 5-6). The line wrapped the entire building by 4:45, so we nixed that idea, watched the sunset, then headed back at 6:30. We sat next to a couple on a first date, eavesdropped the entire conversation, then discussed what it would be like to be meet each other at this point in our lives and go on a first date. Think about it.
Tuesday morning we had intentions of doing a pineapple plantation tour. We had breakfast at:
Kihei Caffe: This place was AWESOME. Food portions are huge-ask for half plates or split one. Can’t say enough about how delicious everything was. This place jumpstarted my latest food obsession-bananas and macadamia nuts on pancakes.
We got out of breakfast late and would have missed the first tour, so we headed to the Sheraton hotel in Lahaina. There was a small cliff Chris had heard about on the beach behind the Sheraton, about 30′ high, that you can jump off of. Chris swam out, climbed up, and signaled to me first with his arms making an “o” above his head like a ballerina, then waving his arms straight out like an airplane. Flying dancers? I wasn’t sure what he was trying to tell me. He jumped off the cliff and swam in while I started swimming out to see what he was signaling. Apparently that meant sea turtle…who knew? He convinced me to climb up to see it, but by the time I got there, the sea turtle was gone and my only way down was—-jumping. Nice trick. The height doesn’t get me, the wet rocks that I could slip off of and crack my head open? They get me. After several attempts followed by chickening out, I finally found the courage to jump off. Phew.
Don’t park in the Sheraton’s garage-it was $12 for an hour-ouch. We headed to the resort I thought the pineapple tour was at only to realize that I had written down the wrong resort, and we’d be too late by the time we got to the right one. My bad.
For lunch we headed back to Aloha Mixed Plate in Lahaina….where it was just as good, and just as cheap. We headed up to Napili to try a new beach. The entrance to the shoreline was tough to find, but the beach was really unique and worth the search. The water was aqua-colored and crystal clear, and the beach break was extremely steep. You could go from standing knee-deep to divin in. Chris repeatedly road the waves in on his stomach and had an absolute blast.
For dinner we headed to:
Cafe O Lei: Make reservations, worth the drive no matter where you’re staying. Cool atmosphere, excellent food, impressive bar selection. Get the lettuce wraps for an appetizer.
The next morning we woke up around 6 and watched the 17th miner being rescued on Fox news. We folded laundry, finished packing, and loaded our bags into the jeep. We headed to Kihei Caffe for one last delicious taste. We headed to the Coffee Store so Chris could get one last iced latte, then stopped off at a scenic point on the way to Lahaina before heading to the airport. Chris blasted the Jurassic Park theme song as we took it all in. We put the top up and the windows back on the jeep, then left for the airport to leave for Kauai. Maui was unbelievable. It’s a place everyone has to visit, at least once. Save your pennies so you can do a lot of activities, and make it happen-you won’t regret it.