Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Maui Day 7: Snorkeling and Central Maui

On Monday early morning we drove over an hour south to go snorkeling with Maui Kayaks!

Here is the white van we were to look for as we drove up to Makena Beach.
I wish we had gotten a better picture of our Hawaiian tour guide!  He was awesome!

These are the kayaks we used to get to our snorkeling destinations.
Justin and I were in one together, and about 3 other couples went along with us.
We had so much fun paddling around.
We went to 5 caves 5 graves first.
Our tour guide found some cool star fish, sea anemone, and a tiny octopus!  He even stuck it to my leg and justin's stomach!  EWW! But cool :)
Then we kayaked to Turtle Town where we saw some coral and several turtles.  They were beautiful!
Wish I had taken an underwater camera.

We were cold after snorkeling so we went to Honolua Coffee Co. for some warm coffee.
That warmed us up good, so we decided to just hop on over to Wailea beach again since it was our favorite. :)  We laid out for awhile and read.  We didn't really have a plan for the rest of the day, so we thought we would just chill.  But it was so windy and cloudy we decided to rethink our day.  We grabbed lunch at Maui Tacos again and decided on a whim to go explore Central Maui!

Our drive into the middle of Maui looked more like Jurassic Park or Lost!
We are heading into the Iao Valley.

Once in the park area, we saw the pretty valley stream.

We saw some really cool plants...

colorful :)

And we walked along a paved trail around the park.

It was really nice and peaceful :)

This is what we came to this park to see.
The Iao Needle.

It was pretty cool, but to be honest, I don't know what was so great about it specifically!  Ha!

So on to the next part of the day!
We had read about a hiking adventure called the Waihe'e Ridge Trail in Central Maui.  The author of Maui Revealed said to make sure you went in the early morning because clouds come in the afternoon.
Of course it was late afternoon, but it was our only day to be in that area, so we thought we'd try it!

When we turned off the main road to find the trail head, we ran into this sign.  Justin thought it was pretty cool to see a boy scout sign, so we snapped a picture!

When we parked and walked up to where the trail began, we noticed we had to go through this wooden gate and start up a dirt road next to those cows.

Close up of trail sign

Ok, you can kind of see the road in the distance (on left of picture) that we had to walk up, but I'm telling you, I just about freaked out having to walk so close to those cows.  They just stared at us like they were going to charge at any moment.  And no, I did not grow up on a farm. :)

Pretty picture of the view we had once we were at the top of the hill....still have a long way UP to go for this hike though :)

Really pretty flowers on the way

We first ventured into a forest of guava, kukui, swamp mahogany, and Cook Island pines.  We walked 1/2 a mile and gained 400 ft.

Easy footing though :)

 at a nice overlook

Our first look at what people have told us we have to see....colorful Eucalyptus trees.
We will see some better ones tomorrow!

Beautiful view, but we see the clouds are definitely there.

A look back toward the ocean.
Man, we have climbed high!

We have started hiking on the ridge now instead of through the forest, and it's unbelievable what we see.  Such a gorgeous valley.

Some more of God's cool nature 

Ok, so now we are still climbing, but we are completely in the clouds.  Can't see a thing!

Soft plant and really green!

And finally we make it to the top!

We hiked 2 1/2 miles up gaining 1,500 ft!
I bet the views are incredible up here, but we will have to return to Maui again one day to see them :)

This is a video of the clouds rolling in front of us.

Another cool plant at the end of the trail.

Well, once you go up, you gotta come down.
A hike we will never forget! ;) ;)

When we got back to the jeep, we decided that I would drive back home, and we would go the North route because that's one road we had not completed yet on Maui.
(um...and if we had known what was in store for us, I would not have been driving!)

The road turned into literally ONE LANE of very sharp, blind turns, with a mountain on our left and a drop off on our right.  YIKES!

We were just nervous that a local would come speeding up to us in the opposite direction around one of those curves and crash!

Here is a video to show you kind of what the drive was like and how slow I had to go.

This drive took forever!

But boy, the views were outstanding!
(although, I as the driver, did not get a great look at them :)

We finally made it back around 7pm and rushed out to our beach to catch the sunset.

We were STARVING, so we grabbed dinner at Duke's restaurant on the property.

Yummy appetizer of Calamari!  It was delicious!

There was a Hawaiian man playing his guitar and singing right on the porch where we were dining.  He started playing "Over the Rainbow" and for the first time, I got teary eyed thinking about my sweet kiddos back home.  Boy, did I miss them!  But two more days in Maui was going to be great with Justin.  One more full day of fun begins tomorrow :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Maui Day 6: The Lord's Day

Back in Memphis, before we left for our trip, our good friend Heidi Stokke told us about a great little church in Maui.  
So Sunday morning, we woke up and got ready for church!  We drove Northwest and found Kumulani Chapel, which is a non-denominational church.  The sermon was outstanding and we were so thankful we went.  What could be better than worshipping OUR GOD with other believers in Hawaii?

Notice the leis we received because we were visitors :)

There was a ceiling and some sides to the building, but it was "open-air" (like most places in Hawaii).
I am taking the picture standing outside.

Singing to the Lord and looking out at his creation.  Amazing.

After church we just went back to our condo and relaxed by the pool.  Justin swam some laps in the ocean since he was getting ready for his upcoming triathlon.  Once he finished, we hopped in the jeep and drove to Kanapali Beach right down the road.  It is supposed to be the best beach in our condo area.  

Ahhhh....Kanapali Beach.

It was SO WINDY that afternoon. (Maui is a very windy place in general, but esp on the beaches in late afternoon.)  I don't know if you can tell by this picture, but Justin is COVERED with sand from the wind blowing it on him.

Here is a close-up.  His whole face and neck...just covered.  (Justin thanks for shielding me!)

We decided we had had enough of the wind-blowing sand so we went back to the condo and got our running clothes on.  We jogged 3 miles together then got ready for dinner.

We went to Leilani's.
We were going to sit outside because the view was so pretty, but it was really cool that evening and we wouldn't have to wait if we took the table that was ready inside.  

Finishing up dessert....HULA PIE!  It's kind of like Oreo ice cream cake.  Can you tell I am thoroughly enjoying it?

The restaurant was right next to Whaler's Village which is a neat little shopping area.  So after dinner, we walked around and look in all the little shops and found some little gifts to bring back to the kids ;)

What a much-needed relaxing day.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Maui Day 5: Northwest Hiking and Luau

On Saturday, we woke up hungry for that yummy omelet again!  Ha!  So we got to the Gazebo at 7:15 and waited 45 mins again to sit down.

Thank goodness for that coffee!

Then since we were already a bit North, we decided to hit two spots in Northwest Maui that sounded really cool to see:

We took about a 10 minute hike/walk to Makalua-puna Point.

We walked along a pretty boardwalk in between big beautiful condo homes and the ocean.

Some amazing views

This is Makalua-puna Point.

The lava is wind-swept upward and makes some cool-looking rocks, known as Dragon's Teeth.

We then drove 8 more miles north to find the hike that would lead us to the Nakalele Blowhole.

We hiked along the edge of a very high cliff.
It was so beautiful!

We first came across a small blowhole in the side of some rocks.

Also saw some huge waves splashing against the rocks.

Then we came to the Nakalele Blowhole.
Here the water is seeping down in the hole.

Then there is a huge spray of mist.

Then comes the explosive force of water!

You can see from this picture that we took from far away how huge the blowhole truly is!
That's a man standing right next to it!

After we finished hiking, we went back to our condo to get ready for the LU'AU that evening! 

We went to the Old Lahaina Lu'au around 5:30pm.

We had the choice of table and chair seating, or the traditional mat seating.
We chose the traditional style and sat on the floor ;)

The bonus was that we got FRONT row seating!
The stage is right next to me!
So glad we did, because 500 guests were there :)

When we got there, we got to see the roasting of the pig.

They carried it off to prepare it for the buffet!

Before dinner, we watched a Pre-show.

Now time to eat!
This is a little bit of everything on the buffet.  It was outstanding!

Our server brought four different types of desserts to our table.

While we ate, we watched the show.  It was very authentic.

This was our server.  He was awesome!

We finished the Lu'au around 8:30pm.

It was a beautiful evening filled with dancing, good food, good conversation, and another Hawaiian  sunset.