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Maui is for lovers

So this is a long, detailed post, but I am writing it so I can remember all the bits of our trip, and so next time we visit I can look back and see what we enjoyed.

A few months ago Raimo got scheduled for a work conference in Hawaii over spring break, and I started bugging him about letting me come along. So eventually he booked me a ticket and his mom kindly agreed to come stay with the kids for 5 days. We left very early Sunday morning while the kids were still sleeping, and got on our plane. We were both exhausted that day and felt nervous about the kids. We would have liked to bring them, but aren’t staying long enough for it to really be worth it since we’ll only have 3 full days. Plus it is a really nice break for me and a chance to spend some time with Raimo. I brought a book and read 1/4 of it on the 5 hour plane ride. I also kept falling asleep. I think Raimo got a little bored. Anyway, when we landed it was only 10:30 in the morning, and we were starving for lunch. We got the rental car figured out and headed for lunch at Mama’s Fish as recommended by the rental car associate. It turned out to be quite an expensive lunch! But the restaraunt overlooked the water and it was really very beautiful and everything we ate was delicious.

I had a piña colada and mahi mahi stuffed with lobster and crab, and Raimo had duck. It seems important enough to mention because it really was delicious.

Then we made the drive to our hotel on the other side of the island. We got to see quite a bit of coastline as we drove. We were both surprised to see so much open space and natural landscape, even by the water. I remember Oahu being very busy and crowded. It definitely has a different vibe. We are staying at the Hyatt Regency in Ka’anapoli on the West side, where there is a line of big resorts along the ocean. Our room was not ready for us to check in when we arrived and I was really frustrated because I was so tired and we were hot in our travel clothes. We changed in the bathroom and went down to the ocean only to find that the water was quite cold! Hawaii was not impressing so far! Overpriced lunch, room not ready, very little assistance, cold water, and no open lounge chairs anywhere! We did some tanning for a while and finally went back and got our room, took a shower and relaxed a bit. The bellman showed us some of the other pools and features of the hotel and gave us some suggestions for places to go. Hawaii was starting to look a lot better. We took a walk to Whaler’s Village just as the sun was setting over the ocean. We couldn’t have timed it better if we’d planned it.

Whaler’s Village had a lot of outlets and fun shopping, and we picked up some pizza for Raimo and frozen yogurt for me. It kept drizzling rain here and there. We walked back with the stars above and the waves crashing right beside us. Raimo said it was his favorite part of the day. We got to chat and hold hands and even laid in a hammock for a while.

On Monday morning Raimo had to leave for work at 6:15. Around 8 he came back for a break so we headed downstairs and  I got a fruit cup to eat. Even eating breakfast while looking at the ocean makes it so much more peaceful. 

Then I hung out while Raimo worked. It was perfect!

(I did finish that book on the trip–400 pages in 4 days! I haven’t read a book in so long!)

I also went to the Hyatt Residence next door to us to check out their pools since ours was so crowded, and got in their infinity pool overlooking the ocean. It’s only 3 feet deep so I could lean over the edge and keep reading with the ocean right in view. Raimo got done early at 11 and joined me. We went and made some plans at our activities center, then got some loaded pork nachos at one of the restaraunts.

We walked a little ways down to the beach and laid in the shade and listened to the ocean. We were both still pretty tired. We went back to the room and showered and headed to our sunset cruise on a catamaran. 

We enjoyed the beautiful blue water and riding over the big waves. It was really relaxing. They had a lot of snacks for us to eat too.

We saw a lot of humpback whales flipping their tails and breaching. It is mating season so they were probably 3 males competing for 1 female, hence the extra activity. It was exciting- I haven’t been whale-watching since 5th grade! Their tails were so big, and I also saw one of their faces come up out of the water. Later we also saw a mother and calf and probably male acting as protector. These whales travel here to mate and go all the way to Alaska to hunt. 

We got to ride around for two hours and enjoy the sunset. I love boats!
When we got off the boat we were right by Whaler’s Village again, and we both could really happily spend hours shopping.

But we just bought a couple of hats. Raimo’s face is already burned after the first day. There are so many fun beachy things I wish I could buy. So many cute beach-themed clothes. And of  course they have everything in miniature size too- little girl Roxy sandals and outfits, little boy Quicksilver wetsuits, Hawaiian dresses and swimsuits! There are so many swimsuits- my favorite thing to buy! But we walked back home (another coconut frozen yogurt for me) and looked at the stars and I fell asleep by 9 o’clock (Midnight our time). 

Tuesday I woke up early again- 5 am. The time change is so rough. Raimo went to work and I went to my favorite pool next door and relaxed, read, and inched in and out of the pool. I reapplied sunscreen like 4 times because we found out just how harsh the sun is here the day before. Raimo got done a little early again, and we headed out in the car for the first time.

We made a stop at Whaler’s Village, then out to lunch at a hole in the wall place called Fish Market, just a bit North of us. The weather was perfect!!

 It was cheap and good- I got shrimp tacos and Raimo got a kalua pork burrito, and their pico de guyo was delicious! Then we went to a beach called Kapalua. It was a small bay, and was supposedly a better area for swimming and snorkeling. We got in the water (not easily- it wasn’t as warm as I like it to be) and we baked in the sun for a bit. There were a lot of families with kids there. It’s a good place for little ones, but I was hoping to find one of those quieter white sand beaches. We moved to some shady grass for a bit, then took a walk along a path overlooking the water.

Baby bump

We walked all over these black rocks and looked for creatures and treasures. Raimo found a sea snake, and I found some coral. There were also a lot of little fishes. Raimo said it was his favorite part of the day.

We walked back, super hot and ready to get in a cool car. We showered and got ready for the Drums of the Pacific Luau.

It was super packed with people, but we managed to get a good seat since there were just two of us. We had some kind of tropical juice (the only ones with no rum or alcohol). We went up on stage and learned some hula. We listened to the host sing some beautiful Hawaiian songs. The host gave a Hawaiian prayer, and we went through the buffet and got dinner, then dessert. My favorite thing was the terriyaki chicken and the warm bread pudding. Raimo visited with our table mates from Maine and Washington. Then my favorite part of the day: the dancing! It was so beautiful. The girls were so graceful and did all the traditional things, and the boys did a bunch of dances too with chants and slapping thighs and spears, and a fire dance at the end. 

My favorite number was about the creation of woman where a girl in white came out and dropped white petals all over her long hair and did this slow beautiful dance. I loved it. That was about it for the day. We got a little rain during the show but they brought out ponchos for us. It was a really beautiful day!
Of course, we couldn’t sleep in yet again on the third night. Some kind of fire alarm got set off outside at 3 am and it stayed on for like 30 minutes. It was a little stressful laying there wondering if it was just some stupid kid or if there was a fire or tsunami. You know… Just the middle of the night thinking. I was awake for a long time, but I think I fell asleep for a few more hours around 6. 
Wednesday was a much cooler morning, with sea spray blowing all the way up to the hotel. I bought some souvenirs and went to Starbucks at the Marriott resort. That is a resort I’d like to stay at in the future. It’s very family friendly and has a pretty beach in front of it. Our hotel’s crowd seems more adult/spring break. I relaxed in a hammock for a bit waiting for Raimo. It had been raining the night before and the morning was still windy, so it was rocking me a bit, and as I was laying there I realized the air smelled sweet. There weren’t any flowers right by me or anything, but Hawaii just smells good! 
So anyway, we took off for the road to Hana. We bought an app called GyPSy that told us where to go and what sights to see along the way, and even how to cross the one-land bridges.

 It was extremely helpful and kept the long drive pretty interesting. As we got into the first leg of the drive, we stopped to see twin falls, which was roaring because it was pouring rain. Luckily I had brought our sneakers along with flip flops, and we ended up using them all day. Every time I stepped out of the car my hair was soaked. Should have brought the ponchos.

We stopped to take a short hike/walk, and my favorite thing was the rainbow eucalyptus trees- they were gorgeous, and soo tall.

There was moss and greenery on everything, including on the beautiful bridges we kept crossing. I didn’t get a picture, but they were built in the 1920’s and are so beautiful. 

With the rain, there was lots of water trickling down the rock walls and cliffs. 

Another stop was this peninsula all made of lava rock, and it was amazing how turquoise the water was, even on such a cloudy day. At one point, there was a tsunami on this part of the island that wiped out everything on this side of the peninsula. Unfortunately it happened on April fool’s day, so a lot of the warnings weren’t taken seriously. The only thing left standing was an old church that is still there. Raimo really liked exploring that part and checking out the rocks and seeing the huge waves spraying over them. 

We also saw these waterfalls, called the three bears.

A few of the stretches were quite long. It was really so green and the trees and cliffs went way up over our heads, and it was so rainforesty.

We also sometimes came out on cliffs looking out over the ocean. Because of the rain, a lot of the views were a bit hard to see, but on a clear day I bet the ocean views are amazing. 

One of our favorite stops was at a black sand beach called Wai’anapanapa where there were fresh water caves and big black lava arches and cliffs and black sand. 

Again, it was so striking seeing the bright blue, huge waves against the black.

There were big sweeping views from the lookout points, and the caves were pretty cool to see too. 

I had hoped that we could stop along our way and swim in some of the pools and waterfalls and relax on some beaches, but we really didn’t get any sun that day, so we just enjoyed the sights and took off. 

We finally made in to Hana. The last couple beaches were right next to each other: Koki beach, with big red cliffs, 

and then Homoa beach, which was small and beautiful. 

That was an area where we both agreed we’d love to have some property. There were some really nice Hawaiian- looking homes there like this one.

We skipped the last few stops of the route and headed back so we could beat the sunset.

Poofy!

The guide told us stories about the history of Hawaii all the way back and it was very interesting and made the time pass quickly. There were fewer cars on the road and we were able to go a bit faster. We didn’t get back to the hotel till about 7:30 pm, and we went straight to dinner and had sushi and a yummy dessert that included brownie and banana and macadamia nut ice cream. It was another fairly early night. I was exhausted from the day and HIKING. 

We had plenty of time to pack up and get to the airport and do last-minute shopping. Our flight was at 11:30 and we should be arriving in San Diego around 8 pm. It was bittersweet to leave-there is definitely a lot left to do and see in Maui. We’d love to check out the volcano at sunrise, go to Makena beach, see some more of the towns, do some more water activities like snorkeling or surfing (we’ll save that for the summer), and more. But I can’t wait wait wait to see the kids!!!

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