Maui Recap

My Maui vacation posts are up now. It took me a while to go through the pictures, to type everything up, to mix the pics in with the text, then fix up the mess I made. The mess was simple in retrospect. In a fit of confusion I realized I somehow lost a days post, and the rest of them had bumped up a day. Any way, the mess is sorted out now.

All the posts are in the Maui 2007 category.

Here they are in chronological order.

Heading to Maui

Maui Welcome

Tropical Plantation Tour

Sunrise and the Aquarium

Snorkeling and a Lahaina Trip

Minigolf and Iao Valley

Local Markets and Haleakala

The Final Day

The Final Day

Day 8 – Saturday November 10

The final day. So sad. We needed to hit the beach one last time. Sprout had such a great time playing in the sand, and in the surf. He would get his little feet wet, then run away when a wave came by. It was pretty cute to watch.

This day I was finally able to get him into the water. I did the Grand ol Dukes of York song from swimming classes and tossed him pretty high up in the air. He kept saying “again, again”. So much fun.

When beach time was finished, it was time to head back and pack up. The vacation was winding down, but the traveling home was just starting. I relaxed a little while Sprout napped, while Sox, mom, and my sister went and did a little last minute shopping. When Sprout was up, we got busy packing, and that was when my sister discovered that she had too much weight in her bag. It was off to the mall for her and I so she could buy a new bag.

We were at Macy’s and while leaving the store after she bought the bag, I spotted a digital picture frame. I almost caved. I have wanted one for such a long time, and it was so tempting. It was a 9″ Pandigital on sale for $180 USD. I still regret not grabbing one. 🙁

The flight home was long. It started late, went all night, and was very tiring. Sprout only slept about 2.5 hours of the flight, and was awake for the rest of the night. He only gor upset once on the flight, and he was pretty loud but who could blame him. Back in Vancouver we retrieved our car from the park and fly, then headed for the ferry. We missed the 7, but got there in plenty of time for the 9. We were all zombies on the ferry, but it quickly passed and soon we were back in our own home. I was a great feeling to be there.

We said goodbye to my mom and sister, then got settled back into home. A friend of Sox’s house sat for us. As I poked in the fridge to see what food we had so I could go do a little shop for dinner, I found the our house sitter had left us a dinner that all we had to do was heat and eat. Such a wonderful thing to come home to.

And this ends the Maui vacation.

Local Markets and Haleakala

Day 7 – Friday November 9

The day was still up in the air, but we all agreed on checking out some of the local markets. In Kihei we dropped off my mom and sister while Sox, Sprout and I continued on to a playground for him. Sprout wasn’t that interested in playing by himself, so he sort of clung to mum or dad. It was pretty warm for him, and the playground wasn’t 100% shaded. Some of the structures felt a little warm. Still, he wasn’t interested in anything there.

We packed it in after a half hour or so and headed back to catch up with my mum and sister. Sox and I poked around a bit, then headed up the road another market place. This open air market was great. There were lots of little shops in a small area, and 1/3 of them had some cool trinkets, while the rest were filled with typical touristy clothing.

After getting out fill of shopping, we needed to eat. We were right beside Bada Bing!, an italian restaurant. We popped in for a bite to eat, then I retrieved the van, picked everyone up, then we headed back to the condo for nap time.

My mom and sister were scheduled to do their underwater tour this day, but it was again postponed due to the water conditions. After a quick discussion and a consult of weather conditions, we all agreed that this was the day for Haleakala! Yahoo, volcano time.

Once Sprout was up from his nap, we gathered our snacks, and once again piled into the van (the van was pretty awesome for transporting us around, but I wouldn’t want one for every day driving).

Once past the airport the road took a distinct upwards turn. We past a construction trailer where one end was up on a four foot tall block, while the other end was basically on the ground. It was pretty cool to watch our progress to the top in terms of altitude. Around 5000 feet we hit the lush, green rolling hills used for farmland.

Then we got into the cloud layer. We could see it coming, and I was expecting to find the road completely socked in, but what we found was interesting. We were in the clouds, but it was not right on the road surface. Once we broke through the cloud layer, and were above the clouds, we were in a different land. It was much more rocky and felt very desolate.

We got the the park entrance and paid the fee to get in. Right there we saw some Nene birds. These are rare birds that inhabit higher altitudes. We continued up a ways and stopped at the visitor’s centre which had just closed for the day. I saw a couple more Nene’s, but was unable to get a picture because they were hiding in the shadows.

We kept driving higher and higher, while the road got more and more scary. The landscape got steeper and steeper with the road still doing cray switchbacks. There were also a lot fewer guardrails, and the corners that did have them had tiny rails. I was a little nervous on the drive up, which made me really nervous for the drive down.

We had lots of time, and our guide book mentioned that it was a very good idea to stop at the Leleiwi Lookout. There was a short but easy trail that goes to the lookout. Rounding the final corner we were greeted with a huge crater, and a few small cinder cones in the middle. Wow. Such a foreign and interesting landscape. Like many places I have visited, I could have spent hours photographing the area. It was definitely cool here.

We continued on to the top, and upon exiting the van found that it was windy, very windy. I poked around a bit, took a few pictures, chased Sprout around, and waited for the sun to go down. The sun dove for the horizon quite quickly. I got as many pictures as I could before I froze my butt off. Watching the sun set into the clouds was an amazing experience. The guide book recommended the sunset over the sunrise, and I am so happy we made this trip over the early morning one.

After too short a time we started our trip down. I was driving, and took it very slow, pulling over a few times to let others pass. The drive was a little hairy, but we got down just fine. A quick dinner at McDonalds, and the day was done.

Minigolf and Iao Valley

Day 6 – Thursday November 8

This morning started with a picture outing for myself. I wanted to get down to the beach in front of our condo but the gate was locked! Weird. I was able to get around the obstacle and get some nice shots while the rest of the gang woke up and ate breakfast.

The next thing on the agenda was a beach visit for myself, Sox, Sprout, and my mom. Sprout loved playing in the sand and still didn’t want to get in the water with me. Funny little boy.

The afternoon plan was to drive up Haleakala and watch the sunset. We checked the weather and it did not look good. The top of the volcano is over 10,000 feet and it was totally socked in. There was no way were were going to drive for 2 hours on the off chance that the clouds would part before we got there. We ended up canceling that trip. I was pretty disappointed since it looked like that would mean we wouldn’t get go at all. My mom and sister had a tour planned for Thursday afternoon and we had plans for Friday afternoon as well.

While Sprout was napping my sister and I looked into booking a heli tour of the island. We checked out a bunch of the tourist advertising pamphlets and found a couple tours that we were interested in. We ended up calling Alex Air because we saw an ad for a interesting looking tour that was $122. My sister was on hold for quite a while and when they finally found some seats on a flight that we could make she went to pay, and found out each seat would be $220. Apparently the ad was for an early bird special. We we supposed to have booked early, and it was for a dinner time flight. The ad never mentioned any of that. I was extremely unhappy. It just seemed like such a scam. Very, very lame.

Sox, me, and my sister then played mini golf. This was a lot of fun, and was perhaps the most beautiful mini golf course I have ever seen.

One of the things I had read about and really wanted to see was the Iao Valley. It was a fairly short drive from the condo, and turned out to be a most amazing sight. The valley walls were extremely steep and lush, lush, lush. While driving to the park we rounded a bend in the road and a couple cats scampered across the road. Weird.

At the valley parking lot there were a lot of feral cats. It was pretty weird to see 8-10 cats lounging on a hill staring at us as we walked by. The park was full of cats.

The gardens at the park were pretty amazing. Lots of gorgeous plants and flowers, a nice river, and some ponds and pools. The Iao Needle was awesome as well. A very tall, freestanding spire covered in vegetation. Unfortunately my pictures cannot do this park justice. The clouds were so bright, and the vegetation so dark, the camera could not properly expose a picture. I could have spent days in this one tiny park if I had all my camera gear. We saw some other wildlife in the park too. As we were walking along, a couple rats fell out of a tree. We also saw a feral rooster hanging out with some of the cats.

Dinner that night was at the Saigon Cafe, a Vietnamese restaurant. One of the guide books recommended this place and gave very explicit instructions on how to get there. The reason? There is no sign outside indicating the name of the place. The great thing about Vietnamese is that food is prepared very quickly. Besides being fast, the food was excellent. So yummy.

Snorkeling and a Lahaina Trip

Day 5 – Wednesday November 7

Sox and I wanted to go snorkeling one morning while we were there so my mom offered to watch Sprout while we went. We hit Snorkel Bobs for directions on where to go. We had gear from the condo, but it wasn’t very good gear. The lady at the shop was very helpful, and we headed to the beach near the Maui Prince Hotel. I had heard from someone else that this was a good beach to swim at so we were settled.

Once there the surf seemed reasonable, so in we went. We were hoping to see some coral, some fish, and hopefully some turtles. After visiting the aquarium and after our snorkel trip in Mexico we had high hopes. We were a little disappointed in what we saw, but it was still really fun to float around in the water. We saw a few fish, and some coral formations, but the colors really weren’t that vibrant. In retrospect the tanks at the aquarium have special lighting to really bring out the colors. Like I said though, it was still fun to be out in the water floating along.

After meeting up with the rest of our troup, and getting cleaned up and changed, we then headed to Lahaina to do some shopping. The plan was for Sprout to nap in the van while we drove. That never happened. He never napped the whole day. That wasn’t good. Sox and I finished our shopping (including a stop at Hilo Hattie’s). Sox and I then drove to Napili beach to try and entice Sprout to nap, but he never did. We ended up just heading to the condo, still without napping.

That night Sox and I sat on the beach in the dark, and listened to the sound of the waves crashing on the beach. Wow. Warm breeze, and surf crashing just a few feet from us. Such a magical experience, and I am so glad Sox and I got to share that.

Sunrise and the Aquarium

Day 4 – Tuesday November 6

Tuesday morning I woke up early and couldn’t get back to sleep. I got up while everyone else was still in bed, and was struck with an amazing sight. One of the most spectacular sunrises greeted me. I grabbed my camera and snapped a few pictures. The colors were so rich and amazing I was dumbfounded.

The plan for this day was to do something that Sprout would enjoy. What were we going to do? The local aquarium (local being two blocks from our condo). Enjoy it he did. He ran from tank to tank exclaiming fish, more fish. The display were pretty amazing. The shark tank was a huge glass wall with some pretty deep water for them to swim in. The next room was a tunnel where the rays and other large fish could swim right over your head. Amazing.

Outside there was a turtle tank, and a hammerhead tank. The tanks where you could reach in and touch the animals were pretty cool, but Sprout would have nothing to do with them. The only disappointing part was the mammal display. I wasn’t expecting any live animals since that would have been pretty sad to see them in captivity, but the display was pretty minimal. Sprout enjoyed this section though, all due to the interactive displays.

Too soon we were done and it back to the condo for Sprouts nap.

Myself, my mom, and my sister then headed to the mall again for lunch, and some more shopping. While there we saw a very, very weird guy. He was dressed in the brightest red clothing I have ever seen and walked up to random people and tried to start a conversation. Weird. I poked around in the mall, bought some shirts, and marveled at the Christmas display.

Back at the condo Sox and I got changed and headed out to the beach for some sun and some swimming. We hit Kamaole Beach which was awesome. The surf was pretty big from the storm, and I tried my hand at body surfing. Wow, was that ever fun. I caught at least half a dozen good waves that took me right in to the beach. I got slammed hard a couple times too, and that really wasn’t fun. The surf pounded salt water into my sinuses. Yeuck.

While I was getting cleaned up at the condo I had a shower. While drying I reached down to grab my towel and when I stood up saltwater streamed from my nose. Again with the yeuck. That was a weird feeling.

For dinner we drove to Lahaina. We at dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant. This restaurant chain was inspired by the Forrest Gump movie and many of their dishes were created based off the movie. I had the Shrimpers heaven which was coconut shrimp, peel n eat shrimp, tempura shrimp, and one other kind. There were some amazing dipping sauces, and it came with fries. If you like shrimp, then this was the meal for you.

Sprout did really good at the restaurant but it was time to get back for him to go to bed.

Tropical Plantation Tour

Day 3 – Monday November 5

The morning arrived, and I didn’t really feel any jet lag effects, but I was a little more tired than normal. After eating a yummy breakfast, we headed out the Maui Tropical Pantation for their tour. Our plan was to get there soon after they opened to try and beat the crowds.

Their tour consists of an interpreted tram ride around their grounds, and includes a stop with a coconut husking demonstration. The grounds were beautiful, and there were lots of gorgeous tropical plants. I could have spent lots of time there with my camera equipment. Entrance to the grounds was free, but the tour cost money.

Our tour guide we had was hilarious. She kept using the word trippy, and reference a couple icky looking bugs she saw. She seemed local so it was odd she was so grossed out by the local bugs. I suppose I am grossed out by some of the bugs at home though.

We had lunch at the plantation restaurant, then headed back to the condo for nap time. While Sprout was napping, Sox and I took a dip in the pool which was deliciously cool, and very refreshing. I don’t think Sox enjoyed it as much as I did, but I liked getting a little chilled to cool me down. The pool water was cooler than the ocean water. Definitely not something I am used to from home.

Maui Welcome

Day 2 – Sunday November 4

Sunday was going to be a chillaxin kind of day. Catch up on sleep, relax, let ourselves (and Sprout) adjust to the warm humid weather. Of course it was raining so this allowed us to stay inside, and not feel guilty about it. The wind, and rain are both warm though and that is such a change from home. That is one of the most amazing feelings that I love: a nice warm wind.

We all climbed into the van and took a little drive. We ended up at the Queen Ka’ahumanu Mall which was really interesting. Besides being a normal mall filled with the types of stores I would expect at home, this was an open air mall. It was still warm and rainy outside, but inside it was just warm. The birds flit about inside, and chirp loudly. Sprout loved that.

Sox, Sprout and I took a load off at the Starbucks while my mom and sister did some shopping. After our little snack we toured a bit of the mall, and found a cool toy store that Sprout loved. They have a huge Thomas play table for all the kids to use and Sprout was fascinated with it. After a little tiff with another boy (Sprout did not start it), we hit the mall and found a shoe store with some excellent prices.

After collecting Gramma and Auntie our next stop was Foodland for some grocery shopping. This little chain store had the most amazing seafood display I have seen including a large (by my standards) section of whole fresh fish. Beauty. We stocked up for the week and headed back to the condo for the munchkins nap.

Once refreshed we wanted to see a beach so we drove back to Kihei and found a nice sandy beach and watched the sun go down. It turned out to be a gorgeous sunset, and I was kicking myself for not bringing my big camera. Thankfully I had my little camera. I even tried my hand at some panorama shots.

With the sun down, and the light fading fast, we piled back in the van and headed back to the condo for a pasta dinner. Mmm. Sprout ate topless and ended up with spagettini all over him. We are still finding bits of it on the floor.

Heading to Maui

Day 1 – Saturday November 3

What a long, long day. We got on the 11 am ferry after some frustrations with the ferry reservation system, and that part of the trip was fine. Sprout enjoyed the ability to stretch his legs. Then it was off to the airport and onto the plane. Sprout did awesome on the plane despite the fact that he did not nap until the last hour and a half of the flight. By this time it was around 8:30 Victoria time. When we landed he woke up and sure was spacey.

The coolest thing about the flight was seeing a lightning storm beside us. It seemed quite far away (not far enough for Sox), and it was spectacular. The cloud would light up from within, flicker then go dark again. This repeated lots in the short time we could see it.

After gathering our luggage, we grabbed our rental car from National. Neither Sue nor I were in any sort of my to deal with the way too chipper sales dude who tried to upsell us on everything. Then there was some confusion on where the tether for our carseat went and none of the staff was helpful at all. The Chevy Uplander we rented didn’t have a tether point, and it was the biggest vehicle they had on the lot (necessary for four adults, one toddler, and all the associated luggage).

After getting that squared away we headed to the condo which turned out to be awesome. Three bedrooms, two of them loft style, two bathrooms, a kitchen, and enough supplies and activities to keep us all busy. Also, this condo is beach front. Wow, such an amazing view form our lanai (deck), but when we arrived it was pitch black so we couldn’t see the water at all, but we could certainly hear lots of waves.

Sox got Sprout settled and into bed (now 11:00 pm Victoria time), and my mom and I headed out to get some supplies for breakfast the next morning. The first direction I took was towards Lahaina, but I quickly realized we wouldn’t find much along the way. After getting myself turned around we headed towards Kihei, and found a convenience store chain called ABC Stores. Shopping was interesting. They had a lot of the same things that we would in our stores, but things are always just a little different than at home. Their potato chip selection was more limited than I was used to for one.Just little things that you take for granted at home.

That ended a very long and tiring day 1.

Vacation Home

Welcome back to life.

We just got back from vacation yesterday morning, and I miss Maui already. I have some more posts on this later, but I just wanted to say this: I am so glad our flight was on Saturday night. It was tough to stay awake most of the night only to have to get on the 9am ferry to get home. I was feeling pretty gross, but upon hearing that this morning some of the ferry sailing were cancelled due to wind, I am glad it all worked out the way it did.

On that note, nice welcome home. A fine west coast storm. Cold biting wind, and heavy pounding rain. And Yoshi is clamouring for a walk. 🙁