Hawaii 2022 Wrap Up

Summary: Final thoughts on Hawaii 2022

Well it’s that time again to wrap up blog writing until our next trip. Before we get to that though, there are a few thoughts we have on traveling to Hawaii (or anywhere that far from us really):

  1. Flight times. Why can’t flights both leave and arrive during normal hours? It is really not convenient to arrive at a destination (when you don’t live there) at 10pm or later. Any issues with getting your car rental or ‘checking in’ to your lodging do not get easily resolved during non business hours. Lesson for future 1: arrive before 7pm if at all possible. Search all airlines. Prioritize arrival time not price.
  2. Consecutive travel time. It’s really not reasonable or a great way to start a trip to travel 22 hours from beginning to end without sleeping. Itinerary: 8.15am, leave Niagara on the Lake for YYZ, flight time 12pm. Pick up Marie in Burlington, 9.10am. Drop car off at Park’n’Fly, 10am. Check in / get through security 10.30am. Segment 1 of flight YYZ->YVR 12pm-5.15pm (adjusted time 2.15pm). Wait in Plaza Premium lounge until time to get to our 6.15pm flight (YVR->KOA) via US customs and security. Next flight 6.15pm – 12.30am (adjusted time 9.30pm). Get out of airport terminal and wait for shuttle. Wait for shuttle. Wait for shuttle. John takes full shuttle without luggage to get car. Get an Uber. Get to car rental 1 minute after shuttle & wait for service 10pm. Get car and wait to get out of Alamo 11pm. Drive KOA-> Vista Waikoloa Condo, arrive 11.30pm. Attempt to get into condo 11.30pm-12am. Finally in. Total ‘travel time’ = 21.75 hours. Also note that most of this time was wearing a mask. Not fun. This leads me to Lesson 2: Split up long flights with a hotel overnight somewhere, which may be needed to execute lesson 1 anyway. We did this on the way back and it was much more manageable.
  3. Airline communication. Is it just me or have pilots (/’captains’) totally stopped updating passengers on what is happening a) with the flight b) at the destination? We had a Westjet flight home, YVR->YYZ that circled 4 times and not one announcement about why or when we would be landing. Really none of the pilots on the other 4 flights we took on this trip were very informative either though. No lesson here. Just an observation.
4 circles, the last halfway across Lake Ontario!

4. Luggage. Going forward, when traveling to somewhere that has shopping, I am packing like Jack Reacher, which leads me to Lesson 3: Bring the absolute minimum and buy anything else needed, then throw away or wash when dirty. We did laundry a couple times and had no real need for packed clothing for days 5 through 7. Also, just give up on any kind of ‘formal night’. It’s not worth bringing that stuff (not applicable to this trip).

Luggage sucks. Packing sucks. Carrying it around sucks. Unpacking it to get it through the security check sucks. Trying to stuff it under seats or in overhead storage sucks. Waiting for checked luggage is horrible, no matter what part of your trip is involved. Multiple connecting flights across countries is worse. We made it to Hawaii without having to check a bag, but once we started to purchase ‘essentials’, checking at least one bag was required on the last 3 legs. The final pickup of luggage in YYZ was delayed multiple times for a total of 45 minutes: a) there were no baggage people and b) the conveyer got stuck (I know!). This leads me to Lesson 4: Do not buy anything that doesn’t fit in your carry ons (note: if you follow lesson 3, you should have room for purchased stuff). Do NOT rely on your ‘extra’ bag that you can check. Do not buy an extra bag. Just don’t do it. Lesson 5: You don’t need to buy something from everywhere you go and every gift shop for every activity you do.

Priority on checked luggage helps, but it’s still potentially a long wait for bags

Here’s partly why we had to check bags (and this doesn’t include stuff we brought back for our pet sitters!):

All from places we visited / toured. We can skip Joes Nuts and honey next time 🙂
More must haves… I may have liberated a Kona brewing glass from slavery

With those lessons learned now documented, we are now free to provide an opinion on the non-travel portions of the trip:

Janet’s Comments:

The trip was great. It was fun to meet up with Erin and Blake for the second week and ‘nice’ to have Nasty… er … Marie with us (haha). Hawaii is amazing and like nowhere else we have been. Lava fields are unique. Many of the other activities we did can’t be done anywhere else (some can, granted). We tried to experience everything we could fit into two weeks, even if we had done them before, because Marie hadn’t. We did a great job. We tried to balance this with a little bit of down / unscheduled time as well to relax for a ‘bit’. Relaxing on vacation isn’t really our style though. Mission accomplished. That being said, given how far it is and how much we did see and do, I don’t feel an urgent need to get back there in the near future. I can see us trying out a few more ‘new’ places before we return.

John’s Comments:

What she said, plus: driving there (especially on Big Island) is quite easy due to limited car volumes, speeds and road options. It’s really difficult to get lost and you don’t feel like your rental is at risk like it does in some places like L.A. I agree that we have hit up pretty much everything on the Big Island and Maui for now. The remaining islands have a lot of overlap with the types of activities offered on Maui. Some stuff you can always see again (like the night lava) but agreed we will change it up a bit for the next long trip. How long it takes Pele to wake up and make significant changes to the landscape will likely govern when we return to some degree.

Marie’s comments:

Loved every minute except maybe the getting there in 21.75hrs.

Hawaii Ratings (Mar 23-Apr 8, 2022)

Summary: Average ratings for all activities & restaurants for two weeks

Rating consensus Janet/John/Marie, averages used when agreement couldn’t be made. This will help us plan future trips and answer questions about our ‘favorite’ thing we did.

Big Island

Big Island lodging Vista Waikoloa G306 (VRBO): 4.5

 Big Island lodging Crater Rim Cabin (Direct): 5

Nissan Altima: 4

Shaka Tacos: 4

Ola Brew: 2

Hawaiian Style Café: 5

Kona Brewing Company: 4.5 (lost points for moving our table)

Big Island BrewHaus: 4.5

Tropics Ale House: 3.75 (not amazing but good happy hour deals)

Kilauea Lodge: 5

TukTuk Food Truck: 4.25 (order online in future)

Tex Drive In: 4

Cafe 100: 3 (go to Pineapples next time)

Pineapple magic house: 4

Pu’unalu’u Bakery: 4 (super busy bus showed up)

Kona Natural Soap Factory Tour (incl Coffee, Chocolate) : 5

Big Island Bees: 4

Joe’s Nuts Macademia Farm: 1 (no comment on the nuts themselves, Marie likes the nuts)

Greenwell Coffee Farm: 3 (very weak guide, I still went back and bought coffee here)

Donna’s Cookies: 4

Laupahoehoe Beach Park: 4

Original Hawaiian Vanilla Tour: 4.5

Hāmākua Macadamia Nut Co Store: 5 (friendly, free samples, great selection)

Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site: 4

Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park: 3.5 (rangers absent & audio tour confusion)

Kaloko-Honokohau National Hist Park: 0 (COVID closed)

Wai’pio Valley lookout: 4

Pololu Valley lookout: 4.5 (get there early)

Hawi: 3

Mauna Kea Onizuka Centre: 1 (centre useless and cloudy that day)

Akaka / Kahuna Falls: 4

Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve & Gardens: 5

Rainbow Falls: 3 (upper path closed & must go in morning)

Kaumana Caves State Park: 3

Volcanoes National Park: 5

Punalu’u Black Sand Beach: 3.5 (only one turtle)

Imiloa Astronomy Centre: 3 (not much ‘astronomy’ there)

Pahoa -> Kalapana -> Pohoiki (New lava fields): 4

Isaac Hale State Park: 2.5 (no beach, no people, too long a drive, good to view 2018 lava flow)

Lava Tree State Monument: 3.5

Big Island Candies: 5

Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory: 0 (COVID closed)

Maui

Maui lodging Kauhale Makai Village (VRBO): 4.5

Mahalo Aleworks: 5

Upcountry Sausage Co: 5

Nalu’s: 5

Three’s Grill: 5

Lahaina Grill: 5.5

Monkeypod: 5

Café O’Lei: 5

Upcountry Farmers Market: 4

Pinapple Tour: 5

Maui Cookie Lady: 3 (cookies expensive and not that amazing)

Ali’I Kula Lavendar Farm: 3

Haleakala: 5

Whale watching: 0 (cancelled twice, once wind, once ‘starter’ issue – the whales are likely all gone anyway so no major loss)

Best Stop on Northwest tour: Honolua Bay  

Iao Valley: 3.5

Maui Tropical Plantation: 4

Maui Ocean Centre (Aquarium): 4.5

Surfing Goat Dairy: 3.5

Ocean Organic Vodka: 4.5 (food gets a 5)

Best Beach / snorkeling Maui: Turtle Town (Maluaka beach)

Hawaii Signs 2022

Summary: All types of signs

In the course of driving over two islands, we come across some interesting signs, if not a summary of things we have seen and done. This post is a pile of signs that didn’t make it into other posts, really just for interest. Hawaiians really love their warning signs in particular.

Jazzed up shelter at Black Sand Beach
Look out below!
Down by the ocean, really nowhere near volcanic activity
Covering the loopholes
Many places have historic signs like this
Lots of preserved zones
Love their U turns
Always looks like he’s running toward the wave
No diving in two inches of water
Top one should read: Falling Rocks! (And people ignoring the middle sign)
Common all over
This was the only 3 foot square in the whole garden with no plants
Other side of the same 20 foot viewing area in the next pic
Cover all options
Pretty much impossible to not social distance at Volcanoes Park, but a reminder that it’s still COVID times
More lawsuit coverage and ‘Walls or Roots’ because ‘stalactite’ is too complicated for most
A bunch of things like this since the latest eruption
Always protecting the nene
Trying to save people from themselves
You are not allowed to take anything from anywhere, ever
Lots of dangerous shoreline, most of which really is obvious
Signs range anywhere from 10 to 20 feet (even though this looks like metres)
Where 2018 lava wiped out a pile of homes
Always “Mahalo”
Hand crafted signs added by residents, bottom right one looks like some kind of alien warning

Maui Eats 2022

Summary:  Nalu’s, Mahalo Aleworks, Three’s Grill, Lahaina Grill, Monkeypod (Wailea), Café O’Lei

We ate plenty of great food in Maui, in addition to our scheduled/booked eateries, there were several ‘ad-hoc’ finds that got us through, starting with Havens food truck across from the Kahului Costco, Nalu’s Kihei and Ocean Vodka (no photos, sorry, but do go to these places)! We really can’t complain at all about any of the food we had all week, even the banana bread from the food truck at the Blowhole was delicious. Research pays off.

Nalu’s Grill (Apr 1, 2022)

After arriving in Maui, having a Havens smash burger, finishing our groceries and checking into our condo, the four of us and Wade and Pete agreed upon Nalu’s for drinks and possibly food. Nalu’s is a local favorite and we waited a while, but we were able to have beverages while waiting. It didn’t matter since we were all catching up and chatting, and eventually we were directed to a patio spot.

Unfortunately none of us took photos, but everything we had was very good. We started with plenty of drinks, followed by some food favorites for some of the party. This would have been a repeat location on this trip, if we had any lack of other options to choose from, but unfortunately a return visit will have to wait for the next trip.

Mahalo Aleworks (Apr 2, 2022)

John had done some advance research on local craft breweries and this was one of his picks. Luckily it fit right in with our other activities for the day. Mahalo Aleworks offered both beer and food options – and just in time for lunch. There was a reasonable selection of beer here, most with an IBU rating under 35 which is good for those (like John) who aren’t fans of bitter beer. All 4 samples chosen were enjoyable (but the liliko’i one was the best) and would come back here anytime. There were also a few options in the to-go cooler that weren’t on the big board and they also had the custom can option similar to Kona Brewing. When John researched originally it appeared there were two food cart options but there was only one on this day. That being said, the sausages that were offered were tasty and the cart guy was very accommodating when Janet asked if she could mix and match between topping combos offered.

Lunch Stop
Numbered #4 through #1 from left to right on the card below
#1 was a wheat, #2 and #3 were sours, #4 self-explanatory
Nice, big place with a random eyeing the big board and also outdoor seating and a second floor
Sausages were split down the middle which made them better – good lesson for grilling sausages in future
Where the sausages came from, a cart on the brewery’s patio
Not offered on tap but took it to-go. Was good too, probably a bit better than the liliko’i

Three’s Grill (Apr 3, 2022)

After a lazy day at the Kihei Aquatics Center and the beach, the four of us agreed upon Three’s Grill for dinner, after going through several options, checking trip advisor and reviewing our blog from our last Maui trip in 2018. We waited a few minutes to get in (with a weird/rude check-in lady bossing us around – literally didn’t like where we were standing), but secured an outdoor spot under the massive tree beside the parking lot. I didn’t get photos of everything (or I can’t find them), but both the food and drinks were enjoyed by all!

Three’s drink menu
Who can remember what we got? l’ilikoi lady, ?, Lime n da coconut
Three’s food menu
John’s coconut crusted fish sandwich
Janet’s noodles with added chicken

Lahaina Grill – Apr 4, 2022

Once the Hawaii trip was booked, I knew I wanted to book Lahaina Grill for Erin’s 50th celebration dinner, so it was booked months ago. With the addition of Marie, I had to adjust the reservation and we had to go for an early dinner at 5. As expected though, dinner at Lahaina Grill was amazing… and as an added bonus, Marie paid! Lahaina Grill gets a lot of photos because we had a lot and it was all excellent. Service from Buddy (Barbara) was top notch, absolutely the best of the vacation!

After we ordered, Janet and John discovered that they ordered more or less the same entrees as on our last visit in 2018… Hmm.

Cocktails pretty pricy
Most expensive of this trip
Delicious Bee Sting, all local ingredients
The always delicious fresh warm bread and garlic butter. We were offered extra when the apps came to soak up the sauce. Pro-tip: accept!
App of Wagyu Beef Ravioli
App of Goat Cheese Salad
John’s Maui Mule
Marie’s MahiMahi
Erin’s Ahi Tuna
John’s Meatballs (and pasta)
Shared side of Broiled tomatoes – like candy, so good
Janet’s Beef Side Rib
Dessert combo – you pick 4 ‘small’ versions of their desserts
Birthday pie from Lahaina
For Marie – when you credit card bill comes :0
Enjoying cocktails

Monkeypod – Apr 5, 2022

A favorite of Erin, we went here for happy hour (/early dinner) after our half day at the Plantation and Ioa Valley. There are deals on cocktails and food, we had plenty of both including dessert (banana, coconut and chocolate cream pie slices, not pictured) such that no dinner was required.

The cocktails, pizza, fries and desserts were delish! Erin got a birthday slice complementary. Sherry provided excellent service (and just bought a property in Hula!) Monkeypod will remain on the go-to list.

Cute sign
Pizza’s $12USD during happy hour, other non-seafood apps at a discount too
Cocktails, $4 off during happy hour
Marguerita
Hawaiian – Pineapple & Kahlua Pork, uncooked Jalapenos on the side

Café O’Lei – Apr 6, 2022

Erin wanted to go here for a nice meal, inviting her hosts who are super fun and knowledgeable about the food scene in Maui. We agreed that Cafe O’Lei looked like it had a nice menu, so accepted beforehand to go along (reserved weeks in advance). Everyone enjoyed their cocktails and meals and would go back for sure!

Marie’s Mai Tai
Janet’s Aloha Maid
Blake’s Pineapple Ginger Mojito
Pete’s standing order here
The cocktails…
Apps – we tried 4 of these
Pricy but doesn’t match Lahaina Grill’s prices
Table – lettuce wraps
Table – mushroom
Table – papaya salad (incl shrimp)
John’s French onion soup
John and Blake opted for short rib
Janet’s beef tenderloin
Marie’s fish dish
Erin’s fish dish
Pete’s shrimp and pasta dish
Wade’s coq au vin
Erin’s complementary birthday ‘brownie’!
Janet and John’s chocolate cake
Blake’s coffee creme brule

Maui Sleeps – Kauhale Makai (Apr 1-Apr 8, 2022)

Summary: 7 nights at Kauhale Makai Village (VRBO) – Unit 1xx

Pictorial Overview

5 min drive to the pool or grocery store, very central (we learned our lesson that Safeway was too far to walk with groceries… 30 mins)

Described as follows:

1BD 1 Bath sleeps 4 Serene, sunny, renovated oceanfront condo in north Kihei

Serene, sunny, renovated AIR CONDITIONED oceanfront condo in Central Kihei, renovated oceanfront condo has all the comforts of home and all the amenities of a vacation getaway. One bedroom KING SIZE BED/1 bath condo sleeps up to 4 persons. Sleeper queen sofa purchased July 2018 sleeps 2. Secure wireless internet access, 2 new cable large Flat Screen TVs, central A/C and Parking Space.

Terrific location for the complex, centrally located between Lahaina, Wailea and Kahului airport. Azeka shopping area is close by for restaurants, shopping and sports stores.

The complex at Kauhale Makai’ Villages by the Sea’ offers a swimming pool, spa pool, kiddie pool, picnic area with gas-grill-BBQs, convenient and clean laundry facilities. It also has a putting green, volleyball court and shuffleboard. Tennis courts are next door to the complex. Great windsurfing is right off the beach from the complex. The lobby staff is helpful. Open Mon thru Sat from 10am to 4 pm and there is a night security staff.

The remolded kitchen is fully equipped. The bathroom is finished with Italian porcelain tile and all new fixtures. The bedroom has a high quality king-size bed, large TV, and a peaceful, romantic ambience. The living room has a new queen sofa sleeper . Watch the ocean, have breakfast or dinner on the lanai, stroll to the beach to watch the sun set over the Pacific.

This inviting ground floor unit is on the sunny, private, wind-protected south side of building, away from foot traffic, street and pool noise. Nice landscaping and partial view of the ocean from the lanai, easy access to your vehicle. Direct entry to the unit, no stairs or elevator, yet the location feels private and out of the way.

Our Impression:

Everything as described in the VRBO listing was accurate. Entry to the unit was easy, with a keyless pad on the door, the code provided well in advance. Such a refreshing change from the Waikoloa unit. Parking was also easy, even with a bulky boat of a vehicle (Chrysler Pacifica) – we never had an issue with not enough parking spots.

The unit was quite large (large enough for at least the three of us) and it was conveniently located on the first floor. I wasn’t sure I would like a first floor unit – there is really no view, other than of the parked cars, but it really didn’t matter and was super easy to get to the car. Marie spent a lot of time reading on the lanai and quite enjoyed it. Roughnecks were not a concern in this area and the beach wasn’t great for the average beach goer and a good walk from the parking lot, so there weren’t a lot of randoms walking around.

Since we discovered the Kihei aquatic center, there wasn’t a need for us to use the condo pool, which was pretty small. Also we ate out for most meals other than breakfast, so the BBQ zone wasn’t used by us. We did go to the beach several times and used the unit’s umbrella, chairs, beach towels and boogie boards. The cooler was used daily. Wifi was fast, it was easy to upload photos for the blog. We used the AC most of the time while in the unit and always turned it off when not (per owner request and high electricity prices in HI). It didn’t take long to cool it down. At this time of year we may have been able to get away with opening doors/screens to cool it down, but that isn’t really an option on the main level overnight. Marie said the sofa-bed was comfortable.

No complaints about this place, we would definitely stay again. It was also nice to be in one place for the full 7 days were were in Maui. Our only other ‘comment’ is that the dining room table and chairs were a bit overwhelming for the size of the area. Smaller table and chairs would increase the walk-around space. For 7 nights in April we paid $2040USD ($291.50 /night all in). This is cheaper than a hotel plus we had more space and ability to cook meals (true, so many good restaurants… but it was good for breakfast/brunch cooking).

The back lawn, walk over this to the beach
View from the beach
Beach is a touch rocky, but if you wanted to you could use this to sunbathe (clear some rocks) and it is fine for walking with shoes or flipflops…
But nice sunset views
Pool and kiddie pool, hot tub over near the BBQ zone
BBQ zone
Courtyard – where the doors to the units are and the area that joins the two buildings
Reasonable, fully stocked kitchen
First floor lanai, pleasant to sit on, Marie spent most of her time here when not sleeping
Decent sized bedroom with a king bed – I agree, I could have taken a better photo, but you get the idea!
See? Too big for both the ‘dining room’ chairs and ‘breakfast bar’ chairs. Really no need for a breakfast bar. We moved things around to make it work better for us.

Maui Drives – Chrysler Pacifica (Apr 1-Apr 8, 2022)

Summary: Our Chrysler Pacifica from Budget

Pictorial Overview

This doesn’t capture everywhere we went, but close – we skipped Road to Hana this time and the south side of the island really isn’t drivable.

This one was a little easier to pick up than our week one rental on Big Island, as Blake and Erin already had it and used it for their first week here ($750CAD). They had no problem picking us up at the airport and we had a quick trip back to Budget (at the airport) to get John added to the policy. It was more economical and made sense to share a car for the week we were all on the island. Gas for the week was around $150USD at approximately 4.75/gallon (Costco).

The van had lots of space and comfortable seating even when we had up to seven adults inside for the odd trip. It was definitely a smoother and more comfortable ride than the Altima. Marie also (not surprisingly) found this much easier to get in and out of. The A/C also worked well, even in the back, which had separate controls.

Being a little larger it was a bit more difficult to fit in some of the space saver parking spots on the island though. Occasionally, we’d have to pull out so the front passenger could get in but we managed. We didn’t even have much trouble on the one lane sections of old 340.

We would rent this again if the need for that much seating ever arises again.

Made it to the top of the mountain (aka Haleakala)

Maui – Day 7 (Apr 7, 2022) – Ocean Vodka & Surfing Goats

Summary:  Ocean Organic Vodka, Surfing Goat Dairy

After doing the research, it seemed like there were a lot of interesting activities in the upcountry that we didn’t have time for if we just lounged around at the pool and/or played tennis.  So another day of touring upcountry was organized. Erin and Blake’s friend Pete has an inside track with Ocean Organic Vodka, so we were happy to take advantage of that and have him join us for the day.

Janet, John and Marie did get our swim in at the Kihei Aquatic Centre today before heading out.

Pictorial Overview

Pretty short day on the road at an hour total – winding down on the driving on our last full day of this Hawai’i vacation

Ocean Organic Vodka / Hawaii Sea Spirits

On the way to upcountry (not full upcountry), sits Ocean Organic Vodka on a 45 acre farm. We were able to do a tour/tasting ($14.40USD) after booking just a day in advance. The “tour” was informative, although short, and there was no entry into the buildings as we have had on other similar tours. The big difference is they actually desalinate ocean water on the Big Island and bring it over to Maui so that the non-salt minerals are maintained in the water, producing a unique profile for the liquors produced. The real reason to do the tour is for the tastings. Not usually a rum person, I did like the coconut rum and purchased one to bring back ($25USD/750ml) since currently only the vodka is available in Canada (and they do not ship from the retail store). The vodka was good too, but we can easily get that at the LCBO.

In addition to the tour/tasting, we had a few cocktails and some lunch right outside on the grass, with amazing views of the mountain across the way. We could see all of central Maui, from Kihei to Kahului. It was such a serene environment! They did a really great job in landscaping.

The entrance
Entrance succulents with sugarcane and mountain in background
Different types of sugar cane grown over the years for historic purposes
Pu’u Kukui in the distance – such amazing views!
Tasting on the go. Has Blake’s full attention.
The origin of the vodka bottle, balls used as buoys to hold fishing nets back in the day
Relaxing afterward, Marie receiving urgent messages from her agent
More apple bananas that we will miss after tomorrow’s breakfast banana

Surfing Goat Dairy

Who isn’t curious about a Surfing Goat? Well at Surfing Goat Dairy ($18USD/casual tour) you can get your fill of goats and goat info. We didn’t do the tour, we just saw goats and kids (and ate truffles). They weren’t exactly surfing, but were using surfboards for playing. It was a cute stop and conveniently the farm over from Ocean Vodka, so worth a quick look.

Check in for the tour plus gift shop.
Kids having fun
History of the goat farm, including the name
Really tiny guys
Boxing of the 12 truffles ($28USD) John bought to distribute, instead of the $18USD each

And, some pics from our 30 minute beach walk from our condo, in increasingly windy conditions:

Right outside our lanai door… a bit of a walk to the beach
Disturbed some ducks having a nap
Beach is a bit rocky.. a sure sign this ISN’T resort zone
Lana’i on the left/rear, Pu’u Kukui on the right / foreground
Even windier at the end of the walk

Maui – Day 6 (Apr 6, 2022) – Snorkeling & Maui Ocean Centre

Summary:  Snorkeling, ‘Whale Watching’, Maui Ocean Center

Pictorial Overview

just north of Maluaka beach is called ‘Turtle Town’ – they hang out there in numbers

The last few days we have started out by swimming at the local pool and today was supposed to be the same. However, we arrived to find out that extra cleaning happens on Wednesdays and it doesn’t open until 10am. So, the lane swim was cancelled as we headed over to Maluaka Beach for a couple hours of snorkeling before our rescheduled whale watch.

Snorkeling – Maluaka Beach

It was a bit of a swim around a couple of rocky/lave points to the best snorkel area, and while we didn’t have an underground camera, we did manage to gather pics of some of what we saw later in the day (more on that below). Also a tour guide from the Malalo (our afternoon whale watch boat), who was supervising a bunch of snorkelers that they brought out, offered to clean Janet’s snorkel mask – that was super nice as it was getting a bit foggy. He also pointed out where the sea turtles were hanging.

Coral and fish
Sea turtles

Whale Watching

Our cancelled whale watching ($50USD) from April 3rd was rescheduled for today. This time it was…..cancelled again! It seems that whale watching was not in the cards for this trip as a mechanical issue on the boat halted us today (even though we saw it with the snorkelers in the morning, hmmmm). So, our whale watch was replaced with (conveniently immediately adjacent to the Snorkel Bob’s where the whale tour was to start)….

Maui Ocean Center

This Maui Ocean Center ($50USD) is a nice thing to do if you want to get out of the heat and if your whale watch tour next door is cancelled. It’s seems like a small area but there is a lot more there than you’d think. Included is a 3D movie on humpback whales, shark exhibits, turtle lagoon, shark pup tank, an underwater tunnel similar to Ripley’s in Toronto, among other exhibits, videos and aquariums. Plus, they have Dole Whip there, which we had only seen in Lahaina on this trip and it wasn’t convenient that day. It was worth it, we spent about 2.5hours here (could have been longer, but parking meter was expiring).

Outside signage
Entrance to the whale section
Plenty of different zones
Some of the coral an fish in the outdoor zone
Jellyfish
Some aquarium art
Mini-sub
Even more mini on the inside
Giant ray
Da, da. Da, da., Da, da, da….
Shrimp and a seahorse
Sea turtle lagoon
The infamous dole whip. Don’t get me started on the different coloring

Maui – Day 5 (Apr 5, 2022) – Maui Tropical Plantation & Iao Valley

Summary:  Maui Tropical Plantation, Iao Valley, Monkeypod

Another day out and about central Maui with a modified agenda due to conditions.

Pictorial Overview

Quite a short driving day for us

Sea Turtle

Erin saw this guy on the way home from her walk so we stopped to check him out before we picked her up.

In a nutshell, stay away from the turtles
Chilling on the beach
Interesting truck at the parking lot

Maui Tropical Plantation

We decided to change things up and do this first since we dropped Twin Falls from the agenda due to reported trail conditions (super muddy). So, the first stop of the day became the Maui Tropical Plantation ($25USD) to do the train tour around the plantation. Interestingly, we could not book online, so asked the agent at the booth. He booked us in for $100USD cash, then when the time came to do the tour 30 min later, we weren’t on the list. When we asked him, he said we were and walked us over to the train. I think he has a side hustle going on there. Anyway, we got our tour.

The elusive nene on site
Some kind of heron lurking
How to open a coconut
Carvings made on site
Sugar cane field, previously a major Maui industry, but the last processing plant closed in 2016
Papaya trees

Iao Valley

Our second (and final) stop of the day was the Iao Valley State Monument ($10USD parking + $5USD/pp). One of the wettest places in the world and location of probably the deadliest battle in Hawaiian history. It’s not a long stop, has a couple of lookouts and not much hiking but a few steps. It’s amazing how many people will pay to travel all the way to Hawaii, but $10USD for parking is just too much and they’d rather park way down the road and walk back.

View toward the mountains, the peak in the middle was a sacred site
Back toward town, omitting the parking lot which wrecks the view
After a walk down a few stairs

Paia Tour & Lunch

Decided not to go here but to MonkeyPod restaurant for happy hour instead. This will be covered in a separate post.

Twin Falls

Reported conditions were wet and muddy and that you should bring an extra pair of shows. Since we weren’t going to to that, it was off the list.

Maui – Day 4 (Apr 4, 2022) – Northwest Maui & Lahaina

Summary:   Counter Clockwise Tour of Northwest Maui with Stops, Lahaina town, Lahaina Grill

Another early start to the day in order to maximize the walks/trails we can do before getting to Lahaina grill for our 5pm reservation (covered in a separate post).

Pictorial Overview

A slow drive up until the Blowhole counterclockwise, then normal driving

Northwest Coastal Drive

Starting in Kihei, we drove to the other side of the island and then Counter clockwise along the North coast to Lahaina, where we had dinner reservations at Lahaina Grill at 5pm.  We figured we could make the stops longer or shorter as needed to make sure we made it on time for our dinner.

Olivine Pools

Our first stop of the day was the Olivine Pools. This however, was preceded by a drive along route 3400 which is windy and as narrow as a single lane in places. Our “Gypsy Guide” was emphatic that we not travel this way as if we were embarking on the Highway to Hell. We ignored his advice and went that direction anyway. The road surface was fine/freshly paved and we encountered few cars along the way, occasionally stopping to allow one to pass. Slow going, but the drive was fine <Janet: a little stressful>. After about an hour we arrived at stop number 1.

Watch where you park around here
Again, more warnings to stop out journey, John wore an appropriate shirt for the drive. Some people had died while ‘enjoying’ the pools.
Blake was ambitious enough to head to a pool
And, get in a pool
View from the pool area. No risk of being bombarded by waves.

Ohai Trail

Next up was the Ohai Trail which is essentially an overlook to the ocean. There is a 1 mile, no elevation gain trail, which we skipped because it didn’t really appear that it would be any better than the simple access lookout.

View from the simple access lookout
Foiled in our attempt to get banana bread. The “Open” sign was lit up but there was nobody there.

Nakalele Blowhole

From this point onward, the road was back to two lanes and easy sailing and in short order we arrived at the blowhole. Much more crowded at this stop, there was almost nobody at the first two, but to be fair, most people were coming from the opposite direction. We walked to the overlook to see the blowhole but didn’t feel it was worthy to make the trek on down to see it up close. Plus, it seemed unlikely that Marie would enjoy the hike.

Blowhole in action
An open bread stand at this stop (which we ate ate the next one)!

Honolua Bay

Next on the list was the bay for swimming and snorkling maybe another 30 minutes down the road. We stopped here for some time while John, Blake, and Erin went snorkeling. Janet and Marie stayed on shore to observe chicken antics.

Love their signs in Hawaii
Honolua Bay from the lookout. Tour boats already here (~11am)
From the ‘beach’ – snorkeling in progress.
The afore mentioned chickens

Dragon’s Teeth (Makaluapuna Point)

After a small bit of searching and some misguided directions from the GPS we were able to find the Dragon’s Teeth. There is a narrow path between the golf course and some sacred Hawaiian land that allows the trip from parking to the shoreline.

The teeth! Formed by lava encountering punishing waves while reaching the shoreline
Surfers on the adjacent beach (Fleming beach)

After finishing here we travelled to the Mala Historic Wharf where there wasn’t anything to see, then headed into Lahaina to walk around, tour some shops, and have a drink at Tommy Bahamas before dinner at Lahaina Grill.