We even had their mom in on the planning and she continually bugged her boys for their flight itinerary - something they don't normally give her. As we were arriving in Maui several days before them, I took additional measures to throw them off. Blog posts were scheduled to publish in my absence.
Here are 13 highlights (in chronological order and identified in orange) from our tropical paradise vacation!
Thursday 20th ~ Whaler's Village & Lahaina
After a few hours at U'lua Beach, we spent a little time browsing the shops at Whaler's Village in Ka'anapali. DH and Sweetie purchased rash guards - Buddy and I couldn't find one we liked. DH and I then body surfed near Black Rock (Pu'u Keka'a) as the kids played in the sand. The waves were big and it was a blast!
As we walked back to our car, we observed a few geckos sunning themselves on the wall. Surprisingly, Buddy was fast enough to catch one! With Sweetie's sharp eyes and Buddy's quick reflexes - they make a dynamic critter hunting team.
We stopped in Lahaina for burgers at the Cool Cat Cafe (best burgers in Maui) and enjoyed watching the sunset from our table. I picked up a couple of Tshirts at Crazy Shirts, DH bought his first pair of Crocs and we returned to our condo in Kihei.
Friday 21st ~ Hana Road Trip
Surprisingly very little traffic - we felt as though we had the entire drive to ourselves. Beautiful drive, as always, but as I was trying to read aloud from Maui Revealed to share all the secrets, I started to get a little woozy. No more reading for me. "Sweetie, can you pull over so I can get out and breathe a little."
- Black Sands Beach - We have the beach entirely to ourselves. We discover the remnants of a lobster shell, a jellyfish, and a spider guarding the entrance to a sea cave.
- Hamoa Beach - We contemplate boogie boarding but too rough, enjoy our packed lunch and proceed onward.
- Haleakala National Park - Sweetie becomes a Junior Park Ranger.
Our only day of drizzle so I went for a run along the beach. My Garmin must have somehow got turned on en route, however, because my battery was dead! I thereby don't know how far I ran but I'd guess about 4 miles based on time/perceived effort.
Upon my return, I was standing outside our lanai as I cooled down when I heard someone call my name. At first, I thought it was DH but when I looked in our suite, he wasn't present. I hear someone call out again and this time I look up to see, B! "Hey! You're not supposed to know we are here, yet!"
Later that evening, we met Bef, Bar & Kong at the airport - Buddy even held up a sign with Bef's name. They were so confused and surprised. The perfect surprise! :D
We spend the morning on Palauea Beach. Everyone joins us for a short time - - snorkeling, body surfing, sand castles, tide pooling, & fut. Shortly after they leave, a sea turtle (honu) swims to shore and enjoys a meal in just 2-3 feet of water. Sweetie gets to snorkel along side him and get a close up view. Buddy prefers to observe from above.
Tuesday 25th ~ Santa Comes Early
I've always loved the designs of Mikel, a Hawaiian jewelry designer. When I saw this pendant advertised in a magazine, I fell for it immediately. It doesn't conjure up the typical beach or tropical image though Hawaii is famous for the brilliant shooting stars that illuminate the tropical nights. This particular design really spoke to me for several reasons - namely, when we started homeschooling a year ago, Sweetie named our school Twinkling Stars. To me, the 3 stars represent past, present and future as well as the 3 loves of my life.
Wednesday 26th ~
I enjoyed the meal so much that I ordered D.K. Kodama's (Chef/Owner) cookbook, Chronicles from Hawaii: Recipes from Sansei Seafood Restaurant.
Panko Crusted Ahi Sashimi Sushi Roll
We spent the entire day at Po'olenalena Beach with everyone... returned to Condos in afternoon for naps. Enjoyed a delightful dinner at Sansei Sushi. Here's a peak at what I ordered:
Panko Crusted Ahi Sashimi Sushi Roll
Most everyone went on a morning snorkel cruise - the kids and I opted to drive to the I'ao Valley where we explored the Heritage Park and Hawaii Nature Center. Both are enjoyable - but haven't been well maintained.
That evening, everyone enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Mama's Fish House near Pa'ia. What we didn't expect... another surprise. Bef & Bar treated everyone! "Merry Christmas, Loved Ones!" Curious about what I ordered and sampled...
Kona Kampachi & Ahi in a Coconut
Kula Pumpkin & Lobster Soup
Kula Pumpkin & Lobster Soup
Ahi, Onaga & MahiMahi sauteed in Panang Curry and Coconut Milk
Sunday 30th ~ Whale Watch
After Nov 29th, the Pacific Whale Foundation guarantees whale sightings. We thereby took advantage of our long stay, to postpone this until after the 29th. We we confidant that we would see whales, though, as they had been sighted as early as Nov 3rd and were seen en route to Molokini during the snorkel cruise. We were not disappointed! In addition to multiple humback whales (kohola), a pod of bottlenose dophins (nai'a) escorted us back to the harbor. The trip was spectacular!
Monday 1st ~ Volunteer on Vacation
Since my Earthwatch expedition in 2001, I've always looked for other opportunities to get involved. The Pacific Whale Foundation's Volunteer on Vacation program was just what I was looking for - a chance to give back and learn something new about the ecology of the islands. There are many events to choose from - we chose to partner with the South Maui Volunteers on a weed pull, Hoaloha 'aina. We helped maintain a new oceanside trail, pick up litter and remove invasive species.
This beautiful coastal area is great for birdwatching and we were blessed with a chance to see a Wedge-tail Shearwater (ua’u kani) fledging that hadn't yet departed (he still had his downy juvenile feathers on much of his body) as an adult volunteer came across his burrow in a shrub we were removing. We immediately shut down that area and roped it off. This was a surprise as it was assumed all the birds had fledged.
Tuesday 2nd ~ Our Departure
On the day of our departure, we went to U'lua Beach for a remembrance snorkel/swim, but the surf was too strong so we opted for a little pool time instead. We then checked out, spent some time shopping in Wailea and Pa'ia. We enjoyed a fabulous pizza (half Kahlua Pork & half Veggie Pesto) at Flatbread Company in Pa'ia before we boarded.