We’ve had quite an exciting couple of days here in Maui since our last update – we’ve snorkelled, went scuba diving on Molokini and Lanai, drove up to Haleakala crater and got stranded on the east side of the island for the night!
As Ben mentioned, we had a delightful day of fun in the sun at Honolua and snorkelling here in our cove with tons of turtles! The next day (Wednesday) we headed down to Maalea to catch the ‘Pride of Maui’ out to Molokini for our first two dives. About half way through our first dive, we spotted a giant manta ray swimming about ten feet above us! Honestly, its wing span was about 8 to 10 feet! It was giant! Mom and Vikkee were a little spooked but as you probably guessed Dad and Ben were off to get a look up close and personal. We swam with it for about 3 minutes before it unfortunately left us for other waters. The next dive was a bit uneventful after the manta spotting and the visibility was only about 20 feet and quite murky.
Thursday, Allee and I took Ben up to the top of the ‘active’ volcano here on the east side of Maui called Haleakala. Its last eruption was in 1790 which formed Makena beach on the south side of the island. The crater at the top (elevation 10,000 feet) looks like the surface of another planet! The temperature at the top was 40 degrees (Fahrenheit) colder and the winds were pretty intense, but we walked around for a while. I even got kicked out of the visitors centre for eating an apple…oops! We headed back home for the afternoon and snorkelled with the incredible turtles here in the cove.
That night we took Ben to his first original Hawaiian Luau where he and Allee were forced on stage to perform the Hula. Don’t worry – I took video! The food was delicious, the drinks were abundant and the dancing impressive.
The next day we were up to hit the surf just south of Lahaina. Allee was a natural and stood up on the very first wave she caught. We lasted two hours surfing the waves at the base of a gorgeous valley (unfortunately we can’t say the same for our sun block!). It was an extraordinary setting – the island of Molokai in the distance and the sharp cliffs and deep valley on the Maui shore. Check out the photos – words just don’t do it justice. We had a picnic on the beach and then strolled along Front Street in Lahaina for the afternoon. We also went to Mom’s favourite bar – the Mai Tai lounge for one of their famous Mai Tai’s on the water. it was a gorgeous afternoon. That night we headed up to a family friend, Mike’s, house which is just in the hills above Lahaina. We had a swim in the pool and took in the incredible views over a few drinks, and a dinner of absolutely delicious smoked ribs! We also kept their 2 kids busy because Bubba started a game of calling them ‘Smoochface’ which turned in to an all out battle of name calling! They were also impressed by Ben’s ability to eat anything, including 2 kinds of cheese on 1 cracker!! 😉
Saturday morning was an early wake up call for a dive off the coast of Lanai – another island about a hour from Maui. The island is slowly being built up and currently only has a population of 2,500 and is owned by a member of the Murdoch family. The shore of Lanai is absolutely breathtaking. The black volcanic cliffs dramatically drop into the water to create a rough coastline where the powerful surf pounds into the rocks. Aside from the manta spotting, the diving at Lanai was a cut above that of Molokini and definitely made Hawaiian diving compete with that of Belize and Bali. Our first dive was gorgeous and you could see for miles! We checked out a new species of lobster that had only recently been spotted in Hawaii, and has only been seen at Lanai, living in this specific lava flow. For our second dive we dove what is known as ‘Cathedrals’ because the lava flow actually created a mini cathedral underwater – complete with an alter! It is essentially a cavern where the sunshine beamed in through a hole in the ‘roof’ like the sun shining in through stained glass windows in a cathedral. As we entered the cathedral, we were greeted by three friendly white tipped reef sharks who seemed to follow us throughout the dive. It was an incredible experience (thanks Dad for setting that up!). We’d worked up quite the appetite by the time we got back to shore so we headed to Cheeseburger in Paradise for some…ok a ton…of food.
Our last day we went to breakfast for father’s day in Napili Bay and then rented boards again and hit the somewhat non-existent surf at Puamana beach. After about an hour we decided to head to the north of the island to show Ben yet another beach and for a change of scenery. After a few hours there we started the journey back home but unfortunately for the island and for us, there was a huge brushfire (or bushfire for the aussies) engulfing the southern tip of West Maui (Maui is made up of two large mountains with an isthmus in between connecting east and west Maui) and all roads to Lahaina, Kaanapali, Napili and our place were blocked! This was about 3:30 in the afternoon and the authorities said to try again in 2-4 hours. So to kill some time we went to Iao canyon and hiked up to the lookout and back down to the waterfall. We then decided to head down to Kihei which is on the southern bit of East Maui for a sunset swim. With the roads still closed (it was 7:30 by now) we went to dinner at a local Japanese place. The fire at this stage was meant to be under control by 9PM. After a nice long dinner we called the information line and found out that the road would not be opening until morning! We jumped in the car and drove to the first hotel we could find with vacancy and luckily got two rooms for the seven of us. Our phone rang at 3:30 am and Dad was rallying the troops to get a head start on the drive back before the other stranded tourists hit the road to get back to West Maui. Without any traffic and the road freshly opened we made it back to our house.
That about sums it up – which is fitting as I’m sitting on the plane on our way back to LA. It was tough to leave the relaxing, stress free island lifestyle knowing that our tans and care free attitude will soon be replaced by the winter rain and office dwelling in Sydney. At least we have Spice Temple to look forward to upon our return!
We have a few more days in LA before we head back down under – throwing a small get together at my parent’s place and hitting the beach to soak in the summer sun just once more.
That’s all for now!
Jacqueline and Ben