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gigib Jun 10th, 2009 01:02 PM

Things we Learned about Maui
We like it very much. This was our 20th trip to the islands, 6th to Maui.

Snorkeling: The fish don't wake up and become active until 9:00 or 9:30. We used to always go at the crack of dawn, but this trip we went later because we were blessed with really flat water. Look for blue trevallys "hunting" in the shallows. Kapalua Bay is paradise. Honolua Bay still feels kinda strange because of the initial murk, but we did see a barracuda and plenty trevallys. (We went to a sort of "new" spot, to us as tourists anyway, that was so spectacular my husband won't let me mention it here. Guesses, anyone?). Black Rock is loaded with the limu sea plant that the turtles eat, at high tide there are plenty of them and needless to say they are used to crowds. The Sheraton needs to trim back the sand plants - the beach is too small when the tide is coming in! We saw some "elderly" people who snorkel wearing wetsuits and head caps, looks like a great idea to me, you could stay out for so long. I get really cold and we always sunburn our heads. We are getting quite close to elderly ourselves...

Weather: Memorial Day weekend seems to have no rain and no wind and great snorkelling conditions (no surf!). With the huge exception of the Sliding Sands trail up at Haleakala, where for some reason the wind must have been blowing a steady 70 mph, really fierce. My favorite hat will forever remain in that little crater that is off to the left, about 1.5 miles down. But, the no wind down at the coast meant several days of ugly haze so thick you couldn't see Lanai or Molokai or the mountains.

Hotel: Kaanapali Ocean Inn is bad. But, it's located on the north part of Kaanapali beach that is prettier than the "main" part, and no people. They are building some fancy timeshares nearby, and there's a nice boardwalk that heads north for a mile or so. We stayed here as part of an amazing cheap package thru Pleasant Holidays, but this hotel is really tatty. It was at least clean and the room was a good size, but just 1960's dingy, in bad need of repairs. It was actually a little embarrasing being seen heading in there from the parking lot, which it shares with the Royal Lahaina Resort, "Oh dear, look at those poor people". The Royal Lahaina Luau blasts the rooms on one side, the luau guests line up on the other. This looks like the most dismal luau ground one could imagine, wedged in a space with all the charm of a vacant lot. I bet more than a few people who check in there go screaming back to the Royal Lahaina (where you check in), demanding satisfaction.

Driving: The guidebooks talk about a scary part of the road that goes all the way around the top of the West Maui mountains. It was. A couple of miles was one lane only, with a drop off and no guard rail. If you meet someone coming, you need to figure out who backs up, and where. Pretty hairy but not much traffic, we lucked out with only having to back up once.

Food: Honolua Store was just the best, we drool remembering the kalua pork and cabbage, the mahi sandwich with pesto sauce and the burger with bacon and pineapple. Leilani's early bird special is a good value, but my swordfish was yucky. This trip we went to Lahaina 3 times for dinner and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Moose McGillicuddys has $3 draft Buds at their 5-7 happy hour, and we had some really nice fish across the road at the Lahaina Fish Co. There's a good coupon in Maui Gold. This place got some bad Tripadvisor reviews, but we were so pleased we went twice. The second night the bartender at Moose remembered us and plopped two Buds down before we even said anything. There's a little place called Castaways right next to the Kaa. Ocean in at the Maui Kaanapali Villas, wonderful breakfasts practically on the beach.

Mama's Fish House: We have been afraid to go back here after our one and only extremely expensive but delicious dinner several years ago. But, we needed to kill some time the afternoon before our flight, so we headed over about 4:30 for a snack. We were shocked at the low price of a Hinano beer - only $6! But, $26 for sashimi was up there. They at least gave us a nice loaf of bread (we just sat at the bar) and it is a very pretty restaurant. We did have some nice snackies for about $45 plus tax & tip.

Makawao: We drove up there to look around, still killing time before our flight. Am I missing something?

Till next year, sure hope the flights stay cheap for a while.

curiousgeo Jun 10th, 2009 02:24 PM

Sounds like a great visit, thanks for the trip report.

Makawao is really just a place to stop if you are heading upcountry for some bakery goods at Komoda's, or for saimin and plate lunch at Kitada's (is it still in business?). But it isn't really a destination in and of itself, although I have no idea what the guide books say about it.

Barbara5353 Jun 10th, 2009 05:54 PM

Enjoyed your comments and observations. I respectfully disagree about Makawao. Rented a place there for a week. Loved the area (house not so great). Breakfast at
Colleens in Haiku or Charley's in Paia; coffee on the lanai at Grandma's in Upcountry; local music venues. Of all the places in Hawaii, this area is one where it is pretty easy to find and enjoy history. The book "Exploring Historic Upcountry" is a wonderful guide to the region.

rexster314 Jun 15th, 2009 11:01 AM

Where is Kaanapali Ocean Inn? Never heard of it..


gigib Jun 15th, 2009 12:52 PM

I never had either. It's sandwiched inbetween the Royal Lahaina Resort and the Maui Kaanapali Villas. It's a little wood 3 story building, maybe 8 rooms on each floor on each side with a couple that directly face the ocean. No lobby, no elevator, all the charm of a cheap apartment building.

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