Here we are… yet another live blog, set to be published AFTER we get home. But there is something ineffably unique about blog updates made in-the-moment that can’t be replicated when we get back home and I’m sitting in front of my computer, the vacation a fading memory…
02016-Feb-23 – 04:15 – YEG Airport
The vacation begins! We’re off to Maui for two weeks and while we wait for the plane to board in a few minutes, Claire and Karin nurse their $5 fancy drinks in the boarding lounge.
02016-Feb-23 – 16:18 – Our Beach
02016-Feb-24 – 05:59 – Condo
Of course, our first evening was a write-off to the perils of jet lag. We arrived at the hotel at almost exactly 3pm local, checked in, unpacked, and by 4 had gone out for a beach-side stroll. Claire “frolicked” (her words) in the ocean, and we dipped our toes, not wanting to commit too much yet. We made a light supper back at the condo, went for another post-sunset walk to check out the nearby shopping (and mostly to try to stay awake) but were crashed in bed by 9pm. It’s now shortly before 6am local and Claire has been up for an hour, she’s eaten, I’ve coffee’d and we’re anticipating the sunrise hinting off to the east.
02016-Feb-24 – 06:00 – Condo
Oh, and this what a holiday breakfast looks like. “Dad! All my friends are at school right now!” And she’s eating fruitloops at quarter to six.
02016-Feb-24 – 10:27 – At the Beach near the Condo
Claire’s new experience of the morning was putting all that (pool) snorkelling practice to the test. The waves were pretty strong, but she got the hang of it pretty quick and even saw a few fish. Her reaction swayed quickly between “OMG! I want to go back to shore!!” and “OMG! This is awesome! FISH!”
02016-Feb-24 – 11:32 – Maui Taco
Fish tacos for lunch on Day 1! Yum!
02016-Feb-24 – 13:17 – Pool
We got some groceries and then opted for some time out of the sun, but Claire was itching to try out the condo’s pool: modestly sized but the water is perfect.
02016-Feb-24 – 16:47 – Beach 2
More beach fun on day one!
02016-Feb-24 – 19:01 – Maui Gelato
A post-dinner and post-sunset gelato treat!
02016-Feb-24 – 19:28 – Watching the Sunset
After dinner, I walked down to the beach again (I think that was the 5th time today!) but brought my camera and tripod along. I set up to watch the sunset –which is abrupt but beautiful. The beach was crowded with a few hundred people set up in their beach chairs and waiting for the same view. And just as the sun set below the horizon, the sound of a few dozen conch shells sounding from around the nearby condos rang out. Two sunsets in a row; I guess it’s some sort of ritual or tradition.
02016-Feb-25 – 07:55 – : South Kihei Road
We were still a little jet lagged this morning, so when I woke up at 5:30 local I decided to get ready and get out for a short run. It looks like if I don’t get out before 7am though, it probably won’t happen. Even that early it was disgustingly hot and muggy –which is fine when I’m used to it in the summer, but having just come from more winters climes, it was a bit of a shock to the system.
02016-Feb-25 – 14:01 – North Shore of Maui
We turned the day into a driving day because there is some massive surf and the red flags are up for swimming. A few stops –Dragons Teeth and the Blowhole mostly– and a lot of winding driving along the north coast. It’s 2pm and I’ve put on nearly 20k steps so far today!
02016-Feb-25 – 17:33 – Lahaina
A cheeseburger with the waves lapping at the shore a few feet away, a stroll, some shopping and some pics under the banyan tree…
02016-Feb-25 – 19:55 – Back at the Condo
Back at the hotel all the batteries are charging after a bit of a camera fail day; I forgot my spare batteries, my SLR had drained overnight and I didn’t realize it until we were 1/2 hour down the road, and the bad cell signal was wrecking havoc on my iPhone charge. I made it through the day with about 20% left on my phone & a dead GoPro… but took a few good pictures anyhow.
02016-Feb-26 – 12:54 – Palauea Beach
The surf had tapered off a bit today, so we were out the door at about 8am to do spend some more quality time at the beach. A short ten minute drive away, about 4 miles south, Palauea Beach was a bit of a secluded find that we wouldn’t have save for the guide book. We were the second car parked at the barely-a-parking-spot pull out along the side of a neighbourhood road, and a quick stroll through a treed park full of crowing roosters brought us to the waterfront. Snorkelling and sand castle construction ensued, and on her second outing in the still-choppy water, Claire spotted not only a good variety of fish but –to her still-giddy-two-hours-later delight– a three-foot-long turtle swam by a few feet under ours.
02016-Feb-26 – 13:09 – Palauea Beach
The turtle in question was the subject of some underwater photography by your’s truly, of course… And thanks to high speed internet at the condo made an appearance on YouTube a few minutes later:
02016-Feb-26 – 16:45 – Beach II
Beach… take 2? We tried out the wakeboard again and the wake actually cooperated this time.
02016-Feb-27 – 13:14 – Big Beach
Another day, another beach? But who’s complaining? Not me. It’s Saturday, the first of two we have here, and so we decided to check out another beach by car: a fifteen minute drive from the condo and we reached Big Beach on the southwest corner of the island. The surf was still strong, and in fact they put out the red flags while we were sitting there contemplating the crashing breakers on the shoreline, but one you broke through the first dozen meters of strong waves, the ocean was just a little wavey. At one point Karin went for a walk down the beach, and during that twenty minutes our umbrella blew away, Claire cut her finger on the beach mat, and this friendly turtle let me swim with him for about 5 minutes.
02016-Feb-27 – 13:15 – Big Beach
Oh, and another kudos-winning sand castle today too…
02016-Feb-27 – 18:53 – Condo
Another day gone, another sunset. Now? Off to the pool!
02016-Feb-28 – 11:53 – Beach
Sunday morning and we started the day with another morning at the beach. This seems like all I’m going to be writing about. Beach. Beach. Another beach. Oh, and one more beach. That’s okay. That’s why we came here: to hang out at the beach. My wakeboarding skills are improving, though.
02016-Feb-28 – 16:45 – Beach
I’ve been building sandcastles almost every day. It’s a little silly, but I’m not a “sit and do nothing” on the beach kinda guy, so I relax by building sandcastles… I guess. After our beach outing this morning, we went back to the condo and had lunch, then drove a dozen miles up to see the Iao Needle. Around 3pm we’d got back, and Claire and I went back down to the beach. My morning sandcastle, a rough re-creation (about a foot and a half tall) of Minas Tirith from Lord of the Rings was still standing… five hours later. And if anything, the slow settling and drying of the sand made it look a bit more aged and detailed. We sat a few meters down the beach and watched, and during the hour we were back I saw at least 3 people stop and take photos. I guess if my idle time on the beach brings a little joy to a few vacationers, that’s not a bad thing.
02016-Feb-28 – 18:50 – Beach
Somewhere… beside the sea… somewhere… waiting for me…
02016-Feb-29 – 20:30 – Road to Hana
Happy leap day, and thirteen hours later we’re back at the condo after an epic drive along the most scenic road in Maui: the Road to Hana. Fifty miles (each way) of winding, narrow, coastal road, with a dozen stop along the way: black sand beaches, jungle-like hikes, panoramic views, waterfalls, swimming in freshwater pools, banana bread, shave ice, hiking, lava caves, and oooooh the cautious, careful, crazy roads. I took about a thousand photos and probably close to half an hour of video, most of which I can’t even start o share here, but I’ll post a few to make up for an otherwise blog-quiet day.
02016-Feb-29 – 20:30 – Road to Hana
Deep in the lava caves…
02016-Feb-29 – 20:31 – Road to Hana
Shave Ice and fresh-baked banana bread!
02016-Feb-29 – 20:32 – Road to Hana
Swimming in one of the “seven sacred pools”….
02016-Mar-01 – 10:04 – Hanging at the Condo
A lazy morning, at least compared to yesterday’s marathon drive. I’ve been out a couple times, but the girls are still in their pyjamas at 10 am. I did a 5k run again this morning (3rd of the trip!) and then came back for coffee and breakfast. After that I took my camera down to the beach and walked out onto one of the rocks to take a bunch of photos. I was watching this guy fish for a while, but I think he was getting a little unnerved at me taking pictures. He glared at me shortly after I took this, then put his stuff away and sat down in one of the crevices. Oh well, too bad: you’re a tourist attraction, dude!
02016-Mar-01 – 10:06 – Beach II
High surf again today: perfect for wakeboarding, terrible for snorkelling.
02016-Mar-01 – 12:24 – Beach II
Claire was missing the Carnival celebrations at her school today so we built a bonhomme de neige à la plage to cheer her up.
02016-Mar-02 – 10:12 – Haleakala Summit
If you consider the time difference to back home, 4 am wasn’t all that early to get up, drive two hours in the dark, up the side of a volcano, to then stand on the edge of a cliff, in the near-freezing temperatures and watch the sunrise with about 300 other people… was it? The photos were worth it. The peace was cluttered by the click of a hundred shutters and a gazillion people taking selfies, but I was part of that club, too. A few more photos will follow.
02016-Mar-02 – 10:13 – Haleakala Summit
The sun (mostly) up.
02016-Mar-02 – 12:00 – Haleakala Summit
Joining the 1.9 mile-high selfie club at sunrise. Chilly and tired, but worth the drive!
02016-Mar-02 – 15:33 – Condo
Three hours on the (very windy) beach and the back to the condo for some patio time!
02016-Mar-02 – 17:21 – Pool
Grilling some supper while Claire kills some time in the pool…
02016-Mar-02 – 19:26 – Long Walks Down the Beach
After dinner, we walked down to the beach for our daily sunset-watching moment. It turned into a bit of a bust because the horizon was quite cloudy and (at least compared to our morning sunrise adventure) kinda fizzled. People were blowing their conch shells for ten minutes trying to figure out when the thing finally set. We went for a long walk down the beach instead, ended up at the resort down the road, then wandered back in the pitch black of evening.
02016-Mar-02 – 19:26 – Beach III
Another silhouette, another photographer. I thought this one was worth sharing.
02016-Mar-03 – 14:21 – Black Rock
The surf settled down a little this morning so Karin voted to cross off one more thing from our Maui bucket list: snorkelling at Black Rock. When we came to Maui 5 years ago, this was the closest beach, and one of our favourite memories of the trip: a great beach, loads of fish, and calm waters. We spent hours there. This time, even though the surf was less rough than other days, it was still choppy and churned, a lot busier than we remembered, and the beach had eroded into a sharp sand cliff. It was still a good time, and Claire saw another turtle, but not the best beach of our 2016 trip. I guess you just can’t go back to some places.
02016-Mar-03 – 14:23 – Kehei
After driving back to Kihei, we scoped out some lunch: Maui Fish and Chips was pretty awesome. We followed it up by a looooooong walk down S. Kehei Road towards the market area, and some shave ice.
02016-Mar-04 – 11:29 – Big Beach
Friday morning in Maui, and we decided to go back to Big Beach. It’s only a 15 minute drive away and so far it’s been the best snorkelling of the trip. The surf was strong –so much that the lifeguards were yelling into the ocean at stupid people who were playing in the breaks– but once you got past that the water only had some gentle swells. We spent a good thirty minutes poking along the reef and checking out the fish… and posing for family underwater snorkel selfies.
02016-Mar-04 – 11:32 – Big Beach
Since we couldn’t spend too much time in the waves, Claire and I built an epic sandcastle on the beach instead. We were about ten meters from the break, but shortly after this photo a huge wave came along and knocked over a good chunk of the build. But while it lasted we got a lot of compliments from wandering beach folks. Claire said that it “was the best sandcastle she’d ever built!”
02016-Mar-04 – 13:18 – Down by the boat launch
Of course, with just one Geocache within (reasonable) walking distance of our hotel, we had to go check it out. Claire found it pretty quickly, hidden in the roots of a flower-covered tree.
02016-Mar-04 – 17:47 – Condo
With a full kitchen at the condo, we did a lot of our own cooking. The $US conversion made everything a little costlier than we’d originally planned when we booked, but a trip to the grocery store and some creativity can make for some tasty meals… like garlic jumbo shrimp.
02016-Mar-04 – 18:27 – Maui Pie
And pie for dessert at Maui Pie!
02016-Mar-05 – 11:26 – Kihei
Another 6 am run! Number 5 of the trip. Not bad for a vacation. I did nearly seven and a half klicks up into The resort area of town, which involved a lot of hills… and a lot of other runners.
02016-Mar-05 – 11:29 – Beach II
Claire opted to compete with her old man in the sandsculpture department this morning at the beach. While I was building yet another boring old fortress out of sand, she made a small collection of sea creatures. The turtle and the stingray were both inspired by the sea life we’d seen while snorkelling about half an hour before that: yup, another turtle and (for my first time ever while snorkelling) a stingray lazily swimming along the bottom of the ocean.
02016-Mar-05 – 11:33 – Beach II
For future reference, my sand fortress…
02016-Mar-05 – 15:23 – Condo
Sadly, not many of these kinda days left.
02016-Mar-06 – 16:36 – Beach III
Oh, those last day blues… J, B & E showed up yesterday, staying on the opposite end of the island from us, but we scheduled a beach day and –of course– a run. A short not-quite-four-klick run had us both leaving pools of sweat on the sand, but it was worth the heat to say we did the meet-up.
02016-Mar-06 – 16:38 – Beach II
Beach day continued, broken up by lunch at Maui Fish & Chips, and a little cool down in the Condo. After lunch it was back to the beach where some serious snorkelling was done, and then the kids did a bit of wakeboarding. Claire waited until her last day to realize that it was actually a lot more fun than she’d pre-judged, but oh well… nearly time to go home.
02016-Mar-06 – 16:40 – Boogieboarding on Beach Two
This is my “I can’t believe I’ve checked in for my flight already” face.
02016-Mar-06 – 20:02 – 808 Bistro
Our last supper… in Maui. [sad face]
02016-Mar-06 – 20:03 – Beach 2
And one last fabulous sunset on the beach. *sigh*
02016-Mar-07 – 08:40 – Under the Sea
Before we were completely packed, we said one last aloha to the beach and did a 7 am snorkelling tour. It paid off: Claire was giddy from seeing no less than 5 different turtles among the offshore reefs… not to mention about a thousand fish.
02016-Mar-07 – 10:56 – Kahului Airport
Vacation complete… see you again someday, Maui!