After talking about it for several years, we finally took a warm weather holiday with our family...well, some of our family. Davis and his girlfriend were in Nelson BC skiing (they both took the term off from university). And Emma was busy in her Grade 2 classroom at Hawryluk School in Regina.
We looked into Mexico, but in the end, after hearing nothing but rave reviews of Hawaii from friends, family, and work colleagues, we settled on Maui
Sunrise on Haleakala
One day, early on in our stay, we got up at 4 am and were on the road by 4:30, to watch the sunrise from the summit of Haleakala, a dormant volcano in Maui's Upcountry. Amazing curvy switchback drive in the dark.
Some special suppers out
Once we found our rhythm, we ate a lot of suppers at our condo. We'd BBQ fresh fish or steaks poolside, then eat on our deck, as we watched the sunset.
We did get out for a couple of standout evening meals though. After spending the day soaking up Vitamin D and bodyboarding at DT Fleming Beach, we had an amazing supper at Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Seafood Bar, in Kapalua. Leslie and I shared a number of different kinds of sushi; Kendall, not surprisingly, opted for chicken.
Another memorable dinner out was at the larger of the two craft breweries on the island, Maui Brewing Company. Out front of the tap room, which features indoor and outside seating, there is a little crescent where the local food trucks park. The night we stopped by, Outrigger Pizza Company was serving up their wood-fired pies. Neat set-up: you order and pay for your food at the truck, then servers from the tap room bring your meal directly to your table when it's ready. We all agreed the white cheddar mushroom pizza Leslie picked was the winner. I had a tough time choosing just six beers to sample in my flight: they have something like 20 of their own taps, plus another half-dozen guest taps. Decisions, decisions...
What with all that sunshine and heat, we HAD to stay cool and hydrated. Water was okay...but a couple of island treats -- shave ice and gelata from Ona -- were even better.
catch a wave and you're sitting on top of the world...
Topping Kendall's wish list for the trip was to go surfing. So Kendall and I book ourselves in for lesson. We had to be at the shop, Maui Wave Riders, by 7:15. Apparently the early bird catches the best waves. After we got our booties and boards, we practised paddling and standing up on the lawn out front. Then it was across the street, and into the water, at The Cove beach. With good coaching from Al, we were both catching waves and standing up in no time.
Before the trip, each of us had come up with our list of "must do" activities. One of Leslie's was to go snorkelling. We set sail from the Maui Ocean Centre (Aquarium), located just west of Kihei. The original plan was to dive at the Molokini Crater, but the return of the Trade Winds meant that the water was too choppy. So the captain took us westward; we anchored above a reef, in about 20 feet of water, just offshore near Lahaina. We had an amazing time. We saw many types of coral, fish straight out of Finding Nemo, a humpback whale that was "logging" (which means resting on the surface), and even a couple of turtles. This was definitely one of the highlights of our Maui adventure.
The Road to hana
Near the end of our stay, we did a day trip that is on every "Top 10" list of things to do on Maui. The Hāna Highway is a 64.4-mile long stretch of Hawaii Routes 36 and 360 which connects Kahului with the town of Hāna in east Maui. Along the way, we stopped to visit an arboretum where we saw bamboo and amazing, multicolored eucalyptus trees. Kendall took a dip at a black sand beach. And we visited a town on the Keanae Peninsula site that was destroyed by a tsunami in 1946...except for the little stone church.
The drive back from haneakala
There was plenty to see on our drive back from Haleakala. We stopped for a great pancake breakfast (the Haleakala Mountain of Meal, with coconut syrup) at the Kula Lodge. After we ate, a local who housesits for musician Sammy Hagar, introduced us to the lodge's mascot, a chameleon. We window-shopped in a funky, artsy town named Makawao. And we sampled some tasty gelato at the Surfing Goat Dairy.
life's a beach
Oh...and did I mention there are a few nice beaches on Maui?
hunting for jaws
Seeing some "real" surfing was on my wish list for the trip. We starting out looking for an infamous offshore surf break called Jaws, but learned that it only "goes off" (meaning it cranks out the +70 foot waves it's world renowned for) maybe once a year. I settled for the next best thing: some time watching surfers, windsurfers, and kitesurfers, playing in the wind and waves at Ho'okipa. The trade winds, which bring with them world class saves on Maui's North Shore, were just starting to return the end of our time on the island. Ho'okipa Beach Park is also home to a resting area for Green Sea Turtles.
banyan tree, lahaina
The banyan tree in Lahaina was planted on April 24, 1873 to mark the 50th anniversary of the arrival of first American Protestant mission. It is not only the largest in the state but also in the United States. The tree was a gift from missionaries in India. A mere 8 feet (2.4 m) when planted, it has grown to a height of about 60 feet (18 m) and has rooted into 16 major trunks, apart from the main trunk, with the canopy spread over an area of about two-thirds of an acre.