Sunday, August 7, 2016

Maui 2016 Part 1

Friday/Saturday – Getting There

When I said last year that Maui was a pain to get to, I didn’t know the half of it! We actually hadn’t planned on going back to Maui so soon, but then we got the email from Jenny saying they were selling the condo at Wailea Point and it was now or never. Well, that was a no-brainer. We weren’t going to miss our last chance to go to Maui!

So here we were, touching down at the Kahului Airport, 36 looooong hours after we’d left home. The adventure had actually started Thursday night when the phone rang just as we were going to bed. It was American Airlines saying that our flight in the morning would be delayed 45 minutes. Hmmm, that would cut our layover in Dallas in half. I thought we could still make the connection as long as there weren’t any other issues, but I wasn’t sure that our luggage would. Just in case, we threw a change of clothes and some basic toiletries into Ron’s backpack.

When we got to the airport the next morning, it looked like things were going to work out. The crew was on the plane, the passengers were on the plane, the doors were closed. But then the pilot came on the intercom and announced that there was some bad weather near Dallas. We were going to have to put more fuel in the plane and take a longer route to avoid the storm. There went our connection. :-(

We landed in Dallas ten minutes too late, then stood in the customer service line for over an hour, waiting to rebook. Finally we reached the front of the line and were told that there were no available flights that day. We would be spending the night in Dallas. I was picturing us sleeping on the floor of the terminal when Jenny texted us and said to try the Grand Hyatt at the airport. They had a room! The customer service agent sent us to baggage claim to pick up our luggage, where we found out that it could take up to four hours to locate our bags. Four hours! By this time we were starving and frustrated so we decided to go on to the hotel.

Thank goodness for the Hyatt! The front desk staff was warm and welcoming, and our room was huge with a wall of windows overlooking the runway. After getting some comfort food from the lobby restaurant, we were feeling much better. Four hours later, it was back to the Terminal C to get our luggage. But of course, our luggage wasn’t there because it had been put on a plane to LA! How ironic – I’d been worried about our bags not making it to Maui with us but they would end up getting there before we did.

That night we watched a hazy sunset from the rooftop pool of the Hyatt. It was definitely not the view we’d expected to have but at least we had a place to sleep. In the morning, our flight left as scheduled and when we finally got to Maui, Jenny and our luggage were waiting for us.

We spent the afternoon settling in, then went to dinner at Monkeypod Kitchen in the Wailea Gateway Center. Monkeypod was just the kind of place Ron and I love – casual but with creative, upscale bar food and drinks. It reminded me of our favorite restaurant at home, but with a better view. :-) That night we watched our first Maui sunset and chatted on the lanai until I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer and went to bed.

Monkeypod Kitchen
Monkeypod Kitchen

ahi poke taco

sunset from Wailea


Sunday – Turtles, Mama’s and More Turtles

Jenny had made reservations for lunch at Mama’s Fish House, their Sunday tradition, so Ron and I thought we could use the morning to go snorkeling. I was ready to see some turtles! The snorkeling conditions weren’t looking very promising that morning though. There had been a south swell the past few days and the water was still a bit stirred up and choppy. I was looking out the condo’s big front windows at the water, trying to decide what to do, when I noticed a brown blob floating near the rocks. Was it? Then I saw a head pop up. It was! My first honu of the trip. That settled it – we were going snorkeling, swell or no swell.
We snorkeled off Polo Beach in front of the Fairmont Kea Lani. The visibility wasn’t great, but we still managed to find three turtles, one huge one and two smaller ones. One of the curious little ones came so close that it practically bumped into my camera. :-)  Afterwards, we walked around the beach path, enjoying the breezes blowing through the palm trees and the colors on Kaho’olawe and West Maui Mountain. Maui was so beautiful! It was worth that long flight.

Hawaiian green sea turtle

Hawaiian green sea turtle

Polo Beach
Polo Beach

Polo Beach

After we’d showered up and Jenny’s family was back from church, we piled into two cars and drove to Paia for lunch. Mama’s was as delicious as I remembered from last year. Jenny and Jeremy ordered a bunch of appetizers for the table and I had the ahi sashimi salad and a yummy gin cocktail called Pau Hana (which appropriately means “finished working”). Then we took a few family pictures outside the restaurant before splitting up, Jenny and family heading back to Wailea and Ron and I driving a little farther down the road to Ho’okipa Beach Park.

Mama's Fish House
Mama's Fish House

Ron and Susan at Mama's Fish House

Jenny and Jeremy

Ho’okipa is famous for windsurfing and is the site of several competitions. It must be more of a winter thing though, because there were lots of regular surfers and no windsurfers. The main reason we’d come to Ho’okipa was to see the turtles. The beach park is a resting zone for Hawaiian green sea turtles, and there were about two dozen of them lying close to the cliffs at the north end of the beach. Actually it was hard to tell exactly how many turtles there were because they looked just like the rocks! :-) A couple more turtles were slowly pulling themselves up onto the sand. Once again, I was struck by how clumsy turtles seem on land and how graceful they are in the water. Despite a sign asking people to stay 15 feet away from the turtles, there was a girl right up next to one of them, taking pictures. Poor turtle. Fortunately, a volunteer came along shortly and stretched a rope across the sand to keep people back. Thanks, brah!

Ho'okipa Beach Park
Ho'okipa Beach Park

resting sea turtles

resting sea turtle

turtle on Ho'okipa Beach

resting zone sign

On our way back to the condo, we heard on the radio that there was a landslide at mile marker 19 on the Hana Highway, blocking both directions. The landslide was 20 feet high and wasn’t expected to be cleared until late that night. Wow! I was really glad we hadn’t tried to drive to Hana that day but felt sorry for all the people stuck on the road.

continued on Part 2


  1. Thank you for enduring that miserable travel experience to bring us these wonderful pictures. At least the hotel met your expectations.

    1. Thanks! Maui was worth the flight hassles. :-)