The Island of Maui (July 11 & 12, 2012)

Tuesday, July 11, 2012

Before I start this entry, I must point out that in Back to the Future Part II, Marty travels into the future where people drive hovercrafts and see adds on gigantic holographic screens. Today is the day to which he traveled forward. Today is also the day my friend, Jeana, introduced her new baby Eliza Chetty to the world. Congrats to the Chetty family!

We decided the evening before that this would be a crazy snorkel day. We researched the best spots and headed out toward the west side of Maui.

A lot of people go on boat snorkel tours to places like the Molokini crater or even the island of Lana'i, but guidebooks said that there is a lot of fantastic snorkeling to be had right on the shores of Maui. Boy were they right.

We spent most of the day at a placed called Black Rock. There is a chain of phenomenal, fine sand beaches here with gorgeous blue and turquoise water. Boats are even able to come to shore on these beaches they are so pristine. At the north side of these perfect beaches lies black rock - a spot named for many large black rocks jutting out into the water.

The black rocks invite algae and other growth, and, with that growth, comes ocean life. The water is teeming with schools of gorgeous fish, squid, eels, and many large sea turtles.

Kris and I were sharing our snorkel set, but the same thing happened to the both of us. You find yourself snorkeling and looking down at the fish and, when you look up, a sea turtle is staring at you and coming toward you.

I was so close to one of them, I could have barely extended my arm to touch this massive creature.

There were even fish cleaning stations for the turtles.

I wonder if they are as intrigued by us as we are of them? Regardless, there was a huge sea turtle family around Black Rock, and they seemed pretty unfazed by humans. Wowza!

Kris went out further than I did to see what other kinds of sea life he could find beyond the shallow end. He found some nasty biting fish that a few people were convinced were sharks. He also found some less than intelligent people jumping off of Black Rock into the water.

One brilliant person even did a backflip.

After spending many hours snorkeling and swimming in the crystal clear ocean water of Maui, we had to head back to pick up our rental car. (More on that later.)

Traffic going south from Black Rock was backed up for ages due to road construction, so we ignored the suggested route the GPS gave us, and we went north. The Beatles song "Long and Winding Road" came on as we traversed this monstrosity of a road. Narrow didn't cover it. There was evidence of rock slides everywhere. It was a pretty precarious drive. We weren't sure we were going to make it to the rental agency before they closed.

We'd been renting a Toyota Previa from the people who we are renting the AirBnB unit from, but they had new guests checking in on July 12th who were renting the car. Since our flight wasn't until 5pm, we needed new wheels to keep us going.

I found a decent-ish deal for a compact car from Enterprise, so we were going to go pick it up. The plan was for us to pick it up, Kris to drive the Previa back to the rental house, and me to follow in the car. This is what eventually wound up happening, but, instead of a nice little compact car, I wound up having to drive a Buick Grand Marquis tank. This thing is huge. They must think I'm 80. I have no idea why I was given this car. I made it safely to Ashley's, but it was one of the most nerve-wracking 30 minutes of my life.

We did stop to have Ululani's shaved ice. Oh my gosh is this shaved ice incredible! It is ranked the number one restaurant in Maui on TripAdvisor and
deserves it! The perfect shave on the ice that almost makes you feel like you are eating a fluffy cloud...the flavors are packed with punch and made with cane sugar...and all for a reasonable size.

I had macadamia nut ice cream at the bottom of mine (yum) and got strawberry, vanilla, and pineapple. I swear it tasted like there were chunks of pineapple in the ice. Kris got coconut, pineapple, and banana. All of the flavors were outstanding. I'd been getting vanilla on every shaved ice so I had a basis of comparison. Ululani's wins for the superior syrups and shaved ice. They even told us to come back for more liquid if we didn't have enough.

We opted to have dinner again at Mama's Ribs and Rotisserie, and then headed to a really nice beach in the Wailea/Makena area of Maui. Perfect sunset to end the day.

How to dress for success in Maui:
Step 1: Wear your cute dress and flip flops.
Step 2: Break your flip flops. Change into the only other shoes you have - hiking boots.
Step 3: Get chilly. Wear your hoodie.

Now you're conducting awesome!

Wednesday, July 12, 2012

Our last day in paradise...we woke up and quickly packed. I had a grilled cheese sandwich for breakfast and Kris had blueberry bagels.

We decided to head to the Surfing Goat Dairy for a quick tour of this goat cheese farm.

We got to feed and pet baby goats, sample a bunch of incredible goat cheese, and learn all about how goat cheese is made.

The goats at this dairy are rather loved.

We saw the milking and pasteurization machines.

We learned about the different kinds of cheese, and we decided to indulge in a cheese and cracker lunch on the farm. YUM! Ping pong balls were my favorite!

The resident kitty is a huge fan of the goat cheese.

After the Surfing Goat Dairy, we went back to Ululani's Shaved Ice. I got banana, blue hawaiian, and melona. Kris got chocolate, coffee, and leche with a snowcap.

After indulging in our shaved ice, we headed over to the Kepaniwai Heritage Gardens in the Iao Valley.

It has great views of the Iao Needle.

This park is a tribute park to the masses of people who emigrated to Hawaii and includes traditional Hawaiian dwellings of ancient times as well as the traditional homes of the people who came from Portugal, China, New England, the Philippines, Japan, and China.

This seemed to be a locals park. They used to have some swimming pools there, but I think everyone just swims in the waterfalls now. The pools appear to have been neglected.

We saw a huge group of teenagers hanging around in the parking lot and a family of people about to grill whose children were playing - on a pile of rocks?!?

After the park it was off to the airport. Bye bye Hawaii.

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