After 4 days on Oahu (see separate post), we headed to Maui early Wednesday morning. Got our rental car from Hertz and were upgraded from a Mustang convertible to a Toyota Solara convertible. We made our way to the Wailea Marriott (see separate review), checked in, changed, and hit the pool. We spent the late morning and early afternoon swimming and enjoying the hotel and decided to venture out to do a sunset dinner whale-watching cruise out of Ma’alaea harbor. This was a last-minute decision, and thank goodness we made it, because we would not be able to go on a whale-watching cruise again the rest of our time in Maui (more on this later). Since I specifically timed my entire vacation around the whale season in Maui, I would have been absolutely heartbroken if I did not get out on a whale-watching cruise. It was a great cruise, too. We went with the Pacific Whale Foundation for their 4-hr sunset dinner. Not too long after leaving the harbor, we saw a juvenile splashing and flipping around in the water. We left that one and came upon three other large whales, about 150 yds out. We watched for a few minutes and then lost sight of them. After about 10 minutes, one surfaced just in front of our boat (not more than 20 feet away). The three whales circled our boat and swam underneath our boat for about 35 mins. Got some great pictures and it was quite an experience. Left the boat and went back to the hotel to hit the hay early, as we were planning on driving up to Mt. Haleakala the next morning for the sunrise. As I was getting our things together for the next morning, I discovered that my drivers license was missing. I had taken the license out at the registration desk at the Pacific Whale Foundation because you had to show ID to get a wristband to drink on the boat. I do not remember the person giving my license back to me, but I can’t be 100% sure. In any case, we went through all of our luggage, our rental car, retraced all of our steps, and could not find the license. As this was my only photo ID, I was panicked about how I was going to be able to fly. At this point in our vacation, I had 4 more flights planned. The best advice that the airlines could afford me was to file a police report the next day so that I would have supporting documentation to board the plane. We decided there was nothing else that could be done, so we tried to put it behind us as best as we could and get a good night sleep.
We spent the next day swimming at the pools and relaxing. It was a really nice hotel and the kids had a ball. We even got to see a few whales from the hotel pool. In the afternoon, we headed next door to the Shops at Wailea and did some shopping and grabbed dinner at the Cheeseburger in Paradise. Came back to the hotel and walked along the beach path, listening to the ocean and gazing at the stars. Quite a relaxing day.
The next morning, we gathered our warmest clothes and put the kids in the car still wrapped in their pjs and blankets and headed off to Mt. Haleakala at 4am. I was a little nervous about us driving up, but from the guidebooks and posts that I read, all the advice seemed to say not to worry. The guidebook said there was no need to join a tour, because you just follow the procession of cars up the road. Maybe I was there at an off-time, I don’t know, but I can tell you that we were the ONLY car headed up the mountain. None in front of us or behind us as far as you could see. Just the black night and us. I have been on worse roads, but this was fairly trying and being completely alone in the dead of night in a completely unknown territory is what made it especially trying. We finally made it up and it sure was cold up there! We stood inside the Visitor Center until about 2 mins before the sun came up and then ducked outside long enough to take some pictures and then high-tailed it to the car. It was an awesome sight, being above the clouds and seeing the other islands from afar. After all was said and done, I was glad that we did it. We left the mountain and headed back to our hotel for breakfast. My husband took the kids to the kids pool and I headed to the lobby security desk to file the police report for my missing license. The police officer was very nice and helpful and told me to stop by the station that afternoon to pick up a copy of the report. We headed out after lunch and stopped by the station on the way to Lahaina, but the report was not ready. So, we had to cut our Lahaina trip short (which meant no more whale-watching trips) so that we could return to the station before they closed for the day. I was really looking forward to spending the day and evening in Lahaina, but unfortunately did not work out that way. We did walk along Front Street for a bit and had some Lappert’s ice cream (yummy). My husband also bought me a beautiful whale-tail gold pendant, with a brushed gold lei around the tail. We hopped back in the car for the trip back to the police station. Although we were rushed, we really enjoyed the ride between Ma’alaea and Lahaina. Gorgeous scenery, with mountains on one side and the ocean on the other. We stopped at a few lookout points and watched the whales. I would really recommend this drive. Finally got my police report and we headed back to the hotel. Since I didn’t get my last whale-watching trip in, we decided to sit outside the hotel and watch in the harbor for whales. We saw a few, although they were very far away. It was still relaxing, just feeling the breeze and hearing the ocean and just being together with the family. After dinner, we packed up again, as it was our last night in Maui and we headed to Kauai in the morning.
I’ll post in the Kauai forum for that portion of the trip. Any questions you have, just ask.