As promised below is the follow-up to my trip report preview. I can promise you that it isn't nearly as entertaining as the preview. You can read my preview here: http://bit.ly/14C4oKN
March 31 – Day 4
Gluttony Day 1.
It's Easter. No visit from the Easter bunny nor Templeton. DW went for her morning run/walk down to the Sheraton. I checked the wind and it was blowing a bit so I decided to forgo my morning paddle. I then realized I had been on Island for 63 hours and 47 minutes and hadn't even as much as got a wiff of poke. I should be locked up and the key should be thrown away. In my defense the wife said it would be too cruel if I ate it in front of her. I had to seize the moment since the wife was out for a run. If there was a firepole exit I would have taken it. I ran down to the garage and jumped in the car. A man on a mission. I also knew that I would likely be the first Poke customer of the day for Foodland. My hypothesis was correct, beautiful undisturbed mounds of Poke. Since this would be my first meal of the day I elected for just a Poke bowl. Two scoops rice and 1/3 lb Ahi shoyu poke. I also picked up some cous cous and another peanut butter packet (replacing the one Templeton devoured) to throw my wife of my scent. I ate the Poke in my car, like an addict after a long withdrawal. Send me to PLA (poke lovers anonymous) as I may have a problem.
DW had booked us Easter brunch at the Makena Beach and Golf Resort. A pricey brunch, but it ended up being worth the price of admission. We set off for our destination at 10am, fully packed for the day. We arrived roughly 20 minutes before our reservation, so we walked the grounds and took some Easter photos. The hotel reminded me of the Mauna Lani on the Big Island. I know it has exchanged hands a few times and the courtyard in the center of the hotel is gorgeous. The pool could use some help, but the beach is absolutely beautiful. If they put a few million into this place it would easily rival it's big bad brothers/sisters down the street.
The buffet was absolutely ridiculous. Poke, sushi, pancakes, prime rib, lamb, pork porchetta, mash potatoes, Kona lobster chowder, peel and eat shrimp, salads galore, omlet station, dim sum, and desserts out the wazoo! 3 plates later I was eager to go do our best impression of a beach marine mammal.
We stopped by the Shops at Wailea and walked around, digesting our bewildering bodacious brunch. Every time I've been to these shops over the years they always appear empty and almost in a sad way. We hit up the beach in front of Mckenna Surf. My plan was to snorkel out to 5 graves 5 caves but the wind had other plans for me. The surf was roughly 1 foot - 1.5 ft, which is larger than I have ever seen it here. I body surfed in the water and helped out some Canadians get the hang of boogie boarding. I routinely look back at DW to make sure she is pleased. We have a thumbs up/thumbs down system. If she is being pelted by sand, I'm gonna have a bad time. She gave me a middle of the road thumbs up (glass is half full ladies and gents) and I continued my championship body surfing performance.
We hit up Monkey Pod for libations on the way home. A Big Wave Golden Ale and a Pod Thai for me, quite delicious. We made the trek back, noting that we needed to snorkel and paddle at Olowalu this trip. After enjoying the sunset we made a shrimp stir fry for dinner (how could I even think of putting another piece of food in my mouth at this point). We then had a romantic evening on the couch watching the season finale of the Walking Dead. DW fell asleep and woke up at the end asking if we DVR'd it at home. "Yes hunny we did."
Pool day tomorrow!
April 1 – Day 5
Ah, April Fool's Day and luckily there were no tricks played on me today (no Island Rats that is for certain). The wife had scheduled an 8am bar method class and I decided that I would do a little early AM paddle session. Just passed the pool I thought I heard the sound of waves crashing (odd for Kaanapali). Sure enough a decent swell has come in and breaking pretty nicely in front of the Kaanapali Shores. 3-4' with occasionally larger sets. This is awesome! The Joe Blair SUP performed wonderfully in the surf. I even managed to stay off the reef (thank goodness because I can't stand dealing with reef cuts). I lasted about 2 hours and decided that I should check on the Mrs., as she was likely done with her class. We packed up a light cooler and headed for the pool (well the grassy area near the pool).
I brought my surf fins and a body board down from the condo. It has been a long time since I have ridden on a cheaper Costco body board (I grew up bodyboarding in Orange County and thus have been used to the more expensive and denser foam boards). I definitely had a blast and got a few decent barrel rides. I did manage a small scrape on my leg from the reef though (dangit!). Laid out with the wife for a bit on the extremely uncomfortable lounge chairs. These chairs are great if you are lying on your back, however because they were cheaply made they are starting to bow in the middle so lying on your stomach to even out the tan is quite uncomfortable. I fully expect that the owners are going to be hit with a sizeable assessment when they replace these in the coming year or two (ideally they should do so sooner). Made lunch in the condo and brought the wraps back down to snack on for lunch. Ono! (as in delicious and not O No! I forgot the mustard). I also refilled my mai tai (again).
Headed back up and hung out around the condo a bit until our 5:45 reservation at Dukes. I like the atmosphere of Dukes (the openness and the music a lot). The food reminds me of any other corporate restaurant chain. It isn't the best but generally pretty good and you know what to expect. It's almost formulaic in a way. Enjoyed dinner and walked to Whaler's Village, burning off some of the calories from the meal (including the beer). We walked by the two vacant homesites that they can't seem to unload and had a discussion to the cost. Wife thought a couple of million and I thought in the neighborhood of $5 - $7Million. It ended up being around $6M for one and $8M for another. Who wants to chip in for my property fund? Contribute $1M and I will get you all the mai tais you can handle.
April 2 – Day 6
Gluttony Day 2
Today we head up to O'o Farms for their tour. My wife grew up on a farm (well an Almond orchard) and has always loved the idea of having a farm of her own. It also afforded us the opportunity to do something we haven't done before and (as much as it pains me to say this) get out of the sun for a bit. We left the condo around 915am for roughly the 1 hour drive up to the Farm. It is located on the same road as the one that leads to the lavender farm. Ansel was our guide for the day. He took us around the farm (which was much smaller than I expected). He was an absolute wealth of knowledge. It was a small group of us (roughly 15 people) and from what I hear the average is 28 or so. JJ, the farm chef, prepared the salad from the greens that we picked, a vegetable tofu dish, and some ono ono! We brought with us the bottle of wine that our property manager gave us from the Templeton incident and shared it with some of the other couples. If you are looking for something else to do that isn't typical of Maui definitely try and check out the O'o farm.
After lunch we headed to Makawao, where we walked around through the various shops (including the incredible hand blown glass shop). Once done with Makawao we wanted to drive some of the road to Hana. I knew it wouldn't be a good idea to drive the entire way since the wife is still early in her pregnancy. We made it to mile marker 15 or so (just far enough for the impressive view of one of the bays. We were out of food and the pregnant woman who is taking over my wife's body has started to become irritable. I suggest we stop at the fruit stand near the road to Hana "entrance" for lack of a better term. The wife begins frantically looking for her wallet and can't find it. I know we just used to in Makawao before. Well I check my phone and I had phone calls from my mother-in law, texts and a phone call from my wife's phone. Evidently she left it up in the store in Makawao. Well thank goodness for honest people! We drove back to Makawao picked up the wallets and phone and headed to Paia to walk around a bit before the ultimate Maui wallet drain, Mama's Fish House.
It's been a couple of years since I've been to Paia and man it seems like it has developed a bit. Definitely more crowded than I remember. We explored a bit, but nothing really struck our fancy, particularly because I knew what was coming, excellent food, at a premium price. We headed over to Mama's for our 6:30pm reservation. As many of you already know, it is an absolutely gorgeous location for a restaurant. My wife commented on how cheesy the décor was but I believe it only added to the allure of the place. My eyes about bulged out of my skull when reading the drink menu. I asked the waitress if she could be the menu out in American dollars and not Japanese yen. Wife got some delicious mock-tail and I had a delicious $16 mai tai. I mean this is even a premium to what the resorts are charging….WOW. We had the octopus appetizer, which was mouthwatering to say the very least. My wife and I ordered the same entre. Typically we try to avoid this for sampling sake, but this one is the one we both wanted. The snapper was cooked to absolute perfection and the small lobster tail was enjoyable (but a bit overdone in my opinion). We had the traditional Mama's pearl for dessert (and another mai tai for me, don't judge). I had the designated driver take me home (three cheers for a pregnant wife!). Another wonderful evening in the books, two more full days to come.
April 3 – Day 7
Since this was our umpteenth trip to Maui we wanted to focus on activities and sights we had never done before. Today we decided to hit up Olowalu, specifically mile marker 14. Somehow between our Condo and the parking garage my wife has lost her wallet (AGAIN!). How she is going to function over the next 4.5 months is beyond me. Luckily someone promptly turned it in to security and we were off. We arrived at 9:30am, paddle board in tow, cooler packed and ready for some snorkeling and paddling. We were early enough to have excellent parking in a shady spot next to the beach. It's much different than the soft golden sand beaches that you generally think of when you picture Hawaii. Reminded me of the sand at Hamoa Beach in Hana, just a little more compact (I suspect from the tide rising and falling). Left the wife on the beach and headed out for a snorkel utilizing the channel to get out far enough to wear the reef was deep enough to where I could easily float over it. I found that the visibility was lacking initially, but the further and further out I went the better and better it got. 150 yards off shore or so and the snorkeling was fantastic! I took the SUP out and went out a long ways. The reef just kept going and going and I could easily the board from my upright view. A small monk seal, which apparently has been frequenting the area, swam by me, which was a real treat.
I called in lunch to Leoda's. Picked it up 20minutes later and a beautiful ahi sandwich was mine to behold. Absolutely delicious, although a little on the oily side (I believe that is how they toast the bread), but very very good. DW got the egg salad sandwich, which looked equally as tasty and we shared a side of fries. Spent some more time paddling and then called it a day around 3:30 (6 hours in the sun is quite a bit, I also may have fallen asleep in my Tommy Bahama Chair). Speaking of which, for those of you who are not in the know, the Tommy Bahama chair is what I consider to be the ultimate beach chair. I first had the privilege of being graced by its presence in May of 2012, during my trip to the big island. You can get them at Costco for around $30 and many condo owners already keep them in their units.
We made dinner at the unit and then walked down to one of the bars at the Westin Ocean Resort Villas (Duke's was constantly full this trip), I enjoyed a mai tai and we shared dessert before retiring for the evening, ugh I hate leaving this place.
April 4 – Day 8
Last full day on the Island. The day began with a nice 730am morning paddle. WOW!, doesn't even begin to describe the conditions on this day. The ocean was an absolutely lake. Generally when there is a small amount of wind it disturbs the surface water where it becomes hard to make out detail of what is below. Today it was if I was snorkeling, unbelievable clarity. I paddled down to black rock where I enjoyed the site of a couple of turtles. Then, I saw it. The unthinkable, which got my blood running and turned my eyes red. A couple snorkeling were chasing this turtle around. I saw the guy dive down and he kept trying to reach out to touch and pull on the turtle. I was absolutely furious. I yelled at the woman, because she was above the water and told her not to touch the turtle. "I wasn't" she exclaimed. I could literally reach over with my paddle and bop them on the head, this is how close I was. Once the guy surfaced I was yelling for his attention, he doesn't look up. So I smacked my paddle down next to him. Told him not to touch the turtles as they are protected and it is a $10,000 fine. All I got was a shrug and an "oh really?" I hung around for a bit to make sure these clowns did not harass this beauty of a Honu anymore.
My wife walked along shore as I paddled back and told her of the events that unfolded. I told her she had to take the board out as the visibility was just unbelievable. She reluctantly agreed and set off, saying that she probably was not going to be far, well she was gone a loooooooong time. All the way down to black rock and back. Then paddled out into the ocean because there were Whales only about 300 yards off shore (quite the site!). She probably only paddled out about half way since she was a bit tired from the long paddle. After bringing the board back in, she said "I could do that all day, the water was just gorgeous!" I took the board back and went surfing in front of the shores for a bit, really small bumps, but still fun nonetheless.
We got cleaned up and then headed up to Kapalua to pay a visit to Dragon's Teeth. Along the way we stopped at the Kapalua logo store and I finally got my Kapalua golf shirt (about time!). We made the long grueling arduous journey (kidding of course) from the parking lot to Dragons Teeth. Really cool formations and it was interesting to see D.T. Flemings from that perspective. We then walked around the Ritz and sent my mom pictures. The first time I came to Maui, 14 years or so ago, I was with my parents and we stayed at the Ritz. It brought back a lot of fond memories. We then headed to Kapalua Beach and walked around for a bit and debated or not about eating at Meriman's for dinner. There was still a 6pm reservation available and by the time we got done debating it was gone! Dangit!!!! Oh well, next time. We met up with our friends who live on Island at Maui Brewing Co for some drinks and pupus. Found out they are relocating to San Diego! I know it is going to be a change for one of them, since he has lived on Maui his entire life. He is also the most unhawaiian looking person every…he actually looks like a Viking.
We cleaned up the condo, did our laundry and I had my last Mai Tai of the trip. What a great vacation!
April 5 – Day 9
Left for the Gazebo at 7:10am, I knew this was going to be late as I like to be in line no later than 7:15am. Sure enough the line was already really long and we certainly didn't make the first seating. We decided on heading up to the Ritz for breakfast. It was exactly as I remember it 14 years ago. Buffet style, with benedicts cooked fresh to order. The coconut French toast was out of this world. My stomach full and my wallet drained. We loaded up the car and headed to the airport. Landed in San Diego, after a short stop in HNL, at 9:45pm. Another Hawaiian vacation in the books.