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Trip Report: 8 Days on Maui - Day 3

Portland, Oregon
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Trip Report: 8 Days on Maui - Day 3

August 2nd: Kapalua & Honolua Bay

I was up at 6:30 and out of the shower and dressed before anyone else even moved. Had to open the curtains and start making some noise to wake everyone. Put another lunch together in the cooler and we headed out around 8:45. By this time, AndiAlooha and I were texting regularly so I’m using all those messages as notes for my trip report. We decided to get together that evening at Star Noodle (even though my husband doesn’t like noodles—I assured him there would be something palatable on the menu). Found out they wouldn’t accept reservations that week because it was so busy (hmm, isn't that the very reason for reservations?), so we decided to get there by 5pm to make sure we could get a table.

So anyway… off to Kapalua! Impressions of Kapalua: Windy! Usually cloudier than Kaanapali; clean! very upscale with the villas up on the hill behind the beach and the perfect lawn and gardens. We thought it was funny that the main entrance to Kapalua off Hwy 30 was called Office Road. Really? When every other street in the county has a Hawaiian name, this is the best they could come up with for such a swank resort? At some point I stepped on something sharp in the sand; some kind of thorn. Very painful and it continued to sting even I removed it. That sort of set the tone for me and I decided to chill in my beach chair up on the grass for awhile. Even though I love tropical beaches, I do not like sitting in the sand. It’s a dilemma. Also, the shady areas on the beach were the first to be claimed so I was fine with moving up to a shady spot on the grass. As it happens, the tide must have been coming in because the place we had originally planned to set up on the sand was soon overtaken by crashing waves. The wind was absolutely relentless, strong enough to blow beach chairs off the wall and down to the beach. I decided to stay put and guard our stuff instead of going snorkeling that day.

Husband and the boys really enjoyed the snorkeling and raved about all the fish and turtles they saw. By 10:30 am we were starving and found a nice area on the grass to eat our sandwiches. It was still early, so we decided to drive up to Honolua since it was the most remote of our destinations and I wanted to see the lay of the land. We got up there around 11:30 and thought there was no way we’d find a place to park but we hit pay dirt again and managed to find a spot on the side of the road, as some people were already starting to leave. The ‘Snorkel Maui…’ book was invaluable for providing perfect driving directions to both the hidden lot at Kapalua and the right location to park for Honolua Bay.

The walk down the trail to the bay is a shady, tropical paradise. Huge trees, including an ancient banyan and lots of palms and jungle foliage. Throughout you can hear the cluck and squawk of chickens and roosters. This is what I pictured Maui to look like.

Honolua Bay was like a lake. Absolutely no waves, even though Kapalua had been quite wavy and windy. The entry is both easy, because of the lack of waves, yet treacherous because of all the rocks. Saw so many people stumbling around I was just waiting for one to fall and break an arm or ankle. We had brought surf shoes and they came in real handy here. Husband was not loving the entry because he likes a nice easy sloping shoreline so he isn’t plunged immediately into deep water. Well, Honolua starts off shallow enough but because of the rocks you can’t exactly wade in gently. You have to just get your fins on and then throw yourself in so you can float above the rocks as quickly as possible. We had read that the right side of the bay was best so that’s where we headed. The good news is that hubby saw enough fish, an octopus and even some colorful squid to make him happy. The bad news is that I had the camera, LOL. Our pictures aren’t that great, and the ones that “travelbugged” posted on her blog of their Honolua bay snorkel are almost identical to what we saw anyway, including the big puffer fish (my favorite). This is the one and only time that I saw a turtle. He swam up right in front of me and then a boy dived down next to me so he could touch his shell. Turtle made a hasty retreat for the safe haven under the rock on the bottom. I shook my head disapprovingly at the boy as he swam off. I guess touching the turtles is pretty common. Everywhere we went, husband said he saw people doing it.

While husband hugged the shoreline, sons and I swam out past the boats to the ‘coral garden’ as we call it. It is about 2/3 of the way out there but in such a calm bay it was not a strenuous swim. Did we see many species of fish we hadn’t already seen? No. But we saw a lot more of them and in such a lovely habitat. It really felt like swimming around in an aquarium. Oldest son and I immediately deemed this our favorite snorkeling spot. Around this time I switched snorkels with him. His mask was leaking at the nose which I had learned from experience meant that his snorkel was too big for him. I had the same problem while practicing in the pool before we left, so I was using the boys’ old child size snorkel and mask, which worked great. But now that I swapped with him, I was the one with the leaky mask again. I cursed myself for not bringing the other child size snorkel that we had at home. No facilities here, so once the snorkeling is done, we just wanted to get back and shower.

On to Star Noodle! We arrived at 4:45 and the place was nice and empty. For some reason after reading the reviews, I pictured this place as a hole in the wall, maybe one step up from a lunch truck. Not even. Although in a very strange location in a new industrial area (not even on my GPS), the restaurant is a contemporary and trendy bistro style. While waiting for Andi and her mate we ordered cocktails. I had the Asian Pear Sake cocktail and it was probably one of the best drinks I’ve ever had! Light and refreshing. Since I was driving, I only allowed myself one and only at the very beginning of the evening. Darn! It was so good I could have easily downed 2 or 3 more! So the waitress explained that the concept is ‘small plates’ that are shared. We ordered two of the special, which was Ahi belly (cooked), pad thai, ahi avo (raw), and garlic noodles. Andi and husband ordered pad thai and the Vietnamese Crepe (I think). Everything was outstanding and probably one of my favorite meals on Maui but I don't think I did a lot of sharing. Oops. Husband ended up liking everything (I knew it!) Andi and I chatted like we’d known each other for ages. My husband had been dubious about meeting strangers from the internet but he admitted afterward that they were very nice people and he really enjoyed talking to Andi’s husband. By the time we left there was a mob of customers waiting for a coveted table and some murmuring of excitement when all 6 of us got up to leave at once! Afterward, we all met up at Lappert’s for ice cream and walked over to the harbor to take pictures against the sunset. What a perfect day!

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washington
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for Maui
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22,871 posts
19 reviews
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1. Re: Trip Report: 8 Days on Maui - Day 3

What a lovely day! The first time I met up with a TA regular my kids sat me down and gave me the "dangers of meeting people on the internet" talk...cracked me up!

Kapaa, Hawaii
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for Maui, Hana, Oahu
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2. Re: Trip Report: 8 Days on Maui - Day 3

Wow!! perfect day is right!! Thanks for reporting, frenchfrydtator.

Nanaimo, Canada
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3. Re: Trip Report: 8 Days on Maui - Day 3

Wow! Great score arriving at Star Noodle when you did! I shall have to remember that when we have our West Maui day. Hoping to get in there for some pad thai.

I think I know that thorn that you "picked up". When we were at Kapalua, the grass area had quite a few of them. We learned very quickly to keep slippers on, ALL the time!

Lappert's ice cream for dessert, yum!

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for Ka'anapali, Haleakala National Park, Maui
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4. Re: Trip Report: 8 Days on Maui - Day 3

Sounds like lots more fun for all!

Re Office Road--that is the original name of the road, back when the area was actually Honolua Ranch and then Honolua Plantation. The pineapple cannery was right there..........some of the old buildings are from those days (the barn and the storage sheds). The plantation office was there too.

The thorn was prob a kiawe thorn--they can go thru slippers too.

Edited: 11 August 2013, 21:54
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Honolua Store
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668 Reviews
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S W Arkansas
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for Kihei, Maui, Hana, Haleakala National Park
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5. Re: Trip Report: 8 Days on Maui - Day 3

I have enjoyed "catching up" on your reports. Thanks for sharing your vacation with us. Ouch on the thorn, they can be nasty, Glad it didn't give you trouble the rest of the week.

It is fun to meet other TAers.

Edited: 11 August 2013, 22:06
Alaska
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23 reviews
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6. Re: Trip Report: 8 Days on Maui - Day 3

Those thorns are everywhere to be found on our favorite beach down south and byes, they easily go through my flips, if stepped on hard enough. I remind myself to be on the look out now! Sorry it hurt your foot. I love the beach but am just high maintenance enough to need a chair. I will spend every morning on the beach and very often our condo has chairs. When it hasn't, Walmart has the kind we prefer.

Very awesome that you enjoyed your time spent with Andi and husband! For the first time, we will enjoy meeting up with TA friends and two of them feel like sisters. : -))).......you know who you are! We have really enjoyed our meals at Star Noodle and thanks for the tip on timing for dinner. Very often we will go before five just to avoid the crowds. Of course, part of the thrill of September and October trips is the lack of crowds. Better to go when your kids can join you. Because our son is about to graduate college, he is managing to get away for a week to join us and his first request is Star Noodle! Have fun and thanks for the reports! Deb

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Star Noodle
Star Noodle
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Maui, HI
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7. Re: Trip Report: 8 Days on Maui - Day 3

Very enjoyable report.. Star Noodle sounds really good. :)

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Star Noodle
Star Noodle
3,329 Reviews
Maui, HI
Lakelady2451
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8. Re: Trip Report: 8 Days on Maui - Day 3

Thanks for writing about your trip... glad everyone is having a great time!

Minnesota
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for Maui
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13,592 posts
47 reviews
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9. Re: Trip Report: 8 Days on Maui - Day 3

Yep..those thorns are everywhere..first time I saw them was Olawalu but then I saw them at Airport this last time as well.

Thanks for continuing to share.

Kauai, Hawaii
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4,028 posts
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10. Re: Trip Report: 8 Days on Maui - Day 3

I'm enjoying this - thanks, frenchfryd!