April 22 ==> 28, 2018

We’ve been to Hawaii a few times – the last time was 2006 when we celebrated a milestone anniversary. We told each other we shouldn’t wait so long to go again; well we did. But my oh my it was wonderful – we shouldn’t wait so long to go again!

We felt like 12 year olds on summer vacation: wake up, put our swim suits on, eat some breakfast, then head outside to play all day; come home at the end of the day and the grownups have made your dinner!

When we went last time we stayed at Kaanapali. This time Carla found a VRBO condo north of there at a place called Napili Shores.

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It was a long flight capped with a frustratingly long and confusing line at Budget Rent a Car. But as soon as we stepped into our place we were relaxed. As we unpacked the sun was setting to the south of Moloka’i. Carla had snagged one of the best five or six condos in the complex. It was on the second floor looking directly out across the ocean with  Molokai on the other side of Lahaina Roads.

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Quite a few people we talked with about our trip knew Napili Bay and recommended we go to The Gazebo for breakfast and try the macadamia nut pancakes. The Gazebo was there before the condo complex was built. People told us to get there early as the line backs up for over a hundred yards. We strolled downstairs about 20 minutes before it opened only to discover there was indeed a line. But they serve coffee in line and we had a nice chat with a young couple and their infant on one side of us and a couple from Ohio (Ohio!) on the other. I thought that people in the east would go to the Caribbean for their sun and surf. But, no – there were many, many people from across the United States. Later in the week I grabbed a picture of the restaurant and the line.

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Our condo was just next to the pool in the bottom left corner. We overlooked a rocky reef that, while good for tide pool watching, was not for swimming. No worries – it was just a short walk to the beach at Napili Bay. It is a quiet protected bay perfect for sunbathing and playing in the surf. There is a bit of a drop off just a few feet into the water, so this isn’t the best beach for little ones. But it is great for snorkelers. you can see a long reef crossing the bay a short swim from shore.

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And here is a few from the rocks outside our room. Don’t let the clouds fool you; it was plenty warm.

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Our mission for the week was snorkeling – and we accepted the mission! On the first morning on my way  out to the reef I looked to my right to see a huge sea turtle coming right at me. By first thought was “wow s/he is beautiful” followed a second later by “um, do they bite?” I decided that – to paraphrase the Bard of Avon – “discretion is the better part of valor” so I kicked my flippers to get to his side. As I turned a came up next to another snorkeler and we watch him/her pass. [From what I later read on the internet, they are not dangerous. ]

I then turned to the reef to view the multitude of tropical fish nibbling on coral.

We spent our first three days out on Napili Bay bobbing, snorkeling, and sunning. The tropical sun is a force. Even though it was partly cloudy everyday, I’d get back in the evening to find the parts on my body that I didn’t cover with sunscreen. I was a bit red but not bad at all.

When we returned to our room for lunch we saw plenty of action with catamarans and motor boats plowing up and down off shore.

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Tuesday night  we were treated to another beautiful sunset, then we had a special dinenr Sea House on the other side of the bay.

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Wednesday was a bit rainy but we were undeterred; we headed out to the beach and sat in our beach chairs holding our travel umbrellas over our heads. We figured – hey we are going to get wet, we might as well be in the ocean – so we snorkeled a bit but the water was a little cloudy. Nevertheless, we got a nice rainbow.

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Wednesday night was party night. We took a Lyft into Lahaina and went to Warren and Annabelles for a night of magic and comedy. A group of magicians work there for a week or two at a time. We saw John Shryock and Chris Blackmore. After enjoying drinks and appetizers in the bar; you are ushered into an intimate theater where you are treated to some amazing sleight of hand tricks and plenty of comedy to go with it. I can’t recommend this experience any higher; we will go every time we go to Maui. Be sure to buy tickets ahead of time as it sells out regularly.

We wanted a change of scenery for Thursday; after Googling for the best snorkeling sites on Maui we headed down south to Maulaka Beach south of Wailea. It was over an hour drive, but it was worth it. There is a parking lot at the northern end of the beach – it’s small go get there early. Maulaka is part of the area known as  Turtle Town. We set up our spot on the south end of the beach near the rocky outcrops. We saw a turtle shortly after getting in the water. One hung out on a bit of reef just a few yards off shore. We headed out to the reef and saw more beautiful tropical fish.

This is a perfect beach for swimming and snorkeling; there is no drop off next to the shore and the water was quieter – at least on the day we visited. Beautiful. This is what comes to mind when I think of Hawaiian beaches

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On the way home we had a late, late lunch in Kihei then stopped in at the Maui Ocean Center which was fantastic. There is a plexiglass tunnel you walk through with ocean creature swimming all around. A massive sting ray lay right down on the tube above us.

We headed down to the tide pools in the evening and saw a bobbing rock. Looking closer it was a turtle hanging out in a tide pool having salad for dinner. S/He blends in with the rocks so you may have to look for a bit to see him/her.

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Thursday was a busy day and we were tired. Knowing we had only one more full day we were determined to take advantage. Referring again to the Hawaii Snorkeling Guide website we discovered that Kapalua Beach was just on the other side of the northern point of Napili Bay. The road isn’t pedestrian friendly so we drove over only to find the parking lot full – we found a spot on the shoulder of the road.Screen Shot 2018-05-05 at 3.12.13 PM

The guide says this is one of the best beaches for beginning snorkelers. I think we saw the most variety of fish there, including a flounder nestled in the sand waiting for his dinner to swim by. However, if you go here, check the tide charts and go when the tide is closer to high tide than low. We were there at low tide and were a little nervous swimming over the shallow coral reefs. At low tide there aren’t many places to stop and drop your legs without banging into some of the sharp coral.

I’ll leave you with another sunset, my alternate banner photo and a view of some of the tropical flowers we saw.

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Maui is wonderful. We hope to get there again next year.

NOTE: May 6, 2018. I missed a flower picture I wanted to include. We think this is the flower leis are made of.

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