Maui Hawaii Wed September 28th - Tue October 4th 2011

The Old Lahaina Luau

Four Winds II Molokini - Black Rock - Kapalua Beach

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Wednesday 09/28/11,  we parked at MIA, took the shuttle.   Airport Fast Park is great.   We parked under a cover, car was fine when we returned.      2nd picture on the way to LAX. 

The summit of Haleakala Crater.    Everyone gets here early for the sunrise.    Get to the summit by 5am or you won't get a parking spot at the top.     You'll have to venture down to the lower lookout area near the crater.   Our plane (American Airlines) left MIA on Wednesday 09/28/11 at 11:15 am, arrived LAX at 1:15pm, we had a 3 hour lay over until 4:00pm, then arrived OGG at 7pm the same day.   It was 5 hours per flight, and a 6 hour time change.    On arrival, we went to Whole Foods and Safeway.    Bought a cooler, Ice, packed it with fruit, nuts, and juice.     Drove to the national park, it's open 24 hours.   Slept there until 4am, that's when cars started arriving at the look out spot at 7k feet (which has bathrooms open in the middle of the night).   It's $10 to enter the park.    At 2am, you put the $10 in a machine using the honor system.     We headed up to the summit arriving around 5am.   It was very cold, 46 degrees.    Lucky for us, we knew this and had on layers of cloths with a ski hat and gloves.   At 06:09am, the sun came up and everyone snapped pictures.  



Thursday 09/29/11, Shots of Laurie and Robert at the top.   We're 10k feet up.    A couple pictures with the sun in the background.     In the 3rd picture is the north side of Maui.   To the right is downtown and the airport.   In the 4th picture is the crater.   This is a volcano that erupted 250,000 years ago.   In the 5th picture is all the scientific equipment at the summit.   We stayed up here for an hour, snapped pictures, then headed back down passing bicycle tour groups.   

On the way down from the volcano, we saw horses, stopped, and I gave them some food.   In picture 3 they have their ears up saying gimmie.  

Charley's restaurant at the beginning of The Road to Hana.   This place has been written up in many guide books.   Most people get here at 7am for breakfast.   We got here at 9am and there wasn't much of a crowd.   In picture 3 is a Veggie Scramble Laurie had.   In picture 4 is a Breakfast Burrito I had.    What did it taste like?    Let's just say it was a Man V. Food moment, awesome.

The Road to Hana.    The views on the way are the reward for the drive.   It's a very tough road with 400 switchbacks.    The top speed is about 30mph, slowing down to 15mph for each turn.    Many spots along the road have single lane passes where each side has to yield.    What's in Hana?   Fagen's cross, 1 mile away on top of a hill.  The gate was closed, and it was far to walk.   Seems like they didn't want people walking up here, we took pictures.      What else?    A few hotels, restaurants, shops, and beach areas.   We didn't care to explore, we turned around and headed back.  

The other reward is the water falls.    People stop, pull off to the side of the road, and snap pictures.   In pictures 1-4 is the first water fall along the tour, found at MM 11.5.    This is called Haipuaena Falls.     Pull off the road to the left, walk through a fence with a skull guarding the land, and a short hike leads to the look out spot.      In picture 5 is a water fall found at MM 24 called Hanawi Falls.    This can be seen from the bridge.   In picture 6 is Makapipi falls, found just past MM 25 on a bridge.     Pull off before or after the bridge and walk.    There are many other water falls we didn't bother stopping for.     And if you notice, the pictures stop at MM25.   This would be a good turn around spot.  

12 pictures of the Outrigger Maui Eldorado resort.   We stayed in room I-201.   Steps from the parking garage, and a short walk to Black Rock.    A partial view of the golf course, even though it's booked as a 1 bedroom garden view.   We really liked this unit.

After unpacking our stuff, we ventured to a Farmers Market food store, went across the street to a park, and snapped a few pictures of the sunset.   What a long day and a half.    We left Miami at 11:15am, and it was 6pm the next day, which was really midnight back on the east coast.    What's funny is I still woke up at 3am every morning, never really switched over to Hawaii time.    Went to bed at 8pm every night.    

Friday 09/30/11, ventured to Black Rock.    Walked along the path around the golf course down to the beach.   In picture 3 is the beach cabana which is private to the Eldorado.    In picture 4 is a double rainbow.   In pictures 5 and 6 is Black Rock.   We snorkeled here twice, each time seeing turtles.    This was the best snorkel spot of the trip.  

A funny sign, found in back of the Sheraton.    In picture 2, is a pineapple patch.    In picture 3 and 4, we're at Whaler's Village.    This is a mall with shops and restaurants on the beach.   

Hula Grill.   In picture 1 is Wontons with spicy mustard sauce on the side.  They also brought out a mild orange sauce.     In picture 2 is a veggie pizza.   In picture 3 is a fruit sampler for desert.

Saturday 10/01/11, we checked out of the Eldorado and made our way up to the Kapalua Villas.    Our room was not ready so we drove around taking pictures.   In pictures 1-7 is the north beach area along the golf course.   In picture 8 is the work out room at "The Spa."

This is Kapalua Beach, voted #1 by the by the Travel Channel shows.     What's the draw of this beach?   About 10 feet from the shore, the reef starts, with lots of fish to see.   This is one reason we came here.   I saw this beach on a countdown show years ago, and wanted to come here one day.    Years later, I finally made it.  

At 3pm we got our key to Room 522 at the Kapalua Villas.   These pictures show the main entrance leading to the kitchen area.

This is the 2nd bedroom and bath.   This unit is actually a 2/3, meaning there are 3 full bathrooms.    We booked the unit as a 1 bedroom, but they gave us a 2 bedroom unit.  Tthis is definitely the place for a large family with kids.  

Here's the master bedroom and bath.    Double sinks, double shower heads in the tub.   Fancy?  Yes.

This was our view out the back.   Doesn't get much better than this.   The ocean to the left, with a golf course view to the right.

Here we are at The Old Lahaina Luau.    In these pictures you can see the entrance area, the stage, band, pig pit, buffet station, and a group shot.  

A picture of the food and desert tray.    The rest of the pictures are of the show.    What's it like?    Good.   Food and drinks included in the admission price.     Line is long for the bar, best to order 2 drinks at a time or let your server get them.    Show was entertaining.

Sunday 10/02/11, here we are going out on the Four Winds II to Molokini.    The AM tour is the best.     It includes a breakfast of bagels, cream cheese, jelly, fruit, and juice.   The boat ride to Molokini takes about an hour.   You have 2 hours to snorkel, then it takes another hour to come back.    They serve beer and wine along with burgers for lunch.

Here we are in the water at Molokini.    They tell everyone not to touch the bottom or the side walls to avoid injury.   Don't worry, we didn't touch anything.     These shots were taken with a cheap disposable $15 camera bought at Safeway.   There is a photographer on the boat who will let you rent a digital camera for $40, and burn you a disc once the boat returns to the doc.    This is probably the better thing to do but we didn't know about it and already had our camera.

On the way back, we enjoyed nice views of the resorts.     Then we pulled up to a spot with spinner dolphins and turtles.   Why are they called spinner dolphins?   Because they jump out of the water and spin.     Everyone was snapping pictures.  The captain took the boat around for a 2nd pass and let everyone enjoy the show. 

Monday 10/03/11, I woke up early, worked out at "The Spa," snorkeled in Kapalua beach one more time, then we packed up and headed to the airport.    Flights home on American went on time with no problems.   
Tuesday 10/04/11,  We arrived back in MIA at 7am.   

Summary: We enjoyed the Eldorado better than the Kapalua Villas.    We didn't care for the fancy stuff, and found a bunch of flaws at the Villas.    The best snorkel spot is Black Rock, that's the only place we saw turtles.      The Luau and tour of Molokini are worth the money.     On the road to Hana, I don't think it's worth driving all the way to Hana.    The switch back roads are a PITA.     You would be better off stopping at the first water fall at MM 11.5, taking a bunch of pictures, then going back to your hotel.   Or if you want to see more water falls, go to MM 25 and turn around.    They make a big deal about the water falls, but I wasn't that impressed.    The views along the road to Hana are beautiful, but it will take you 2 hours to drive the entire way.   To me, they hype up the drive so people will spend an entire day in Hana and stop at all the stands along the way.    We didn't stop at any stands because I heard of people getting sick from containers that were not sterilized properly.    

Regarding Kapalua beach, it was hyped up on the Travel Channel as #1, but I think that's so people will stay in the fancy resorts in the area.    Kaanapali beach is the better choice for most travelers.     They have fancy resort hotels right on the beach, or you can stay at the Eldorado, which I think is a great choice, look it up on Trip Advisor.   The Kapalua area is fancy schmancy, more upscale.    

Tourists can visit Kapalua beach even if not staying in the resorts, they provide public parking for the beach.    Just south of Kapalua beach is a small public lot that fills up quickly.     A block to the north (where the sign says "The Ridge") is a huge public lot.     If you are heading north, turn right at the sign, make another right, go up the hill, and you will find a 3 level parking area.    It's a long walk from here.    Some people park on the side of the road, but I wouldn't recommend that.    If you stay at a Kapalua resort, you'll get a parking pass which will let you park at "The Spa."    From here it's a short walk to Kapalua beach.  

Some reviews of Black Rock say it's filled with frat kids who make a lot of noise jumping off the rock.   This is true, but they appear in the afternoon.   As with anything in life, the key is to ARRIVE EARLY.    If you are from the east coast, this won't be a problem, you'll be up at 3am    The sun comes up at 6am, at 8am it will be shining on the beach.    That's when you want to visit any snorkel spot.      On my last day when I visited Kapalua beach, it was me, and one other person in the water.    I had the entire beach to myself.    Same thing with the drive to Haleakala summit.   If you want a parking spot at the top, you have to be there at 5am.  Otherwise a park ranger comes through with lights on telling everyone around the circle to move.   Your car must be in a legit spot in order to stay at the summit.  

More resources to plan your trip:
Good web site with general info.   They have a PDF file to download.

This is the main page for the last site

Drive Guide.   All rental car companies give out a magazine with maps.  The guide is also online.    All the major tour groups and shows are in there.  They also cover the other islands.

End of Report.   Thanks for reading. 

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