Back from Maui

We are back from our nine day trip to Maui. The place is quite amazing with lots to see and do both on the water and off. This is our third trip to the island and this time Lauren's girlfriend had her wedding on the north shore. Of course, I was not complaining since I was able to windsurf on the actual day of the wedding!

We arrived on Tuesday afternoon, Sept 26. After an early flight from Dulles and a connection in Salt Lake City, we were landing at Kahului Airport, Maui around 3:30pm local time. We rented a jeep for the week, and checked into our favorite B&B on the island, The Spyglass House. Located just east of Paia, the Spyglass House is perfect for classic Hawaiian charm and scenery. Lauren and I stayed in the Crows Nest, a perfect room with ocean views and open air for sounds of the ocean. Tuesday night we dined at Jacques in Paia and enjoyed the fish special entrée of the evening.

Wednesday, we decided to drive the road to Hana. This trip is quite the “touristy” thing to do, but was quite fun since we made many stops to check out various tropical waterfalls and pools found along the way as described in Lauren’s “Hawaii Revealed” guide book. We continued around the south east side of the island past Hana where the environment became arid and wide panaramonic views from the Haleakala Volcano summit to the ocean could be seen. Our drive finished with sunset in the upcountry of Kula on our way back to Paia. Our day lasted nearly 12 hours, but was quite the trip to see the east side of Maui.

Thursday, we traveled to Lahaina for some surfing on the south side. The waves were small, but perfect for Lauren as she caught a number of rides in the Hawaiian surf. Later, we ventured to Kaanapali Beach for some sunset snorkeling at Black Rock. We saw a number of fish and turtles as we swam around the coral found there. That evening after sunset, we dined at Hula Grille and enjoyed a taste of postcard Hawaii with fruity drinks and people watching. The bartender asked if we were visiting from “up north” but was referencing Paia instead of some state on the mainland. It was pretty funny as we appeared to him as surfer/hippy type north shore “locals.” I guess we should have worn our matching Hawaiian shirts?!

Friday though Sunday were my days for windsurfing. I rented gear from HiTech which included a Quatro 82 wave stick and a Maui Sails 5.4 Global and 5.0 Legend. Friday, winds were moderate and I sailed both the 5.4 and 5.0 as conditions fluctuated throughout the day. Waves were small, but fun where I sailed at Noriega Point, just west of Lanes. The spot is popular with the Maui crowd with a combination of pro and local crew mixing it up. Lanes appears to be the wave kitesurfing spot, and Hookipa was crowded as usual.

Saturday, was the BIG day for wavesailing. The talk of the first big fall swell was reported by the surf shops earlier in the week. Everyone was anticipating the incoming swell that was supposed to arrive Friday, but waited until Saturday. I was one of the first ones out at Noregia Point around 12:30pm. Conditions were solid 5.0m (25+ mph) wind and set waves in the over mast high range (12+ foot high wave faces). Mountainous swells rolled in on regular set intervals. The reef would go from completely flat to huge surf during the average 3 to 4 wave sets. Soon after I was out, others launched and by early afternoon, there were a number of sailors on the water. My best description of conditions was a wavesailor’s “Disneyland!” Sunny skies, perfect wind, crystal clear blue water, and large predictable swells made for a perfect wavesailing experience. It was like a regular looping conveyor belt where I would catch the third or forth swell in the set on the outside, ride upwind to the takeoff, catch a few top to bottom turns, kick out inside the bay west of the point, and sail back out in flat water. Then repeat with a few jumps thrown in here and there… Perfect wavesailing, and if I missed on one of my cutbacks or lost it in the whitewater, there was plenty of time to recover between the sets. Of course, if you took the first or second wave of the set and wiped out, your story would be different?! I sailed for 3.5 hours that day and after coming in, I talked with some of the local crew who mentioned that conditions rated 8.5 out of 10 for Maui…near epic!

Sunday, the swell vacated, waves were back to “normal,” and winds blew in the 5.5m (20 mph) range. Late, that afternoon, I returned the gear to HiTech and ended my windsurfing stint that week on Maui (of note, it was windy every day we were there!). Later that evening, Lauren and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary at Mamma’s Fish House. Extraordinary meal!

Monday, Lauren and I checked out of the Spyglass House and moved south to Lahiana. We stayed at the Guest House B&B. Excellent accommodations and staff, plus we had our own personal hot tub and 60+ inch flat panel TV?! Not that I wanted to spend too much time watching television in Maui, but it was interesting to see that when the host showed us how to work the remote, and CNN came on, the story on the air was the Washington, DC congressional scandal. Nice that in Maui, you really do not think about DC out there… We were at the Guesthouse for two nights, and enjoyed another day of snorkeling at Honolua Bay. Excellent visibility and coral heads for those who ventured to the outside reef. Most others that were snorkeling stayed inside and missed the natural aquarium found about 100 yards offshore.

On Wednesday, our final day on Maui, Lauren took a kiteboarding lesson with the Kiteboarding School of Maui (KSM) run by our friend Martin Kirk. She spent about three hours with all instruction up to and including a body drag. Her instructor Garrett was excellent. I stood by, snapped photos and shot video of her experience. She is now primed to continue her kiteboarding experience here in Hatteras, one of the best locales in the world for learning the sport.

We left Maui at 9:00pm Wed, and arrived back home in Nags Head at around 8:30pm. It was literally nearly 24 hrs of travel, so quite a long day. We needed a few days to recover, but now we are comfortably back on East Coast time. All in all, it was an awesome trip and much fun for the both of us.

Congratulations to Mike and Kat on their wedding there and the start of their new life together!

More photos from the trip:

Our favoriate cheap eat on Maui, though good luck finding this place!

A waterfall along the road to Hana

Along the road to Hana, we found this cool pool. The rocks and location reminded me of being on another planet?!

Lauren scaling the rock cliff at the "Moon" pool.

Lauren sporting her bikini at one of the waterfalls we hiked to.

The tall eucalyptus trees growing along the road to Hana.

A sea turtle spotted during our snorkeling session at Black Rock.

Lots of tropical fish around the coral heads at Honolua Bay

A stingray at Black Rock

More fish and coral at Honolua Bay

Hey, that's me coming up for air!

Big Saturday at Noregia Point. Too bad I did not have a greater zoom or I should have just taken my water camera out to shoot the conditions on site!

Lauren and I ready for dinner at Mamma's Fish House.

Sunset in the high country of Kula.


At 10:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm jealous
Looks like you were a little close to that Stingray!


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