Sunday, December 15, 2013

Maui Day 1

In June, Josef and I spent a week in Maui without the kids. It was absolute heaven!  Mason and Sofia had a blast spending the week at Oma and Poppy's house.

One of my favorite things to do is plan vacations (even if the majority of the ones I plan never come to fruition).  I spent several months scouring the internet for all things Hawaii.  I felt like I was practically a Maui expert by the time we finally got there. Okay not really, but I had definitely done my homework.

We went to the island of Oahu on our honeymoon and vowed that one day we would return and explore another one of the islands that we had fallen in love with.  I have to say Maui is my favorite of the two.  We love the small town feel of the island.  There are no freeways, high rises, or large cites like  Oahu.  Just lots of little towns, locally owned shops and restaurants, friendly interesting people, lush green rainforest, and so many glorious beaches.  The whole time we were there Josef and I were planning and scheming how we could make Maui our home and for several weeks after we got home we continued the fantasy.  Maybe some day in the far, faaaaar future we will make our dream a reality, but until then I have my pictures and my memories.

On the island of Maui there are a large variety of accommodations.  We went back and forth on whether to stay in a hotel/resort or rent a condo.  Josef and I decided to find a condo.  While that meant giving up amenities like manicured grounds, maid service, concierge, resort-style pool, on-site restaurants, etc. A condo provided us with a full kitchen, MUCH closer proximity to the ocean (we were literally 15 steps away), and a huge financial savings.  If you are interested this is where we stayed.

On day one we woke up very early and headed to the airport for a 6 o'clock departure time.  The flight was long (we were in the air a total of 10 hours with a 45 minute layover in LAX) and pretty smooth except for a bumpy and kinda scary descent that had my stomach in my throat.  The poor woman sitting behind us was terrified and whimpered and cried out at each pitch and drop of the plane. Her reaction only made my nervousness grow. Once we landed the lady behind us cried tears of joy and relief and clapped wildly, apologizing to all around her for her emotional response.

As soon as we entered our condo I dug through my suit case, threw on my swim suit and made a beeline for the lanai and the ocean.
Josef took this picture of me while standing at the screen door looking out on our lanai and the communal grassy area of the complex.  Behind me are the stairs that lead down to the ocean and our own little sandy beach.  All the dark bluish stuff in the water is a coral reef where turtles come to feed on a daily basis.  One of our favorite activities was to simply lounge on those chairs behind me, watch the sun slip behind the water, and listen to the waves crashing against the sea wall as the tide came in each night. There are few things in life that I enjoy more then the sound of the ocean.

We had an early dinner at Mala Ocean Tavern in Lahaina right next to the marina and enjoyed some amazing seafood in honor of our first night in Maui.  When we came back to our condo the sun was setting so we went straight out to our Lanai to get a front row seat.  We noticed a crowd of picture-takers gathering at the seawall directly in front of our lanai, peering down at something on the beach.  Upon investigation this is what we found:
What better way to begin our week in paradise then a visit from Crush the sea turtle! Of course I had to get closer and take lots of pictures, cuz when am I going to have another chance to get this close to a giant turtle?  Sea turtles are sacred and protected in Hawaii and it is strictly forbidden to touch one.

This last picture can give you an idea of how large he was when you compare him to the people on the beach.  Our snorkel guide told us a few days later that you can generally tell how old a turtle is by their size.  While I am no turtle expert, I am guessing this guy was well over 50 years because he was so big and must have weighed a ton.  Unfortunately this was the one and only turtle we saw while in Maui, so I feel lucky that we got to get up-close and personal with one who has lived such a long life. This was a highlight of our vacation.

Now for some dreamy sunset pictures.  You can see the island of Lanai in the background of these next two.

And turning my body 90 degrees I would be looking at the island of Molokai if not for the clouds covering my view.

With the time difference being about six hours behind Texas, we went to bed shortly after I took these pictures.  The following morning we were awake by 5am and ready for the day to start.  Our second day we drove the Road to Hana.  Which deserves its own post, so stay tuned!

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