September 30, 2016

Hawaii Day Eleven *Surfing Lessons*

Monday, September 26 2016

The last scheduled activity of our vacation was surfing lessons! Surfing was something I really wanted to try in Hawaii so I booked Brian and myself a group lesson with Goofy Foot Surf School, Inc. 

Brian and I are really getting the hang of this vacation thing and it takes no time in the morning to get ready and leave for our adventures so we arrived in Lahaina for our lesson extra early. 

The drive to Lahaina is so beautiful 

Signing the waivers

The only other people in our group lesson were a nice young couple from Germany who had also never surfed before. Our instructor (John, I think) went through a semi-lengthy speech on dry land, giving us some surfing tips and cheats so we would be able to stand up on the board during our first lesson.  It was less learning to be a real surfer and more "let's really make sure you experience standing on the surf board while riding a wave". Needless to say no "pop-ups" were required. 

In the ocean we each took turns going out with John to catch a wave. He made it really easy because he picked the best waves and then kind of pushed our surf board along so we could get going fast enough to catch the wave. I'm sure it would have been very frustrating (and dangerous) if we all went out there on our own and tried to surf, so this method was fine with me. 

Our lesson was only two hours long so we each had about five turns with John. The German guy was the best at staying on his board and rode most of his waves all the way to shore. to have the most tries.  I did okay on about half of my attempts, but usually ended my ride falling into the water.  

There was a girl from Goofy Foot who took a bunch of photos of us from the shore and after the lessons we had the option of buying all the pictures on a flash drive for $45 or one photo for $15. Brian didn't care about getting a picture of himself so I decided to get just one. I was going to get the photo of the two of us posing with the surfboard on the beach but the girl convinced me to get an action shot.

Super into it

She also sneaked this one onto flash drive for us:

Wipe out!

Surfing was pretty fun but because neither of us were surfing prodigies (haha) it was probably one of those once in a lifetime activities we wouldn't go out of our way to do again in the future.  

So corny

Our free hats!

After our surf lessons we had lunch at Bubba Gumps (loved it) and did some shopping around Lahaina

Walking into the restaurant

Enjoying the view

The view



Banana and chocolate hazelnut gelato

After our gelato we went back to Kihei to watch the presidential debate. I had snacks for dinner and Brian went to get another ahi club sandwich from Nalu's. Another great day!

September 28, 2016

Hawaii Day Ten *Road to Hana*

Sunday, September 25 2016

I wanted to get on the road as early as possible this morning for our trip to Hana. Brian and I grabbed a Maui coffee and McDonald's breakfast and were headed towards the highway by 6:30. 

I downloaded the Gypsy Guide app which was only five dollars and we also brought the Maui Revealed guidebook the owners of the cottage provided for is. There were a few pull outs I wanted to see that we missed (like the Lower Puohokamoa Falls), but we did stop at about ten other places (some for less than five minutes) and the entire road trip took ten and a half hours. 

The first stop we made was a quick one for the restrooms at Kaumahina State Wayside.  We were there early enough so it was not crowded and I took this lovely snap of the clouds over the bay. 

Morning ocean views
Our next stop was the Ke'anae Arboretum to see some cool plants and trees, some native some not. 

Path to the arboretum
Blue Palm

A pretty flower of some sort

Guava Tree
Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees

They were huge!

Further down the road was the Ke'anae peninsula where we pulled in for some views of crashing waves on lava rock and banana bread at Aunty Sandy's.

The Ke'anae Congregational Church was built mostly from rocks and coral from the seashore in 1860.
Devouring the banana bread

We were able to find a place to park for the Waikani (Three Bears) Waterfall and because of the moderate flow of water we were lucky to see three separate falls today.  (When the water gets heavier it turns into one big waterfall.)

I decided I really wanted to go somewhere off the beaten path and so we took the diversion on Nahiku Road to Opuhano Point.  It was less than a three mile drive off the main road with a short walk to the coastline and it was totally worth the extra time.

We parked at the end of the road near the Nahiku Church and walked the rest of the way.

The skys are clearing!

A small stream we passed
This waterfall was on the right side of the road heading to the coast...

..and at the bottom was this swimming pool with a swinging rope. 

We only saw a couple of other tourists also enjoying the views in Nahiku. It was nice to get away from the crowds. 

When we got back on the main road we made a made another quick stop at the nearby marketplace for the most amazing tasting coconut candy. 

The Hana was our favorite

And then headed to our next big stop which was Wai'anapanapa Park. We walked on the trail past the black sand beach:

(Where we really should have went for a swim.)

And continued on the rocky coastal path because we thought it was the way to the freshwater caves.  It was not the way to the caves (we weren't the only ones who were mistaken) and we did an unnecessary hot and sweaty mile or so on the rocky path before finally turning around and heading back to find the real trail. 

The actual freshwater cave trail was dark and mosquito-y but super short and we had walked the whole thing before I even took out my camera. Oops. 


We were getting hungry and wanted to see if Bruddah Hutts BBQ was open for lunch.  It wasn't. 

It was Sunday after all. 

So we stopped and got a random plate lunch at Troy's.  I wouldn't recommend the coconut shrimp (it was basically just soggy breaded shrimp) but Brian's BBQ chicken was pretty good and the salad and rice were very tasty. 

Our next stop was at Koki beach.

From the beach we saw 'Alau Island which is famous for having a coconut tree growing at the very top.

We decided to drive past Hana to the 'Ohe'o Gulch/Seven Sacred Pools because our plan was to go swimming in the pools but when we arrived there was a long line and a fee to get in and it said the pools were closed for swimming so we turned the car around. 

Proof we made it to the entrance of the park. :)

Basically we added an extra 1.5 hours of driving onto our trip (on much narrower roads than the road before Hana) but they say it's all about the journey anyway right?

On the way back we stopped at Wailua Falls because we had missed the turnout on the way out.  It's a huge waterfall and we walked out a short way to feel the spray and see people swimming in the pool at the bottom of the falls.

Our last stop was just a return to Wai'anapanapa for a bathroom and shower break (for Brian) and then we drove nonstop back to Kihei. 

I really liked the Gypsy app we used because it was helpful and informative and made the drive go by quicker, especially on the drive back from Hana. It was really interesting to learn more about Hawaii's history and I definitely don't regret the purchase.

Today was a long day but Brian and I were happy to have experienced the Road to Hana and we saw some neat sites along the way. 

Nothing special for dinner tonight, just leftover pizza. :)

September 27, 2016

Hawaii Day Nine *Snorkeling Forbidden Coast and Molokini*

Saturday, September 24 2016

Brian and I had to get up at 5:30 this morning and even though it was 11:30 Michigan time it was a good thing I set my alarm or we might have missed the boat.  Luckily we woke up and took our time getting ready, went to get coffee and arrived at the boat dock early.  

Bright and early and ready to go

I signed up for the snorkeling tour with Redline Rafting pretty far in advance and I think that's why Brian and I got to be in the smaller raft (15 seats I think) with seasoned Seth (who was an awesome captain) and Chase (very knowledgeable with the sea life and got some great shots on the GoPro).

Way behind.

Brian and I were the last ones on the boat (Brian remembered last minute to put his wallet and keys into a plastic bag and into the backpack while everyone else was filing on the boat) so we had to sit in the very front.  The front is reserved for the more adventuresome folk who love wild and bumpy rides. (Apparently the seats in the back are as smooth as a Cadillac. ) It was a lot of fun though and they played some great music which made it even better. The ocean was pretty calm today though Brian and I did get tossed around a lot (our necks were a little sore the next day).  It would have been a lot worse if our driver didn't know what he was doing but I could tell Seth was a pro at the controls and was trying to make it as smooth a ride as possible for all of us.   

Beginning of the trip

I was really worried about getting sea sick, especially since I had forgotten to bring the Dramamine, but I kept my eyes to the horizon and tried to stay in the water as much as possible and luckily, I didn't get sick!

Molokini crater

Seth and Chase brought us to FOUR different snorkeling locations.  The first was in the front of the Molokini crater where we snorkeled in super clear waters and saw amazing coral and lots of fish. The first time you put your head in the water is an amazing experience, it is such different world in the ocean and to experience it first hand is unforgettable. 

Chase grabbed a video of this creature at the bottom of the ocean. He opened his little mouth and everything.

Us from below


The second locale was the backside of the Molokini crater, a place where the bigger tours can't go because they are unable to anchor their boats. This was a neat spot because along with seeing more coral and fish, we also got to experience "The Elevator".   The Elevator is a space between two cracks in the crater where, when big waves or swells of water come along, instead of crashing you against the rock it just bouys you up and down. It's quite a fun little ride.

Brian in The Elevator.

We is having the time of our lives. Haha.

The third location was near Forbidden Coast in La Perouse Bay. We saw and heard about the ancient lava rock and Seth told us a little bit of Maui's history.   We parked on top of a school of Hawaiian sergeant fish and saw another ridge of coral in the middle of the bay. 

More coral

Unfortunately I couldn't find any footage of the sergeant fish, but I did find lots of me:


The last snorkeling site was a place where Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles are commonly seen. I was most excited for this location and was SO hoping we would spot one!  

Scanning the ocean for turtles


Seeing the huge turtles in real life was ridiculously cool. It is so tempting to reach out and touch one but it's illegal and if you did, you would be fined $5,000 and/or go to jail for three years.  I did see the turtle below take a groin swipe at the guy in the black shorts (I have it on film haha) before heading straight towards me (so cool!!).

Fun times.

All in all we loved the five hour long tour and would totally do it again if given the chance.  Seth and Chase were entertaining, knowledgeable and professional and told us everything we needed to know before each dive. They provided us with breakfast and lunch and gave everyone plenty of time at each snorkeling site.

All the photos I took while snorkeling are screen shots from video I recorded on the Go Pro we were allowed to borrow for free.  At the end of the tour we had the option of buying the SD card if we thought we captured some good stuff which we definitely did.  I am so happy to have footage and photos of us snorkeling in Hawaii!