It has taken me awhile to write about the conclusion of our trip. Either we were on the go, or too tired … needed time to reflect… this is filled with photos!
The challenge: much to do, so little time.
The trick: to fit everything in without rushing.
It’s an art to make this balance, but I’m happy to report, mission accomplished.
Our trip was filled with highs and lows, but this is not what you might think. Keep reading and you will understand. Our adventure began when we became a band of three. After a few weeks on our own, my husband joined us. The first family thing we did was have breakfast together at Kula Lodge. The view, food, and service were outstanding.
The Lodge is one turn away from the road to Haleakala, where the road meets the sky, literally. At first, it was fun driving along the winding road, but after the ranger station, the road narrowed and we drove through clouds. There was no road beyond the white line. My fear of heights went into crisis mode and I squealed every time the car was close to the edge. Those last fives miles were brutal. When we reached the top, I wanted to kiss the ground. Over the years, I’ve done this drive five times, but this was the first time I felt panic.
At 10,030 feet above sea level, it’s cold and windy at the crater. The landscape looks more like the moon than earth. It’s odd to look down on the clouds. It feels like this is the top of the world.
After exploring, Husband took the wheel and we headed for the sea. I asked him to tell me when our lane was hugging the mountain so I could open my eyes. Even so, this didn’t stop me from shrieking. The view is phenomenal, but the only way I will return is if I’m taken against my will.
Our next destination was the Kaanapali Ocean Inn. It’s managed by the Royal Lahaina which allows us access to all their amenities. We LOVED the salt water pool! Our room wasn’t beach front, but it was ocean view and Molokai was in our direct line of site. We arrived before check-in so waited at the bar, overlooking the pool and ocean. At one point, everyone stood up and I realized it was because a baseball game was starting and the National Anthem was being played on TV. Jess ordered a root beer (that’s as hard as she gets) and was beside herself with excitement!
The next morning we headed to Lahaina. We walked around the harbor and the next thing we knew, we were taking a ride in a yellow submarine called the Reef Dancer (This was our low). The first part of the tour, with the aide of Diver Dan, we explored the reef. On the way back, we sat up top and enjoyed the view of Lahaina, the harbor, and the west Maui mountains.
On Tuesday we swam at Black Rock and hung out at the Tiki Bar with Dale (I have history here, we go way back, but that’s another story). The drink special for the day was a Pina colada. Jess finished mine, but then made a face because she could taste the alcohol. She’s a teetotaler.
There were many highlights during this trip. We all enjoyed the Ulalena show It’s a blend of ancient hula and Cirque du Soleil. It was extra special for me because one of my friend’s daughter is part of the cast. Jess was star struck when she met Natalie after the production.
Jess worked through her ocean anxiety. At first, she wouldn’t step foot on the sand, but with Dad’s reassurance, not only was she willing to walk along the shore, but she swam in the ocean with ease. Jess and I loved sculling on top of the swells at Kaanapali. The sensation of the waves passing through your body before they land on shore is relaxing.
Husband had a couple of memorable experiences. The water is rather shallow over the coral in Olowalu. While snorkeling, he discovered a sandy channel that led him farther out to sea. At one point, he was out of my sight. I was momentarily alarmed at the thought of his being lost at sea. and wondering “what will we do?”. This is another irrational fear that pops into my head on occasion. Finally, I caught sight of him. Phew… Not only did he see many types of fish, but he had to stop and let a giant sea turtle pass in front of him. When he shared this story with our friends, it was then that they told us about a shark attack. It had been years ago. Just like in the movie “Finding Nemo”, there is a drop off not far from where he was swimming. All they found was her torso. Sharks like deep water. Stories like this make you respect the ocean.
When we were back in Lahaina, husband had his first surf lesson. He caught four waves and rode two. The water wasn’t very deep and the surf break is coral. His surfing experienced ended when he cut his hand. It’s wise to get out of the water if you are bleeding, especially after being told about a shark tale.
The helicopter ride to Molokai gave us another perspective of the island. After the first few minutes in the air, Jess said this was “more, more, more remarkable”. This experience was made possible because we consented to suffer through a timeshare presentation. They said, “it’s not a timeshare”. No, maybe not, but there is no advantage to buying into what they had to offer either. Consider this warning my public service.
Attending The Apostolic Faith Church, aka Jesus Coming Soon church, was an emotional experience. It’s a tiny little church that was made famous in an Eagles song. At one point they had a 20-minute prayer. It was a little long as far as Jess was concerned. She injected humor on her talker and said “Martini, want, find”. I’m afraid this church doesn’t get many visitors which is a shame. They worshipped by singing classic hymns and all praise to our Lord. As they say, if you don’t know the answer, the answer is Jesus!
There is no doubt that I ate too much. Makawao Steak House has outstanding food at reasonable prices. I preferred dining in the comfy leather chairs in the bar area. My only regret was not asking exactly what was in their Lychee Cooler.
Honu in Lahaina was my other favorite restaurant. Seating is as close to the water as you can get. Happy hour is a must and eating off the bar menu makes it one of the best deals in town. Their fried oyster sandwiches practically melt in your mouth. Evy, thank you for sharing this with me, I probably wouldn’t have found it on my own. I took the family there and we had a wonderful, memorable, family meal.
Friends and family made this trip extra special. It wouldn’t have been possible without Kathy offering us her bungalow. She greeted us at the airport with lei’s, helped me find our rental car and then had us follow her home so we wouldn’t get lost. There are no streetlights upcountry and no one to ask. The bungalow had a welcome sign, bouquet of flowers, a fridge of food and slippers for our feet. Kathy even did my laundry and tidied up for us too. She included Jess in a “girls night” so husband and I could go on a date. We rarely get out as a couple and this was unexpected to have alone time. Mahalo to you and Jody for making us feel at home. Evy and Jini, you spoiled me too!
I never thought Jess would be able to make this trip. Traveling 17 hours by plane with an Angel (two flights with a two-hour layover in California) to get to Maui seemed inconceivable. Then there was the six-hour time difference. How would she manage that? Every day we were on the go and nothing phased her. She acted like a seasoned traveler. There was a time, whenever we planned anything special for Jess, it never went as planned and everyone was miserable. However, this goes to show that anything is possible and why we need to live the motto, try, try and try again. You never know what is possible.
PS-We had a friend from church on our first flight, Jess was recognized by a friend of Kathy’s on top of Haleakala and the diver from the Reef Dancer sat next to husband on the flight out of Kahului on our flight home. The world really is a small place. You never know who you will meet!