Sunday, December 6, 2009

Thanksgiving Week on Maui!

We've been in desperate need of a vacation. We've both just been craving a break from real life : ) here on Oahu and thought what better time than Thanksgiving and what better place than Maui...and we headed off! It proved to be a brilliant decision...minus me getting sick, chipping my front tooth, and breaking all my cameras!


For starters we were in love with our hotel. It was the Hyatt Regency in the old whaling town of Lahaina. They have an award winning Luau we wanted to go to for thanksgiving so we thought we may as well stay there too and I'm so glad we did. It was beautiful! A great location offering tons of shopping and delicious restaurants both on and near the property plus it's known for having one of the best stretches of beach on the Northern Leeward side. We walked in and it took our breath away!

It had no roof! Well our rooms did but the building didn''d walk out of your room onto a covered patio/hallway and look down onto palm tree's and a beautiful courtyard garden area and look up to the matchless Hawaii sky.

The grounds were amazing. Pools & ponds everywhere you looked and possibly more waterfalls there than on the rest of the island!

There were cabanas, hammocks, water slides, bridges, swim up bars, grotto's with TV's, shops, statues, swans, parrots, fish, and our favorite...the penguins! Yup there was a penguin pond!!


We loved the shopping & restaurants in the city of Lahaina. We went to the Whalers village shopping center to check out some amazing art, clothing, and their Whale Museum.

Some interesting facts about whales & Maui:

1. The new calves are born without a protective blubber layer so they need the warm water to survive. Hence...why the mama's come to Hawaii to give birth. The Hawaiian water temperatures average around 75 degrees creating a more suitable environment for the calves.

2. The islands shelter and protect the waters for the whales, keeping them at shallow depths. Maui is located in a little island cluster with Lanai, Molokai, & Kahaloowe...with those being in such close promiximity they form a shallow basin for the whales to enjoy juxtapose that with the surrounding pacific ocean where depths average at 1 to 3 miles. Humpbacks seem to prefer "shallow/protected" waters and spend the majority of their lives in waters that are 300 feet or less.

3. Another reason to come to Maui is that Hawaiian waters are virtually predator free for the humpback whales. Their only real predators are a few shark species that will feed on the sick injured or young whales and then the Orca/Killer Whale.

There are rarely orcas in Hawaii, since they like colder water. In Alaska humpbacks encounter orcas on a regular basis and around 20% of humpback whales bear scars from orca attacks. Sad huh?

Along with the shopping and museum was great food. I love hawaiian food! We ate at the Hula grille on the water and enjoyed an amazing spread of fresh, authentic, and juicy Hawaiian fruits for the appetizer, then mango barbeque pork sandwiches with macadamia nut slaw...and great live music. YUM!!!!

:::we booked some amazing excursions that kept us busy every second we were there:::


Each day's itinerary was slammed and always starting before was rough but totally worth it. Like Thanksgiving for example, a lot of people like to do something physical before they pig out. They do a turkeybowl football the past I've done thanksgiving fun run's and we decided to do a 28 mile bike ride...but way more than just that. It was down a volcano!

We were picked up at 2:45am!! Then taken to the top of Mount Haleakala, the worlds largest dormant volcano! Haleakala makes up 75% of the island of Maui and got it's name, Haleakala (House of the sun, in Hawaiian) because the sun would rise just over it's summit and with it being on the east side and at the time spewing out lava it made sense to the people that the sun lived inside. It hasn't erupted since 1790 though more recently scientist are saying it's last eruption might have been as long ago as the 1600's. The crazy thing is that it's expected to erupt again in our lifetime!!!

At 4:00am we sat at the top of this crater which to us at that time in the dark just looked like a huge shadow, we enjoyed breakfast and waited for the sun to rise so we could see it in all it's majesty. It was AWESOME! Every couple minutes you could see deeper and deeper into this 3,000' deep, 22 mile around volcano and further and further out on the ocean. Once the sun was up we could see 4 more of the Hawaiian Islands! Molokai, Kahoolawe, & Lanai which are pretty close and in the distance you could even see the big Island. On clearer mornings you can see the lights of Oahu.

So weird to be above the clouds and NOT on a plane???

Not only was it incredible to see but was also incredibly cold up there at the 10,000'+ elevation by the time the sun was up and we'd gotten all the pictures we wanted we were ready to move our bodies around and get we began the 28 mile bike ride down the volcano...

We stopped at some sights to take's a favorite of ours.

at one of our pit stops we saw a Jackson Cameleon...made famous from the budweiser commercials. Can you spot him?

Maybe this will help...

As we made our way down the Volcano it warmed up a bit and we were anxious to shed some layer to cool off and help us keep going...but what really helped was seeing the North shore!! Which we were anxious to go check out!

like most of the Islands North Shores was covered in huge waves and surfers!

Here was a cute kid with his dog that caught my eye.


That night for Thanksgiving we decided to attend the award winning, Drums of the Pacific Luau. It was great...our favorite thing though was that along with all the Hawaiian food they still had traditional thanksgiving just wasn't feeling like thanksgiving until I had turkey and stuffing in my belly. The spread was pretty incredible. Although it was an award winning show I have to admit the real reason I was sold on it was because of the menu...check this out:

The Luau was great fun and luckily we scored some sweet seats. One thing we did notice was that dress...much different than the PCC...

It was a long day and we were beat from the bike ride and the huge meal so we headed back to the room and passed out to a movie.


This was another early morning though nothing like 2:45am. We headed to the Hawaiian Tropical Plantation at about 6:30 am to do the World's longest zipline. It crosses all the ridges of the Western Maui Mountains.

We were taken in an ATV up to the first line then after each zip we had a short hike to the next platform and we got to ZIP AGAIN!!!
One cool thing about this is how it all got started. The areas between the ridges have become prime for developers and a local that grew up in this area couldn't bear to see them all go to the development of new communities so he found a way to save it. By using the land for this zip-line and by planting endangered trees on the surrounding land he's been able to turn that area into a preserve. It was really cool that would were able to do the zip-line, have tons of fun, overlook almost the entire island then go to the nursery he started and plant more eucalyptus trees.

Another cool thing was a view from one of the was a house built for Marilyn Monroe. It was paid for by Joe Dimaggio but unfortunately wasn't finished before her death. Now its used as a Country Club.
This was such an amazing excursion! We highly recommend Flyin Hawaiian for your zipline excursions on Maui. Not only is it the Worlds longest zipline course stretching several miles but it also has the longest individual zips, some of them over 3,000 feet and you reach speeds upto 60mph!!! On top of all this, the guides were a total blast!

One last thing I have to mention is that they had the cutest puppy I've ever seen!!! His name is CB for crybaby. How adorable is he?? Gretch, I thought you and John wold appreciate this. He's a boxer pitbull mix. He loves to do the zipline too they've been sending him through the course in a backpack until his custom dog harness comes!

Here are a few of the clips we got along the way...


One thing we'd been really excited to do was snorkel in the Molokini Crater. It used to be a volcano but now only half of it's peak, in a crescent shape remain above the waters surface. It's one of the top 10 diving places in the world with over 250 species of fish, many of which can't be found any where else on the earth. It was awesome!! We saw tons of fish, coral, plants, shells, & rocks.

Then we hopped back on the boat and headed to Turtletown!! Holy Cow Turtle town was amazing! There's nothing like swimming with sea turtles up close. We could reach out and touch them...though we didn't because that's illegal. It was's some of our may want to take a dramamine before watching.


Definitely a big highlight to the trip was seeing a Humpback whale! It was something we were hoping we'd see before we went home but that we both knew wasn't very likely since the major months to see whales are February & March but we got our wish on the way back from an excursion. We were up on the top deck of the boat right next to the captain, I was pretty much passed out just enjoying the last hours of the Maui sun before we were gonna head back to Oahu when the captain killed the engine and said, "whale." I've never jumped up so fast in my life!! I was up, awake, an with camera in hand in about .2 seconds. It was awesome. The whale was just about 50 feet off the bow and was said to have been a playful one since he was up and down a bit. No huge breaching but we did get some back and tail action which was sweet. Here's a little of what we caught...when we weren't too awestruck to take pictures.


I'd heard lots of great things about the windy road to Hana where all the waterfalls crash almost onto the narrow roads. Originally we were going to do this in the form of an excursion where you ride a van or bus around and they show you all the falls, and black sand beaches but since we'd rented a car we thought we could just drive it ourselves. This proved to be a task...we were being honked at constantly as I we drove slowly to get good pictures or video's and occasionally when we'd pull off the road to hop out for a better look. The road was so narrow and in many places we'd have to wait for cars to cross bridges or passes where only one car could go at a time. It was a little scary to look over the side and see the road drops off a cliff into the water...and it got increasingly stressful when it began drizzling as it always does on that rainforest lush side of Maui. We did make it out alive though and with great shots!

We stopped along the way at a gorgeous/overpriced botanical garden that had both ocean & waterfall views. It also had a look out to the water and what's called, Keopuka Rock which is in the opening scene of Jurassic park. YOu can barely see it in the picture below. It looks like a pointy rock sticking out of the ocean.

...random hideous wild birds and a couple striking peacocks.


So here was a crazy thing. On our way home one evening I decided to pull off to a scenic overlook and get some shots since the sun was just beginning to set and it was breathtaking. I hopped out and started shooting and at one point a couple of divers were walking up and were silouhettes in the shot. I thought it looked cool and didn't think much about it until I noticed they were carrying something that didn't look like a mask. I realized it was an octopus! The closer they got the more I started thinking it looked like 2!!!

I started asking them questions and with every question I wished more and more I was holding my video camera and not my Nikon so I convinced them to wait and let me run get it. I mean they were telling me how the Octopus suctioned onto his mask and was trying to rip it off so he had to bite it between it's eyes which is where it's brain in and that kills it!!

It was crazy stuff so I ran to the car, got the video cam and Brooklyn so she could see this and went back to get some footage.


So we're posting a retraction on the Volcano MythBuster. We previously reported that stealing a rock form the Volcano does not bring bad luck because we made it down the Volcano without any problems. The thing is...on our last day on Maui just hours before heading to the airport. We packed up our stuff and headed to the pool to soak up the last hours of the sun. The Rock was tucked away in my suitcase while we swam and goofed off...when suddenly during a simple move in our synchronized swimming routine I hit my face on the bottom of the pool and chipped my front tooth!!! I was surprised at my initial reaction. As soon as I hit the bottom I reached for my mouth so by the time I reached the surface I knew my teeth were messed up. I could feel they were rough and a serious chunk was missing. I took a breath and immediately started saying, "Oh my gosh this is my worst fear." Sort of a funny thing to say...I thought? I don't know if you're like me where you have nightmares or weird visions of falling and knocking out your front teeth, but I always have. I immediately swam to grab my camera and take a picture to survey the damage and until I did saw that picture with a chunk gone and blood dripping down my chin I hadn't realized I'd also bit my lip was bleeding. As I was typing this post I couldn't find that first picture I took but as soon as I do I'll stick it in here. In the mean time here's one I took later that day.
Anyways, as a result of this incident we're retracting our previous results from the Haleakala MythBuster and are reporting that yes infact, stealing a rock from a volcano does bring you bad luck!!


After I chipped my tooth we got cleaned up...I took a pain pill and we headed out to check the last thing off our list before heading to the airport...we went to see the Banyon tree. A banyon tree in Hawaii?? Apparently at some point it was a gift from India...but now it's not only the 3rd largest tree in the world but a major tourist attraction on Maui. It spans an entire city block and at first glance just looks like a forest.

Not until you look close and know a little more about Banyons do you see that it's one tree that shoots down roots from outstretched branches needing more support. Here's a better shot where you can see the roots coming down from a branch. We learned that they come down then grow back up to the tree. Pretty weird.
Here's one that looked like a creepy tree person.

The tree is HUGE!! It's cray to wonder how big it would be if they'd never cut it. They've had to several times as it continued to grow down the street and almost into buildings!


1 comment:

  1. I'm like super duper bummed I couldn't go with you guys. Looks like it was way fun. Except for the tooth chipping part. Yikes. Anyway, you guys are HILARIOUS. ;)