Maui, Hawaii, “The Magic Isle”
Hawaii beckoned me the first time in October 2016 when I traveled with my pharmacist friend to a continuing medical education course. As a physician assistant, you have to maintain your credentials and education throughout practice, and what better way than to study in paradise?! I originally went to Honolulu, and immediately it was a place I knew I had to go with Will. We had traveled to several Caribbean spots, but nothing compared to this. Needless to say, I was ecstatic when another CME opportunity arose in Maui! Will had just graduated, so his schedule was wide open (that is why he didn’t come the first time). Even though I would be studying a lot of the days, we both viewed it as a reward for surviving the course of his doctorate.
Overall, Maui was magical in February. It was not the typical sunny beach escape that I had anticipated from Honolulu, but instead, the weather and landscape was really dynamic.
The hotel was a 45 minute beautiful drive from the airport along the coast line leading us to Black Rock and Kaanapali. The beauty when we first arrived was unbelievable. Every night they would have a cliff dive off of the rock. We would enjoy the sunset with our favorite drinks and watch the whales go by. The first day Will was snorkeling in the cove and heard whales singing. He also saw this huge sea turtle... and did a couple of cliff dives himself. It goes without saying, I was super jealous as I sat in class. There were several restaurants at the hotel that we enjoyed, but nothing compared to the local cuisine, one place in particular… Star Noodle!
First things first... Check out Star Noodle. This place was amazing, and I am so glad that I forced Will to leave the resort to try it. He was still stuck on Texas time, so he thought an 8 pm reservation was outrageous (insert *eye roll*). We ate so much food, like embarrassingly. We had never done this before, but Will asked the server to bring us three things randomly (after we had already stuffed ourselves on what peaked our interest). These steamed pork buns were little bits of heaven in paradise. I could eat them all day, every day. Pretty much everything else we tried was a delicious concoction as well. Will enjoyed the local Maui Brewing Company’s IPA at almost every meal. Another locale that we enjoyed was an unassuming collection of local food trucks outside Sam’s club near the airport. This is the first place we stopped at on our journey at the recommendation of the car rental attendant, and we definitely were not disappointed. I enjoyed “Nemo Nachos,” ahi tuna nachos. It is a dish I love here in Texas, and it was even better in Hawaii. Will got a crab cake sandwich as big as his head. The vendor reiterated there were over “30 spices” in the burger along with how much he loved Will’s beard (never ceases to amaze me how much attention that thing garners). To end our trip, we enjoyed a Hawaiian pizza, of course. We had to as it is one of our favorites here.
Passing the time…
When we weren’t chilling at the resort or stuffing our faces, we tried to pack in as much of Maui as we could. One of my current obsessions, probably because of the recent Airstream acquisitions, is collecting patches from all of the national parks and monuments that we visit. We now have a pillow that all the patches are ironed on to, and it resided in the second Airstream. Now it is lovingly in our living room. Anyway, I digress…. my obsession with national parks continued while we were in Maui. I had to get a Haleakala patch much to Will’s dismay. If you have not seen other pictures of Haleakala, it is definitely worth a google. It resembles Mars on Earth. I would have loved to stay for sunset (sunrise is super popular and requires a reservation), but I was lucky to get the couple of hours that weather allowed. In addition to the weather, Will was so frustrated that he could not lounge on the beach all day, and I was making him travel 3 hours up a mountain when he could be frolicking on the beach. I kept saying, “It will be worth it.” And it was. The pictures speak for themselves, and Will can admit it now that I was right about making the trek. We focused our trip on the summit district of an ACTIVE volcano! We spent the time watching clouds roll in over the summit. It was fascinating to see the terrain emerge and disappear. Take a peek at the time lapse below for a tease! Remember to pack sunscreen and layers. It is so cold up there.
Because I “owed” Will some beach time, I searched for the “prettiest beaches in Maui” in my google search bar. I know, you’re thinking, isn’t EVERY beach the prettiest beach? Touché is what I have to say to that. Anyway, my search came up with Makena Beach, and I am so thankful that it did. Because we were Texans making our way through Maui, we would get up hours before the sun or the rest of the island would be up. With a 4 hour time change, it allowed us ample time to get somewhere to watch the sunrise. Makena Beach is a Hawaiian State Park. The part we visited was directly across from Molokini crater. It is one of the biggest beaches in Maui, stretching over 1.5 miles. It was about a 45 minute drive from Black Rock, but beautiful. Take a look at Will enjoying himself in the waves. How could I deny him such joy? While we were there, we saw a couple taking engagement photos, and I talked with a local man about the weather, his dog, and Texas. He also pointed out some turtles that were wave surfing. I had bought some snorkel gear at the local grocery store and took a crack at that as well. Absolutely perfect way to spend a morning and still made it back in time for class.
The best “Bang for our Buck” this trip had to be the Molokini Crater and Turtle Town Snorkeling Tour aboard the Calypso (not getting paid to write this). I must admit, I worry about things that are somewhat out of my control, in this particular situation, it was the weather. It was so cloudy (and almost too cold for a Texas girl), so I was wondering if we would have a good time snorkeling. I can easily say, I have never been so happy for an overcast day in my life! Something about the weather made the humpback whales AND dolphins so active while we were sailing to our destinations. I was in heaven. Take a look at the videos below. It was unbelievable. Our captain reiterated how amazing our charter was. Multiple breaching mothers with babies whales watching and learning. I had known it was whale season (after doing my extensive google research), but apparently this season was the best in over ten years! Little known fact, I was dying to see some marine life this trip. I had wanted to be a dolphin trainer growing up, and I had an “adopted” humpback named Cat’s Paw. I was a little science nerd then too, and alas, I went on to be a PA. I literally could go on and one, but I won’t. The videos are much more interesting. About the snorkeling, it was good! I saw sharks (little ones), sea turtles, an eel, and several beautiful fish. Getting to see Molokini Crater up close was amazing too.
One of my “Bucket List” items was a helicopter ride, and I decided that it was going to happen in Maui. Will was admittedly a little scared about a helicopter flight, but he begrudgingly agreed eventually (similar situation to when we went sky diving in 2015). Due to the cost, I worried (see…again) that we wouldn’t have a great ride due to the weather. Apparently there was a huge storm coming through, and there was a lot of flooding on the surrounding islands. We booked our flight during the last few hours we had in Maui (due to the proximity of the airport), so if it had to be rescheduled, we would not get to do it. Eventually I came to terms that what is supposed to happen, will. Maui and her weather taught me that lesson time and time again. I realized that instead of hoping for weather like this… or that, I just needed to enjoy the beauty and time that was given to me. Again, I digress… Anyway, I wanted to make sure that the money was well spent, so after researching it and talking to several people, I decided to go with Blue Hawaiian’s West Maui and Molokai tour (again, not sponsored). There are a couple of things that drew me to this tour. First, this tour boasted the highest sea cliffs in the world on Molokai. Molokai is a surrounding island to Maui with a population of about 7,000 people. It was fascinating to see that community as well as the cliffs. Absolutely stunning. Second, it featured the tallest waterfall in Hawaii. That just sounded amazing, and it was! Third, the other tours seemed to focus on Haleakala, and you know how Will felt about that. The tour was breathtaking. It was worth the money and the check off the bucket list. Check out the videos below to get the feel of flying over Molokai. An extra bonus was we even spotted whales from the helicopter on our return flight! I told you, those whales were everywhere during our trip.
Overall it was an the experience was priceless. By the end of the trip, Will was trying to calculate how much it would cost to ship the ‘stream to Maui. At the beginning of the trip, we were tempted to compare it other beaches that we had stayed at, but by the end, we gave up. The Magic Isle is as enticing as it is striking.
Thanks for reading,