Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Three Days in Maui

Three days in Maui is certainly NOT enough!!

First, arrival... We got across the Alenuihaha Channel by 11am--before the wind in the channel got too bad. We decided that since we were making good time and it was a nice day, that we'd stop at the small island of Molokini for lunch. This is a popular snorkeler's day trip from Maui and we could see the tourist boats coming and going as we approached. Fortunately, we got there at about 11:30am, just when the morning trip boats were leaving. By 11:45am, ALL of the tourist boats had left, and it was just us and another outboard boat with a family aboard. We grabbed a vacant mooring over near the tip of the western arm of the "U" that is Molokini. The moorings here are not on the surface--the mooring ball is about 8' below the surface of the water, easily visible when you get close, in the clear water. The mooring has a tag line that hangs down. The tag line is long enough to hook into with the typical mooring line from your bow. But someone has to jump in the water and get the tag line. Dave assigned the "ship's diver" (me) to this job.

We just stopped for lunch and a quick snorkel. This is one of the 'premier' snorkeling destinations for Maui, but it was a real yawner for us, after French Polynesia. Very nice clear water, and surprisingly warm, but not a lot of coral and not much fish life. (The water in Hilo Harbor, when I jumped in to clean the prop was, by contrast, 'freezing'). We located a dive buoy further out near the west arm of Molokini--it looked like a great place to stage for a dive on the wall that faces west (outside of the "U") there. But there was a pretty strong current running out over the reef towards the wall, so I didn't want to go too far to check out the wall.

By 12:30, we were underway again, motorsailing in light air, toward Lahaina. We arrived in Lahaina about mid-afternoon, and easily picked up a Lahaina Yacht Club mooring, located west of the channel, toward the end of the row of (mostly commercial) boats. There is a completely protected harbor here, but there is NO CHANCE to get a slip. Someone at Lahaina Yacht Club said that they had just gotten a slip there, after being on a waiting list for 15 years (!!!). But the moorings suited us better anyway.

The LYC moorings are well-maintained (I dove down and checked ours out--strong and in good shape), and cheap. Can't beat 'no cost'! There doesn't seem to be a time limit for staying there--as long as there were moorings available they said we could stay, and seemed disappointed that we were just passing through. We had a beer at the bar and talked to some members and they were wow-ed when we told them we'd come all the way from Florida.

Once you've hooked up to a mooring marked LYC, make a note of the mooring number and take your dinghy into the dinghy dock in the harbor. It's a little hard to find the Lahaina Yacht Club in this Key West-like tourist town, but it's about 3 blocks west of the harbor along the waterfront--keep your eyes open, it's easy to walk past the alley-like door on the water side of the street, just past 'Cheeseburger in Paradise' bar. Tell them what mooring you are on, fill out a 'we won't sue' set of paperwork, and they will issue you a temporary membership card. After that you are free to use their facilities, beer is about $3.25 on special, and lunches run $6-10 and dinners $9-25. Showers are upstairs over the bar.

For the next 2 days, we rented a car with our friends on Infini, and toured the two major tourist destinations. (Note: Book your rental car ahead... they have just added 3 new flights into Maui and all the rental car companies were out of cars when we rented ours--we booked ahead and got a comfortable van for $75/day). There is a bus that goes around, but I don't think you can get to the 2 places we went (below) by bus.

The first was the Haleakala National Park--on the (non-active) Haleakela volcano. On the way there, we covered a lot of what else there is to see in Maui. One notable place was the windsurfer beach at Kanaha Beach Park in Kahului Bay. There were literally over a hundred windsurfers and kiteboarders out there having a blast in the good winds and surf conditions. Almost every place we stopped, one could easily spend a day just hanging out. But we were on a mission to see everything we could in 2 days, so only stayed for 15 minutes. :(

On the second day, we did what is known as 'the Hana road'. It is a narrow, winding road along Maui's north coast, with lots of stops for beautiful breathtaking scenery and waterfalls, and lush tropical foliage. At the very 'end' of the road is the lower end of the Haleakela National Park, a place called 'The Seven Pools' where there is a 2 mile hike through an amazing bamboo forest to a 200' waterfall, which feeds a chain of waterfalls and pools. We had time to stand in the waterfall for pics for a few minutes, and then head back down. Again, we could have spent a whole day just at that one location!! If we did it again, we'd stay overnight someplace between Hana and the park, and devote a whole day to that area. We saw tents in the Waianapanapa State Park just before, so I know camping is possible there, for people on a budget. I'm not sure about lower Haleakela National Park.

On the last day, we turned the car in and hitched a ride on the Budget shuttle to the Whaler's Mall. This is a very upscale mall near all the resorts on the west coast of Maui. Fun window-shopping, but out of our price range. Lots of $20-40% off signs in the windows, but 20% off a $150 outfit is still well above Walmart prices. We mainly went there for the Whaling Museum. This is a small, but nicely done free musuem. From there we caught the $1 bus back to Lahaina where we 'power shopped' at Ace Hardware and a big grocery store across the street, within easy walking distance of the harbor. We bought sandwiches in the grocery store and took them to the park by the harbor to eat and people-watch.

In the afternoon, we visited with our friends from (formerly) Peace and Aloha, who live on Maui. They are in the 3rd year of building a gorgeous home overlooking the south coast of Maui (David and son Eric are doing ALL the work themselves). We had a nice evening socializing in their rental condo in the Napili point area. (See their rental condos on Listing #305703).

Again, we should have spent AT LEAST a week in Maui, and more would have been better. Allocating two weeks would not have been too much.
At 10/18/2010 6:16 PM (utc) our position was 20°56.52'N 156°46.41'W

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