Our second island and second day of the islands. As we were coming into port a rainbow was waiting to welcome us to the island (one of many for the day!). So BEAUTIFUL and so vibrant!!
So excited and this time was ready to go down and ... Read More
Our second island and second day of the islands. As we were coming into port a rainbow was waiting to welcome us to the island (one of many for the day!). So BEAUTIFUL and so vibrant!!
So excited and this time was ready to go down and get off the ship right away! We docked so no tender here either. Lots of sun and again, we get off inside a warehouse. Once outside we find where the shuttles are coming for those renting cars. This time no tents set up and it's a huge wooden frame with signs saying which line to get into for which shuttle. It's still craziness going on though! I felt like a herd of cattle getting ready for slaughter while lining us up in the lines!!!
As we find the correct line we see our shuttle, a Budget/Alamo sitting out in the lot in front of us. As we're trying to get to the front of the line (all rental car people line up in the same area no matter which rental car you are taking..makes for a mess!) the shuttle starts to pull out. We yelled for the security guard to stop the shuttle and he says he can't stop him. They are only allowed to sit and wait for someone to board for 5 minutes and then they have to leave. They also can not just exit and pull back in again! Rats!
Now we stand again among all those waiting for the rental car shuttles. It crosses my mind about Hilo and how they were all lined up along a curb at the airport and I toy with the idea of just jumping on the very next one that comes. Good thing I didn't. It was not the same layout for Maui airport!
So now we wait, and wait some more. Again, I call after waiting for 20 minutes and this time someone answers and she tells me the same thing the security guard did in that they can only sit for a short amount of time and then have to leave. She said another one was on it's way and should be there in no time at all. Sure enough I no sooner hang up with her and it begins to pull in.
We had to wait for other buses to clear and then the security guard allowed all those on Alamo or Budget to go to the shuttle. We filled it in no time at all and this driver would not allow anyone to stand. Good thing no one else was in line yet, and off we went.
The road to the airport was full of bumps this time! Wasn't too nice of an area we were driving through either. The driver made mention that when coming to return the car stay on main roads and don't go driving through neighborhoods around here. Ok, now he scared me! On Maui we didn't have to be back on ship until 10:30pm and being winter time, it gets dark very early!
Soon we were at the airport and like I said I was glad I didn't hop on another shuttle. Each rental place had their own building along these roads on airport property. We got off at Budget, along with everyone else on our shuttle (no one got off at Alamo) and all filed inside the building. Everyone went to get into line and I saw that there was a woman sitting under a sign that said Rapid Rez, so I went over to her and asked if her line was open and she said for Rapid Rez customers only so I told her, "that's us!". Within less than 5 minutes we had the keys to our next car and it was parked right outside the door! Another nice car.
We got everything arranged in the car, plugged in our GPS and were on our way for a fun filled day on Maui! The sun was out (saw a beautiful rainbow off the ship before we got off) and it was warm outside. Looking forward to a day on the beach at Ka'anapali and maybe try some beach snorkeling for the first time!
We made the drive with no problems to the Ka'anapali area but really had problems finding open parking. There were hotels all over and most said parking for guests only. Wasn't too sure if they were strict with it or not so we looked for some open parking. I know the info I had from home said it was open parking by the Wharf shops, but we could only find valet parking there and we didn't want to do that. The shops looked to be very upscale shopping too...not what I was looking for.
On our way up to Ka'anapali we passed many, many places where you just pull off the highway and there was sand, some picnic tables, and people parking their cars on the sand and going in the water. We were at the point where we were going to do that and we then saw a sign for open beach parking in designated spaces only.
We pulled into that area, between shops and hotels and many spots were reserved and then we found one that said reserved beach access, so we pulled into that spot hoping it was for the beach. I took a picture of the car and the sign just in case it got towed so I'd have proof that was where we were at. We pulled out all of our beach things and headed to the beach area.
It was so pretty! The water so blue and you had green grass with walkways between everything with some bushes lining between the grass and sand. The bad news..no place to rent a chair or umbrella. I'm past the age of enjoying sitting on a small beach towel on the sand so I kept looking thinking maybe by a hotel we could give the person a tip and still get a chair and umbrella, but to be honest, there was only 2 chairs and no umbrella set up as far as the eye could see! Hmm, what to do?
We put our things down (didn't bring along much with us and purchased a water wallet thing that looked like a fanny pack that I put on under my swimsuit with our important things in it...licenses, sail and sign cards, money, etc.). In the bag was only towels and snorkel things along with a book for me to read and some bottled water.
I decided to go ahead in the water. It was warm out, sunny and I figured I wanted to spend most of my time in the water anyway. DH decided to sit on the towel on the beach. So off I went. Did I mention it was windy? If not, it was very windy and the waves didn't look too bad, but oh boy were they when you got into it! The undertow was horrible and very, very strong!
Now I can swim in a pool and I've been in oceans before and done fine, but this was just too strong and I got very nervous right away after stepping off of the "sand shelf" area! It was pulling me out no matter how hard I was trying to go back to shore. I had to call out to DH and he got up and waded out wondering why I was getting so upset. It's just not like me in water. Then he saw.
He finally latched onto my hand and was able to help pull me back up to the higher area of the sand. That was the end of my being in the water on this beautiful beach! I walked along it for a short distance and saw huge waves crashing into the sand not too far away from us and there were very few people in the water. Most walking along the beach on the sand or up on the walkway by the hotels.
We finally dried off some and headed up to land and found a bench facing the ocean and sat just enjoying the sights. There was a nice man there trying to sell time shares and not doing well with the weather being like this and there was a restaurant right there by him being remodeled and all of that noise and garbage was keeping people away from him.
He was nice to talk to though and said the waters are very rough during the winter but they started early this year and they are not friendly enough to go into right now...no kidding! Wish we would have seen him earlier!! LOL He said he'd give us a "guide" to Hawaiian waters, only go in when you see brown in the water (meaning natives swimming there) AND stay out of white waters that means it's crashing waves and too rough. I remembered that one for the rest of the trip!
We were disappointed with our beach day so I suggested we head back to this strip mall that we passed on the way here to do our souvenir shopping and stop at a gas station so I could change out of my swimsuit and into clothes for the next part of our travels on the island. We also made a stop at Safeway for some soda and healthy snacks to take back onto the ship for later. I shopped at the ABC store for the items I wanted to get for gifts. With that done, we headed off to Lahaina for our Whale Watch excursion I planned on my own through Pacific Whale Watching Tours.
The drive was short and in my research I knew parking was at a premium in Lahaina. We found a lot right behind the Pacific Whale Watching Tour shop. It was a paid lot, but it was a spot. I wasn't going to be driving around wasting time. We parked, checked in at the shop and got the directions to the pier. We were about 45 minutes early but after walking over to the pier there was many people in line already. It was very hot and very sunny and not much shade.
DH did his thing and got in line while I sought out shade. It was about 15 minutes when someone from PWW came out to give instructions for boarding and then 5 minutes later they let us start filing onto the boat, but not before getting our picture taken...as seems to be the thing for all excursions.
This boat was nice in that it had an upper and lower deck area to sit. We picked the lower because it was covered, but had windows that were open so we got a nice cool breeze from the winds.
We were told to help the captain look for whales and if you think you see something don't just yell out you see something, yell a point like on a clock. Twelve o'clock was the front of the boat and 6 o'clock was the back. Three was the right side of the boat and nine was the left and then all the markers in between. We had a specialist on the boat giving out information on the whales as we went and after just a short bit we had a sighting at 11 o'clock!
Originally as we're going along I thought I saw one; however, the seas were very choppy and I didn't want to yell anything out for fear it was just a wave and this is the area I saw something. It was less than a minute later the woman talking about whales yells out 11 o'clock that she saw the back of one and I was looking there since I saw the other thing and sure enough I saw what she was talking about.
Everyone on the other side of the boat ran over to the left side then. It wasn't long when it appeared again, not too far from that point and it was around a catamaran that had it's engine killed so our captain said this one was mugging the other boat so they couldn't move when it was up and around it; however, we also couldn't go any closer but we'd stay at the distance and view it like that for now.
It kept coming up and around the other boat...both sides and around the back of it. It looked to me to be a baby because it sure didn't look as big as what they were saying big ones were. It wasn't long before our expert said it looked to be a young one....Ha! I was right! LOL
All of a sudden you saw the tail come up and down it went and our specialist said when whales do that they usually go deeper and stay down for awhile. Once the whale did that the other boat started it's engine and went back to land. We stayed around for a little bit, but no other sightings of this little one, so off we went in search of others.
After a short bit someone yelled out 2 o'clock and off in the distance you could see some whales "blowing" (when they come up from the deep and blow out of their hole on top there is water/mist that comes up in a spout). There was about 4 of them doing it, so we headed out that way to check it out. Once we got to the area there was nothing else to see. They either moved away or went deep again.
Next thing you know someone in the back of the boat yells out 6 o'clock and I didn't see it but he said, along with 3 other people that were sitting back there, saw a whale, a large one, come up and then go down and showed it's tail as it went down. Our specialist said it seemed like each whale was staying down for about 7 minutes so we'd stay around to see if this one surfaced again.
Seven minutes seems like such a long time when nothing is going on. It's not like being at a zoo or aquarium where the whales and dolphins have a show they put on for you! Seven minutes came and went and nothing again from this one.
There was a small cluster of boats off to our port side (left side) so our captain started up our engines and headed off into that direction figuring that they were clustered together because of a sighting. As we got closer there was a little one again. At first just floating around just under the surface and then actually brought it's head above water for a short amount of time. It did a couple of blows and arched it's back a couple of times too.
Our specialist told us that where there is a baby there is a mother not far away and usually a little deeper so keep our eyes peeled. Soon enough a mother appears off in the distance along with a male following her. She's circling around so she won't get too far from the baby and she's trying to ward off her suitor also, but he's not giving up and trying to stay close. She finally had enough of him and slapped him really hard with her tail!!! All of a sudden you see him arch and up comes his tail and he goes for deep dive. She gets closer just under the water and at the very same time as the baby, they both arch and show their tails and they go for a deep dive.
This was the end of our time and we were actually 15 minutes later out there than we were supposed to be so now we started heading back to shore. Our specialist told us with it being only December 8th it was very early in the season for the whales to be in Maui and that in a couple of weeks there would be quite a few more. For now they're thinking there are only about a dozen or so and come January there will be over 3,000 and each boat can have their own group to watch instead of having to "share" just a couple! I couldn't image seeing that many whales in one spot! She also asked, "are the humpback whales citizens of Hawaii or Alaska since they come to Hawaii from Alaska?" A lot of people yelled out they were Alaskan; however, she answered, "wrong! They're from Hawaii because they come here to be born so if born in Hawaii then you're Hawaiian. They are coming back home!" When you think of that, it's true. They are born in Hawaii and then go to Alaska to eat and then come back home for the winters. Smart beings!
After getting off the PWW boat we walked around on Front Street for a little bit just looking at the different store fronts. We found a place to get some shaved ice! I was so happy to have some because I'd heard so many talking about it. It's basically a snow cone, but instead of crushed ice, it's shaved. It does make a difference. We bought one and then went across the street to the park where there was a huge Banyan tree to sit and eat it.
This tree was amazing! It took up the whole block. Hard to believe that it was all just one tree. I'd heard talk about it, but didn't place it on my "to see" list, but now that we saw it, I'm glad we did. It's amazing.
We finished up with our shaved ice and did some window shopping as we walked back to our car. There was a little area where a man was carving out tiki's and also some Honu (turtles). He was very good. I found a turtle that I fell in love with and was fighting the urge to buy it. It was quite large and if I bought it I'd have to find a way to ship it home, but the more I thought about it, I would have no place for it in my home. He said he could do a smaller one for me and I wish I would have let him, but we had dinner reservations to make it to and so I took a pass. I wish I would have been late for dinner now and bought the smaller turtle because it was so pretty. Maybe one day I'll be back and can get one.
We made it to the car and then headed off for our dinner reservations at Buzz's Wharf in Ma'alaea for a sunset dinner. We found it with no problems and it was as was stated in their website...the port area was under construction so we just had to drive slowly and avoid the dips to get to them. They were situated right on the water, which would have been beautiful if not under construction.
So much for watching the sunset as we had dinner too. It being winter, the sunset was off to the side of the restaurant instead of over the water. Other than those things dinner was delicious!
The restaurant was a brown wood building with quite a few stairs to go up to get inside. They had it decorated for Christmas nicely and the whole front of the building had windows so you could see outside (while the back side was covered in mirrors so it reflected what was outside..very cool!). It was not a big place and on the website they did advise you to make reservations, which we did.
Our waitress was very nice and explained the menu and specials. They grow their own prawns and she strongly suggested giving them a try. I can't eat fish, but DH wanted to have some good fish while on the islands so that's why I picked this place out. It had good reviews on Trip Advisor. He ordered his fish, but didn't order the prawns and I ordered my steak.
After the waitress left I asked him why he didn't try the prawns and he said he just didn't think about adding them or if he could with his meal, so I told him we could add them to mine so when the waitress brought our soup he added them and he was glad he did! He said they were so good and he wished he'd have gotten a full order of them. He said however they fixed them it was delicious and the best tasting he'd ever gotten!
I felt the same for my steak. I'm a pretty picky eater (you'd never know it by looking at me though) and the steak was done exactly the way I like it! I can't remember ever having one that tasted so good. I don't know the spices they used or rub, if they did, but whatever they did to it, it was the best I've ever had! If I wasn't so full from it I would have loved to have had another or try to figure out a way to have it on the ship! YUM!
Buzz's Wharf is a definite place to eat whether you like seafood or steak when on Maui. It's not cheap, but it is so worth the price!!! Everyone was very nice there too. Sitting by the window with the breeze coming in felt good and especially realizing that it was December 8th and I was in short sleeves enjoying the weather instead of at home by Chicago with 17 degree weather! YES!! We will certainly be telling anyone visiting Maui about this place! (FYI: they also have a 10% off coupon on their website so make sure to print that out before going..any little bit helps!).
After dinner we got back into our car and had a short drive to return our rental. I was so glad that I went on Trip Advisor and looked up information. Originally we were going to have a sunset dinner in Lahaina but they advised us to go to Ma'alaea because the drive from Lahaina at night would be a hard drive through the roads with no lights and we'd have an easier drive from Ma'alaea to our port area and they were right! They've not steered me wrong yet, so thanks to those on Trip Advisor too!
Returning the car was very easy and when we had gotten the car the woman behind the desk said they closed at 10pm (never thought to ask when they closed. Just figured that since they were at an airport they would be open 24/7..note to self and others to ask when they close and when last shuttle runs!) so we got back about 8:30pm with our belly's full of good food again! We remembered what our shuttle driver told us about going off the main roads so even though we still had time left we decided to just return the car and return to the ship. We had almost a 1/2 hour wait for the shuttle and then it finally came. It was only us and one other couple returning to the ship at this time.
We went straight to our room to change clothes. It wasn't too long that we felt the ship being to leave the dock. It was not 11pm yet, but everyone must have been on the ship and they decided to go ahead and leave. So off we went for our next stop, Honolulu.
Again, would have given the port a 5+ rating if they could get the shuttle issue cleared up. It wasn't only problems with the rental car shuttles, but also the free shuttles for shopping, etc. As with Hilo, Maui is definitely a place I'd love to go back and spend more time..and have another dinner at Buzz's Wharf!!! Read Less