Aquatic (and Other) Adventures in Beautiful Maui!

30 Mar

Last week James and I got back from a week in Maui. Luke and Madeleine (who are on a 2 month surf bum holiday) invited us to stay with them and we used credit card points for our flights, so it ended up being quite cheap – we just paid for the activities we did, a rental car, and groceries plus a thank you dinner for Luke and Madeleine.

In no particular order, here are some of the fun things we did.


This was the one thing that James really wanted to try in Hawaii. I found a place where, for an extra $20 per person, you could take the lesson with a surfing dog. A surfing dog! But they were booked out, so we went with Royal Hawaiian Surf Academy who were great. They had a photographer to take photos of your lesson and you could buy a CD of all the shots.

James took to surfing quite well. He was the only one of us who didn’t need paddling assistance from the instructor.


Me, covering myself in glory.


James really enjoyed surfing (“it’s basically swimming”). I thought it was OK but didn’t enjoy paddling and hated the sensation of water in my ears. I’m glad I tried it but probably wouldn’t do it again.


Now, snorkeling I loved! It was really easy (the flippers do all the work) and I loved looking at the fish and coral. The water in Maui was nice – not warm like Thailand or Queensland but not ice cold like Melbourne. We went snorkeling at various Maui beaches but also took some boat trips out to Lana’i and Molokini.


On our last day at Turtle Beach a sea turtle swam up to James! The visibility wasn’t very good so he said he was really startled when he turned around and the turtle was right next to him, just swimming around him and kind of checking him out.

We also saw a bunch of turtles at Kaanapali – we were resting on some rocks and a couple of turtles cruised past. Even more awesomely Luke and Madeleine said that there was a sea turtle hanging out with them when they were surfing – just bobbing along in the waves next to them. Apparently they both kept trying to catch the “turtle wave”. =D

I did get to see an octopus on the Lana’i snorkeling trip though, so that was really cool. We also went to Molokini where you can surf inside a crater – unfortunately it was too windy on the day we went, so we snorkeled the back wall, which was breathtaking. The visibility was phenomenal and you could see how incredibly deep the drop was.


I really loved Kaanapali Beach. The water was temperate, the sand was nice, there was snorkeling along the rocks and you could put your head underwater and hear the whales singing to each other.

You could also cliff jump off Black Rock. There were a couple of people who walked back down because they were too frightened. I was so proud of James because he did it even though he’s afraid of heights.

The first time I looked over the edge my legs started shaking with adrenaline. The scariest part was just flinging myself off. James took a photo of my second jump from the shore – I’m the one on top with my arms back, getting ready to jump.


It looks like there are a bunch of rocks I could get snagged on but there was no danger of that – it was a clear drop into the water.

The initial terror, then forcing myself to sack up and jump, the brief “I did it!” while falling, the huge splash into the water, and then the elation when I came up for air … it’s a feeling I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

Afterwards we went for a stroll along the coast.


Despite extreme sunscreen vigilance I got sunburned – I think I must have skimped on one of my many post-water re-applications. =( After that initial day at the beach I turned like … 3 foundation shades darker.

Haleakala Crater

I didn’t know I could be so cold in Maui but at 10,000 feet, the summit was freezing and super windy! The sun started peeking up about an hour before sunrise, with the sky gradually changing from pitch black to orange to blue.


James and I were both wearing hoodies underneath our shells. My hoodie isn’t really that warm (it’s mainly cute) but I thought it would be OK with the windproof layer. I was wrong.

Here we are, freezing our butts off after the sunrise.


James and Mike both had a bit of altitude sickness but Chi Kai and I were fine. Once we got to a lower altitude James felt better. Well, I say lower, but it still felt like we were on top of the world.

IMG_3153There were several lookout points on the way down where you could stop and take photos of the cool landscape.

Road to Hana

The Road to Hana is another super touristy thing you’re supposed to do in Maui. We rented a car (highly recommend a small one – ours was a Nissan Versa) and picked up the Road to Hana app from iTunes, which was insanely good value for $4.99. It described the attractions and history for us, so we didn’t need to consult a guidebook or research online. It’s absolutely a must-buy for the Road to Hana.

We headed out super early (6am from Haiku) to beat the crowds. It made the drive there quite pleasant and until we hit the national park we had a lot of the attractions to ourselves.

Our private waterfall:


We saw other cool stuff, like a church made from coral and lava rocks, an arboretum, more waterfalls, and beautiful coastlines. And bought lots of banana and pineapple bread.

One of the highlights was Waianapanapa State Park, which had cool caves, including one you could swim inside. I took this shot while in the water:


James was quite nervous about me exploring that cave but had a lot of fun scrambling up one of the other caves.


And the black sand beach was just so, so gorgeous.


Once we got to the Haleakala National Park we jogged the Pipiwai trail (well, I jogged and James fast-walked cos he was in sandals and I’m quite a slow runner). It ended at an enormous waterfall and most of the hike was through a bamboo forest (a nice break from the sun!).

IMG_3432There was a shorter hike that we did afterwards, which ended at the Oheo Gulch. It’s seven pools joined by waterfalls, eventually emptying out into the Pacific Ocean.

IMG_3460You can normally go swimming in the Oheo Gulch but because of recent rains they’d closed it off, so that was a bummer.

On our drive back there was a lot of traffic coming the other way, which made us even gladder that we’d left so early. We got back around 6pm – so it was a pretty long day!

Home Sweet Home

Now that we’re back, I realise that I vastly prefer the weather in Seattle. Hawaii was great for a holiday (and a shot of Vitamin D), but it’s so comforting to return to Seattle’s drizzle and overcast skies. (And the cats. And our apartment. And snowboarding).

Last week a guy at the gym was like “OK where did you go on vacation? You’re much too tan to have been in Seattle”. And then he asked why James was still pasty white. =P James is actually a teensy bit rosier than when he left, but not by much.

Hopefully it won’t be our last time in Hawaii. Maybe we can organise a family reunion there, so we don’t have to travel to Australia and our families don’t have to come all the way to Seattle. I mean, I prefer cold weather and the Seattle Freeze but I’m sure our families would rather experience warm weather and the Aloha Spirit. =)



5 Responses to “Aquatic (and Other) Adventures in Beautiful Maui!”

  1. Douglas April 8, 2014 at 11:54 am #

    Sounds like you guy had a whale of a time. I hope you don’t mind me asking…what credit card do you use that lets you accrue points for airfare and how long after coming to the states were you able to apply for it? I’m more than a little over First Tech’s teeny weeny credit limit for sure.

    • pamperedhousewife April 8, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

      We have the Chase Sapphire card, which came with something like 40k or 50k bonus points. It has an annual fee but is great if you travel a lot because there are no currency conversion fees and you earn extra points for travel-related expenses.

      I think we applied for it about a year after we arrived in the US. We got our Amex Blue Cash earlier – I think about 6 months after we arrived, so it’s quite possible we could have gotten the Chase card sooner if we’d tried.

      • Douglas April 8, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

        Thanks heaps. Six more weeks and will get to applying 🙂

  2. Sarah April 17, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

    Amazing photos!

    • pamperedhousewife April 17, 2014 at 4:40 pm #

      Thanks! Maui’s photogenicness definitely helped cover up any flaws in my “aim the iPhone and snap” technique! 😉

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