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Neil and I flew to Maui in January 2008. He was going to the conference he usually attends each year and I was going to look after him, which basically entails having a gin and tonic ready for him when he returns to the hotel at 6pm. We didn't manage to go last year, as his company was very busy with a computer procurement. So it was especially great that we could make it again this year. Maui is an absolutely fabulous place. I love every minute of my trips to this island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, thousands of miles from anywhere. The people are friendly, the scenery is fantastic, the excursions you can take are great, the golf is superb and the scuba diving is to die for (sorry that was an unfortunate phrase to use).
We normally get there flying from Gatwick to Los Angeles, then on to Kahului. This time however we found out that the British Airport Authority (BAA) workers were planning to go on strike around the time we needed to fly. So Neil booked us on Air France going from Birminghan airport instead, as Birmingham is not run by BAA. So we had to drive to Birmingham very early in the morning, which took 2 hours, then after a 2 hour wait we flew over our house on the way to Paris! We then had a 1 hour wait before flying again over our house to LA, then a 3 hour wait to fly to Kahalui. It was rather frustrating to realise that after 7 hours we were only 6 miles from home, admittedly in a vertical direction. It took us well over 30 hours door-to-door. At LA we met up with Oliver, one of Neil's colleagues. We hired a car at Kahalui and drove to the hotel (the Maui Prince).
Neil managed to book a few days' vacation at the beginning and end of the conference and we did our usual tours; a sail boat ride to Lanaii, a trip around the Kanaiola Coat with Bluewater Rafting, a couple of dives, one at the catherdral on Lanai; a fantastic trip on America II, one of the boats that represented the USA in the America's Cup races. We also did a trip in the car around the whole of the west coast. This was great, a very narrow with fantastic views and interesting features along the way.
We drove from the hotel in Makena via Kihei and Ma'alea to Lahaina. There we stopped off for a while before travelling on to Ka'anapali, where we walked along the beach to black rock (Pu'u Keka'a). We carried on along the main road for a short distance and then took the beachside road (Lower Honoapiliilani road) and stopped off at Napili Bay, which has a webcam so you can phone your friends, give them the web address and they can see you enjoying the Hawaiian lifestyle, while they are at the office. This took road us to Kapalua, where the famous golf courses are. At the end of the road, just as it meets Office Road, is the site of the Dragon's Teeth lava formation. This is quite something to behold.
After visiting the lava formation at Makalua-puna Point we went on to slaughterhouse bay (Molule'ia Bay) and Honolua Bay. There is great surf here at certain times of the year, but not when we were there. After here the highway narrows, so drive carefully. The views along this stretch are fantastic. There is Nakalele Blowhole, a weird mushroom-shaped rock and the fabulous Olivine pools, which fill with water from the ocean, but are in general safe enough to wallow in. They are just like a jacuzzi at times. We then stopped off for some mouth-watering banana bread before making our way through Kahalui to take the Hana Highway, through Pa'ia to get to the Ho'okipa Lookout, where we saw surfers and kite-surfers doing their thing. It was a long day, but the trip was definitely well worth doing. Hopefully you are able to see the following shockwave-flash movie, if not, click on the following link: Surfing at Ho'okipa, North Maui shore from Elusien on Vimeo.
We went on several boat trips. We took a catamaran over to Lanai and did some snorkelling there, after which we had a picnic, before returning to Lahaina, seeing several whales on the way. We actually saw a pod of dolphins in the bay at Lanai.
We went to Lahaina to have a trip on the America II racing yaught, (www.hawaiiactive.com/activities/maui-america-two.html. which was a contender in the 1987 Amerca's Cup race. After the race it was sold and converted to carry passengers. The mast is huge, but when it was racing the mast was actually another 12 feet longer! The boat is the star of the film "Wind". It was a great trip; there was very little wind when we started, but once we rounded black rock it picked up and we were zipping along at what seemed like a huge rate of knots, at an angle close to 45° to the horizontal. Oliver, who is a sailor himself especially enjoyed this trip.
We went with the company www.bluewaterrafting.com again on their RIB (rigid inflatable boat) to visit the Kanaio Coast. If you do this trip you have to be prepared to get wet! The boat bounces over the waves, but is great fun. I took me camera in its underwater housing, which is a good job considering the amount of seawater that gets splashed around. We saw dolphins and whales and the most amazing lava formations around. I'd definitely recommend this trip, it was our third time and we loved every minute of it. Hopefully you are able to see the following shockwave-flash movie, if not, click on the following link: Bluewater rafting along the Kanaola Coast, South Maui from Elusien on Vimeo.
While Neil was in his conference I went diving with the "Ed Robinson" company. I enjoyed it and would go with them again. When Neil finished his conference we went with another company www.extendedhorizons.com. This was the first time we had dived with them, but it won't be the last. They are a very good company that go from Mala Warf, just north of Lahaina. They are both friendly and knowledgeable. They usually dive off the island of Lanai. We dived at "Wash Rock" and "Cathedral II", both of which were lovely dives. At Catherdral we shared the cavern with a 2-metre long white-tipped reef shark that had a fishing hook in its mouth and a short length of fishing line training from it. At Wash Rock we swam through a lava tube and saw loads of fish in very clear water. The diving was great.
We visited the Elan Vital galleries in the Shops at Wilea mall (www.elanvitalgalleries.com) Both Neil and I, as well as Oliver and Mike (another friend from the conference) really like Elan's work. Neil and I bought one of his paintings a couple of years ago, and now we have another, to balance the room! We spent hours looking at the contemporary paintings and Gigi and Kevin, who looked after us gave us a voucher for $150 to spend at Sarentos restaurant, so we treated ourselves, Mike and Oliver to an evening meal there. It was fabulous.
On our trip home we had an 8-hour wait for the Air France connection at LA, so we booked into a hotal that charges by the hour, to get some shut-eye before the long trip back home, via Paris and Birmingham. Our main case had been damaged on the way to Maui and it was a bit of a pain trying to lug it around. The damage was done by the American Airlines staff, but there was no way we could get them to admit it and pay any sort of compensation. I was none too pleased about this! Having said that, I really enjoyed this trip to Maui. It's sad that we may not be making many more trips as Neil will shortly be retiring. I really will miss going there, as I have come to regard it as my "spiritual home". For more (higher-resolution) photos and videos, click on the icons ( & ) at the top.
|Date||Depth (m)||Time (min)||EANx||Maui Dive|
|23 Jan||24.4||42||-||Endless Reef - Lovely dive, eagle ray, giant moray|
|23 Jan||18.6||40||-||Three Anchors - Great dive, full of fish, nudibranchs (and anchors)|
|23 Jan||10.1||15||-||Plane Wreck- Quick dive, lots of fish and of course the plane|
|26 Jan||19.8||43||-||Lanai Wash Rock - Whales, lava tube, lovely dive|
|26 Jan||18.6||52||-||Cathedral II - As always, a fantastic dive, shark inside the cavern|
For the whole photo album click on the "Photo Album" icon ( ) at the top.