Hawaii Diary: 1. Maui


2. Kauai
3. Big Island




Flight from Stuttgart via Atlanta to Los Angeles

We got up at the usual time, at 5:45 am, drove to the suburban train station and from there with the S-Bahn to Stuttgart airport. No big queues at check-in and security, we had a last pretzel for breakfast. The flight went just in time at 9:50 am. Flying with Delta is a bit nostalgic, the interior of the plane looks like it did 20 years ago, but the service is good, you get some water every hour and the seating distance is OK. The flight route was over England, Newfoundland down the whole east coast of Canada and USA - in Canada there was still a lot of snow and the lakes were frozen. We arrived after app. 11h flight time in Atlanta, the worlds busiest airport (regarding passenger numbers). Then we had to go through immigration (took 1/2 h), collect our baggage, then through customs, put our baggage back on the conveyor and then take the train to terminal A. Soon we could board for Los Angeles and were after 2 hours in Atlanta back in the air. There was not much to see because it was cloudy, but on the approach to LA we could see some snow covered mountains, i guess that were the San Gabriel Mountains. We arrived in LA at 7:30 pm local time, picked up our baggage and went by shuttle bus to the Holiday Inn LAX. After a shower we went to bed at 8:30pm local time, that is 4:30 am german time.


Place: Makawao, Maui



Flight from Los Angeles to Maui

We slept well until 2 am, got up at 5 am and on the shuttlebus to the airport. At 6am there was no queue at the check-in, but at the security my camera bag was checked manually and tested for drugs. After that there was enough time for a LARGE coffee and a just as large sandwich. With Delta you get only water, lemonade and peanuts on the inland flights. The plane went in time and was only 1/4 full, so both of us had a row of three seats for ourselves, we could strech out, relax and read and time went fast. A very pleasant, quiet flight over the endless blue Pacific until 6 hours later Big Island came into view. In Maui the plane flew over the isthmus and did a sharp 180 degree turn, before it landed at Kahului airport. The airport buildings are open on one side, so you feel outdoors immediately. The temperature was enjoyable, but the humidity was high. We collected our baggage and went to Alamo car rental where we picked up our car, a Jeep Patriot. After a short confusion about the right direction we were on the Haleakala Highway on our way to Makawao. We found our accomodation, Wild Ginger Falls Cottage, easily. It's a tropical idyll at a nearly dry riverbed. Sunny and Bob, the owners gave us a warm welcome and some first essential informations. The cottage is very nice and equipped with everything you may need, but unfortunately there were mozzies in the garden. It wasn't quite ready at that time, so we went for a first shopping to the local supermarket. We bought some essential food, beer (Samuel Adams Boston Lager), some californian red and white wines, and poke, a sort of Hawaiian sushi, which tastes very nice and was a new culinary experience. After lunch we drove down to the sea to Paia, which is a busy surfer's village.There was only one traffic light but, one with a traffic congestion. Near Paia is Hookipa beach, where the northeastern tradewind drives a heavy surf. We watched some brave windsurfers playing in this waves. In winter, when the waves are double the height, there are the windsurfers world championships here. Back at the cottage we had some yummy mango form Sunny and Bob's garden. Because of our jet lag we went to bed at 8 pm.

Our first accomodation : Wild Ginger Falls
First we had lunch (poke, fruit) in the lanai (a porch with moskito screen)
Basalt columns of a old lava flow make up the "fence" of the premises
Bob grows his own coffee
Sunny and Bob, our fabulous hosts
Bird-of-paradise just grow at the cottage
Impressive waves...
at Hookipa Beach















Place: Makawao, Maui



Sunrise at Haleakala and a second car

We slept quite well until 2 am and got up at 3 am, had breakfast and started the drive to the Haleakala summit at 3055m to see the sunrise up there. The distance is only 40 miles, but because of the difference in altitude it takes about 1 1/2 hours to drive up. Nearly at the top, the automatic gear of the Jeep got problems and switched between gears erratically, so we had some doubts if we would make it to the top. Several times shifting between N and D solved the problem for the moment, but our confidence in the car was gone. Finally we reached the visitor center, and there were already a lot of people. So we moved up the next hill on a narrow path where there were less people. It was very cold and windy, but with t-shirt, shirt, vleece and rainjacket and a beanie and some gloves it was alright. There was a beautiful starry sky, and the colours of the sunrise (at 6:30am) were fantastic up there above the clouds. Shortly after sunrise the inner rim of the crater was bright red, Haleakala means "house of the sun". After that we walked a bit down the Sliding Sands trail and suddenly we were alone. Then we visited the very top to see the observatories there and worked our way back down along the many outlooks, every one of them provided different views and perspectives of the crater. At one of the lookouts we had our "lunch" at 7:30am. At the park entrance we made a walk through Hosmer Grove where once trees of all parts of the world were planted to see what will grow best on Maui. At times we felt like being in Australia with all the differet gum trees around. Already at 9:30am we were back down in Makawao and bought at the local farmers market some banana, avocado and macadamia nuts. In the afternoon we drove back to the airport to Alamo to complain about the car. They were very friendly and we could choose another car, this time we took a Hyundai Santa Fe, which served us without problems for the rest of the Maui trip. It consumed about 10-12l of gasoline per 100km, which is not bad for such a big car, it was very convenient, spacious and had a good suspension, which is important on some of the backroads that are in a really bad condition. Then we went to Paia, watching surfers at the beach, had a stroll through the village and had our dinner at the Paia Fish Market, two different fish burgers, mine was called Obama Burger, all very tasty and good value. We drove back to the cottage and spent the rest of the day on the Lanai looking at the beautiful garden and listening to the unfamiliar birds. It rains about 5-10 times a day up here, but only for 5 minutes or so, before the sun comes back. Went to bed at 7pm.

At the horizon 4200m high Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on Big Island, 150km away!
Here comes the sun
View into the Caldera
The Sliding Sands Trail
The shadow of Haleakala
The younger craters within the Caldera
It rains in Makawao















Place: Makawao, Maui



The Road to Hana, and around the South Coast on the worst bitumen road on earth

During the night we only woke up once and then slept until 7am. We made it and got over the jet lag! After breakfast at 8am we headed off, down Kokomo road to the coast and then on the Hana highway. It winds very scenic in many curves through the jungle, along the north coast to the east. First stop was Kaenae Arboretum, where we saw a lot of beautiful tropical flowers, trees and agricultural plants. After 2 1/2 hours of slow scenic driving for 40 miles we reached Hana. We followed a hint in the guidebook to a hidden red sand beach. The best thing on this beach is the rock barrier, that protects it from the dangerous surf, so i had my first swim on Maui. We ate our lunch there and then moved on to the coastal part of the Haleakala National park (Kipahulu), where we did a 2 hours hike to Waimoku waterfall, which is very nice, but the highlight was the bamboo forest we came through. We didn't want to drive back the same way, so we took the very narrow and partly unsealed road along the south coast. This leeward part of the island is very dry and lonely. The road is really bad, the bitumen part worse then the gravel, because it consists solely from patches, and it follows the terrain like a roller coaster. Finally the road turned north and we came to the village of Kula, where we bought at Grandma's Coffe House a delicious cake. When we came back to Makawao it was already 5pm, so we put some steaks on the barbie and had a salad and some californian merlot with it for dinner.

Lush vegetation at the Hana Road
Blossoms of a African Tulip Tree
Whatever flowers
The road winds along the cliffs
Indonesian Rainbow Gumtrees in Kaenae
Red Beach in Hana
Waimoku Falls
Bamboo forest
Pachwork road at the south coast




















Place: Makawao, Maui



Hang loose, no worries!

Today was a resting day, no big activities. We did some washing, paid the cottage and had a chat with Sunny and Bob. We called home to Germany and went shopping, food, water and stamps for our 24 postcards. In the afternoon we visited Kola Lavender Farm. The lavender itself wasn't that impressive for us, but most of the other plants that grow there are quite exotic for the europeans: protea, banksia, bromeliads... And we had a beautiful view over the lowlands of Maui. Back at the cottage we took a bath in the whirlpool in the garden, very romantic, but you had to stay completely in the water because of the mozzies!

Comfortable seat with this...
view at Kola Lavender Farm
The Upcountry at the slopes of Haleakala








Place: Makawao, Maui



Sonja's 50est Birthday and visitors from Australia

After a unhurried breakfast we drove down to the coast at Paia Beach for a extended beach walk until the end of Baldwin Beach. Just before we came ack to the car, we were soaked by one of the many showers today, we didn't mind, it was so warm. Then at 11:30 am to the airport, Bev and Don should arrive at 12:40. But as we walk past the baggage claim, they were already there! They got a earlier flight, but unfortunately their baggage was on the scheduled flight, so we had to wait. But we had so much to tell, it didn't matter. Then we drove to Paia to their accomodation, the Spyglass House, and we found it finally after a searching it for a while. It's nicely located directly at the sea, built of wood and with stained glass windows. That made Don and Bev's room very dark, it was not well maintained and the breakfast was near to not existing. So we were happy that it was only for one night. We had lunch together in Paia at the Moana Cafe (nice ambience, very good sandwiches and salad at a reasonable price). With a little detour to the Hookipa Beach outlook (today no windsurfers but some surfers) we brought Bev and Don back to their accomodation and drove back to Makawao. At 7pm we picked Don and Bev up again and drove to Mamas Fish House in Paia - one of Maui's best restaurants. The restaurant is located very scenic right at the sea, no windows hold back the sea breeze and the garden is lit by torches. Thanks to the call of Sunny and Bob (they know someone working there) we got one of the best tables at the window with a view to the sea. The girls drank white wine, D'Arenberg viognier, Don had local beer Longboard Lager and i (the driver) had a alcohol free cocktail. We had different starters, smoked marlin carpaccio, polynesian beef in grilled papaya, wontons, crabs. As a main we had all the same, grilled opah (a local fish, caught by the restaurants own fishing boat) with spicy vegies. Sonja had creme brulee with passion fruit and i had tahiti black pearl (mousse au chocolat, see the picture below) as a dessert. Everything was extremely delicious, but my dessert was the eye-catcher.

Mamas Fish House in Paia
The Birthday Dinner
The dessert: "Black Tahiti Pearl"








Place: Kihei, Maui



Change of site to Kihei Meadows at the south coast

It rained nearly all night, time for a change to the dry south coast. After breakfast we packed without hurry, had a final chat with Sunny and Bob and drove down to Paia to pickup Bev and Don from their "haunted house". Together we crossed the island to Kihei Meadows. Tom and Denise's B&B was easy to find, the two rooms are nice (although the decoration not really our taste) and quiet, and for there are only two guest rooms we had it for our own. There was all sorts of beach gear there for our use e.g. beach chairs, boogie boards, snorkels and flippers. First we went shopping for some basic food and had lunch at the terrace. We got some information from Tom, where it's good for snorkeling, then we drove down to Po'olenalena Beach where we got the last parking spot. It was sunday, and whole family clans of Hawaiians were at the beach for swimming, barbecue, relaxing and making music - singing, guitar and ukulele. It was fun just to watch and listen. Certainly we were swimming too, the water was clear and pleasant and the waves not too high for a start. Later the wind picked up and we moved on, before we got sandblasted. At home we watched the sunset on the deck with a glass of wine or a beer. Afterwards we made ribeye steaks on the comfortable barbie, and some salad. It was much warmer here at the south coast, so you could sit outside until late, but you had to put on some repellent against the mozzies.

Lazy sunday at Po'olenalena Beach
The local beer brand in colourful design








Place: Kihei, Maui



A day at the Sea

We went around 9 am to Ulua Beach, which is said to be good for beginner's snorkelling. It's located directly at the big Renaissance and Marriot hotels in Wailea. There are already lots of snorkellers and scuba divers in the water, so my expectations were not too high. But amazingly there was a great variety of colourful tropical fish to see. On our second snorkelling Don and i swam farther out around the point, where there were less people, but also less fish. But i saw a moray and a big turtle swimming right under me. The snorkeling was more strenuous as we thought, so we walked our way back on the beach. On our drive back we stopped at "Eskimo Candy", the local fish shop, and bought Walu and Ono fillets for the evening, and poke with soja sauce and wasabi for lunch. In the evening we did a walk from Ulua beach along the beaches in front of the big hotels towards he south. Here was a big hustle and bustle, in front of the hotels there were Luau's, originally a polynesian feast, where one or more pigs are baked during the day in a underground oven. Here it's just a tourist attraction with hawaiian style music. There were may people there, even if some of the hotel rooms here cost 700$ a night! We are just happy that we could watch the sunset, very scenic with palms and everything... and then go back to our quiet B&B. We put the fish we bought on the barbie, just in Aluminium foil with salt and garlic and lemon juice. Ono was one of the best fish we ever had, very tender (Don: 9 1/2 out of 10), the walu was a bit more firm, like tuna, but also very good.

Luxury hotel in Wailea
Sunset with palms
Sunset at Ulua Beach








Place: Kihei, Maui



Lahaina and the Northeast

Today we drove towards Lahaina to explore the northeastern part of Maui. Lahaina is a old whaling town, where the whalers stayed during the winter and it was a hell of a place at that times. Today it's a busy tourist town, quite nice to visit, but for us too busy to stay. We walked the town and had Shave Ice, a Hawaiian speciality, at Ululani's in Front street. A sort of snow is shaved from a massive ice block and then flavoured with all sorts of syrups or juices, yummy! At the beach we had a look at a big double hull canoe. With canoes of this type the old polynesians managed to travel the 4000 km over open ocean from Tahiti, at a time when in Europe nobody navigated outside the sight of the coast! On our further way around the island we bought some sandwiches for lunch at Kanapaali. Then a must for the golf players Bev and Don: we visited the famous Plantation Golf Course at Kapalua, and we found some golf balls as a souvenir. Right at the golf course there is the D.T.Fleming beach park, where we had our lunch with a view to the beach. It was a bit windy, so we didn't swim there. Then we drove around the northern part of Maui on a winding narrow road. Sometimes it's one lane. There were dramatic cliffs, and the wind was blowing very strongly. Half way there was lonely village named Kahakuloa in a scenic valley. Finally we came back to civilisation nead Wailuku and there we turned off east into Iao valley. We just got a glimpse of the famous Iao Needle (a steep rock at the end of Iao valley) before it vanished again in the next shower. So we headed home and were back at 4 pm. For dinner we had some chicken from the barbie.

The oldest building of Lahaina
With this vehicle they hunt parking offenders
Shave Ice
Yummy, you see it at the faces
Polynesian Grass House
Double Hull Canoe
Narrow roads in the North
North Coast













Lonely village Kahakuloa








Place: Kihei, Maui



Beach testing

Today was Beach Day. We took all beach gear to Big Beach. Don and i tried to snorkel, but we found it too dangerous because of the high surf, and the view under water was quite murky. So we rather went swimming, but you had to go through the surf quickly, the waves were "dumpers". Behind the surf there was good swimming. But also just sitting at the beach was good entertainment, because off the coast there were humpback whales jumping. The nearby Little Beach was also very nice, but you had to climb a small cliff with your beach gear, so we did'nt swim there. Around noon we went shopping and stayed during the hot hours in our rooms. In the afternoon we explored more of the beaches, there were so many of them! First we went to Secret Beach, very nice there, but there were too many rocks for us. So we drove back to the southern end of Big Beach, but in the meantime the wind took up, so you got sandblasted there. Finally we foud a nice protected bay at Makena Landing, where we could sit in the grass. For swimming there was a easy sandy entrance, but the water was too murky for snorkelling. Back home we watched the sunset from the deck and then had steak and sweet potatoes from the barbie.

Big Beach
View to the neighbour islands Kahoolawe und Molokini
Little Beach








Place: Kihei, Maui



Last day with Don and Bev

In the morning we went to Ahihi Bay, a good snorkelling spot. The entrance is rock and shallow, and it was not easy to find your way in the murky water. But right from the beginning there were plenty of beautiful, big fish, and further out the view got better. The spot is good for snorkelling, but not for swimming. Just to explore this part of the coast completely, we drove across the latest lava flow of the island (from 1790) to the southernmost point of the bitumen road, La Perouse Bay. Here landed in 1786 the french expolrer La Perouse during his South Seas trip. The bay is very rocky and windy, looks like the end of the world. Then we drove back to Ulua Beach, but there was no parking, so we ended up at Polo Beach which is also nice. Here we had some fun with the boogie boards. We had lunch at home, and Sonja and i went to Po'olenalena Beach in the afternoon, but just sat there and enjoyed the view. In the evening we had our farewell dinner with Don and Bev at Cafe au Lei. It was very busy, even we had reserved we had to wait for a while until we got a table. But it was worth the waiting, the food was really excellent: Crab cakes, flatbread, squid stuffed with tuna, black MahiMahi, chicken breast in mac nut crust. And some Longboard lager from the draft. For dessert there was really left no room!

Ahihi Bay
Lava flow on the way to La Perouse Bay








Place: Kihei, Maui




We got up early and started off at 7am to bring Bev and Don to the airport for their flight back home. We had coffee and a cake at Starbuck's in Kahului for breakfast. Then we drove to Ma'alea Landing where we waited a long time until finally at 11am our whalewatching tour with the Pacific Whale Foundation started. But again waiting was worth it. We barely had left the harbour, as we saw the first group of humpback whales, probably a female and three males. They flapped their fins and flukes on the water and sometimes the heads came our of the water. We followed the group for nearly two hours at the allowed distance of about 100m, and one time, when they came very close to the boat, i shot a classic picture series of the diving fluke. Later we saw also some dolphins. After the 2 hours i had 220 whale pictures, that was easy when you have the camera in sport mode at 5 pictures per second! (Later i deleteed about half of the pictures) The rest of the day we stayed at Polo Beach, but the waves were not quite right for the boogie board. But instead a group of whales was displaying a show in the light of the setting sun for us, wow!

Whalewatching-boat of the Pacific Whale Foundation
There they are!
....whale fluke....

















And we move on to the next island: Kauai