Saturday, April 21, 2012

Maui, Hawaii - Day 1 and 2

We left work around 3pm and got a ride from Jonathan Baker to the airport.  Of course there were last minute fires at work, but tough luck.  At 3pm, Theresa and I were out of there and trying not to think about it.  We were flying on American Airlines out to Hawaii on free tickets, thanks to some credit card deals Theresa found.  We usually try to travel without checking bags, but because we were bringing a bunch of cans of sunblock, we had to check luggage.  Being frequent travelers of Southwest, we were surprised to see we had to pay $25 to check each bag, and quickly consolidated 2 checked bags into one. 
Once through security and in the terminal, we sat and waited for our flight.  With just a few minutes before boarding, I grabbed us both Burger King.  The plane was extremely empty.  It was a typical 2-3-2 seating arrangement and while the windows had 1-2 people sitting in the seats, the middle 3 seats were pratically empty.  There were multiple whole rows with no one in them, and other rows with only 1 person who lifted all the armrests and was laying down.

The sun was setting as we were flying over the ocean.  

After only 5:30 hours, we landed in Maui.  

And yet another reason we don't like checking bags, after we got off the plane, we waited another 20 minutes for the bag to arrive.  It gave us some time to look through the travel brochures though.

Just a quick hop on the rental car shuttle and we were in and out with our Budget rental car.  First stop?  Groceries!  K-mart was close by so we loaded up on sodas, chips, breakfast foods, and other snacks.  We contemplated buying a microwave (~$60) or a hot pot (~$25) but in the end couldn't justify it.  After that, we stopped over at a Safeway to grab the few things we didn't find at K-mart. 
After a 40 minute drive to Lahaina, we made it to our hotel, the Sheraton Maui.  It was after sunset, so it was pretty dark and we couldn't see anything.  Once we checked in, we were told that they upgraded us to a deluxe ocean view room.  Sweet!

The next morning, we woke with the sun.  Breakfast was Captain Crunchberries and a bagel.  Looking out from our porch, there are lots of people going for a run early in the morning.  We walked down to the beach to see what we could see, and what do you know, a volleyball court set up right outside our door.  Glad we packed away that volleyball and brought it with.  

Beautiful weather and blue water.

We then decided to run back and grab our snorkel gear.  There's supposed to be some great snorkeling just by the black rock.  We made it out there and sure enough, lots of fish to be seen.  And they were tame too.  Swimming right up to you and beside you.  Theresa always goes crazy with the camera.  There was a pretty strong current out there, so we were glad to have our fins.  Theresa also read that there are turtles in this area some times.  No such luck today, but we'll try again later.

It is nice to have the underwater camera.  

That looks fun!  Maybe another time.

Theresa checking out the banana plants beside the hotel.

We came back to the room, grabbed our kindles and read a bit on the deck.  It was getting close to lunchtime, so we took a short walk down the beach to Whaler's Village.  Leilani's on the beach sparked our interest.  We both ordered the Kaluha Pork Sandwich.  I thought it was tasty, but Theresa thought it was too messy. 

We continued walking down the strand in front of all the beach hotels.  It's interesting to see what some hotels do with all that property.  Some make it nice and inviting with green lawns and flowering plants, others put in a huge pool area with waterslides and water falls.  And then there are some that fill it with tall square buildings and cram as many rooms as possible.  We're happy with where we chose for the hotel.

After walking off our lunch, we got back to our room and headed down to the beach for some sun.  Sadly, it was a bit windy so after 10 minutes of being pelted with sand and Theresa getting sand in her bag of dried mangos, we headed over to the pool area to continue there.  Up there it was hot and sunny and just windy enough to make it all pleasant.  we stayed there for a while then went up to the room.  A little while before sunset, I decided we should explore the rest of the resort.  There property here is expansive and there are 6 different buildings with rooms in them.  I think we hit all of them and made it to the last one and right in front of the ocean right at sunset.

It was dinnertime and Theresa had read some great things about an Asian Fusion place not too far away.  We got there and found it was going to be an hour wait, so we put in an order to-go and went back out to the parking lot.  The sun had set a while ago and we were just amazed by the number of stars we could see.  Once your eyes adjusted, it was amazing all the tiny sparkles of light that were visible.  We got out Theresa cell phone and the Night Sky app to see what all we were looking at.  While we were doing that, a guy from another group came over and was talking about the meteor shower that would be occuring tonight, and did we know about it?  We didn't, but guess what we're going to do tonight!  Thanks Mister!
We got our food and headed down to the water at a picnic table by a beach park.  I just got a new toy for my camera to help me photograph star trails, so I set that up to run while we ate dinner.  It was completely unlit in this beach park, so we ate our dinner by the light of the flashlight app on our iphones.  The meal, meh, nothing special, but we did decide what all we were going to do with the rest of the night. 

Meteor showers look best just before dawn, so we made our plans to get up at 4:30am and get to a good spot.  But we didn't know what a good spot would be, so instead of going back to the hotel after dinner, we drove all around Lahaina trying to find the darkest spot we could with a North Eastern view towards Vega where the meteor shower would be coming from.  Well it was an adventure driving all over the place.  We must have stopped in 8 different locations but turned them down.  Some were entirely in residential neighborhoods with streetlights all around, others were kind of dark, but didn't have the most open area to see the sky.  We even drove up to a highschool just as the guy was locking the gates.  He was going to let us in, but when we said we just wanted to see the stars he said we had to go somewhere else.  In another residential spot we stopped at, Theresa and I just happened to be looking up at the same time and saw probably the best shooting star we've both ever seen.  This one was bright and left a long glowing streak as it went by.  It was pure chance that we both happened to be looking up and in the same direction at the same time.  In the end, we decided we'd just go out to the beach near our hotel.  It would keep us from having to drive away and we could sleep in a little later.

Continued on Day 3...

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