Hello readers - thanks for viewing my blog. Especially welcome are my beautiful wife Cyndi, our two wonderful children Tom and Lisa, and my siblings Jeff, Mary and Suzy. I posted often from America Samoa while I was there a few years ago. I also post from our past and later travels. Keep checking in, and please leave a comment!

They may not be readers, but our dogs Monte and Zoey have a special page with their own photos. They are involved in many of our trips, and all of our lives.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Fishes and Turtles and Whales! Oh Maui!

    Cyndi and Rick have taken two winter vacation trips to Maui, first in 2017 and back again this year in January, 2018. Cyndi spent the past two years searching, negotiating, planning and then executing Wyndmere's move to our new building - see the previous post at Wyndmere's New Home. Well, Wyndmere is now moved, settled and operating full tilt. It’s winter, we were in Minnesota, and we needed to "get us outta here." So we arranged these extended vacations to Maui, the major Hawaiian island which we had not previously visited.

Image result for maui map
   Maui is somewhat butterfly-shaped, with extinct or almost extinct volcanoes centering each wing. They are joined by a broad, low, flat valley. Hence, Maui is called the Valley Isle. Here's what it looks like:

    Maui has so many things to see and do, your trip will be a buffet, each day choosing from the myriad of options. Let’s see, which beach to snorkel/swim today? Or shall we hike Haleakala, the north shore, or down the road to Hana and beyond? Maybe a charter boat to see whales, or snorkel Molokini? Charter boats, helicopters, ziplines are all readily available. Truly luxurious resorts line the shores, if pampering is your goal. We hit a few of these for happy hour. There is the aquarium, Lahaina the tourist Mecca, shopping in funky beach shops or at Tiffany’s in Wailea. And golf at tour-quality courses as well as local muni’s. Life here is a more than a beach.

  There are two major visitor areas. On the western edge of the lower, bigger wing is a string of beautiful beaches rivaling any beaches, anywhere. This is South Maui. We stayed in south Kihei, just north of the very upscale Wailea area. Here are some photos of our place and area:

View from our condo towards West Maui mountain
Near sunset from the lanai
The condo from adjacent Kamaole 1 beach. Kam 2, as nice, is on the other side. The reef in between offers good snorkeling right at our doorstep
The Wailea Grand resort

   So many beaches line the shore, we went to a different one nearly every day. At the risk of being repetitious and boring, here are a few more photos of the beaches:

Makala Big Bach State Park. 1 mile long!
Big Beach from the cliff at north end

Black Sand beach. The reef there is nicknamed "turtletown"
Kaanapali Beach, west Maui
   This video shows normal beach activity and wave action:

  There was a big ocean swell for a couple days, with 5 foot waves crashing in. Lifeguards were warning people to stay out of the water. This video gives some sense of their strength:

   Snorkeling can be done at virtually all beaches, and in other places as well. We snorkeled almost every day. The coral reefs are alive, active and colorful while the fish activity was awesome. Colorful tropical fish were all over. Here are a few we saw in quantity; photos are not ours but do show what we observed:


Yellow Tang
Moorish Idol
Cornetfish and Convict Tangs
Sometimes they all swarm!

  Here are a couple of videos taken while snorkeling. Three were made at our favorite site, called "the dumps," near the end of the road on south Maui. Despite the unfortunate name, snorkeling there is fantastic:

The next video was made on the reef right at our condo. It shows a turtle sleeping under the rocks!

   Green sea turtles live throughout these waters and we saw many of them. While snorkeling we swam with turtles(!) and many nosing around the rocks as we walked along the shore. They like to come up to eat seaweeds and often crawl up on the sand to rest. These guys breed in islands some 700 miles away, then return here each year. Here are some more pictures:

This is usually what happens when a turtle comes on beach to rest!
   The big highlight was to see humpback whales out on the ocean. They winter here, breed and calve, without eating. In April they head up to Alaska where they eat, fatten, then come back in the fall. We can see them spouting, jumping clear out of the water, also smacking their tails and flippers on the surface. Pictures are hard because while they may be close in by ocean standards, but to photo you see little. When they do jump or slap it is an awesome show. We did not take a whale watching boat but these are readily available. Seeing a great whale "breach" entirely above the water is truly a sight to behold.

     Haleakala is the big volcano here. “Hale” means a house, or shelter. Akala is the Sun. So this huge pile of lava is the home of the Sun. It looks it, rising more than 2 miles above sea level and taking up the majority of the island. Those who know these things think it is nearly dormant. We hiked to the crater’s edge; it s a surreal landscape. Here are some photos:

The central crater/valley
Inside the volcano, surreal landscape
Rick - note the clouds climbing upwards (left)

Cyndi catching a breath
Trail around the mountain
Observatory at top, 2 miles up and COLD
Lava field from last flow, maybe 1790? Maybe earlier?

 There's more - jump to Part 2 here