During September 2002, my family and I spent a week on Maui. For what it's worth, this page is a more or less chronological pictorial account of our trip. We arrived on Aug 31, 2002 and stayed 9 days.
For reference, the vacation was handled through the Auto Club of Southern California. Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays actually handled the detail bookings. The fly-drive vacation for six lasting 9 days and 8 nights, including air fare from Los Angeles, both condos, and the mini-van ran about $5,800. All of the food was on us and it wasn't cheap. A $2.99 Denny's Grand Slam is $8.50 in Maui. This was still in the "high season" although the travel agent was happy to book it at "low season" rates. The reason became obvious when we got there. There was hardly anybody there. The hotel was only 1/3 full (judging from the number of rooms with lights on) and reservations were not necessary anywhere.
We'll start our show with some pictures of the accommodations. We stayed at the Maui Kaanapali Villas in room 263. This is clearly the nicest hotel room I've EVER stayed in. This unit is privately owned and available for rent.
The complex used to be the Kaanapali Hilton 20 years ago or so. It was subdivided and sold off piecemeal when the newer Hilton was built. For all intents and purposes, it is a hotel with housekeeping services, a guest lobby and all the usual facilities. The note on the door indicated that the unit normally rents for $275 a night, but I didn't pay nearly that.
The whole condo is decorated in a Hawaiian style and was very comfortable for two although it could have slept four (two on a hide-a-bed). The bedroom was upstairs with a bath with shower. Another bath and shower was downstairs off the kitchen. There are two TV's (one upstairs), a VCR and a stereo.
Looking the other way, there is a sliding glass door that leads to the lanai. A glass dining table sits on a bamboo stand with bamboo dining furniture.
The upstairs loft bedroom had a queen bed. Testing the bed is my better half, Sandy.
A bookcase contains a fairly well stocked library, another small bookshelf with more books is upstairs.
On the lanai is more wicker furniture and a wooden table.
The is a "garden view" unit as opposed to an "ocean view" unit. The garden is pretty nice. Two larger pools are located in another section of the complex. After looking at the "ocean view" side, except for maybe a dozen units, it might be more aptly called the "ocean peek" side.
The kitchen was fully equipped with a range, microwave, dishwasher, coffee maker, toaster, dishes and utensils. This was good because restaurant food is very expensive on Maui. Supermarket food, in contrast, is just expensive. We spent over $200 at the local Safeway.
Just off the kitchen is a bathroom with a shower. This whole tiled shower is sized for two. Even the tile has a Hawaiian pattern.
Our four kids (aged 12 through 19) stayed next door, in room 262. This one is more typical of a regular hotel room even though it is larger than most. Including the hide-a-bed and the upstairs loft, it could sleep six. It had a similarly equipped kitchen, but was not nearly as nicely decorated as unit 263.
My oldest son, Richard, claimed the loft. The others were relegated to downstairs.
The hotel has its own stretch of clean beach. However, immediately north of the hotel is a public park and beach with parking for about 60 cars and picnic facilities. This park is often used for weddings, birthdays and receptions. I saw the park in use every day that were were there. This beach also had the best snorkeling anywhere near the hotel. The reef starts immediately offshore and extends out for about 100 yards and at least 1500 yards upshore. The water was warm, nearly 80°F, and usually clear. Visibility was 50 feet except on the last day where it got really murky. The reef is in only 6 to 10 feet of water so that is perfect for tooling around on the surface with a snorkel. There is all manner of tropical fish. We also saw one small Moray eel and a large green sea turtle on this reef.
Since this beach faces west, we got some pretty good sunsets. The islands of Lanai and Molokai are visible from this beach.
On Monday, Sept 3 we drove down the Hana coast. Kaanapali where we stayed is on the "dry" side. Hana is the "wet" side and gets a couple of hundred inches of rain a year, most of it in the winter. With all this water, Hana is a bone fide rain forest. This photo shows the road cut in a cliff. The road is twisty and slow, it takes about 3 hours to go the 35 miles or so to Hana. There are 50+ bridges, mostly one lane.
Busses will take visitors on a Hana tour, but they are pretty steep. It would have run $275 for my family so we just drove the road in our rented minivan. We bought a $20 self guided cassette and map that was entirely adequate.
This is a typical waterfall like many that can be found in most of the drainages along the coast. This one is running pretty low on water because it doesn't rain all that much during the summer. The water in the pool is pretty brown, but people were swimming in it. During the winter, when the flow is much higher, the pool is clear.
This is my family at one of the waterfalls. On the left is my wife, Sandy. Next is Charlie, then Katie, Zack and Richard.
A side trip off the Hana road is Keane. The coast is entirely volcanic, it wouldn't be advisable to swim in this surf.
This is a view from the road looking down the the Keane coast. This village has been inhabited for hundreds of years. It was mostly wiped out by a tidal wave but has been rebuilt.
On Tuesday, Sept 4, the kids took a surfing lesson. There weren't many tourists on the island so it was easy to get reservation anywhere on a moment's notice. In this case, the kids had a private instructor. The surfing school was only too happy to do this. The lessons were given at a beach just south of the Lahaina harbor, about 5 miles south of our hotel. The surf was just right for learning, just one foot or a little more. I was able to stand on a jetty so that I could take photos. Our digital camera isn't so good for telephoto or action shots so I had to guess when to shoot a picture. I actually caught a lot of crashes.
Charlie managed to get up several times, unfortunately, he usually got off again fairly quickly.
Katie got up the most often and managed several rides all the way to the beach.
Richard got up several times as well although he crashed pretty hard as well.
Zack got up a couple of times, but I didn't catch him on "film." I believe that he stood on this same ride but I had already taken the picture and the camera wasn't ready for another shot.
Right across the street from our hotel was the northern terminal of the Lahaina, Kaanapali and Pacific Rail Road. This is a former sugar cane railway that has been converted to a tourist attraction. For the railfans among you, more info and phots of this railway can be found at my LK&P website. Zack and I rode the train on the afternoon of Sept 3 and got rained on pretty throughly on the way back.
On Wednesday, Sept 4, we drove up to the top of the Haleakala volcano. There are several tour operators that will drag you up there, plop you on a bike and send you 35 miles down the hill. I considered that such an adventure was a good opportunity for a serious case of road rash so we choose to drive up and down. Charlie is posed, somewhat grudgingly, at the summit observation building at 10,023 feet.
There is an odd sort of plant that grows only near the Haleakala summit. It is called the Silversword and blooms like the one next to Sandy only every 25 years or so.
The top of Haleakala gets a lot of clear air so that an observatory complex was built there. The large silver "dome" is reputed to contain a powerful camera that can be used to photograph details of earth orbiting satellites.
This is a relief map posted on the wall of the visitor center near the top of Haleakala volcano. The island of Maui is composed of two volcanos with a plain connecting them. The plain is mostly sugar cane fields. The Hana coast is in the east and southeast, our hotel was at the northwest near Lahaina.
The crater is formed mostly be erosion. The clouds blow in and out in minutes. We hiked to the top of a small knob to get this view. It was much cooler here than at sea level but I appreciated the climate.
On Thursday, Sept 5, we took a boat trip to Molokini, a partially submerged crater island about 10 miles off the coast of Maui. Sandy, Katie and I are waiting out the trip. The ride was a little rough so nobody was feeling real good.
Richard and Charlie were riding up front in the breeze.
Zack choose to ride on the "trampoline" near the bow of the catamaran. There was considerable swell splash so later when we got into the big swell, he got throughly soaked.
By the time that we got there, there were already a dozen other boats there. On really busy days, there can be thirty, each carrying 30 or more snorkelers or divers. It got pretty crowded. I'm in this photo somewhere. The water was fairly clear, but overall, the snorkeling off the beach at the hotel was better. This water was much deeper, up to 30 feet, so it was harder to see the stuff on the bottom.
We spent the last 3 days of our vacation doing nothing in particular, this is what vacations are really about. We slept in late, read some books, watched a little cable TV and just generally lounged about. Richard and I walked down the coast, through the Sheraton Maui hotel and out to Black Rock, a popular snorkeling spot. There wasn't much there to see, the water was mostly deeper than near the Villas and was a little murky. We did stumble onto a very large sea turtle though. Sandy and I went to a luau at the Marriott in Kaanapali. It was a good show and the food was generally good, but it ought to be for $50 a head.
By the time that our last day came, Sept 8, I was ready to go home. Maui is very nice but humid and I am used to the dry climate of southern California. We'd had a good trip and I couldn't have afforded much more.
I managed to avoid any serious sunburn and got bit by only a few mosquitos. They were quite prevalent on the Hana coast and came up in force only one other evening. There were a few lizards about but hardly any other kinds of bugs other than the occasional mosquito.
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© 2002-2005 George Schreyer
Created 11 Sept 2002
Last Updated January 30, 2005