Friday, June 8, 2012

Maui, Hawaii

Ben and I recently returned from 12 days in Hawaii. We went to the island of Maui, on the Lahaina side (West side) of the island and it was fantastic. Ben's amazing, wonderful, fantastic parents graciously offered to watch our children at our house so that Chloe and Mitchell didn't have to miss any school so that we could enjoy this vacation alone. And can I say what a wonderful investment in a marriage a kidless vacation is every few years?

We had such a great time. There is no better way to put it than that. We left on May 26th and arrived late, late, late Hawaiian time. Can I just say that the 3 hour time difference about killed me the first few days? Luckily, when you're on vacation (especially with no kids), it didn't really matter and we could relax and be as lazy as we wanted. But 3 hours is a lot (to me) and it took a few days to adjust to.

Here was the view (a "Garden View") right outside our hotel room.

The church building was just 5 miles from our hotel. With the time change, we were awake bright and early at 6 a.m., so making it to the 9 a.m. church service was no problem!

Yes, Ben is wearing Crocs. Don't worry- he did not stand out at all at church. In Hawaii, anything goes. One of the native members had Crocs on at church. We even saw a visitor in a tube top.
This was the view from the church- you could see the ocean from the building. Can't say that about too many buildings from the States!

Our hotel was right on the beach and we LOVED it. 3 years ago, we went to Oahu and our hotel was not on the beach. We definitely liked being right on the beach much better this time.

Our beach

Our hotel had a beautiful garden with lawn chairs that we loved sitting in and watching the ocean.

Ben had to get in the water every day. It is his drug.

He is like a fish, my Ben.

It's hard not to get in this warm water- it's temperature is between 73-75 degrees. Cannot say the same about the ocean temp here in the Pacific Northwest....

We also went snorkeling almost every single day. On our last trip to Hawaii 3 years ago, I was pregnant could not handle being in the water for very long (it made me sick). So we made up for that this trip by being in the water a lot more.

Our water proof camera was sure fun to have.

The biggest thing I struggled with (not being a very big swimmer), was getting my snorkeling gear off. I tried to sit on the sand and get it off quickly, but never could do it very fast and waves would always crash on me and knock me over before I could get all of my gear off. Ben could always get his gear off quickly. Fast enough to run up and get this picture of me, struggling and flopping around like a beached whale.

One of our favorite places to snorkel was Honolua Bay. We found it driving around one day, then later went back and hiked to it and snorkeled in the water.

The scenery in Maui was spectacular. "I'm the King of the World!"

We loved driving around and stopping at look out points. I was running here to get down to a get picture spot. Ben was sure I was running down to my death.

Nope. Just found a nice spot.

Ben has never had a professional massage in his life, so we decided to get a couple's massage at the "Black Rock Spa."

We were relaxed just waiting for the massages. The actual massages felt amazing. We wished we could have had one every day.

The sunsets on the beach outside our hotel room were breathtaking.

I don't do much to enhance it.

It was fun to take pictures of the fish we saw snorkeling.

And of the plants and coral, etc.

Ben kept trying to teach me how to dive. I am not much of a swimmer or diver.

The coolest thing we saw was a giant turtle. I swam right over it. Ben got an underwater video of me to show to the kids, then I got kind of freaked out and swam away. Then he took this picture. You can see my legs in the upper right corner of the picture, swimming away. We actually saw tons of turtles as we walked along the shore by our beach coming up for air. We were reminded numerous times that it's illegal to touch a turtle. Are you kidding? We were not interested at all in getting close enough to touch them...

Being kidless, we took advantage and went to the movies. This day we saw "The Avengers."

We are true Andros' and found the island's only Costco. We LOVE Costco!

Halfway through the week, we sent a postcard home to the kids, telling them about the turtle we saw while snorkeling.

While out shopping one day, Ben bought a coconut. He loves coconuts! First you drink the coconut milk.

Then the lady chopped it open and gave him back the "meat."

I don't care for them much, but Ben loves them!

Hawaii has tons of natives who do hand wood carvings. I find it fascinating how they can carve such detailed things with just a pick and another piece of wood.

One of our favorite places we found was Lahaina Town. It was a really cute little shopping town with cute little gift shops, stores, and restaurants. We must have went there 6 or 7 times while we were in Maui.

We stumbled upon this shaved ice shop in Lahaina Town and randomly decided to try it.

It was delicious!

Lahiana Town also has this really neat little park with a Banyan tree in it. It looks like multiple trees spread throughout the entire park, but it's actually all one tree connected. It is fascinating.

We went hiking through a jungle to go snorkeling one day, and it reminded me of some of the footage from the TV show "Lost."

I thought the free range chickens roaming all over were hilarious.

Honolua Bay- remember we found this while driving around? This was an awesome snorkeling place!

The visibility in the water in Hawaii is amazing. It's almost crystal clear. We loved it. Fish are literally swimming right around your feet.

And bananas are growing right by your head!

A sign confirmed what we already thought- that Honolua Bay is one of the best places to snorkel!

One of the "tourist" activities we paid to do was go snorkeling at Molokini, a volcanic crater out in the ocean. A catamaran boat (behind me) took us out to the crater at 7 .m. in the morning, when snorkeling is the best. They fed us breakfast on the boat.

After getting our gear on, we jumped out of the boat and started snorkeling. Molokini is (supposedly) one of the top 10 dive spots in the world. It has visibility up to 180 feet, which I believe. The view underwater was unbelievable. It was unlike anything we had ever seen.

This picture of me under the water makes it look like I am about ready to step on the bottom of the ocean floor, but the water is so clear, it only appears that way.

The draw backs to this trip is that there were so many people that there wasn't enough room to swim around and really explore (we were bumping into people left and right) and the ocean waves were really, really rough and I got sick really, really fast and couldn't stay out in the water very long. But the view down below the water- wow!

We got back on the boat and headed over to "Turtle Town." They let us off the boat again to snorkel and Ben and I saw two turtles here. The water was not quite as clear here but still clear enough.

Here is a view of our boat from the water. The water was still a little rough for my liking.

Since we had a kitchen in our hotel, we only ate breakfast out once. We got a recommendation from my good friend to try a little place right on the water in a cute little gazebo and it was less than 2 miles from our hotel.

I got the white chocolate macadamia nut pancakes. They were delicious.

After breakfast, we walked down on the beach and found out that we loved the beach as well and made plans to come back and snorkel here later.

Vacations are all about relaxing, right? We did plenty of that. We found a Redbox right by our hotel room and rented lots of movies (the sun goes down in Hawaii at 7:00).

After church on our second Sunday in Maui, we did "The Road to Hana." The East side of the island of Maui is a natural rain forest. There is a town called Hana in that rain forest and the road to get to Hana is a small, windy, 15 mph road that often narrows down to a one lane road. But the scenery is spectacular. There are places to stop along the way to get pictures. Which is what we did on the way there. We tried to do the Twin Falls hike, but found out half way in that access to the falls were closed, so we turned around.

The scenery really was amazing.

And the roads really were... crazy. I think I know where they get the saying "Holy Hanna." Ben, who never gets carsick when he drives, got car sick driving. It was the craziest roads I have ever driven on in my entire life.

But with some spectacular views along the way.

But we finally made it to Hana. This was Hana Bay. And it reminded us a lot of the Oregon Coast... Cold, over cast and rainy. Not our favorite beach in Hawaii. Needless to say, we didn't stay long. We get plenty of beaches like this at home! We did think the black sand beach was kind of cool, though.

We drove another 20 minutes or so to get into the Haleakala National Park. Ben talked me in to doing a 4 mile hike up to the 400 foot Waimoku Falls.

There was lots of beautiful scenery along the way.

Our favorite was the bamboo forest.

I was tired and it started to rain pretty heavily right at the end, but it was worth it at the end. The Falls was beautiful.

And really- we are technically from a rainforest ourselves, so it wasn't that different than what we are used to. (The only bad thing is that after that, we still had to turn around and hike all the way back...)

On Memorial Day, we went snorkeling and swimming on this gorgeous beach on Napili Bay.

The water crashing on the rocks was so pretty.

I brought the Hunger Games books with me and started them on this trip. I finished books one and two and kept teasing Ben that I wanted him to finish book one so we could go see the movie while we were here.

I really didn't think he would do it, but he proved me wrong! We loved reading in the sun in the gardens, listening to the waves of the ocean. Ahhh....

We went and saw the movie the night before we left.

It was also fun to get a letter from the kids, too. Chloe and the twins drew us pictures. It was so cute.

We spent our last night in Lahaina Town. We caught this gorgeous sun set.

But all good things must come to an end. The sun set on our fun in the sand and sun and we headed home.

I came home to 4 beautiful children, so it wasn't that hard to end the trip. (I was actually dying to see them). My in-laws had completely out done themselves. I was totally overwhelmed with all they had done while we were away. I came home to a spot less house- freshly cleaned bathrooms, the entire house vacuumed from top to bottom, my kitchen was sparkling and not a thing was out of place. After they went home, I kept finding thing after thing they had fixed or cleaned or repaired (they had cleaned the entire inside of my fridge, under my fridge, repaired some light switches that were broken, fixed a broken towel rack, sewn Lexi's broken crib tent,) and the list goes on and on. All we expected was our children to be taken care of and even that exceeded our expectations. They spoiled them rotten- after we got home, the kids told us about all the fun things that happened while we were gone. All the trips to the park, the trip to the zoo, all the bike rides, all the treats and games, etc, etc, etc. It was like our kids were on vacation as well. (I know it was no vacation for them.) We really cannot thank them enough. We are truly blessed to have them as parents and are so thankful for their service towards us in watching our kids, which allowed us this wonderfully relaxing vacation.

Aloha, Hawaii. Until we see you again.


Holly said...

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! You make me feel like our five days there was piddly though - giving me added determination to return soon.

And what's this about "scuba diving" nearly every day. I'm guessing you mean snorkeling, right? If not, I had no idea you two were certified.

Tara said...

What an amazing trip! I loved looking at all of the pictures. Makes me want to take a Hawaiian kidless trip. :)

Ben and Carrie said...

Oops, yes I mean snorkeling every day, not scuba diving.

Krista McOmber said...

Looks like heaven! Love all your pictures. My desire to go to Hawaii has now grown even MORE! :) Glad you two had such a good time.

The Blakeslee Family said...

Now I know--we must go to Maui. I loved all your photos. I've only been snorkeling once and didn't love it but I may have to try again after seeing your pics. I'm glad you got to go and had such a wonderful time! You both deserved the vacation. I just wish we could have been the grandparents who stayed with the kids. Maybe Dad will be retired by next time and we can be the baby-sitters.

Jami Little said...

Woo! That looks like so much fun! Thanks for sharing all those pictures so I could pretend I was there too :) Maybe someday we'll go for real! What a blast.

Camille said...

Looks amazing! I'm so glad you were able to sneak away!

Amanda said...

Your vacation looks amazing. And 12 days away from your kids must have been amazing. It makes me want to get more serious about planning my next vacation. I never knew you were such a wimp in regards to water and motion you are correct, scuba diving does not sound like something you should do. Can't wait to see my souvenir!

The Moore Family said...

What a vacation!! Looked like so much fun, that you totally deserved!! What awesome in-laws you have! Loved all the pictures. I've always wanted to be in water that is that clear!! And I almost licked my screen for the shaved ice and pancakes! Hawaii better be our next vacation! You guys are pros... we should go together! :) And I must ask, did you love the Hunger Games???? Take Care!!

TheFlammfam said...

Sounds like you guys had an awesome trip! It definitely is good for the marriage to do kidless trips :) If Daniel and I ever make it to Hawaii, we'll have to get some recommendations of places to go.