Maui Wowie Day 10: Maui Ocean Center

 

Before I go into our 10th day on my favorite spot on earth, I want to share some pics I forgot to add to last Friday’s as I just uploaded them off my DSLR. After spending the day snorkeling Black Rock & having our tattoo/piercing consult, we meandered down front street towards Bubba Gumps for dinner. These pictures were taken at the beginning of our stroll, at the giant Banyan tree that takes up an entire block on Front Street in Lahaina & looks like a dozen or so trees but is only one.

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Does this lock mean someone’s trying to turn this tree into the bridge in Europe where people leave locks and throw the keys in the river? Or was someone just drunk and wandering down the street and though, meh, why not?

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Those damn hypnotizing turbines, obtuse angles for Ry’s math project of taking pictures of different angles during spring break.Image

 

On Sunday, it was pretty windy in the morning, too windy to go to the beach for us, so in the morning the kids got the condo in order while Chad & I went to Foodland to pick up a few more things. One thing we needed was toilet paper, and when we went to go down that aisle, we noticed there were paramedics over a man collapsed in the aisle, right in front of the toilet paper. It seemed pretty serious and of course I walked slowly past the aisle to try to figure out what was going on and if he was ok, but it didn’t seem overly serious, & I’m not a nurse anyway, just a nosy grocery shopper. We continued on and got almost everything, then went back to see if the TP aisle was clear, it wasn’t. Hmm maybe this was serious. Wandered around and found more things to fill our cart that we didn’t need, and looked down the frozen food aisle and saw a paramedic doing some grocery shopping. Hmmm, wonder if this means he was off duty now? Yep, the aisle was clear.  To us mainlanders, how strange is that? To the people of Maui, you save a life, then pick up some ice cream for the kids. For us, we bought 2 more tubs of Rosealini’s, coconut and chocolate macadamia nut. And we got our toilet paper and $100 later we were out of there.

We got the groceries put away and headed to the Maui Ocean Center. WOW. Something every family should talk time out to do. It is relatively small, especially compared to the Vancouver Aquarium, which you could spend an entire day at, this one you would need 2 hours max. However, the fish & sea life you see is incredible, not something we would ever see here at home, so it was worth it for us, even at about $100 for all 4 of us to go in.

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We spent the extra $$ and got these handheld devices to be used as a tour guide, however I found it to be a waste of money & we ended up reading all of the signs more than using the audio devices.

When we first walked in we were greeted by this big tank that had a ton of yellow tang’s in them. We used to have a saltwater tank for years and the yellow tangs were one of our favorite fish. We had almost all of the fish that were in Finding Nemo and this was in the late 90’s. Once we get into our new house we want to get a reef tank set up. It was so nice to look at, & now that I have discovered a love for snorkeling it would be nice to have some fishy friends at home.

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Starfish are another of my favorite sea creatures. Starfish are a running theme in our house for a variety of reasons.Image

Inside there are tons of colorful, pretty, weird, and strange looking and downright ugly fish. I wonder, when fish take selfies do they try to make people lips?

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Chad & the kids looking through one of the many windows to the giant reef tank. I see a fish that probably has a very happy wife. Can you find him?Image

There he is!ImageImageImageImageImageImage

There were even sea horses, this picture was taken through a microscope,this guy looks a leetle bit drunk.Image

This guy just finished a couple of growlers of Black Rock Ale & stumbled back to his tank. Silly Patrick.ImageImage

Shark Bait Ooh Ah Ah!Image

These fish are goby’s. We used to have one in our tank and that’s where my old email address and username on the TA forums comes from. They are the long, skinny ones on the left, and there’s one on the right.Image

These things were strange. They are called Garden Eels and they just stood there, like a worm standing up and blowing in the wind. This looks like glass but it’s a two way mirror, as in many of the tanks. This ensures the sea life will behave normally, if they knew they were being watched these guys would just bury themselves in the sand. They aren’t into voyeurism.Image

This is officially the ugiest, laziest fish I have EVER met in my life. No wonder he was all alone.ImageImageImage

I love any opportunity to check out turtles, so the Turtle Lagoon was nice, although there were’t many turtles in it, which is a good thing.Image

This turtle is a TMNT with his laser vision. He looks like a Raphael. They’ve finally been caught on film. I’m going to be rich!Image

There are even baby turtles. Awwwww.Image

It is a federal offense to even TOUCH a sea turtle in the United States. Does this mean we can do a citizens arrest to those touching the turtles at Black Rock (or other areas) when they know they shouldn’t? Well, I’m not a US citizen so I’m not sure how that would work. I could be a citizen for the turtles, though. Yeah, thats it.Image

I’ve had a thing for turtles since I was a teenager. I had a few as pets, and just always felt like I was kindred spirits with turtles. Maybe this is why we’ve bonded so well…Image

I don’t know who the hell these two are looking at, because I was the only one there. All I can say is, like father, like son. And My name’s Forrest, Forrest Gump.ImageImageImageImage

SQUISHIES! We were mesmerized for a few minutes here.Image

They have the coolest tunnel through a shark tank. I can’t believe I didn’t get a picture of the tunnel from a perspective standpoint. I did get my kids in the tunnel, though.Image

Then they got distracted by a stingray with a giant vagina.Image

Wait a minute, this one has a giant vagina, too!!!Image

This guy didn’t seem to have a giant vagina, so I assume he’s the male. No wonder he’s got such a big smile with all those big vagina’s swimming around. Image

He could have been smiling because this guy wasn’t eating him. Yes, that is a mother effing tiger shark!!! He was about 6′ long. They keep them as long as they don’t get aggressive, which they don’t if they are well fed. You can even go swim with these guys if you want. Well, *you* can, I’ll just stay on this side of the glass, thank you very much.ImageImage

Here the tiger shark is asking Mr. Dickhead for bedroom advice. Mr. Dickhead’s a lovah not a fightah.ImageWe stayed and watched the shark feeding at 3pm, two scuba divers in the tank doing the feeding. I wonder what their life insurance is like.

We wandered around the little shops there for a bit but didn’t buy anything. Stopped at Ululani’s in North Kihei for some shave ice, Chad and kids went for their usual while I tried the Lahaina, Pineapple, Coconut, & Banana. It was tasty but nothings beat Haleakala yet for me.

When we got home we hung out at the pool for a bit, cooked up some mahi mahi, not nearly as good as anyone has cooked it for us so we’ll stick to just ordering it.

We’re on the red eye Wednesday night so only 3 full days left. Sad this trip is coming to an end but happy to plan the next one for 2015.

Sidenote, as I’m finishing this up at home. At the end of our trip I asked my kids what their favorite parts of the trip were and both brought up the Maui Ocean Center. So even if your kids are older, remember my oldest will be 17 in 2 weeks, I highly suggest an afternoon here. I say afternoon so you can watch the sharks feed and it was surprisingly dead for a Sunday afternoon with not bad weather. It was windy but the sun was still out so lots of people stuck to the beach. I’m glad we wandered and had this experience.

Cor xo

Maui Wowie: Days 7/8/9 And We Chilled Out

The day after the Road to Hana is always a rest day for us. We slept in, ate a late and lazy breakfast, and then Ry & I headed off to get some shopping done. We had family pictures scheduled for sunset and she was still looking for ‘the perfect dress’. We stopped at Starbucks so I could share with her a drink I’ve only been able to get on Maui, the Choco-Coconut Frappuccino. So delicious. Anything with coconut is good in my books. I also grabbed myself a Starbucks travel mug, as is a travel ritual for myself. We then hit up an outlet shop in Kihei where I scored a beautiful windchime & a summer dress for only $5 that I am looking forward to bringing with me to Jamaica this summer 🙂 Nothing for Ry though, so we headed into the Shops at Wailea. Very ritzy, but lucky for us we found her dress there for under $50. Had a great lunch at Cheeseburger Island Style. Ry had the BBQ Bacon burger, which was delicious, as I had a bite of it. And I had the chinese chicken salad. Again, delicious. The prices were reasonable as well.  We only ordered waters, though. Chad and Cars walked Kameole 3 in search of sea glass for our photos while we were gone.

Behold: The DressImage

While I haven’t seen all the pics from our shoot yet, here’s another sneak preview that was put on Facebook by our photographer, Amy J. Short. Image

We came back to the condo and made some Tony Roma’s ribs we picked up at Costco, with some baked potatoes and veggies. I hope they sell the Tony Roma rib pack at the Costco’s I shop at because they were so yummy, Chad grilled them to perfection and the sauce was tangy and sweet, just like at the restaurants.

The next morning, Friday, we woke up early to see clouds hanging out over Kaanapali. Ry and I had appointments at 4pm for a tattoo consult (me) and belly button piercing (her) in Lahaina, so we were planning on spending the day snorkeling Black Rock, then heading into Lahaina for the consult, dinner at Bubba Gumps, and to enjoy Art Night in Lahaina. The art studio’s often have musicians, guests of honor, and free mai tai’s or wine. We had a great time at Art Night last year so had to do it again.

Despite the fact that the clouds didn’t seem to want to disappear, we headed up to Kaanapali. We were greeted by rain on our way, but that didn’t deter us. We parked at the Sheridan, and headed to the beach. We spent about 3 hours there, Cars loved snorkeling and exploring Black Rock, and Ry got some sunshine.

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Cars felt much more confident with his big pink noodle, and as a mom I loved watching him point out different fish to me in excitement. As we were coming into the shore I could hear someone yelling ‘turtle’ so I pulled him in that direction. He didn’t hear the yelling so when THE BIGGEST TURTLE EVER swam by us he was in awe. Seriously, in all of my snorkel adventures I’ve never seen one this huge. He must’ve been 500 years old. I loved sharing this experience with my boy. I took a mental picture I’ll cherish forever. We didn’t stick around long because the poor guy was being mauled. People were telling other people to touch him. We knew not to and tried to spread the word that touching the sea life is bad for them, when it’s a mob mentality people don’t listen to reason. Some did back away, but many cared more about their own needs to touch a turtle than the turtles needs to stay clear of human bacteria. Pictures here are of Cars with his noodle and Chad in the yellow snorkel set beside him.

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Once we were thoroughly flithy and covered in sand, we knew it was time to leave and head into Lahaina. First I insisted we take a quick scooch up to Kapalua to see how the Honolua General Store remodel looked and just in the off chance that they finally started serving the pizza I’ve dreamed about since I had it in 2008, but went bu-bye with the ABC takeover. No my pizza was not there, but I did pick up a couple bottles of wine to bring home and Chad found some shorts he liked.

Into Lahaina we went, tattoo consult went great and I can’t wait to get it on Wednesday. Well, I’m not looking forward to the pain but it will be worth it. We wandered down Front Street and ended up at Bubba Gumps. We don’t have Bubba Gumps where we live and collect the glasses from as many as we can get to. Love their food. 2 rounds of shrimp, 3 rounds of cocktails, and a meal. And of course we also hit Ululani’s again. I went for the Coconut Lovers concoction, but still Haleakala is my fave.

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If only we could have this gorgeous sunset every night.

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We bought a print we both love for our master bedroom, to remind us of our Hawaiian adventures. We will canvas wrap it when we get home and smile every time we see it.

Yesterday, Saturday, was another chill day. Ry has some friends from home staying in the same condo complex, she hung out with them, and I had a nice long nap on the taco couch and so did Chad. It’s a futon that’s not quite a couch or a bed, it’s stuck in some in-between phase. Hung out at the pool for a bit, cooked up some mahi mahi for dinner, then Chad and I headed down to Moose’s after 9pm for some cheap drinks while the kids were chilling on their wifi. Made some new friends, again. I love this town. I love KiHAAAAY.

Maui Wowie Day 5

*Disclaimer, my son said ‘just use my regular nickname in your stories mom, people still won’t be able to google me’. He’s got a good point. Cars is what we actually call him all the time in 3dland. So ignore Wheels, he’s now Cars 🙂 I will go back and edit previous posts eventually.*

Aaah, Tuesday. What will today bring? I slept for 9 uninterrupted hours, which is highly unusual for me, a total light sleeper who’s lucky to get 6 straight hours. We were a leeetle bit crispy from the few hours on the beach yesterday, so we stayed out of the sun for the most part. We thought it would be a good day to do the road to Hana, since we wanted to stay out of direct sunlight, but the weather gods were not smiling upon us, things weren’t looking so pretty over there. So we headed up north to check out the Nakelele blow hole.

These turbines hypnotize me every time we pass them.

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Of course, we played some bitchen’ tunes along the way. And we danced. Image

OK, *I* danced, these two just looked at me like ‘does she ever stop?!?!’ At least they smiled when I pulled out the camera.  The teenager usually NEVER lets me take her picture, so the face that she’s smiling for all these Hawaii pictures and not running away like I’m holding a 50′ cobra is pretty amazeballs.ImageImage

This is part of the road to get to Nakelele Blow Hole. To say I was having an anxiety attack is an understatement. I love the views and the destination, but have to remind myself over and over I’m not going to die. I was highly worried about missing the pullout and continuing on to what I affectionately call ‘The Road of Death’ up around the north side of Maui. Supposedly the best banana bread in the whole world is on that road, and I read something online lately where a family mistakenly took that road, and she’s convinced the only reason it’s the best banana bread in the world is because you feel lucky to be alive.  I believe the exact quote was ‘I have tasted death, and it tastes like banana bread’. From our experience on that road last year, I believe it. Image

Fortunately, we found the pullout just fine. 1/2 mile past mile marker 38. Maui Revealed is a pretty great app for this stuff. So is Gypsy if you want to feel like you have a tour guide with you in the car.

I don’t know Alex Vasquez, he had a short life but I hope it was full of happiness. One more person to send a flower out for. Image

I love the signs in Hawaii…for the most part, it’s not the government. It’s the locals, and they don’t mess around with their wording. YOU CAN BE SUCKED IN AND KILLED!!!  I take a sign like this a lot more seriously than a government one I saw the other day warning about slipping and falling, and the guy falling was doing jazz hands. That’s how *I* fall down but I’m not sure the rest of the world does.ImageImageImage

Looking at the steep climb down and then looking at my flip flops. I offered to stay up top and take pictures. That’s the kind of lady I am. Chad got a shot of the kids and I before they ventured down. Image

Me and my high anxiety warned them over and over about getting too close. So many have died here, sucked right in not realizing the power of the ocean. Last year when we were here, Chad danced around a blow hole over on the road to Hana. We had no idea until we got home how dangerous they were. Lucky bastard, he is. ImageImage

When they turned around, my heartbeat regulated again. We headed down to Honolua to see some surfers in action. The scenery up there is gorg-eous! My favorite, favorite thing in the whole world to see is viewpoints from up high. Funny for someone so afraid of heights. But when I can see for miles, I am a happy woman. This is why we bought our house. We have an amazing view of Mount Baker, which is in WA state, and we are in BC. ‘I like to get high, man’. ImageImage

The ‘flecks of dirt’ behind Chad are surfers waiting to catch their next wave. Image

When we were about to get into the car Cars noticed a ladybug was on him, a sign of luck and prosperity. So we took a quick photo. Then Chad said….’wait a minute, I think that’s a tick!’ Blech! Flicked it off and got the hell out of there. As Canadians the last thing we want to deal with is the US medical system, even if we do have insurance here. Image

We continued on our adventure and headed into Honolua Bay instead of watching it from above. We came here last year to snorkel but were freaked out by the difficult entry, it’s so rocky we actually weren’t even sure we had the right place, so we just enjoyed the walk through the jungle to get there. This is one of the views looking up the coast while driving south.Image

If you were a LOST fan like me, I was waiting for a polar bear to come barreling around the corner anytime. Fortunately that didn’t happen. We love this area. Cars was excited about all the chickens. I didn’t get any decent shots of them, though. They run around here like a bunch of wild hens. HA! There are roosters as well. ImageImageImage

Ry is doing a math project where she has to find as many angles as she can, photograph them, and measure them. Spiderwebs do come in handy for something.  Not much else but math projects!  (Yeah, yeah, I know I know they kill bugs. Still…SPIDERS!)ImageImage

At the end of the trail there is an older gentleman who owns the land. Him and his family live in tents there. There houses were washed away by a tsunami in the 60’s and they were supposed to start rebuilding this January (unsure what they’ve been doing for the last 50 years….) but the waters were too high. Hopefully next time we make it down he has a home. He reminds everyone no sunscreen/etc on when you go in as it’s bad for the coral. If he sees you with alcohol, he just says ‘wrap it up’ so the cops don’t see. His son carves totem poles and was 18. He told Ry to come back in a couple of years. And yes, he got down a coconut for Cars who was excited, this was ‘the best coconut yet!’  I’ve always wanted to snorkel here but haven’t yet, with the rocky entry, and lack of tanning spots for Ry, it will have to be on my Maui bucket list for now.ImageRy possibly meeting her future Hawaiian husband.

Image Cars said this was THE BEST COCONUT EVER, MOM! Much sweeter. Still, it’s not pina coladas, so I just let the water hit my tongue.

After our long day driving and exploring up north, we decided it was time to watch another killer sunset from Kameole 3. Stunning. STUNNING. ImageImage

There was even a turtle there. He came to say hi to me because he knows I’m one of his peeps. #turtleloveImageImageImage

After yet another glorious sunset, we headed to the pool, Cars had a swim and Chad started grilling up the Maui rib eye’s we’d been marinating in worcestershire for 3 days. He’s still trying to master this whole grilling thing, but even with our Chicago style steaks, it was best beef I’ve ever eaten in my life. All grown here, no hormones, they don’t fatten them up to slaughter earlier than normal. This is what a cow is supposed to taste like. At home I’m going to start looking for beef grown this way as the taste difference is incredible. We eat Alberta beef quite often at home and as Chad said ‘Maui beef kicks it’s ass!’ He is correct, never have I had such amazing flavor. And we eat a lot of steak. Image

We called it an early night because the next day we were waking up early to hit up the road to Hana. Wait till I tell you about my awesome day there. I’m still floating.

As I finish writing this post about Tuesday, it’s Thursday morning. This time next week we’ll be on our way home. I am going to try to savor ever last minute here.

Cor xo