Monday, October 10, 2011

The Woods go to Maui

Our little family spent the first week of October enjoying a fabulous vacation on the island of Maui.  As always, we booked our tickets with airline miles several months in advance and then began the long count down and endless anticipation for our trip.  My good friend Amy, that I have known since childhood, and her family were planning to vacation around the same time and I managed to convince her to come with us.  

We left very early Sunday morning and after waiting through a two hour delay at the airport, we were on our way!  This was Luke's first flight and he was the most pleasant little traveler ever.  

By the time we checked in at the hotel it was late afternoon, so we met up with Amy & Paul and just headed to the pool for a bit, then grabbed a quick dinner at Maui Tacos that night.  We got a phenomenal deal at the Fairmont Kea Lani in Wailea, and felt just a little bit spoiled enjoying the five star amenities all week.  

Monday morning we headed out to the north west point of the island to see the Nakalele Blow Hole.  This was one of my favorite things that we saw last time we visited Maui in 2007.  However, just prior to leaving on our trip this year there were two separate instances where people were sucked into the hole and killed!  So we didn't get quite as close this time, but it was still exciting to see the big sprays (though they are not that big in this photo) of ocean bursting up through the ground.

My other favorite thing on this side of the island is Napili Beach.  It is a beautiful little crescent beach, protected on the north side which keeps the water very calm.  We spent the afternoon here just relaxing and playing in the sand and the water.  It was an ideal way to start the week.

Isaac found a big mound of sand where he dug two ramps: one for him, and one was a slide for his trucks.  He would set his truck rolling and then race it to the bottom.

On Tuesday morning we headed down to Polo beach which fronted our resort.  It was a row of beach chairs and blue umbrellas shading our fellow hotel guests.  The sun was super hot that day and the waves were fairly big.  We had a spot a little further back on the beach but it was funny to watch as rogue waves kept splashing up on the sand and carrying away flip flops and sunscreen bottles of unsuspecting beach goers.

We headed back up to the pool around lunch time and Charlie grabbed us some food from the deli at the hotel.  We spent the rest of the day lounging on the grass and cooling off in the pool.

Amy & I exchanged lots of e-mails in the months and weeks leading up to our trip, but we didn't make any set plans until we actually arrived in Maui.  On Wednesday we decided to drive the Road to Hana.  As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said "Life is a journey, not a destination."  Hana is a very tiny town with nothing much worth seeing, so driving the road to Hana is really all about the journey with numerous waterfalls, beaches, and scenic lookouts all along the way. 

Paul, Amy & Clara were also driving that day and we met up with them a few times along the way.  We first spotted them on the side of the road near Ching's Pond - and I'm glad we did, otherwise we would have kept driving and missed this picturesque little spot.  The road bridges right over the waterfall, and there was a local girl doing dives off of the bridge into the little pool below.

Next stop was Waikani falls.  There was a trail you could take to actually get to the falls, but it looked a little too treacherous to attempt with our two little guys.  It was still gorgeous from the road.

I think the Black Sand Beach at Wai'anapanapa Park is one of the most stunning sights on the whole island.  I love the contrast of the bright green vegetation with the black lava rock and the clear blue ocean.

We ate lunch in the park there, and then headed down to the beach.  One thing about the Wood boys is that they cannot resist the ocean.  Charlie will always go for a swim.  Turns out he was the only one swimming at this beach because we missed the signs warning of the man-of-war.

When we visited this beach on our last trip we never even noticed the sea cave on the edge of the beach. But Isaac discovered it right away and it turned out to be his favorite thing of the entire trip!  He seriously could not get enough of this cave, and kept running back in to "feed" the waves (which meant tossing the smooth black rocks from the cave floor into the little waves that were splashing in).

Our next stop was the Red Ti Botanical Garden Maze.  Here's the story:  As our airplane was approaching Maui, Isaac noticed some farmland on the island with rows of crops that he thought looked like a maze.  He is fascinated by mazes lately.  Then as we were driving from the airport to Wailea we started passing all of the sugar cane fields and Isaac became very insistent that he wanted to go in what he was sure was the "maze!"  Well we thought maybe since it was around Halloween time there might be a maze somewhere on the island.  Turns out there is one, you just have to drive all the way to Hana to get to it.  Actually, the attraction is a lava cave tour (which looked pretty cool), and then they just happen to have this Red Ti maze on the property too.  Anyway, the owners were very nice to let Isaac into their maze even though we were not doing the cave tour.

Once you reach Hana you can either turn back the way you came, or you can take the less traveled back road that stretches along the deserted south east side of the island.  We chose to take the back road this time and it made for quite the drive.  The dry, windblown scenery was such a stark contrast to the lush greenery that we passed on the way to Hana.  It was really quite pretty but the drive seemed to take FOREVER.  Isaac was carsick and the rest of us were just sick of the car.  When we finally reached Kahului again we stopped for a much needed break at Ululani's Shave Ice.

On Thursday we got back to relaxing on the beach.  We headed to Big Beach with Amy, Paul & baby Clara.  It was overcast with a bit of a breeze, and gigantic waves!  Once again, Charlie braved the ocean and reportedly enjoyed body surfing in those monster waves.  Luke napped in his little beach cabana (we borrowed this pop-up baby tent from my sister before we left and it really was the perfect little shelter for keeping Luke out of the sun).  Amy had fun playing with Isaac and running in and out of the "monster waves."  The pictures might not do them justice because the sand dropped down near the water, but I'm sure the waves were at least 10 feet.

We picked up some lunch from the Whaler's store and enjoyed eating out on the balcony of our suite.

After lunch we headed back to the pool for the afternoon.  Isaac liked going back and forth between the baby pool, and floating in the big pool with his blow-up fish.  Charlie & I took turns swimming with him and going down the water slide.

The dining options are somewhat limited in Wailea, especially since we were avoiding the upscale restaurants at the resorts.  One of the better meals we had all week was at Matteo's Pizzeria.  Charlie had a thin crust pizza with grilled vegetables and I had a spinach salad.

Friday we switched it up and did the pool in the morning.  Luke is not much of a water baby.  He typically screams his head off whenever I bathe him.  I figured he would not be a huge fan of the swimming pool either, but I decided I'd try it anyway.  He didn't scream, but he didn't really seem at ease either.

He was much happier on the warm dry towels.

Isaac, on the other hand, can not get enough of the water.  And I must admit the water slide was pretty fun!

That afternoon we went to Palauea Beach, which was one we hadn't been to before.  It was pretty  empty except for some locals, and we had a perfect afternoon playing in the water and lounging on the sand.

Luke has not been the greatest napper.  He usually only sleeps for about 30 minutes at a time, but while we were in Hawaii he was a champion napper!  It must have been the combination of the warm sun and the soothing sounds of the ocean, because he took several hours worth of peaceful naps in his little tent that week.

Isaac was treated to full body massages several times a day.  Charlie & I would take turns rubbing him down with sunscreen.  The only problem was once he'd been playing out at the beach he'd be covered in sand, and rubbing sunscreen on top of that was no fun.  Washing it off wasn't easy either!

That night we met up with Amy & Paul for dinner and tried out the Monkeypod Kitchen.  I had a fresh fish sandwich - nothing special - but I liked the ambience of the place and that they sourced all of their ingredients from local farms.  And we had a fun time chatting with our friends over dinner.

Saturday was another pool day in the morning, and we spent some time with Amy & Paul before we split up for the afternoon.

Here they are with their baby Clara who is just a few weeks older than Luke.  

Isaac is pulling this silly face in at least half of the pictures from our vacation.

We spent Saturday afternoon at Makena Beach.  It was sad to see our vacation coming to an end, but we made the most of our last beach day.  I have a little less time to spend with Isaac since Luke was born, but on our vacation it was nice to have some one on one time with him again.  We had fun digging in the sand, searching for crabs, and playing in the waves (his favorite was to "feed" them by throwing in handfuls of wet sand and calling out different kinds of food).

I was so surprised to see him draw this little monster in the sand.  It's one of his first works of art that is something more than a scribble.  He told me it was a monster with a lot of ears.

That night we had dinner at a Thai place in Kihei and stopped to share a giant shave ice afterwards.  This picture makes me laugh because Isaac just couldn't resist pulling that silly face again - even if it is only with one hand!

The next morning we finally managed to get a picture together with Paul, Amy & Clara.  It was so fun to have friends to vacation with, and I'm not sure why we didn't take more pictures together during the week.  They had a morning flight, so they headed to the airport after this.

We just happened to see one of the groundsmen setting up to feed the koi fish and Isaac got a turn to help.

After we got all packed up, we spent a few more hours at the pool.  The hotel gave us a hospitality suite so we could clean up later that afternoon before heading to the airport.  Actually, our flight wasn't until around 11:00 that night so we had lots of time to kill.  We drove up to Lahaina, where we walked around the shops, got some shave ice, and stopped to see this enormous Banyan Tree.  

The red eye flight home wasn't too bad.  Isaac slept for most of it, and Luke slept the entire time without making even so much as a peep.  We had such a wonderful vacation and it was really fun to go with friends.  We were sad to go home, but hopefully we'll be back to the islands again sometime next year! 


Amy said...

So seriously, this was the most fun trip and I wish I could comment on every single photo on this post. But basically, Luke is the cutest most photogenic little guy ever! I love him! And the girl who was diving at Ching's pond must have gotten there after us because we didn't see her - bummer! I really love the photo toward the end of the post that is a close-up of you and Isaac and I think that he looks a lot like you in it. And you seriously look so great in these photos and I am only eating salads from now on because I look like a tub-a-lard. :) jk. We had so much fun with you guys!

Erin said...

Ahhh! Brings back memories and makes me want to go back! I can't believe the blow hole ate two people! We were just there in January standing RIGHT next to it! That is so scary and tragic! Looks like the most perfect family vacation and your Isaac is so smart! What a cute family you have.