Maui: Twentieth anniversary features non-stop action
By Julie Bennett

What a surprise! What I thought would be our exclusive twentieth wedding anniversary trip to Maui evolved into a family excursion during the school February break. Accepting this fact, I embarked upon planning a trip with my two active teen boys, David and John, and active husband, Jeff. That meant 8 days of activities which didn’t include a luau, sightseeing or just sitting on the beach!

I began planning in June, 2004 to use airline miles and reserved our car through Avis. We had to been to Wailea (South Maui) before and found that we enjoyed spending a lot of time in Kihei . On the Internet, I found our two bedroom unit at the Kihei Surfside Condominiums . It is a six-story complex with a beautiful lawn and lava-flow ocean front access. Keawakapu Beach was a 3-minute walk in front of the neighboring complex, Mana Kai.

DAY ONE-Getting acclimated

We spent our first day in Kihei getting oriented, shopping and renting snorkel gear. We rented from Maui Dive Shop and got the deluxe package for the week. This included a snorkel trip out of Maalea Harbor and wet suit tops (which are essential for February snorkeling.) The Pu’ulani Shopping Center has many businesses including groceries, photo developing, gift stores, fast food, an urgent care clinic and video rental. Our family enjoyed watching movies together at night to wind down after a full day of activities.

DAY TWO-Wandering humpbacks

Sunday, we attended church in Makena at the Keawalii Church . The service was in Hawaiian and English and the people were very welcoming. We then packed lunch and went on the Maui Dive Shop trip to Coral Gardens . On the boat, we got our first view of wintering Humpback whales. What a sight! Everyone eye’s were glued to the ocean to catch glimpses of moms, babies and escort whales. Snorkeling never ceases to amaze us. The fish are so beautiful against the coral.

After our day trip, we ate dinner at Cheeseburger in Paradise in Lahaina . It was a great place for teens complete with live music.

DAY THREE- Shave ice

On Monday we went snorkeling in the Ahihi Reserve (La Perousse Bay) . On the way back, we stopped for Auntie Terry’s Hawaiian Shave Ice – yum! While hiking is limited on Maui, Jeff found one (using the book Maui Revealed ) in the Waihi’i Valley which was part of an agricultural property. It was a pleasant hike through tropical forests and river crossings on hanging bridges.

DAY FOUR – Surf’s up

Tuesday the ‘boys’ learned to surf from Maui Surfriders . They received a 2-hour group lesson at Kamala Park in Kihei. We had lunch at Alexander’s (voted one of the best fish and chip places by Coastal Living Magazine). Jeff and the boys took the boards out again after lunch to practice. That night, minus the teens, Jeff and I enjoyed a romantic dinner at the Five Palms Restaurant (at the Mana Kai Resort).

DAY FIVE-Volcano hiking

Wednesday we drove up to the top of Haleakala , one of Maui’s must-see dormant volcanoes. It was quite an experience to start at sea level and 1.5 hours later be at 10,200 feet. We went hiking on the Sliding Sands trail down into the volcanic crater. It’s a beautiful landscape which was quite a contrast to palm trees on the beach. A stop at the visitor center at the summit informed us that we were on the most geographically isolated place on earth! We got a view of the Big Island and lots of cloud formations.

Later that evening, we enjoyed a great Thai dinner at Thailand Cuisine in Kihei.

DAY SIX- Kayaking

Waking at 6:45 a.m. Thursday was an early morning start for our teenagers, but it was worth it. We were set out for an ocean kayak trip with South Pacific Kayaks & Outfitters . Taking the 4.5 hour South Shore Explorer paddle, we were fortunate enough to see whales once again. They are protected so boats aren’t allowed to approach them. They, however, can come as close as they want to us (Jeff saw the blow hole on one!).

We secured one snorkel dive at a point only accessible by boat, and our second dive took place from the shore. We beached the kayaks, snorkeled and consumed our hearty lunch on the beach. The wind picked up so we experienced an adventurous paddle back. At dinnertime, we took advantage of our complex’s BBQ area, and Jeff was able to meet some of the Surfside ‘regulars’.

DAY SEVEN- Kaanapali rainbows

By this time, after kayaking, hiking, and snorkeling, we still had energy to spare. On Friday, we went to Lahaina for some more surfing. We also toured the Kaanapali area where we experienced rain along with West Maui’s beautiful rainbows. We went snorkeling at Black Rock in front of the Sheraton. Then we were off to Lahaina again and dinner at the Hard Rock Café . This is another good teen place, especially if they’re into guitars and music.

DAY EIGHT- Chillin’ out at last

Our last day was spent simply relaxing. Well, almost. We did snorkel in front of our condo among the lava flows and then hung out on Keawakapu Beach. Our flight left at midnight so we took in one last fantastic Maui sunset. Though glad to be home, we are, indeed, looking forward to our next action-packed visit.


NOTEWORTHY WEBSITES: - rental units - dive shop info - surfing info - kayaking company and related info - for good, overall details on the island

Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook by Andrew Dougherty- available at Bay Area bookstores or from .

Julie Bennett lives in Sunnyvale. Her family has been to Hawaii three times and love the laid back atmosphere. This is her first article for BAFT.

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