We just returned from Maui. This was our 7th trip since 2007.
Also, after 2 years I still love my Olympus TG-830 underwater camera.
Note: All pictures below are low res for obvious reasons.
A few days after we arrived the local weather guy said they were about to have some “unusual weather”. Yep, it was unusual all right. For most of our trip we received mostly cloudy, partly rainy and somewhat windy weather. We tried to evade the unusual weather as best we could. As if written in a script the day after we left typical Maui weather returned; mid 80’s, sunny, gentle breeze… How did the weather know when we were leaving?
Before the weather turned “unusual” we went to a northern beach we’ve always wanted to visit, Napili Bay. This beach is just south of Kapalua Bay, which is another one of our favorites.
Napili Bay is a beautiful, wide, relaxed beach. The light beige sand beach gently slopes into the water. There can be a moderate amount of shade in a few spots. The northern side of the bay offered better snorkeling than the center or southern end. The water was mostly clear and calm when we visited. I saw a decent variety of fish; schools of unicorn fish, a few Triggerfish, Filefish, a one eyed porcupine fish (for some reason his right eye was missing) and a few other fish.
The southern side of the beach was more accommodating for boogie boarding.
There are no public restrooms, but there is a shower. There is a restaurant at the northern end in case you’d like to get lunch or a drink. Here is some additional info about Napili Bay.
Here’s a short video I took while snorkeling in Napili Bay.
Day trip to Lanai
Early in our trip we decided to take a day trip to Lanai and go snorkeling. We booked our trip through Pacific Whale Foundation in Lahaina.
Overall, it was a good trip. It took about 45 mins to reach our snorkeling spot in Manele Bay. On the way the crew was helpful and very knowledgeable about fish, dolphins, whales, etc.
The food on the boat was good. They offered a continental breakfast. For lunch, they had grilled chicken, hotdogs, etc. with a side dish, drinks and cookies.
Just before we reached the bay we saw a school of ~40 dolphins near shore “resting” and gently swimming around. You’ll be disappointed if you expect them to jump out of the water and do tricks like the dolphins at SeaWorld.
The only down-side to taking this trip was the distance between where our boat moored in Manele Bay and where the fish were. When I first jumped into the water with my snorkel gear and peered through my mask the ocean floor was barely visible because it was so deep. I’m not afraid of the open ocean just lazily wondered how far I had to swim to find coral and typical reef fish. It was about a 5 min swim for me. I believe there were 2 other boats that moored closer to the reef, although they were smaller boats and may have been tossed around on their trip to/from Lahaina.
During the remainder of our trip we visited our favorite beaches and grumbled at the unusual weather.
The beach in front of the Makena Beach & Golf Resort was still a great snorkeling spot. It has a fair amount of public parking, restrooms and a shower. The snorkeling is best at the southern end of the beach. Of all of the Maui beaches I’ve snorkeled this one has the most variety of fish although the visibility can be variable. The resort has a nice website with great pictures of the beach.
Changs in Makena: I wrote about Changs in my prior blog post. On this trip the only new thing I discovered at Changs were the tide pools. There were so many amazing baby fish that inhabit a fish tank sized pool of water. The photo’s below look like a fish tank!
Ulua & Mokapu Beaches in Wailea: Both times we visited the water was rough and murky because of the weather. They have ample parking but it fills up by 9 am. The have a public restroom and a shower.
Kamaole 3 in Kihei: A nice beach with ample waves for boogie boarding. They have a public restroom and a shower.
We also visited Lahaina and walked through a number of stores and art galleries. We visited the Iao Needle again.
All of the beaches above where we went snorkeling I was surprised to see a fair amount of bleached coral. As I mentioned above we’ve been visiting Maui since 2007 and have snorkeled the same places over the years, but this is the first time I’ve seen so much bleached coral.
“Warmer water temperatures can result in coral bleaching. When water is too warm, corals will expel the algae (zooxanthellae) living in their tissues causing the coral to turn completely white. This is called coral bleaching. When a coral bleaches, it is not dead. Corals can survive a bleaching event, but they are under more stress and are subject to mortality.”
When it was time to fly home we wept openly since we knew the weather forecast for the next few days would be substantially better than the weather we received. Oh well, just another reason to return to Hawaii again in the future.
Aloha Bra [:]-)