We just returned from Maui. This was our 8th trip to Maui since 2007. It’s a beautiful island that has a lot to offer.
We’ve seen the entire island with the exception of the most southern road, the Piilani Highway 31 and 360, past the Pokowai Sea Arch to the “Seven Sacred” Pools at Ohe’o Gulch. Here’s a map. I emphasize “seven sacred” since there aren’t seven pools and it’s not really sacred. The Maui Revealed book also describes the history behind this area.
Overall, the weather was nice, partly cloudy and warm in the mid/high 80’s. Although, we’ve had better weather on other trips to Maui.
I was great to see that the bleached coral that I wrote about in our Maui trip last year in November was gone. The water was noticeably colder this year. The algae returned and the coral looked healthy. I even saw purple coral which I don’t see very often.
I took over 1,200 fish pictures. Yep, over one thousand two hundred fish pictures… I still really like my Olympus Stylus TG-830. I bought this camera 3 years ago and it still works great.
Since fish don’t pose for photos I especially like the “burst mode” for taking fish pictures. I usually set it to take 2 photos every second, dive to the fish I want to photograph, hold the button down and swim towards the fish. At home I tend to delete about 1/3 of the photos taken in this manner but I also get great pictures since you don’t know which way the fish is going to swim, what the sun will do, how the sun will reflect off the surrounding coral and the fish, etc.
Since we revisited the same locations below that I blogged about them in the past, I’ll summarize where we visited on this trip from north to south.
We tried to visit the Olivine Pools again on the north eastern side of the island but on the day we went it was rainy with harsh gusts of wind. The farthest we made it was to the Nakalele blowhole.
The Olivine Pools are one of Hawaii’s most dangerous spots. I believe people tend to get carried away with the beauty of this location, get too close to the ocean and get pulled in by a big wave.
Below is picture of the road around the northern end of Maui. It was a smooth road most of the way and reminds me of the road to Hana (tight, narrow road, lots of curves, 1-lane bridges, etc.)
We spent a few days in Ka’anapali. It’s a nice area with a beach walk/boardwalk that spans several miles. You can walk to the Whalers Village shopping center and other restaurants.
This is still my favorite snorkeling spot on the entire island. Basically, while snorkeling at this spot I can see almost every type of fish in one of my fish books. There are all kinds of wrasses, surgeon fish (Yellow Tang, etc), Angelfish, Butterfly fish, Triggerfish, etc. Just amazing!
The beach also has plenty of parking and restrooms.
Below are a few photo’s I took while snorkeling at this beach.
The fish below is a baby Triggerfish or Humuhumu Lei. The bright yellow band just behind his eye looks like a lei. He was about 3-4 inches long and will grow to be ~10 inches long.
Below is a baby Yellow Tang, about 3 inches long. To the left is a baby Lavender Tang.
There is a fish in the photo below, it’s a Devil Scorpionfish. This fish doesn’t have a swim bladder and sinks when not moving. They rest on the bottom and sit camouflaged waiting for smaller fish to swim by, then they lurch forward, open their huge jaws and swallow their prey whole!
The snorkeling here was good as always. It’s great for first time snorkelers since you can see a variety of fish within ~50 yards from the shore. There are also alot of other snorkelers around. I tend to snorkel around the point into the U-shaped area and see many different types of fish and the occasional turtle.
Below is a photo taken when snorkeling at Black Rock.
We ate dinner in Lahaina one night. Afterwards, we walked through the stores and art galleries. The town hasn’t changed much over the years and retains its charm.
Kamaole Beaches in Kihea
Kamaole 3 and related beaches to the north are great to visit. You can snorkel in a few spots. Kam 3 offers waves big enough to boogie board. Kam 3 also has showers and restrooms.
There is a nice beach walk that connects the 3 beaches. It took me about an hour to walk from Kam 3 to the trail end on Kam 1. The photo at the top of this blog is where the trail ends on Kam 1.
Ulua and Mokapu Beaches in Wailea
Snorkeling around the point between these 2 beaches is fairly good, although it can be cloudy on some days. Further south on Ulua beach the waves were big enough to boogie board, so we did!
This location is also popular for divers.
There seeems to be enough parking spots, although they usually fill-up by 10am. This location also offers showers and restrooms.
There were a number of fish at this beach so I included the most unique photo’s that I took.
Changs Beach in Makena
Parking is south of the metallic gold “Makena Surf” sign. The parking lot has about 8 stalls. Since it’s a small, secluded beach there are no showers or restrooms.
Snorkeling north around the point you’ll see turtles. For example, in 45 mins I saw 4 turtles. The picture below shows a small turtle. He seems close to me but that was his choice. I was calmly floating around with no one around me looking at fish then to my surprise I see this little guy swim up next to me to grab some air. I provided some distance but also took his photo. He was kinda funny, he just floated at the top and looked around, no stress, just taking it easy like… a turtle.
I’ve noticed over the years that some Unicornfish tend to be curious and will swim right up to your camera or goggles.
Maluaka Beach in Makena
This beach is in front of what use to be the Makena Beach & Golf Resort. When we visited this time the resort was completely closed with a fence around it.
Snorkeling a little south just around the point is usually very good. I see several different types of fish and a few turtles. Periodically, tour boats will anchor to let folks onboard snorkel.
There is adequate parking in 2 lots, showers and restrooms.
There were a number of fish at this beach. I included one of the fish that I don’t see too often – the Porcupine fish.
La Perouse Bay
One evening we took Makena Road south until it ended near the Makena Stables.
I’ve seen people swim and surf at this location, however it seems a little rough. I haven’t gone in.
Instead of diving into the water we chose to go for a short hike along the trail at sunset. It’s a rugged trail so you may want to use gym shoes vs. open toed flip-flops.
Below are 2 images off to the side of this trail.
Below is a photo of sunset over Kaho’olawe taken from La Perouse Bay. The perfect ending to our trip.