Our timeshare, the Marriott Ocean Club is located here on Kaanapali Beach, just north of the town of Lahaina on the island of Maui. Few people know this was Hawaii’s first master planned resort. Back in 1962, the Royal Lahaina Resort opened. I was a sophomore in high school.
Many resorts and high rises followed, creating what is now a popular, luxurious, and rather crowded area of west Maui. Over the years, we have stayed at several. By 2003, Kaanapali Beach was rated the #1 beach in America. It is now rather difficult to believe this was a deserted beach at one time.
For one, a horse racing track covered much of the resort area, attracting both Hawaiian royalty and island business people. And sugar cane dominated the crops, now replaced by housing and coffee plantations. And the Black Rock, called Puu Kekaa, is where the King of Maui practiced leaping into the sea, a sport known to locals as lele kawa.
Today, the Black Rock forms a barrier between the two beaches, Kaanapali to the south, and Kahekili or “airport beach” to the north. Kahekili is a popular snorkeling spot, and also boasts plenty of public parking. And starting around mid day Friday, Aloha Friday, for those of you on the mainland, locals begin their ritual of weekend barbecues, children’s birthday parties, and Friday night relaxation.
Serious surfers head elsewhere, but beginners find Kaanapali a great place to learn and practice. The largest swells run from 6 to 8 feet, winter or summer. And we do see a few fishermen in the area as well.
On a clear day, sounds like a song. But during winter months, whales can easily be seen from shore. Though we have taken the ferry to Lanai, and gone on whale watching tours, we enjoy spotting whales from our balcony. And maybe with a cold beer or glass of champagne in our hands.
One nice, simple, and free activity each morning is to take the Beach Walk from our resort up to the old Royal Lahaina Resort. It seems everyone else is doing the same thing, while it is cool, and quiet on the beach.
My brother and his wife have joined us here, in an ocean view, two bedroom condo. My cousins from California are also here. We plan a big bbq one evening with them. Other than the snow on Haleakala crater, some road closures, and lots of cold beer, we are suffering through days of 75 to 80 degrees with intermittent rain.
Tomorrow, the vacation begins for all of us. Just don’t tell them we were already here, first in Honolulu, then Kauai to visit dear friends!!! @loha!!!!!
Added bonus: who cares about the NBA or NCAA basketball. And best of all, this is a BIG blue state!!! No evangaculates telling us what to do or think.
As much as we love it here, we might try the new Marriott condo at Kauai Lagoons in two years!!!
I did not know this:
The world’s most active volcano:
Tropical rain does not stop us from doing most leisure activities, other than cycling, and golf. Wait! I cycle and golf! So, what else can we do when it rains here?
The obvious choice is to swim, either in the ocean or the pool. But thunderstorms generally force people off of the beach. I have been caught in heavy rainstorms here in the past, both on the golf course, and in the pool. Generally, just waiting for about ten to twenty minutes until the storm passes, works just fine.
Shopping is a good alternative. It can get expensive here in Maui, but what the heck, we are on vacation! A little shopping excursion to Paia or Makawao is good rainy day therapy. And maybe grab a light lunch.
So is going to a spa. But I am really not a spa guy. My sis-in-law Laura would go in a heart beat.
And I am not really a museum guy, but I have never been to the Alexander and Baldwin Sugar Museum. The building has been there since 1902! Theater is a reasonable alternative, but I have seen all of the Polynesian themed theater I care to see in this lifetime.
The Kula Lavender Farm in Upcountry is also a good diversion. And Maui has a winery up there too! So is Surfing Goat Dairy.
Too bad I can’t find a two or four hour work assignment, or a volunteer gig. I could wait tables for the lunch hour? Or I can just go with it, and read, watch TV, or send emails.
Driving in a heavy rainstorm here can be treacherous. The Road to Hana contains many stories of drivers who overestimated their ability to drive in a tropical rainstorm. Likewise the road to the top of the Haleakala crater at 10,023 feet. Too many treacherous switchbacks, and too many tourists!
Forget the helicopter tour, as I would not do that in good weather. Too many crashes!
And despite being able to handle a sightseeing boat, or even the ride to Lanai, the ocean is not a good place to be in a storm. It is a little too unpredictable for me. So, whale watching will have to wait until the seas are calm. Do you remember, “It was an angry sea, my friends?” It was a famous line from Seinfeld, where George is able to save the life of a whale by pulling out a golf ball from its blow hole.
When in doubt, always remember Maui has lots of watering holes. Remember back in the days when Primo beer was a big deal? Now, this island, like elsewhere, is a microbrew paradise.
See you on the mainland!
In reality, Kauai is probably just about everyone’s happy place, if you have been there. Many people I know do not venture much beyond the madness of Waki Waki (Waikiki Beach in Honolulu), and the increasingly mad and bustling island of Maui.
But Kauai has been special for us, since our first visit together, over twenty years ago. Why? We met our now dear friends, Rey and Corinne during a round of golf at Princeville, on the north side of this small island paradise. While I do not remember much about that round of golf, save for a birdie here and there, we made lifelong friends.
Quite unusual in that both are natives of the island, as are their parents and family. Over the years, we have enjoyed many meals, rounds of golf, social activities, and family outings. But there is one thing that stands out about Rey and Corinne after all these years. They are just fantastic people!
Another unique part of Kauai is that everyone on the island knows everyone else. And of course, we can hardly go anywhere without running into one of their friends or family. I even ran into a fellow at the Padres-Giants game, who brought his Little League team to San Diego. Of course, he knew Rey!
So, along with the great scenery and peaceful vibe of the island, our friends make the island feel like home. I think that is the best way to describe the feeling we have when we visit. And it is our happy place!!!! Thank you, Rey and Corinne!