Maui Beach Time
Beach-time and Snorkeling on Maui
Monday, February 27
With our craving for a greasy breakfast satiated, we returned to the bike shop to retrieve our luggage. Our attention turned to the next activity for the day - a little bit of nice, warm beach time on the western shores of Maui. Before doing anything beachy, though, we needed to resolve our transport situation. As in, we had none - we had arrived here on bicycles, as you may recall.
I had already reserved a rental car at the Kahului airport for later in the morning, and we now needed to get from the bike shop to the airport. We therefore needed a taxi, and I set about dialling the number of the first taxi company that came up for the Kahului area in a google search.
Weirdly enough, the number that came up for that first hit went to an esthetician (and I tried it twice to be sure). Somewhat frustrated, I quickly dialed another number that was second or third down the list - a 'Maui taxi' - or something like that.
A jovial-sounding fellow answered the phone, and I asked if he would be able to take three people from Haiku to the Airport's car rental lot. "No problem" he said, and gave me a somewhat elaborate explanation about how he was supposed to pick up a client from the hospital who wanted to go home after a surgery. About halfway through the long explanation, I started to recognize the tone and accent - I was talking to none other than Steven Joshua Blue!
The 'Blue Medi-Taxi'
Steve was super-enthused (as Steve almost always is, it seems) that we had connected up again, and said he'd be at the bike shop in Haiku by 10am. We were in for another colorful shot of Hawaiian personality. Even then, we were a bit surprised.
Steve showed up at 10am in his nice clean Honda Pilot, as before. This time, though, the taxi sign was gone and there were red medical crosses stuck on it. Was he perhaps transporting transplant tissue on the side? Steve then got out, all smiles and beaming. He was dressed head-to-toe in a starchily-clean, white doctors outfit - complete with stethoscope and mask. "Doctor Detroit, at your service!". Yes, indeed, a little name plate on his shirt said "Doctor Detroit". A taxi driver dressed up like a doctor. Definitely a first for us.
Steve explained the story behind the outfit, having to do with trying to convince the hospital staff to let his client (the one who cancelled the 10pm pickup) leave the hospital in a taxi after her surgery. He certainly goes all out to try and get the job done. I really like this guy!
Soon we were driving down sunny Maui roads with "Doctor Detroit" at the wheel (the Doctor Detroit bit being a reference to a 1983 Dan Aykroyd movie that he likes). It was like old times!
Steve dropped us off at the Enterprise car rental lot at the airport about twenty minutes later. We once again had a round of hugs and bid him good-bye. I humbly suggest that if you want a good dose of happiness and cheer, you can't go wrong with hiring Steven "Doctor Detroit" Blue for all of your Maui taxiing needs! his website is here: surftaximaui.com
Now with our own set of wheels underneath us, we drove out of the Kahului area, along the main highway leading across the island to the Kihei coastal area. We wanted calm seas and good snorkeling spots, and the western Maui coast near Kihei is perfect for this.
The first thing we had to do was rent some snorkeling gear, and for this I had done a bit of advance research. There is a chain of surf-gear outlets called Boss Frogs (www.bossfrogs.com
) that offers top-notch snorkeling gear at a remarkably low price, and there were three outlets along the Kihei beach section. Perfect for us!
After obtaining our snorkeling gear, we slowly drove down the built-up boulevards along the Kihei coast, and eventually settled on one of the small town beaches - Ulua beach - that was indicated as having good snorkeling.
We weren't precisely sure where the coral was, once we got to the beach, but looking at the locations of snorkelers out in the water was a good bet, and soon we were swimming out to where they were. Sure enough, the ocean floor below changed from a sandy expanse to a fantastic underwater world of weird shapes and beautiful exotic-looking fish. I had never done snorkeling in a tropical location, and it was very neat seeing tropical fish in a natural setting - fish that I'd only ever seen in captivity in a fishtank.
Coral and Fishes below
We took turns snorkeling and laying around at the beach. The only camera we had available for the underwater photography was Jenn's Panasonic DMC-TS1 waterproof camera. As you can see, it did work - but only for a while. Jenn came back early from one of her snorkeling runs saying that the camera was acting funny.
Sure enough, there was some weird data garbage on the screen when you attempted to take a picture, although the playback of already taken pictures was working ok. We immediately turned it off, since it seemed fairly clear that water must somehow be getting past the seals and into the electronics. Therefore, we only have a few underwater shots to show you. Sorry!
After several hours of sunbathing and snorkeling, we packed up and headed back to the car. We had booked a hotel back in the Kahului area, at the Maui Seaside Hotel. After four days of being in the outdoors without a shower, it was time for a scrub-down!
Our evening at the hotel was nice but still fast-paced. We were scheduled on a very early-morning flight from Maui to the Big Island, and we needed to ensure that all of our stuff was properly packed before going to bed.
The Coconut Grill
Also of note for this evening was our dinner: we looked for recommendations for nearby restaurants, and surprisingly, one of the recommended ones was the restaurant in the hotel (it had not really called to us when we had walked past it on check-in). so, we decided to try it - and we were glad we did. The restaurant did not simply serve generic hotel restaurant fare. They actually had several authentic Hawaiian dishes, and our waiter was quite knowledgeable and helpful with regards to explaining the details of each. I tried the 'Big Island Luau', and found it to be a surprising and unexpected mix of asian and (what I presume to be) polynesian influences. The dish came with a steamed mix of pork and sticky rice wrapped in some sort of tropical leaves - a bit like how a tamale is served. Accompanying it was Lomi Lomi Salmon - a salty, chopped up salady thing with bits of salmon, onion, diced tomatoes, and spices. It was also my first taste of poi - a purply-looking paste and traditional staple of the Hawaiian diet made from Taro root. Quite an enjoyable and interesting meal.
Well-fed and packed for our flight to the Big Island, we hit the sack. A nice, soft, laundered, mattressed sack.