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Maui
Old 08-15-2006, 11:32 PM   #1
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Maui

Hi All,

I'm splurging and going to Maui for the first week of Sept. My passion is snorkeling (I can no longer dive due to vertigo and a coiled brain aneurysm).

Can anyone recommend a good part of the island to stay to have close access to good snorkeling areas ?

I was looking at Kihei and read there is a sewage treatment plant that makes the swimming in North Kihei not so good. I thought it might be best to ask for suggestions.

Thanks for any help !
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Re: Maui
Old 08-16-2006, 12:59 AM   #2
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Re: Maui

Hi Helen --

I live on the north side of Maui and enjoy snorkeling on the South and West sides. September is a great time to visit.

My favorite spots are 'The Fishbowl/Aquarium area' and Honolua Bay. The Aquarium is on the south side past Makena just before La Peruse Bay. It's a small protected cove surrounded by lava on 3 sides. It's a grueling 20-30 minute hike across a lava field but once you get there it's great. You need protective footwear for the hike (a hat and sunscreen). Sneekers are fine but sandals are not. Its very safe and visability is outstanding. You'll see small to medium endemic fish, and maybe some moray eel or octopus. The bottom and sides of the bay are mostly lava so the conditions are good even when it's windy (which it likely will be). If you go the the Aquarium go early as the hike is hot in the afternoon sun. If you go before 9AM you may see spinner dolphins in La Peruse bay.

Honolua Bay is on the west side past Kapalua. It's a large bay and is open to the ocean so you're more likely to see larger creatures -- like Green Sea Turtles. Make sure you swim out a ways, past the boats, and towards the opening of the bay. To often I see people on the inside of the bay where there isn't much to see. This area also has more coral than the aquarium. Honolua bay only works if there isn't a northwest swell. Normally the swells come from the south in the summertime, and the north in the winter. If there is a swell waves will be breaking and the bay becomes a world-class surfing spot. Check the weather forcast.

All the beaches from South Kihei through Wailea and Makena have good snorkeling. The beaches usually have reefs at each end and are great places to see turtles. Kamaole, Ulua, and Wailea are all good. Go in the morning when the wind is light. If there is a south swell conditions will not be good in in South Maui. It's true that North Kihei doesn't have the cleanest beaches. I would not go there for swimming or snorkeliing. Anything south of Kamaole beach is fine. Kamaole is gorgeous.

Heading towards the west side there's good snorkeling at Olowalu which is around mile marker 15 before Lahaina. At the west end of Kaanapali beach is 'black rock' which is also very good.

Molokini crater is also great but requires a boat ride. It's a crecent shaped crater off of the south side of Maui. The outer wall is excellent for scuba diving.

If you're mainly interested in snorkeling you'll want to stay in South Maui (Kihei, Wailea, Makena) or West Maui (Kaanapali, Kahana, Kapalua). West Maui is further from everything and the afternoon traffic can be terrible on the west side. I'd probably stay on the South Side.

If you are coming to Maui for more than a week consider a couple of days in Hana.

PM me if you want a map to the Aquarium. "Maui Revealed" has good descriptions of all the snorkeling sites.

--JB
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Re: Maui
Old 08-16-2006, 01:11 AM   #3
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Re: Maui

We really enjoyed the aquarium, and it's a good warmup to a snorkel boat trip from Ma'alaea.
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Re: Maui
Old 08-16-2006, 06:00 AM   #4
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Re: Maui



JB has given you some great advice, which considering he's a local I wouldn't be able to match. That being said, Maui is my favorite place on earth and my wife and I visit every year so I might be able to help you decide on a place to stay.

We've stayed evrywhere from The Grand Wailea where we got married (at $500 a night :P) to rental condos in Kihei where we stay now, and a couple places in between.

Based on our experiences you can't beat staying in South Maui. (Unless you're going to Hana, but that's a different kind of vacation.

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Re: Maui
Old 08-16-2006, 07:23 AM   #5
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Re: Maui

We always stay at a place called Elua Village. It is in Wailea near the FourSeasons. Beautiful, fragrant grounds on Ulua beach which has a reef to snorkel on. We picked this place because (a) I wanted to be in a condo, not a hotel, (b) I did not want to cross a road to go snorkeling, and (c) I wanted peace and quiet.

http://www.eluavillage.org/

We've been to the Aquarium and to Molokini and both were worse than just snorkeling out our front door. I know they are not always that way, but they were the times we went.

Maui Revealed is a great book, but everywhere you go in the book, there are already 5 people at the location with their own copy of the book in hand.

I can post plenty of photos if you like.
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Re: Maui
Old 08-16-2006, 09:56 AM   #6
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Re: Maui

Hi Helen,

We were in Maui in 1994 and were going back April of 2007...Maui is our favorite place this time were staying at Aston Kanapali Condo's and before that were staying in Oahu for a five days never been there so thought it would be interesting. Last time we went on the Trilogy Catamaran trip over to Lani it was expensive but we really enjoyed that we also went to Haleakala and Hana so those are what I recommend.

I signed up at the Hawaii Vistors center you might want to check it out they and they sent me a great email with video and everything about all the islands and things to do and etc. I really am enjoying it . There are loads of places on line that you can go to.

I love reading what the locals write about Hawaii here and the pointers they have visitors if any one has more infor I'm reading

Have a great time

Kathyet
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Re: Maui
Old 08-16-2006, 03:31 PM   #7
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Re: Maui

I've heard good things about Punahoa in Kihei. It's next to Charlie Young beach, is waterfront, and isn't very expensive ($160/night for a 1 br condo in September). They don't have a pool or fancy facilities, just a great view and a short walk to nice beaches.

I recommend Molokini if you have the time and don't mind spending $50-$75 pp for the boat. The larger boats run out of Ma'alaea Harbor and cost around $75. You could also take a smaller boat from the Kihei boat ramp. This option is less expensive (around $50) and get's you closer (around 15 minutes each way). The larger boats offer food. If the trade winds are strong the ride back can be less comfortable on a small boat.

The last time I was on Molokini was about a year ago. We went in the afternoon (when it's empty) on a private boat. When we got there I put on my mask (no fins), jumped in, looked down and saw a 5ft white tip reef shark swimming 15 ft below me. I signaled to my girlfriend who jumped right in. We followed the shark as it swam along the wall looking for a cave. It was very cool. I've also seen a huge manta ray inside the crater.

If your primary mission is snorkeling consider renting a car and checking out all the good locations in south and west maui along with molokini and possibly even a trip to Lanai (I've never been but heard that it's good). The aquarium can be difficult to find. The first couple of times I went there I ended up at different places (all good). Sometimes people mistake the coves facing La Peruse bay for the aquarium, these places are not good, unless you swim into the bay to see the dolphins. The good spots face Kaho'olawi.
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Re: Maui
Old 08-16-2006, 03:44 PM   #8
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Re: Maui

Quote:
Originally Posted by JB
When we got there I put on my mask (no fins), jumped in, looked down and saw a 5ft white tip reef shark swimming 15 ft below me.* I signaled to my girlfriend who jumped right in.* We followed the shark as it swam along the wall looking for a cave.* It was very cool.
For the rest of the crowd who may be questioning JB's sanity right now, or the trust of his girlfriend, I should point out that white tip sharks are considered harmless to humans.

Or as TH would say, "As far as we know"...
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Re: Maui
Old 08-16-2006, 03:52 PM   #9
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Re: Maui

Wouldn't do that with a tiger or hammerhead. Most of the sharks at Molokini are white/black tip or grey reef sharks which are harmless unless provoked.

Last month a teenager was spearfishing off Lanai and was approached by a white tip. The kid poked the shark with his spear.. the shark bit him on the arm.
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Re: Maui
Old 08-16-2006, 05:08 PM   #10
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Re: Maui

Yep, seeing sharks (even if the harmless variety) for the first time while snorkeling does something to the ol' heart rate that seeing sea turtles doesn't quite seem to do.

If you like sharks, get in the water early in the morning at Ulua Beach.
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Re: Maui
Old 08-16-2006, 05:21 PM   #11
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Re: Maui

Quote:
Originally Posted by JB
Last month a teenager was spearfishing off Lanai and was approached by a white tip.* The kid poked the shark with his spear.. the shark bit him on the arm.*
Well, who wouldn't?!
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Re: Maui
Old 08-19-2006, 12:41 PM   #12
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Re: Maui

White tips can be VERY agressive. It is unusual that they are but it happens.

I liken them to gangbangin' teens "in the hood". Very territorial (and moody) but typically 'more show than go'. However, every once in a while they're gonna' test you. Especially when they are not alone....like the above mentioned hoodlums, they tend to get brave when in a pack.

Not disagreeing with Nords...because as a generalization he is correct. I dive with resident white tips frequently but would still advise caution should you encounter one.

Come to Kauai...secluded beaches, great snorkeling and a thumping nightlife (cough).
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Re: Maui
Old 08-19-2006, 03:39 PM   #13
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Re: Maui

Thank you all very much for your responses !!! I am printing this thread out and taking it with me.

I found a condo:

http://www.mauiultimatecondos.com/ekahivillage.htm

Two more weeks till Maui !

-helen
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Re: Maui
Old 08-19-2006, 04:31 PM   #14
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Re: Maui

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helen
Thank you all very much for your responses !!! I am printing this thread out and taking it with me.

I found a condo:

http://www.mauiultimatecondos.com/ekahivillage.htm

Two more weeks till Maui !

-helen

Helen, my family stayed there when my wife and I got married. It's a very nice place, enjoy

While in Wailea / Kiehi don't miss..

1. Sansei for sushi
2. Da Kitchen for plate lunches
3. the little blue shave ice cart on S. Kihei blvd

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Re: Maui
Old 08-19-2006, 04:39 PM   #15
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Re: Maui

A few more tips.

If you buy groceries, you will probably buy them at the Safeway. Be sure to sign up for a Safeway card, so you don't pay the tourist price.

If you need snorkelling equipment or other paraphenalia, buy them at the SportsAuthority on the way in from the airport. They even have prescription face masks.

Of course, the Maui Wal-Mart is another great place to pick up stuff.
Longs Drug store in Kihei has underwater cameras and 35 mm film processing. I presume you already have digital for above water stuff.

And make a reservation now to eat at Roy's.

From your condo, you can walk to the Grand Wailea, The Four Seasons, etc. They have good restaurants, but you might call now to get a reservation as well.

Usually a condo like yours will come with a $20 a day rental car. You probably got that, but just checking.

Have a great time!
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Re: Maui
Old 08-20-2006, 02:25 AM   #16
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Re: Maui

Naw....wasn't comparing Panama to Hawaii. Not the beaches and not the prices. I was just suggesting that at 1/10th the cost...it was refreshing.

I love Hawaii and have lived here well over half my life. I am spoiled but it is just so darn pricey. I embarassed myself in front of my realtor in Panama City. She told me she was going to take me to "The most beautiful beach I'd ever see; Coronado".

We drove for approximately 90 minutes, stopping at a spot or two along the way. During one particular stop she asked "Isn't this pretty"? and I said...yep, but how much further is it to Coronado?

Being a Panamanian, she was a bit annoyed despite my apology. A few minutes later she asked, "so are the beaches really THAT nice in Hawaii"?

I just nodded my head.

Good to see you are doing well, Arif. I plan on going back soon so if you know of any hot deals there could be a sale in it for ya'. You failed to mention if you knew of that project on the Causeway. Do ya'?
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Re: Maui
Old 08-20-2006, 06:30 AM   #17
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Re: Maui

Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL!
A few more tips.

If you buy groceries, you will probably buy them at the Safeway. Be sure to sign up for a Safeway card, so you don't pay the tourist price.

Even better is if you have a costco card, there is a Costco right outside the airport at 540 Haleakala Highway in Kahului. You can't miss it driving out of the airport.

Load up on essentials there because even with the safeway card you can still get stuff cheaper there. For smaller quantity items Safeway is still your best bet



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Re: Maui
Old 08-20-2006, 08:18 AM   #18
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Re: Maui

Quote:
Originally Posted by JB
I've heard good things about Punahoa in Kihei. It's next to Charlie Young beach, is waterfront, and isn't very expensive ($160/night for a 1 br condo in September). They don't have a pool or fancy facilities, just a great view and a short walk to nice beaches.
I just got back from a week in Maui and wrote a note to check out Punahoa for future reference since it looked like a nice spot from the beach. I noticed a handful of houses along the same section of beach that looked even better (I think it was the Kamaola 1 beach). If someone knows anything about them please let me know.

I stayed at Hale Pau Maui next to Kamaola 2 and loved it. We got a one bedroom condo, right on a beautiful beach, $200 night. We definitely plan to return to Maui in the next couple of years and will either stay here or at one of the above mentioned places. All are in South Kihei.

Nords, where do you live? And how realistic would it be for a 58 year old to learn basic surfing in a week or two? It appeals to me as a long time windsurfer and short time snow boarder, but I am a pretty lousy athlete - learning to windsurf was a real struggle.

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Re: Maui
Old 08-20-2006, 10:53 AM   #19
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Re: Maui

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Nords, where do you live?* And how realistic would it be for a 58 year old to learn basic surfing in a week or two?* It appeals to me as a long time windsurfer and short time snow boarder, but I am a pretty lousy athlete - learning to windsurf was a real struggle.
I'm in Central Oahu (Mililani). It's about 45 minutes from Queen's Beach (Waikiki), 45 minutes from Haleiwa Ali`i (North Shore), and 20 minutes from White Plains (Kalealoa near Kapolei). Everything else is only a few minutes farther, but I haven't worn out these waves yet...

Basic surfing can be learned in an hour or two. All it takes is the ability to swim (in case you get separated from your board) and being able to stand up from lying flat. Any water skills or shoulder muscles are a bonus that'll reduce the learning time to minutes. An 11-foot longboard is big & stable enough that even balance is optional. If the first hour goes well, by the second hour you'll be paddling into your own waves and turning.

With your snowboard/windsurf background you'll have no trouble standing & turning. In fact the biggest challenge will be developing paddling muscles to stay out for more than an hour or two, but in 2-4 foot waves even that's not much of an issue.

Anyone who makes it out here is welcome to contact me for a free lesson! White Plains Beach is easiest for everyone (except for the 45-minute drive from Waikiki) and the least crowded but I'll go wherever the surf is. I enjoy teaching and every time I teach someone I get a little better at my own surfing, so I'm happy to do it.

Best south shore surf is May-Nov, but that just means that it's easier to find four-foot waves. Even in January there's something to paddle out for, although I do whimper & snivel a lot in that bitter-cold 73-degree water...
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Re: Maui
Old 08-20-2006, 01:14 PM   #20
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Re: Maui

Quote:
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I'm in Central Oahu (Mililani). It's about 45 minutes from Queen's Beach (Waikiki), 45 minutes from Haleiwa Ali`i (North Shore), and 20 minutes from White Plains (Kalealoa near Kapolei). Everything else is only a few minutes farther, but I haven't worn out these waves yet...
Aha - I thought you were in Maui. We stayed in Wakiki for five days on this trip (DW was a delegate to the ABA convention). We probably won't go back to Wakiki in the future but we both liked the North Shore and would like to stay there when we come back. I recognise that I would have to go somewhere less challenging to learn to surf in the winter
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