Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Rest of our Maui Trip: Days 5-8

I don't mean to intentionally drag out the story of our Hawaiian vacation, it is just that there are so many images that we captured that I didn't want to leave anything out.  And this is our blog after all, so why not overload the internet with photos of ourselves?  Anyway, this should be the last post about Hawaii unless I can get my act together and edit some of the video that we took into one nice clip. 

Day 5 - Big Beach and a Luau

We drove down to Big Beach, which is just south of Wailea, to spend the day with Carrie's family enjoying the sun and water.  Although the weather was nice this day, the ocean was intense with waves crashing almost on shore and a strong pull out into deeper water, so we all mostly stayed up on the sand, venturing into the water mostly to just get our feet wet.  Clara hung out in her cabana most of the time.
This was our beach set-up anytime we went - we spread out sarongs and weighted the corners down with a bag of snacks (Cheez-its, Nutter Butters, Water, Yogurt, Grapes), the diaper bag, and a backpack containing guidebooks and usually the camera.

Although Big Beach was really pretty and we loved the setting, the sand seemed somehow...stickier or something than other beaches we went to.  Clara's toes kept getting sandy and then she would either grab them and then rub sand into her eyes or she would stick her sandy feet straight into her mouth.  Yuck.  She seemed a little annoyed by it, but mostly went with the flow and we did the best we could to keep rinsing her off with the clean water we had brought with us to drink.  Oh, and notice her pink toenails?  I painted them a couple of days before we left California and they were so darling. 
Carrie and I took her boys down to the water's edge.  At one point it was just me and Isaac (the cutie-pants whose hand I am holding in this photo) and I would pretend to be scared each time a wave came in and would drag him away from the water with me.  He kept saying "It's O.K. Amy!" and laughing, but would run up the sand with me away from the wave anyway.  It was awesome. 
It was fun watching the boogie boarders out there getting pounded by the surf.  This photo actually makes the waves look pretty tame, but what you probably can't tell is that the spot where we were standing had a fairly steep slope and so the spot where the wave is crashing was practically the edge of the water.
Clara wanted to make sure that a special someone knew just how much she is loved. 

Carrie and Charlie had the same baby beach cabana that we had.  I am in love with her hat.
Me, Paul, and Clara laying out on the sand.  Clara has me totally beat in the tan department.  But then, who doesn't? 
That evening, after scouring the extra-sticky sand off ourselves, we went to the Te Au Moana ("The Ocean Tide") Luau at the Marriott in Wailea.  There were a couple of other luaus that are more highly recommended by the guidebooks on Maui, but they are all in Lahaina and we didn't feel like driving up there and back given the timing of when the luaus began and ended.  That said, we thought the Marriott luau was really wonderful.  The setting was absolutely stunning with the ocean as the backdrop for the stage (compared to the Grand Wailea luau where you face away from the ocean).
Clara was obsessed with eating the leis that we were given when we arrived.

It was a buffet style luau, like most luaus apparently, and we were seated at a table with a bunch of random strangers, but it was kind of nice to talk to other people about their vacations and find out where everybody had come from.

The uncovering of the kalua pork ceremony.  Another reason we chose the Marriott luau over the Grand Wailea luau is that the meat served at the Marriott luau is the same meat that we watched be uncovered.  The pork at the Grand Wailea luau (according to our guidebook) is prepared a day or two in advance and then reheated. 

Yup, here is Clara going after mommy's lei again after we took hers away from her.  I love how she sticks out her little tongue.  What a goofy girl.
This photo is a little better of the three of us, but Clarabelle has a guilty expression on her face after having had the pretty purple flowers taken away from her yet again.


Dinner!  I actually didn't think the poi tasted all that bad.  It didn't taste amazing, but I think it gets a bad rap.  It reminded me of baby food - specifically, baby plums.  The kalua pork was good, I really liked the teriyaki chicken, but easily my favorite dish was the pineapple coleslaw.  I don't even like coleslaw, but this stuff was SO yummy.
The entertainment was great.  I love hula dancing with its graceful lines, beautiful costuming, and lovely music.  And can you believe the view here?  It was so amazing watching the sun go down and seeing the dancers perform against a dimming Hawaiian sky. 

Clara was very well-behaved and only got a little fussy.  She is a good sport to put up with mom and dad dragging her all over tarnation with them.
We don't have pictures of two of my favorite performances, but I have to give a shout out to the guy on the drums in the fast hula performance (I have no idea what it is called) and the fire-knife dancer guy.  I know that fire dancing is Tahitian, not Hawaiian, but it is such an awesome spectacle that I really wanted to go to a luau that had one.  It did not disappoint.

Day 6 - Haleakala National Park

We split ways from Carrie's family this day so that they could go to more beaches while Paul, Clara and I drove up into and then above the clouds to see Maui's dormant volcano, Haleakala.  We did NOT get up at 3:00 a.m. to do the drive before the sun rose, and I have no regrets about that.  I am much more of a sunset person than a sunrise person, even though I am typically an early riser.

The drive was fairly long - probably around 1 1/2 to 2 hours I think - but it had interesting scenery that kept changing the higher we climbed in elevation up to the 10,000+ foot high summit.  By the time we reached the top, there as hardly any vegetation covering the bare volcanic rocks that were all shades of purple, rust, black, and blue.  One of the few exceptions is the Silversword - a crazy little plant that only grows here, with silver blades.  I guess it only blooms once every 50 years or so (we saw one that was in bloom, which was pretty exciting, but for some reason we don't have a photo of it, not that it is a particularly beautiful bloom or anything).  I guess that when the Hawaiians first discovered it they didn't have a word for silver because they had never seen that color before, silver not being a natural element in the islands.  So they called it ahinahina, which means "gray-gray" or "very gray".  Isn't that interesting? 
It was FREEZING at the summit.  Okay, so maybe not freezing - it was in the 50's - but with the wind blowing like crazy and coming from sea level on a tropical island, it was certainly cold.  Fortunately, we had packed extra sweatswirts and blankets.  One of us would stay inside the glass viewing area at the summit with Clara while the other would run around outside snapping photos of silverswords or lava rock.
Up above the clouds.
This is a good view of the Haleakala crater, and it really shows off the many different colors of rock that can be seen up there.
Trying to keep Clara covered up while taking in the views.  The whole area is so desolate that it almost boggles the mind that not too far below is a lush world of jungle plants and white sand beaches.
Baby-girl fell asleep on mama while we were walking around, despite all of the wind. 

In a gift shop at the Haleakala Visitor's Center, I found a book about Hawaiian names.  It provides translations of common names too, so I looked up each of our names and discovered that Amy (a french name meaning "beloved") is Mea Aloha (hawaiian for "loved one"), Paul (a roman name meaning "little one") is Ka Li'i (hawaiian for "little one" or possibly "little chief"), and Clara (from latin meaning clear, bright, brilliant, or illustrious) is 'Alohi (hawaiian for "bright" or "splendid").  I love learning things like this.

Day 7 - Secret Cove, Pools again, Boogie Boarding at Polo Beach

I had read about a tiny postcard size beach that was supposedly a beautiful spot for photos (and weddings) in one of our guidebooks before we left for Maui and decided that I really wanted to hunt it down.  The location isn't so secret anymore, now that the guidebooks are publishing it, but that doesn't make the beach any less charming.  We knew that Secret Cove was just south of Big Beach, which we had been to on Day 5.  In fact, Carrie and I had gone on a short walk that day to try to locate it but hadn't taken our guidebooks and gave up just a hundred feet or so from the entrance which Paul and I were able to locate when we went back armed with the specific info of which telephone pole the entrance was across from.

The only entry point is through a narrow opening in a rock wall, but once you find it, the location is absolutely and utterly charming.  Sure enough, there was a wedding happening when we got there around 9:30 a.m.  It was a strange looking wedding though as only 4 people were involved - the bride and groom, a photographer, and the officiator of the ceremony who looked like a Hawaiian priest or something.  I was a creeper and made Paul take out his telephoto lense and snap a quick photo when they weren't looking.  I'm not sure if you can tell from the photo or not, but the groom looked to be about 55 and the bride looked like she was maybe 25.  It was kind of strange and I will allow you to draw your own assumptions.
Anyway, we were so glad we found this spot because this is where we ended up taking our favorite family photos from our vacation.  There is just one small opening in the rocks where the water rushes up onto the short sandy beach, so we just set up the tripod and started taking photos, trading spots with the bride and groom as we set up different shots.
I have been trying to be good about taking photos with all three of us in them (rather than just me with Clara or just Paul with Clara) because when we were putting together our adoption profile before we discovered that we didn't have all that many pictures of the two of us since one of us always seems to be behind the camera. Having a little experience with photography, we are both a little picky about having random strangers snap our pics for us because most people inevitably cut off your feet or your head or zoom too far out or in or what-have-you, so sometimes we just do it ourselves with the timer. The hardest part about getting a good shot that way though is that there is no one behind the camera to get Clara's attention. 

After spending some time at Secret Cove, we headed back to our hotel for one last day of lounging around the pools and spending time on the beach there.  While Paul was feeding Clara, I went around snapping photos of the hibiscus flowers, which were so colorful and gorgeous.

I also loved the plumeria. 
Clara was a little confused about why her daddy was holding a flower behind her ear.

We went on the water slide, swam in the pools, and sat in the hot tub.  You can see part of the water slide, as well as our hotel, in this photo of Paul and Clara.
This day was a little cooler than some of the other days had been, so it was kind of nice to sit in the hot tub for a little while.  It was pretty much the same temperature as Clara's normal bathwater, so we let her sit in there with us for a few minutes at a time.  She loved it.
This is one of my favorite flowers that I really first remember seeing in Costa Rica.  I believe it is called a ginger flower, but I could be wrong.
Here is a nice shot of the pool layout at our resort.  That is me and Clara with Carrie's family sitting on the lounge chairs.

When the sun came back out, Paul, Clara and I went down to Polo Beach to play while Carrie's family headed out to Makena Beach (one that we never made it to).  Clara wore herself out splashing in the ocean and fell asleep eventually.  So Paul checked out a complimentary boogie board from the resort and we took turns riding the waves while the other one stayed with Clara and watched from shore.

Day 8 - Departure Day

On our last day of vacation we finally got a photo of all of us together just before Paul and I headed back to Kahului airport to catch our noon flight back to Oakland.  Baby Luke was the only one who didn't want to look for the camera, but at least we documented both families together. 
It was a wonderful vacation and so much fun to experience it with friends.  Aloha!


  1. What an awesome trip. I can't believe how long Clara looks in the photo of her next to the I love Kayli. I also love that huge grin in the second to last photo. I miss that happy girl (and you guys, too).

  2. Oh I love Clara's gummy grins! Amy's poised posture (you really have great posture!), and Clara's absolute adoration for you Paul! Amy and Clara you look like best buds! Keep up the tons of photos! It's not vain! We all soak it in!


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