Maui Birthdays

Sheryl and I love Maui, and have been fortunate enough to visit more than once. In fact, as things worked out, we were actually in Maui, down at the Ohe’o Gulch area, on Moneka’s first birthday back in 1998 (we called to say hello from the payphone at the ranger station and celebrated her birthday in person a couple of weeks later when we visited Lindsborg).

Somewhere along the way we promised Moneka we’d take her and her mom to Maui someday. Well, you know how life has a way of happening while you’re making plans, and between the kids move from Lindsborg to San Jose, and then our eventual move to Lindsborg, all of a sudden Moneka was about to turn 10 years old and remembered our promise of a trip the Magic Isle, Maui.

And so we made plans earlier this year to go to Maui, and because of the closeness of Sheryl and Moneka’s birthdays, we got to sing Happy Birthday to both of them while enjoying the beauty of one of Hawaii’s most enjoyable islands.

We drove to Hana on Sheryl’s birthday, always an enjoyable ride, but were unable to complete the loop around the back side of the island as the road was closed due to some damage after an earthquake last fall. Along the way we stopped many times to take pictures, enjoy the magnificent views and do some shopping at the road-side flower and crafts stands.

On Moneka’s birthday she had her traditional studio portrait photo taken and then we went to Mama’s Fish House for lunch. We went to Maui’s small, but excellent marine aquarium, The Maui Ocean Center, after lunch.

This trip Moneka snorkeled for the first time, and after a bit of a rough beginning (not helped by an equipment malfunction) enjoyed it so much it was hard to get her out of the water. We began at Kapalua Beach, an easy beginner’s site. A couple of days later we headed south all the way down to Ahihi Cove; the best fish photos were taken there. And of course we snorkeled in Honolua Bay, a wonderful marine preserve.

Speaking of snorkeling, on our last full day on the island Sheryl and I went snorkeling at a great new beach, but the water was a bit higher than we’d ever experienced before (2-4 foot swells are much higher than 1 foot or less swells!), so it was actually a bit scary. We were just about to turn around and head back in when the other lone snorkeler signaled to us that there was a sea turtle in the area. We quickly spotted it, and luckily I got a few pictures, though none are of stellar quality. Looking at the date codes on the photos, I guess we were in a hurry to exit the rough seas; I took 7 photos in 40 seconds (though it seemed a lot longer at the time).

The rest of the time we lounged around, went shopping and generally had a great, wonderful, relaxing time. We saw the blowhole on the north end of the island and also visited Iao Valley. We drove around the top of the island, had shaved ice along the way and ate lunch at the Saigon Cafe in Wailuku. As always, I can’t wait for an opportunity to return!

Of course, photos were taken. Last time I took over 700 photos using a Canon S45. This year I had a Canon Powershot A630 with its companion underwater case and took over 1700 pictures!

I hope to post a lot of images in the next few weeks, and have started with a few images at my photoblog, luminosity. Start with the first Maui photo, and from there click on the top right link to proceed through the rest of the Maui photos. In addition, here’s a link to the 2004 Maui Travel Blog I created after our last trip; it’s full of photos! Also, the post immediately preceding this one has a few pictures taken underwater while snorkeling.

Finally, here’s a picture of Moneka on her 10th birthday (some of you will remember these pictures of her when she was 1 day old) followed by a photo of the sea turtle Sheryl and I saw:

Moneka at 10

Maui turtle