A tourist at home….Part 2.

Today I thought I would do something a little different. Instead of heading down to Baldwin Beach for Drum Night, I went up the volcano instead to see if I could find an interesting spot to watch the sunset from high up. Like I mentioned before, I am at about 1200 feet above sea level. An area called Kula is about 2000 feet and about 20 minutes from my house. As I went up, It started drizzling a little which is usual for that area. I got out a couple of times at turnouts but really couldn’t see all that well. I turned around when I came upon one of those pumpkin patches for kids. Tons of people there. I really didn’t expect a pumpkin patch in Maui, learned something new. As I headed back down the volcano, something really stunk in my car. I was smelling the vents, opening and closing the windows, turning the air on and off. Still smelled, like mold. I figured something was wrong with the car until I realized it was me. My shirt smelled like they get when you leave your clothes wet in the washer for a few days (not that I do that). I must have folded it when still a little damp. Needless to say, I was relieved it wasn’t a car problem, just a me problem. Home I went.

I decided that maybe Drum night would be fine after all, so left for the beach about 2 hours before sunset. When I got to the stoplights to turn right, I decided to turn left instead. It had been so relaxing the night before I decided to go back to White Rock Beach, where I had been last night. Polo Beach (I have talked about that one before too) is one beach, or a few blocks closer, so I decided to stop there to check it out. This is the beach that shares access with one of the big resorts, the Kea Lani. I grabbed my chair and set up a very nice spot to watch the sunset, right in the middle where the hotel beach and the public beach meet.

This is what it felt like compared to my previous night watching the sunset. Not as relaxing to be sure.

 

I had been there (now there are a lot more people at this beach than the few last night) for about 10 minutes when a family being led by a hotel photographer set up shop right next to me. Now I can tell you right off, being a hotel photographer is not the job for me. That guy never stopped talking. It was the Grandparents, Parents, and two young boys. At least he didn’t have to remember their names. It was “Ok parents, your turn” “Looks great” “Smile” “Smile bigger” “One more shot” (Heard that one about 200 times. You get the picture 🙂 Finally after about 15 agonizing minutes listening to all that, they went farther down the beach.

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This is Maui folks, smile.

It was about 30 minutes until the sun would be setting, so I took a walk down the hotel part of the beach. There was the pale white chubby guy (with a red ring around his neck from his t-shirt) laying back on a beach chair, beer in hand,  talking business on a phone. Then there was the couple all dressed up with lei’s around their necks with huge pineapple drinks in hand (about the size of footballs). Then there were the three teenage girls taking selfies nonstop. Must I mention all the other cameras pointed at the water, something to remember their trip. It came back to me all the trips where I was one of them. I smiled a little.

Sunset was gorgeous, although noisier than the night before. I was getting a nice 3-minute video but the girls decided to be part of it and ended up getting them included. I packed up my chair, and as I was walking out, the young Hawaiian guy in a Sarong was lighting the hotel torches and blowing a big horn every time he lit one. There was more light coming from camera flashes than the torches. Further up the path to my car was a lone security guard smoking a cigarette and looking like he hated his job. Leaving the area in my car, there were tons of cars pulling out of the resorts, Friday night, and am sure they were heading out to restaurants and bars.

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Torches at the Kea Lani, Maui.

My kids are experiencing a staycation with their grandparents this weekend. I just got mine tonight. I think I will stay a local, and leave the tourist stuff for the…well, tourists.

I will leave you with a very nice video of a sailboat that happened to be crossing as the sun was going down. (P.S.  The sailboat was crammed with tourists).

 

You Rich Beach……..

Want to feel like a billionaire on the beach, but the guy begging for gas on the corner has more horse power than you. Then Palauea (or White Rock Beach as is known locally), is the place to set your umbrella up for the day. Remember the blog about Polo beach? This one is just down the road from there, maybe a half mile past oceanfront villas and beachfront mansions in the upscale town of Wailea. Instead of turning right into the lot for Polo beach, turn left until you come to a single lonely Porta Potty. There it is. You have to park your car along the road, no lot, and walk on one of two tree covered paths to the beach, maybe 100 feet or so. There you are greeted by a beautiful white sand stretch of beach about three football fields long, capped on both ends by lava formations. Lot’s of fish and Sea Turtles occupy these waters, and since it is facing west, would make for some killer sunsets. The picture above is my beach gear and my daughter pretending we are rich. (She’s better at it than I am).

Because there is no formal lot, facilities, and is in a residential neighborhood, it doesn’t attract a lot of tourists or locals who want to come and have their weekend get together’s. It’s pretty quiet as you can see by the pictures, and this is on Sunday on Labor Day Weekend. So if you picture your life in a beachfront home with about as private a beach you can get, then this is it. My kids both agreed we should look for a house there. Sorry kids, no lottery in Maui. Here’s looking south first, then north.

My son loves to be in the water, and he did just that for the three hours today we were there. Of course, he is a social little guy too, so made some boogie boarding friends right away. Dad and daughter didn’t stray far from the umbrella, the waves were too big for wading, and the sand was hot from the 89-degree midday sun. I know, what the heck is he complaining about.  On the north end were some fishermen with about 6 lines in the water. The only thing they caught was a turtle, which they let go. Here is my son catching a wave.

Now if we could walk up to our beachfront villa, we could just wash off in the Private outdoor shower along the gated path to the house. Put on a soft silk robe and settle next to the infinity pool with a cool Pina Colada and think “I wonder what the poor people are doing today?” But no. We have to climb in the hot car with everything we have full of sand, and sit on hot leather with wet clothes. That’s what the poor people are doing today. Most of the larger beaches have showers to rinse your stuff off, so there is a price you must pay if you want to play rich and you’re not. But after unloading the car, rinsing everything off including us, clothes in the washer, and a quick vacuum, I couldn’t have spent the day any better. Just to prove it, here is a quick three-minute video in case you didn’t get to the beach today. Rich Beach that is……

 

 

 

 

 

Kama”ole Beach Park III (Kam 3)

Kama’ole Beach Park III is one of three beaches named Kama’ole (called Kam 3 to make it easy) in Kihei, a town on the dry western side of Maui, population a little over 20,000.  Because all three beaches are right in town, they are very popular with the many tourists and snowbirds who stay in the condos and homes in Kihei, where they can walk to the beach.

This is my kids favorite beach, and given a choice, always want to come here. The beach is not that wide, but the sand is very soft, and it gently slopes into the ocean making it a great place for swimming and boogie boarding. Because its on the leeward side of the island, there is less wind and smaller waves. Also a great beach for watching sunsets and whales in season. If you like to snorkel, there is great snorkeling around the protruding rocks that bracket the beach on both ends. There is a bit of a hill to go down to get to the sand, but there are many wooden stairs and ramps to use to make it easy.

A nice feature of this beach is a fairly nice sized parking lot, which Kam 1 and Kam 2 do not have. There is also a lifeguard station, playground equipment, outdoor showers, picnic tables, large park, and restroom facilities. I will mention it more than once, but don’t expect much when you come to the public beaches as far as the restrooms are concerned. They are very basic, and show the signs of lots of use. Not anything like you get at the big “Westworld” resorts, but then again, they are free to use for everyone.

On weekends, it gets hard to park because there are always private parties going on in the large park, many times with inflatable rides, slip and slides, and food. There is street parking on the south side of the lot if that is the case. The beach is usually busy too, being the most popular of the three Kam beaches. Its a great, laid back place for the kids (and you) to have fun in the water. Also, being right in town, its and easy drive to get lunch or shop at the many places available not to far away.

Ho’okipa Beach (Surfer Beach)

 

If you like to surf or windsurf, then this is the place for you. But you better be good, because it’s not for beginners. Here’s where the pros go. I’s a great place to watch them, and get a gorgeous view of the ocean and huge waves from the lookout parking lot as you first enter the beach area, appropriately named Ho’okipa Lookout. There are always craft and food venders in the lot, and it’s fairly easy to find a place to park because people come and go quickly, by Maui standards.  There is a metal guardrail near the edge of the cliff, but you can jump over it and make your way down to the water at the end of the point. But be careful, the waves are big and the currents strong.

Ho’okipa Beach is located a couple of miles past Paia on the Road to Hana, just south of Mama’s Fish House. It means “hospitality” in Hawaiian. It’s also a locals beach, and usually is busier on weekends, when the locals have days off and use the facilities for parties. To get down to the beach area, drive down a short one way road to the parking lot, of which there are two. There are also 2 lifeguard stations, rest rooms, picnic areas and pavilion. If you are looking to spend a relaxing day at the beach, then this is probably not the place for you. The beach’s sand is too grainy for my tastes, and it’s always windy, and there are lots of rocks at the shore. And it’s usually very busy with all the surfers. When you exit the parking lots, you will have to make a right turn back towards Paia. So if you are heading towards Hana, you will have to drive a few blocks to be able to turn around and head south again. If you are leaving the lookout area, you can turn both ways.

If your bag is not surfing, then there is something for you and the kids here. Green Sea Turtles, and lots of them. You can usually spot them swimming in the clear water from the lookout, but if you want to get close up, then park down by the beach and walk to the area right along the lookout cliff. Here is where they come out to lay in the sand. Last time I went, there were about 25 of them, crawling over each other to get the best spot. They are hard to spot sometimes, they look just like rocks on the beach. But once you spot one, then you can’t miss them.  All in all, put this spot on your to do list in Maui.

                                                                               Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles

Baldwin Beach (Picture perfect)

H.A. Baldwin Beach is on the windy, or east side of Maui about a mile from Paia, a little town known for being a tourist spot on the Road to Hana. There is a lifeguard during beach hours, also restrooms, showers, picnic area and large sports field.

This is my favorite beach on Maui, and I go there to walk about 5 days a week. This beach is fairly flat, compared to most of the others, and the sand varies from hard to very soft. Great for a workout walk, especially since round trip from end to end is about 3 miles, if you go through the woods, and walk all the way down to Paia Bay Beach.  In between that hike you will also run into Paia Secret Beach, known for clothing optional. There will definitely be a lot of different beach types to encounter along the way. Even if you skip the long hike and just stay on Baldwin Beach, you will still get about 40 minutes of sand walking in. There is also a lot of natural shade offered by the trees along the entire stretch of beach. And because it’s so big, never seems busy.

I visited Maui many times as a tourist, always staying at the big resorts on the west side ( I call them the Westworld resorts), and loved their beaches for the amenities offered by the resort, and the fact you could just walk up to your room when you wanted. I had stopped at Baldwin Beach a couple of times, and it always felt a bit awkward to be there. It is definitely a “local beach”, with all sorts of strange characters who frequent and camp out in the woods in tents, whom I have now grown to appreciate living here. Since I used to be one, I can use the word Hippies, which I feel best describes their look and carefree nature.

The south end of the beach (the Paia side) is where most of the locals hang out. Here they will be playing music, smoking pot, and the girls sometimes are without tops. You aren’t supposed to drink alcohol on any public beach, but many people do, and they won’t bother you if you don’t get rowdy.  There is also a small cove that breaks the waves, good for swimming. If you have small children, this end may not be the one for you. Then you will want to turn left at the lifeguard station, and head that direction to the more tourist part.

Since it is the windy side of the island, the waves are usually not good for swimming, but are great if you are an experienced boogey boarder. No surfers go here, but there are always wind surfers taking off from the beach. The wind can sometimes be a problem, the worst being sandblasted by the drifting sand.

At the north end of the beach is a swimming area perfect for kids. It’s called Baby Beach. There is a break wall that protects a rather large area. You can park here too, but there isn’t a parking lot or restrooms. Your restroom is the water.

I have never seen a whale on this side during season, but there are always lots of big Sea Turtles. They crawl up on both ends of the beach to warm in the sand and lay eggs. You can see them swimming in the water between both ends every day. The rule is to stay at least ten feet from them, and never touch them. They don’t seem to mind people and dogs (of which there are plenty), and you can walk right by one and they won’t even look up.

Sea Turtle resting by Baby Beach.