Kihei (Maui) visit, Oct 10-19, 2017

Steve & Chris, following a 5-day stay in Seattle, flew to Maui (Kahului airport; ~5 hrs on plane -- about our limit these days).

The last time we were in Maui was Mar 2007, ~10 yrs ago (webpage here).

This time, we stayed at the Hale Pau Hana (HPH) condo resort on S. Kihei Road
(website here). Nearby places of interest during this visit are shown on map.

HPH in background. Our unit was #701, on top floor, far left (hidden by tree).

Looking down from deck.

We went walking along various beaches every morning. This is the relatively short
beach in front of HPH. There is a somewhat longer beach a short way to the north, and
a much longer beach a mile or so to the south, starting at the Mana Kai Maui resort.

This is the Kamaole Nalu and its pool -- immediately north of HPH.

The chairs, deck chairs, and tables on the lawn below got moved around
frequently. HPH residents sometimes had group dinner parties, and the
management arranged occasional potlucks, hired entertainers, coffee, etc.

There are several small reefs (underwater clusters of volcanic
rocks) just offshore, on the right side of this photo.

We went snorkeling frequently around the small reefs.

I think these guys are called needlefish. We sometimes
saw them in shallow water above bare sand.

Many sea turtles work their way along the coast daily this time of year,
grazing on vegetation on rocks. I presume they're green sea turtles
(Chelonia mydas). This shot (by Chris) was our first close encounter underwater.
We had seen them from shore during several of our walks on previous mornings.

There were many gorgeous sunsets.

Luau ("Te Au Moana") at Wailea Beach Marriott,
Mon 10.16 (date on camera got messed up).

The food was better than at the luau we attended back in 2007. The
activities (food, dancers, band, etc.) were all arranged by a big company,
Tihati Productions (website here), that's been around since 1969 and
puts on luaus at many different venues on the major Hawai'ian islands.

Our tablemates -- nice young couple.

A lei is mandatory at luaus.

Plumeria clip is optional.

The band played generic Hawai'ian background music for a while, then different
types of music representing various Polynesian islands when the dancers came on.

The long series of dance routines (supposedly from
the various Polynesian islands) began around sunset.

The master of ceremonies lady referred many, many times,
in a reverent tone of voice, to "our Polynesian ancestors".

Some audience members, including children, were brought up to learn some dance moves.

The finale -- two guys with flaming torches.

On Wed 10.18, we went on a snorkeling cruise on this fairly new boat ("Calypso"), out of
Maalaea harbor. There were two stops: "Turtle Town" (near Makena Landing), and Molokini
(a tiny crescent-shaped volcanic crater islet near larger Kaho'olawe island). See maps above.

Turtle Town area.

Cruise from Turtle Town to Molokini. There had been major waves and
wind a couple of hours earlier, but they had subsided by this time.

Approaching Molokini. Kaho'olawe island in background -- essentially uninhabited;
was used as bombing practice range by U.S. armed forces around time of WW II.

There were many kinds of fish at Molokini. This black species was particularly abundant.

The coral were very well developed.

We saw lots of these yellow guys at Molokini, but not at the reefs by HPH.

This photographer was hired by the cruise company. He swam around
taking unsolicited photos of us snorkelers (customers). Later, the photos
were shown as a slideshow on a big screen inside the boat. We were
encouraged to buy flash drives containing JPGs of our particular shots.

This setup is called "snuba" (cross between snorkel and scuba). A tank
floating on top of the water is attached to the long tube, and pushes air
through it. Thus, the user can swim down deep, and stay down a long time.

After leaving Molokini, the boat cruised slowly north along the coastline,
back to Maalaea harbor. By keeping track of various landmarks, we
were able to recognize HPH from a distance (in the middle of this photo).

Next day (Thu 10.19) was our departure date. Steve went out to snorkel
around the small reefs next to HPH one last time, before packing.

Needlefish at left. Colorful guy at right may be some kind of wrasse -- not sure.

As Steve was just leaving the water for the last time, he happened
to glance to his left, and saw this guy a few feet away. Perhaps
the biggest turtle we encountered up close during our visit.

See you later!