The next morning we slept in a bit…of course sleeping in Hawaiian style with the time change meant waking up at 6:30 or there bouts. We were off to visit one of the beaches named as one of the best in the Maui Revealed book that we saw several tourists also carrying around town. We Stopped by Longs Drugs and in full tourist mode I bought some sunglasses, Alex some sunglasses, 2 packs of Honey Roasted Sunglasses, More Hawaiian Coffee, a new Mask for Alex…and for some reason more POG. I got a chuckle out of the fact the childs mask cost more then the Adults mask. Between that and the cost of Maui Pineapples I always get a kick out of the items that get the tourist mark up.
Off to Palauea Beach the drive was pleasant and soothing, Watching tract homes in Maui got me wondering what life must be like for those who actually live there and being there really isn’t a business district on the island per se I thought about who must live there and what they did for living. Approaching Palauea Beach the houses starting getting nicer as did the country clubs and estates…it certainly was the higher real estate area of the island. We parked and walked up a path where construction on a new home was going on and half way up the path one of the Roofers kindly told us the path we wanted was a bit farther down so we had to walk with all of our stuff over a couple of hundred yards before settling in.
The Beach was beautiful and I am sure was used in several post cards. The clarity of the water was amazing and you could see from 50 feet away every submerged rock and coral structure and wide open sandy expanses. A perfect day, a perfect beach. I threw on my snorkel gear and was in the water in a flash. Swimming out to the first rocky outcrop I saw so many different varieties of Tangs and Thin Blue Dory Fish(not sure of the real name but the blue fish on Nemo). Seeing that many colorful fish so close to shore is almost overload. I was enjoying for about 10 minutes before noticing how very close I was to shore. I decided I would try and put Alex in the water and using his new mask and a boogie board we pilfered from the condo would simply have him lean over the side and look down into the water and marvel at all the fish. But as a lot of things go with Alex it wasn’t quite as simple as that and Alex tends to have a bit of a slow time acclimating to new things. Making matters worse was when we were in about a foot of water and I was demonstrating proper board technique to him a rogue wave and hit me from behind, and then the boogie board which shot up and hit poor Alex square in his new Longs drug mask. As luck would have it, Alex’s first foray into snorkeling started off poorly and I blamed myself…for a couple of seconds anyway.
Afterwards I did my best to coax him back in the water but he wanted none of it. Quite frustrating knowing that meters away in the water was some world class snorkeling and even turtles and Alex not willing to give it a try. Making Alex and myself a bit more frustrated was the fact Dustin was not afraid of the water at all and while I was trying to get Alex in noticed Dustin in his floating ring, huge smile, with both feet and hands over the side of the ring dipping them into the Water as Tomoko swam him around. If only they were toddler sizes Daquiri’s available I am sure he would have had one as well.
Walking back to our towels and bag I noticed and Indian couple getting ready to go in the water and the woman not looking very comfortable with the idea. Later I found out she was a poor swimmer but being a good citizen of the World I offered her the use of the boogie board in hopes she would get to see some of the things I was trying to point out to Alex.
We sat and watched the guy do his best to get her in the water but he was having about as much luck as I did with Alex. They brought the board back to us sheepishly and I told her it was OK that the first couple of times snorkeling is always kind of scary.
I went back into water and swam much farther out into the water and a bit farther down the coast where there was a huge rocky outcrop forming a pseudo peninsula of rock and coral. As always there was a bunch of brightly colored fish and other assorted sea life and anemone and swimming a bit closer saw three turtles all feeding on the rocks including one very large who stuck out amongst the others. I paddled in closer and literally could have dog paddled for hours simple watching them before deciding to go back in to check on Tomoko and the Kids. Walking to the shore I saw the Indian guy and told him to swim out and then left for him to see the Turtles. He did just that and 15 minutes later came back all smiles being able to witness it.
We sat on the blanket and munched some snacks when someone in an inner inlet of rock called us down. The turtles had worked themselves around the bend and were now feeding in literally waste high water. I brought the boogie board down in hopes of letting Alex simply float but his bad experience earlier along with some idea that sea anemone were poisonous and would attack had him saying “lets go back” every couple of minutes. Finally Tomoko took him with her and I held onto Dustin who really loved watching the Turtles. I found a rock to stand on and kept my balance as the waves came in. Almost slipped once or twice but managed to hold Dustin above the water. Getting back to shore discovered I has sliced my index toe pretty badly as well as a pretty good sliced chunk a bit farther down.
I knew I was still going to snorkel so hoped my best the sand sticking to the wound would act as some type of natural bandage. Hey, I was in Hawaii and I was going to let a couple of coral induced puncture wounds on the bottom of my foot ruin my day. I was slightly concerned about sharks however but still went out again.
Enjoying the warm water and having a full day of snorkeling by the rocks I went out simple swimming and looking down. I found an area that had a smooth sandy bottom and nothing else. I really enjoyed just gazing down in the perfect sand and water and even swam down 15 feet or so to run my hands through the sand. Swimming out a bit further I noticed a loan swimming turtle in about 20 feet of water. I took a deep breath and swam down to his level and for the next minute or so simply swam by his side. Occasionally he would look over at me and I would wave or do the Hawaiian Hang Loose Sign to which he was quite frankly a bit indifferent but that was ok with me. I was content to simply spend the afternoon having a leisurely swim in Maui in 20 feet of warm, pristine water side by side with a Large Sea Turtle. There really is something special about seeing Turtles…I wonder if Hawaiians get tired of them?
Palauea Beach will forever be in my memory as the perfect maui beach. Tomoko and I my a promise that when I get wealthy through my new job venture that we would be one of the homes on the beach and visit every 3 months for a week or two.
Driving back we stopped in downtown Lahaina to watch the sunset. As the sun dipped down into the Horizon some cloud cover obscured the final dip of the sun and any chance I had of witnessing the legendary Hawaiian Green Flash. Don’t want to explain here…feel free to google it.
We stopped by another take out place favored and known by almost everyone in maui called Okazuya Deli. We ordered Mahi Mahi in a lemon caper sauce that was fantastic as well as a Chicken Katsu dinner we figured we would give the kids. Both plates were so fantastic it almost seemed weird eating them in the standard take out Styrofoam Clamshell you find in cheap take out places. I am certain that of all places to eat in Maui that Okazuya Deli is the premier place to do it.