Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Non Tourist Maui Adventure

Well it's been awhile!  And that would be because I have been busy doing the adventure thing, owning a gym thing, homeschooling 4 kids thing, and being a wife thing.  There is a lot to catch up on, but I'll start with our recent trip to Maui.  We spent a total of 15 days on the Island.  We did the whole family adventure/nomad trip in one of those VW camper vans, which was awesome.  We beach hopped every night, dove over a dozen spots and beaches.  Then the last 5 days we were there, we ran an Adventure Retreat with folks from the gym.  This blog post is about the Family Adventure portion.  I'll have to do a whole separate blog post on the Adventure Retreat side, because it's just a lot of info and experiences to cover.  Plus I gotta cover what we saw IN the ocean, that's a whole other blog post coming too!
First Off - This happened.  Clear blue waters, and happy kids.  This spot is located at Baldwin Beach, my favorite beach.  It is known for it's incredible crashing waves, but if you pull into the parking lot, and then walk a mile to the left (facing the ocean), you will find this serene lagoon, protected by rock and coral, perfect for the kiddos to swim in a gigantic, warm, salt water pool.  Fishes come to visit, so bring your snorkel gear.  And do watch the kids, because there is still a current, that can pull you out to the unprotected area, and sweep you out to sea.

Baldwin Beach has this amazing energy.  People are working out, doing yoga, running up the sand dunes, and overall training their bodies to be stronger.  There is even a pull up bar set up at this place (it's the very last sand dune trail to the left).  My husband Lon and my oldest decided to practice their rooting skills.  Kung Fu opportunities are EVERYWHERE.

Check out the Big Blue.  I will have to post what we actually saw IN the water on a different post.  This shot is taken at Kaanapali, near the famed snorkeling and cliff jumping spot "Black Rock".  This is the most touristy spot we hung out at, and it's worth it, because of "Black Rock."  The snorkeling is world class, and you will see incredible things, like GIANT sea turtles, GIANT sting rays, and hundreds of varieties of fish.  If you stay close to the shore, you will see fish for sure, and sea turtles.  If you are an adventurer and swim past the rock, and swim all the way around it, you will see the giant stuff.  Fish that are bigger than you.  And when you see fish that are bigger than you, the things that EAT the fish bigger than you, are out there too. So fair warning there.

Baldwin is still my favorite place though.  I was inspired to do Yoga because I'm artsy like that.

We did the VW camper van thing.  It was totally epic, and we saw so much of the Island.  It was amazing waking up to the sunrise each morning, with the waves lapping just a few feet from your "doorstep".  We even got to experience a monsoon at this location.

Check out the view!  Every spot had a completely different type of terrain.  One of the places (not pictured) was this incredible clifftop.  BUT we were awoken in the middle of the night by some tweakers who decided to park next to us, growl and mumble loudly, while shooting up meth and heroine.  Needless to say, we weren't interested in spending the night on a cliff face next to those guys.  Sooooo, should you decide to camp and do this, be prepared for things like that.  It only happened to us that one night, but still, that was frightening.  We found a new spot.  Phew!

Watching the sunrise with my son was a beautiful experience each day.  My little 7 year old would rise before me, and wrap himself in a blanket, and then stand next to the waves, facing the sun.  I joined him every morning.

These kiddos... I was nominated for Greatest Mom Award for cooking Mac & Cheese in the van and serving it on the beach. Overall lots of happy smiles on this trip.

We enjoyed a wholesome breakfast of cereal as we found ourselves on the North Side.
One of the coolest things about Maui is the vastly different types of terrain.  On the West Side of the Island you get desert terrain, but also the vast sandy beaches.  Whereas if you venture further North, you'll run into thickly forested areas.  If you head East, you are in the JUNGLE.  It's really an AMAZING place to visit.  This shot was taken at DT Fleming Beach, the North end of Maui.

There are hikes and rock scrambling galore on the North end.  But BE CAREFUL.  The Ocean is wild and dangerous, and even if you know how to read weather patterns, and you are an expert swimmer, always think about how you can minimize risk.  We rock scrambled to this spot at sunrise, and there were moments where I wish we just brought our shoes, because there was some broken glass (boo the people who litter). And I was leary about getting too close to the water, at this point.  If the rocks are wet, stay far back.  Here it looks wet (but it's not, the volcanic rock can be deceiving).

All in all, Maui is probably one of the safest island adventures to experience.  There are signs EVERYWHERE with warnings, like "Shark Attack's Here at this Spot", and things like that.  Maui has a really high regard for safety in comparison to other tropical islands throughout the world.  I would say, I felt really comfortable bringing my small kids here to experience some Adventure hikes, snorkeling, free climbing, cliff jumping, sea cave exploring, ect.  Plus it's still within the USA, so no need for passports if you are a US citizen, there is a hospital, and cell phone reception (although, we were in places for days on end with no reception), BUT the island is small enough that you can get to a cell reception area within an hour.  If you are like me and don't want to vacation inside a box, Maui still has so many non-touristy areas to explore and experience.  Be respectful of the locals, and if you can blend in, EVEN BETTER!