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To Maui

On Sunday, July 4 we flew United through LA to Kahului, Maui, rented a car and drove west to Kaanapali Beach Hotel above Lahaina. There we had an oceanfront room (483) with a perfect view of the blue Pacific, Black Rock and golden sunsets, as well as Molokai and Lanai in the distance. Despite being tired we walked the beach path to see Lahaina's Fourth of July fireworks.

We started the next day by snorkeling at Black Rock, then drove north to various beaches and the Mokuleia Marine Life Conservation District, where the snorkeling was excellent.

Loved our stay at KBH and wished it could have been longer than two nights. The staff made us feel very welcome and the hotel was relaxing—just north of the congested part of Kaanapali, yet still on the beach path so we could walk at night.

On the afternoon of 7/6 we picked up some provisions and drove to Hana, with a long stop in the Kaenae Peninsula, which we had admired on a previous trip. Checked into Hana Hale Malamalama’s Tree House Cottage (3 nights), which gets mixed reviews. Pros: It’s attractive, spacious, has a kitchen and a whirlpool tub for two. Cons: The vegetation totally obscures what was once a view to the bay, the outside shower is not a pleasant experience, and the late afternoon sun makes the cottage unbearably hot until late evening.

The next day we drove to Waianapanapa State Park and hiked part of the coastal trail (going south), a gorgeous expanse of deep blue sea breaking against black lava, then rested on the black sand beach. Drove to Blue Pool and Nahiku to enjoy the pools and waterfalls. Had a great dinner at a roadside shack that serves smoked fish kabobs and barbecue.

 

The following day was devoted to Oheo Gulch. On a previous trip we had spent a couple hours there and wanted to return for a more leisurely visit. We arrived before the crowds and enjoyed swimming in the pools, then crossed the road for the hike to Waimoku Falls—an enjoyable trek that passes through a rain forest and a dense bamboo jungle. About four hours later we were back in the pools, then spent the late afternoon reveling in the dramatic coastline, where bright green vegetation meeting black lava, white froth and blue sea.

To Molokai

Departed Hana 7/9 and drove south, around the back side of Haleakala (absolutely no problem driving in a rental sedan). Returned the car at Kahului airport and flew to Ho’olehua, Molokai, where we picked up a car and drove west to the Kaluakoi resort area. We rented a condo for 4 nights—Paniolo Hale unit F-2—with a great ocean view, screened lanai, kitchen and washer/dryer. There’s a bedroom upstairs but it doesn’t face the ocean, so we used the bed in the living room and fell asleep to the sound of the waves. The sunsets from the beach and former golf course (soon to be re-opened) in front of the condo were spectacular, and we could also see Oahu.

The next day we took the Nature Conservancy hike in Kamakou Preserve. We met up with two other couples and our volunteer guides, Russ and Bill, who drove us many bumpy miles into the Molokai Forest Reserve to the trailhead. The trail is actually a very narrow boardwalk through a rain forest and bog, ending at a dramatic overlook atop Molokai’s highest mountain.

After the hike we drove to Kaunakakai, the island’s tiny main town, for condo provisions and the first of several visits to Kanemitsu Bakery. Back on the west side of the island, we spent late afternoon on three-mile-long Papohaku Beach.

Kaanapali, Maui

 

On Sunday we explored Molokai, including snorkeling off Murphy Beach and the spectacular drive to Halawa Valley. We had picked up the local paper in town and noticed that Na Kupuna Serenaders were performing at The Lodge at Molokai Ranch that evening, so we drove to Maunaloa to enjoy the music, dance and stories of the famous “aunties,” followed by a nice buffet dinner at The Lodge.

The next day we took the 10-minute flight to Kalaupapa Peninsula for a tour of the historic leper colony. We were picked up by Richard Marks, the colony’s sheriff and himself a victim of Hansen’s disease. After collecting visitors who either hiked down or rode mules, we embarked on a tour of the peninsula in a rickety school bus. (Until the remaining handful of residents leave the colony or die, visitors must be escorted.) Richard provided a firsthand account of the heartbreaking lives of those banished to the peninsula. But despite the somber history lesson, we were surrounded by immense beauty, including views of the towering sea cliffs shrouded in clouds. We spent the rest of the day snorkeling off Pohaku Mauliuli Beach, a short walk from the condo.

 

To Oahu

On 7/13 we reluctantly left Molokai and flew to Honolulu, where we rented a car and immediately drove up the east coast toward the North Shore, with stops at the Byodo-In Temple, Kualoa beach park, Laie and other sites. We snorkeled at the popular Pupukea Marine Sanctuary and got shave ice in Haleiwa before heading back to Honolulu, where we checked into our home for the next 10 days, the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

Lorraine was working at her employer's convention for much of that time, but we managed to squeeze in a couple days of sightseeing, including snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, walking the length of Waikiki Beach, attending the Prince Lot Hula Festival, and sightseeing in downtown Honolulu and Chinatown. While she worked, David toured a number of sites on his own or sat on the balcony (Rainbow 713) enjoying the view of Waikiki Beach and Diamondhead.

We celebrated David's 55th birthday with dinner at Orchids at the Halekulani Hotel.

(This was our second trip to Hawaii, having visited Maui, the Big Island and Kauai in 1992.)