Merry Christmas from Maui!
There's nothing like a Christmas tree among the palm trees, right?! The Shops at Wailea had some understated, strategically placed, Christmas decor that I wanted to use in this blog post. Hence the above pic, and the pic below.
The lone reindeer in the tropics!
Now to snorkeling...
We just returned from Maui and had some pretty good chuckles at snorkeling novices (I still count myself among them, so no shame here).
Snorkeling is one of those things that, depending on your first experience, you can love or hate. I take that back, you can also be like me, and if the water is just the right temperature and the right level of calm, and you are curious about what the other snorkelers are seeing, you enjoy it for 20-30 minutes.
But back to first experience with snorkeling:
1. Buy, don't rent. Did you know Costco tends to sell decent snorkel gear in the spring--even at stores that are nowhere near water? We pack our snorkel gear with us when we come to the island and replace the gear back at home as necessary. The advantage of this is that we always have decent gear on island that hasn't cost us a small fortune.
2. Go with an experienced snorkeler your first time. There's a lot of cumbersome equipment in snorkel gear! It's good to have someone who can help you get that equipment all figured out. More importantly, you need someone to show you how to get in and out of the water in a manner that works for humans. Although it works for ducks, walking forward into the waves with flipper feet is not very effective for humans...
3. Pick a beginner spot to snorkel. Think calm waters, morning. and rock. Ask at the dive shops for their list of good beginner spots. These are two of my favorite spots:
Honolua Bay (birds eye view on left and shore side on right) north of Kapalua. This is my favorite spot when the water is calm. SO MANY FISH!! Go early, though, because the word is out on this spot and it gets really crowded (even boat tours show up there now)!
Ulua Bay on the right side. This is also a place you need to get to early, but it is a great place for a first snorkel experience. The right side of the beach has a great reef area with calm water in the morning and plenty of fish and turtles (although they tend to hang out at the bottom of the reef). It's a popular spot for beginning scuba divers, too.
One word on Molokini: This is always listed as a beginner spot. Molokini was my second snorkel experience and it was intimidating for me to be out in the middle of the ocean (yes, you are inside the crater). Plus, I didn't see that many fish, in comparison to other places I have snorkeled. I vote closer to shore for beginning snorkel experiences.
In a previous blog, I mentioned a few of my favorite dining spots. There were some glaring omissions, which I need to add:
MISO PHAT is almost always our first dinner on Maui. The TNT Roll is a must. It is a small dining spot so go early unless you want to wait outside for a bit. It's another one of those places that has become pretty popular--and deservedly so--because it is not outrageously expensive and has great sushi.
SANSEI SEAFOOD RESTAURANT & SUSHI is another great sushi place at a relatively inexpensive price. You can make reservations here, which means you can avoid the long line that starts a little before 5 pm.
NALUS SOUTH SHORE GRILL is a fairly new Kihei spot that has good food at a good price. On Saturday and Wednesday nights, Nalus has dinner shows, which we haven't attended yet, but the Wednesday show is on my list of things to do.