On Wednesdays, the Banana Bungalow heads over to West Maui. After stopping at a snorkel gear rental place, Snorkel Bob’s, we headed over to Ka’anapali Beach for a day of sun, sand and sea. Here we had the chance to go cliff jumping (which I did not do and now seriously regret), loads of tanning, and my favourite beach activity, snorkelling!
Ka’anapali Beach is a 3-mile long stretch of white sand and it is a great location for turtle spotting and cliff jumping. Black Rock is the big, rocky peninsula and snorkelling spot at the north end of this beach. With beautiful sand and such great snorkelling conditions, most of the major hotels and resorts in West Maui run along this area. Ka’anapali is quite simply a gorgeous beach to kick back and relax on – which is exactly what I did the whole day there!
In Hawaii, I had one goal set out for myself – to spot a turtle. I had seen baby ones in a Florida harbour once, but never have I been in the water with them. I was disappointed that after being in the water for almost an hour, there were no turtles in sight. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed the views of beautiful coral and tropical fish. I was even lucky enough to see some rays when swimming past the coral (which in hindsight was STUPID to do – don’t ever go past the reef – open water is where our hungry friends live, yikes! I guess the ocean really does make me throw common sense out the window!)
I was snorkelling with new hostel friends maybe for two hours in to our arrival at the beach, when I heard one of them scream underwater. I froze and instantly thought “shark”. I quickly looked to see what she was screaming it, but rather than swimming away for my life, I frantically started swimming towards it – a sea turtle had just emerged right in front of her out of no where! This was no baby turtle, this thing was HUGE! Possibly the size of my round kitchen table! I had never seen anything like it!
I had a chance to swim around with this big guy for maybe 10 minutes and then he disappeared – one of my favourite travel experiences to date, there is nothing like it!
Lahaina & Luaus
After a day of sunshine and salt water, our Bungalow tour guides took us to the Lahaina Jodo Mission and into the heart of Lahaina itself. I came back to visit Lahaina a couple more times after this first visit, mainly because it is the core for shopping, art galleries and restaurants on the island. Also, the charm of this old whaling town gave me that taste of Hawaii I had imagined for years before I visited. This was the Hawaii I had always pictured.
In the downtown square of Lahaina, there is a 137-year-old Banyan Tree. It spreads across almost 1-acre of the downtown area. This tree type is the largest of its kind in the United States, however, it did not originally come from Hawaii. Sheriff William Smith planted this Banyan Tree in 1873 to commemorate and celebrate a historic event. This tree at one time used to have one trunk, but now, the tree has grown and expanded over time and it has now over 16 trunks! This Banyan Tree is a historical landmark and a beautiful sight to see. Often tourists can find amazing local art vendors underneath the Banyan’s branches, making for a nice little walk to take within the square.
Another reason I visited Lahaina again was en route back to Ka’anapali to experience my very first luau! Located at the Hyatt Regency Resort, the Drums of the Pacific Lu-au is a Hawaiian luau experience that truly is bang for your buck. You get not only a traditional Hawaiian buffet dinner, but you get hours of dancing performances, a shell lei when you enter (flower leis can be purchased for just $5) AND it’s an open bar…that’s right OPEN BAR! All for just $95.00 USD! I can confidently say that we got our money’s worth out of that evening.
Snorkelling Turtle Town
Hoping for another repeat of the turtle excitement we had at Ka’anapali beach, we loaded the van for another tour, this time to the town of Kihei to lay on Maluaka Beach, or also known as Turtle Town. Due to its’ name, I had high expectations for more turtle sightings as I was still living on an all-time high from my previous-day encounter with one.
Sadly, there were no turtles in sight all day long : (
Though we were beyond depressed we did not see another turtle, this did not stop us from having some GoPro fun!
To end our day of snorkelling and tanning, we loaded up the van once more and headed to Life’s a Beach bar in Kihei. This bar changed my life. How you may ask? I had my very first burrito here. Our Bungalow Guide was born and raised in San Diego, California. She raved about the burritos there and claims she has one right after she gets off the plane when she visits home. Trusting her suggestion, I ordered the chicken burrito special. My life was changed forever. To this day, burritos are in my top three favourite foods to eat. Following our Mai Thai’s and tasty burritos, we headed over to the beach again to watch the sunset before heading back to the bungalow.
West Maui gave me not only great food and entertainment experiences, but the best snorkelling opportunities that I have ever had! I fell deeper into love with snorkelling on this trip and I cannot wait to plan my next great escape back to the ocean. I can only hope I will get to swim with sea turtles once more in my lifetime…or a couple more times if I can manage it.
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