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Posts Tagged ‘beach’

We have made short visits to Keawapaku Beach on our previous visits to Maui, but hadn’t spent a lot of time there before this latest trip. We decided to try out Five Palms Restaurant, which has an oceanfront view of Keawapaku Beach. We both had the Lobster BLT. The food was fantastic and the view was amazing. We even saw a few turtles swimming near the shoreline. 

By the time lunch was done it was getting to be mid-afternoon, so the wind had picked up and the waves were getting bigger. So I decided to wait until the next morning to try out the snorkeling. It was a beautiful sunny morning and the water was much calmer. I saw lots of fish and quite a few turtles. My first underwater video attempts at Kaanapali Beach were pretty shaky so I didn’t post any of those, but I did a lot better this time with the water being calm. Here are some of my favorite photos and a video from Keawapaku Beach:

Keawapaku Beach Maui

Lobster BLT at Five Palms Maui

Rocky Point near Keawapaku Beach Maui

Keawapaku Beach - Maui

Snorkeling at Keawapaku Beach, Maui

Maui Turtle

snorkeling with turtles video keawapaku beach maui

Definitely one of my new favorite beaches, and a very short drive from our condo at the Maui Banyan. Will be back here for sure on future visits! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts from our latest Hawaiian Adventures!

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We had been to Palauea Beach during our previous trip – it was one of my favorite places to snorkel. Since I had bought a new underwater camera for the trip, I was really looking forward to snorkeling here again.

It is one of the many amazing and scenic beaches of Wailea, however there are no services (outhouses only – no showers), no lifeguards, and parking is along the street where you can find it. But once you walk the short path through the trees to the beach, you are treated to a pretty sweet view:

Palauea Beach, Maui

I was a bit surprised at the size of the waves this time. During our previous trip it was very calm here. We are good swimmers so we headed out into the water to check it out. But with the waves being so big it was not a huge surprise to find the visibility was very poor – we could not see much at all. We swam out quite a ways hoping that it would get better once we got out away from the shoreline. But the farther from shore we got, the water remained the same. It was not long before we decided to head back to shore.

Palauea Beach, Maui

We had come to the beach well prepared however, and had brought the boogie boards as well. (we learned our lesson from not having them at Napili). It worked quite well to go out about waist deep, wait for the right wave, and enjoy the ride. I got a few videos of my brother enjoying the boogie boarding:

Although the waves started to get bigger:

After swallowing a fair bit of water that became the last ride of the day. It was back to enjoying the sand and the scenery. The beach was not very crowded, but there were quite a few other people enjoying the boogie boarding as well. The waves were quite large near the rocky point where most of the good snorkeling is located. There was one brave/dumb couple attempting to snorkel out there. We were a bit worried about them, but they did make it back to shore safely. Definitely not a place I would be swimming though:

Big Waves at Palauea

I am definitely looking forward to checking out Palauea beach if we make it back to Maui again in the future. Even with out the amazing snorkeling we still had a lot of fun here – what a great beach.

Palauea Beach, Maui

 

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We headed back to the island of Maui for our anniversary. So of course on our first night we headed to the beach where we got married – Secret Cove Beach. It was a cloudy night, but definitely much hotter than we were used to at home. It certainly was amazing to be back. There was a small wedding ceremony happening out on the point, despite all the fishing rods that had been set up there.

Secret Cove Destination Wedding Beach Maui Hawaii

The waves were crashing pretty good on the rocks. Such an amazing and peaceful sound.

Secret Cove Beach Maui Anniversary Photography

We were standing and enjoying the view, when I spotted a whale spouting off in the distance towards Kahoolawe. And then there was another spout, and another. It wasnt long before everyone on the beach was watching. It was really neat to have such an experience at our wedding beach on our anniversary.

But they were just getting started… all of the sudden a massive tail appeared and started slapping down onto the water, over and over and over. You can also see a whale to the left, blowing water/air:

Maui Whale Fight

Shauna took out her smaller camera with the better zoom, and took a video as well:

It must have carried on like this for a few minutes. What a sight! It appeared that the whale slapping its tail was trying to ward off another whale to the left of it. It finally ended when the whale to the left of the tail slapper gave one last spout of air and headed off in the other direction. We watched them all for a bit after that, and the one heading left seemed to be all by itself, while it looked like three or four of them heading to the right, towards Molokini.

As the whales headed off out of sight, I noticed a turtle swimming in the water about thirty feet from shore. It was riding in the waves and kept popping its head up for air. We tried getting some photos, but it was not sitting high enough in the water to get a good shot.

We would have been happy just being back at the beach and listening to the waves crashing. But seeing the whales and the turtle made it an unforgettable evening…. and definitely a great beginning to our trip.

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Napili Beach

We had stopped at Napili Beach during our 2009 trip for lunch at the SeaHouse Restaurant. So we knew we wanted to go back again during our latest trip. It was the perfect place to stop for lunch after a morning snorkel trip to Honolua Bay. It was a bit of a challenge to find some parking, but once we found a spot we headed for the Sea House Restaurant. It was not too busy, so we got a table right at the front along the edge of the beach:

SeaHouse Restaurant

The view of the beach from the restaurant is quite impressive. You can just see Lanai on the left, and part of Molokai on the right. We saw a few brochures that said you can sometimes see whales from here as well, but we didnt see any on this day – although we werent here during peak whale season either. But we had seen plenty of whales the day before on our amazing whale watch adventure . The photos above and below show the view from our table, with only a small row of plants and a walkway between us and the beach:

SeaHouse Restaurant

The waves were pretty big, and there were quite a few boogie boarders. We enjoyed watching them try and catch the big waves as we enjoyed a cold bevarage while we waited for our lunch. We had only planned to go snorkeling on this day however, and had left the boogie boards back at the condo. Too bad because it looked like a lot of fun. We definitely would have tried it out if we had the gear. They would start quite a ways out, and attempt to ride all the way up the beach. Only a few were successful, and only on the biggest of waves. There were also a number of people waiting closer to shore and taking a shorter ride up the beach. Many of the smaller kids were waiting here, and it looked like they all were having a great time. One or two of the waves even washed all the way to the top of the beach, suprising the poor sunbathers who had been laying there peacefully and dry.

But since the waves were too big for snorkeling, and we had just been to Honolua before lunch, we decided to head up the coast and do a bit of touring. We stopped at Punalau Beach and the Nakalele Blowhole, but did not make the adventure all the way around the coastline on the crazy road we had travelled in 2009.

Napili Beach, Maui

A few days later we decided to head back to Napili Beach – this time it was the destination, not just a stop along the way. We emptied the closet at the condo, loading up the car with the boogie boards, beach mats, cooler, and snorkel gear as we wanted to be prepared for anything. We were really looking forward to trying out the boogie boarding, however the waves did not cooperate for us. They were almost non-existent this time, and the water was quite calm. But since we had brought our snorkel gear… I was happy to take the opportunity to check out the marine life.

We did not get very far out at all, when I noticed my brother waving me over. He had spotted a snowflake eel swimming along. I tried a few photos, but they didnt turn out the best. So I figured I would try a video, although I thought it was a little longer than this…

We saw a few more eels throughout the reef as well, which was kind of surprising since we didnt see even one at any of the other places we snorkelled.

Napili Eel and Fish

The water was not the clearest, especially closer to shore. But I was impressed with the amount and variety of fish we saw here:
Napili Fish and Coral

Napili Fish

Napili Goatfish

Unicorn Fish

My brother and I are both good swimmers, so we ended up quite a ways out from the shore. But we did notice the current pulling us out to sea pretty good, in the direction of Lanai, so we decided it would be best to turn around and head back closer to shore. I would definitely reccomend checking out the ocean conditions before heading out. There are a lot of good websites out there with this type of information. I liked this website for checking the ocean conditions. Although it doesn’t seem to have Napili Beach listed specifically.

View looking back towards the beach:
View from the Water

Here is the view from Napili Beach looking towards the island of Molokai:
Napili Beach

Overall we had a great time, and really enjoyed this beach. I do like the central location of Kihei, and really like our room at the Maui Banyan, but if I was going to stay anywhere else this would likely be the place. Such an amazing beach, and so close to Honolua (another of my favorite spots – blog post to come shortly). This part of West Maui is a bit out of the way from the other things on the island that we enjoy though, such as Haleakala, Hana, and Wailea. But there is so much to see and do near Napili that you could definitley make an amazing vacation within this area as well.

Clear Water at Napili Beach, Maui

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Maluaka Beach was one of my favorite places to snorkel during our previous trip. So of course it was the first beach we went to swim at. The beach is located in south Wailea, on the island of Maui. The Makena Beach and Golf Resort is the only resort at this beach. Looks like an amazing place, but much like the other Wailea resorts is pretty pricey.

Maluaka Beach

The waves were a bit bigger this time, and the water was not quite as clear as it was on our last trip. But we had a great time here once again. A number of the charter snorkel tour boats bring their customers here, usually after their morning snorkel stop at Molokini. Since my brother and I are good swimmers, we had no problems with swimming out to where the boats anchor.

The first day we came here, I was really happy with all the different kinds of fish. No turtles hough, but I still had a great time in the water. This was the first time I was able to try out my new Canon D10 underwater camera as well. I was pretty nervous to put it in the water at first, but quickly learned to trust that it would be fine doing what it was made for – taking pictures while snorkeling.

Here is a large school of yellow-stripe goatfish that was swimming around. I wasnt sure if there were a few schools of them, or if I just kept seeing the same school as I swam about the reef:

School of Goatfish

I also saw a bunch of Moorish Idols, and was happy with the way the water’s surface showed up in this photo:
Moorish Idols

As you can see here, the water was not the clearest. Visibility was still quite good however, and the colors of the coral showed up quite well:
Maluaka Coral

We tried out Palauea a few days after the first trip to Maluaka, but the visibility was not good at all. So we decided to head back to Maluaka. I am not sure why, but it was still relatively clear once again. We had not gone too far out when we finally spotted a turtle lying on the bottom. It just layed there looking up at us, and had a fair bit of sand on top of it – so it must have been there for a while:

First Turtle of the Trip

We continued swimming out towards the tour boats, figuring the water would keep getting clearer as we got further from shore. It stays relatively shallow for quite a distance from the shore, providing lots of great reef to observe. As we got closer to the boats, the number of snorkelers began to increase. I heard someone about thirty feet ahead, in the direction we were swimming, say they had spotted a turtle. It was a younger child, and his siblings/parents did not seem to believe him as he was the only one in the group to spot it. All of the sudden it swam right in front of me, and only five feet away. Luckily I was swimming with my camera on, and I was able to get a quick photo:

Green Sea Turtle

I turned to try and find my brother, to make sure he was looking as well. But he was heading off in the other direction, and did not realize it was there. I got one more photo as it continued swimming off towards the bottom:

Swimming Away

By this time we were getting quite a long way from the shore where we had started. Although we did get a pretty sweet view of the black sand beach located between Maluaka Beach and Little Beach. But the current was starting to pick up a bit, as were the waves. So we figured we should start making our way back to the beach. We saw a lot of different fish along the way back to shore as well. But no more turtles. I had hoped to get back one more time before we left, but just ran out of time.
View of the black sand beach:

Makena Black Sand Beach

Overall I was very happy with the new underwater camera. I read a lot of reviews, and checked a lot of the groups on Flickr, to try and figure out which brand offered the best options. All of our other cameras are Canon, so I was searching rather hard to try and find one that might be able to top the Canon D10. In the end, I decided I really liked the photos and color produced by the D10, so decided to stick with the Canon. You definitely have to take care of the seals though. I noticed a few times when I was cleaning it that a few small sand particles were trying to stick to the seal. One thing I was worried about was the number of reviews from all of the various brands that mentioned their camera had flooded and no longer worked. But my D10 survived the trip, and I look forward to using it again in the future.

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Here is a top ten list of my favorite Maui Beaches. They are slightly biased towards south Maui since we stayed in Kihei. Each person might have a different view depending where they stay. But you will find some amazing beaches no matter where you are on the Island of Maui. Anyhow here is my list of Maui beaches…

#1 – Secret Cove Beach:

Secret Cove Maui SunsetProbably not the number one Maui beach for many people – except for those who were married there. But this is my list, so Secret Cove Beach gets bumped to the top.  Although you probably won’t spend much time there without the whole wedding thing. It is rather small, and not a great swimming beach. But it is definitely a great beach for weddings and for photography. If you would like to read more you can check out my post here.

#2 – Maluaka Beach:

Maluaka Beach, MauiAs far as swimming beaches go, Maluaka one was definitely my favorite on the island. If we did not get married at Secret Cove Beach, this would likely be at the top of the list. Great scenery, great sand, great water, and the snorkeling is amazing. Lots of turtles and fish – it is one of the Turtle Town’s the charter boats take you to. If cost was not an issue, there is good chance we would stay at the Makena Resort just to stay at this beach. But I don’t see the point of spending all that extra cash to stay in Wailea, when it is just a short drive down the road from Kihei. If you would like to read more you can check out my post here.

#3 – Palauea Beach:

Palauea Beach, Maui

Yet another amazing South Maui beach. Palauea Beach has great scenery, sand, water, and snorkeling – similar to Maluaka beach above. I saw a lot of turtles here as well – it is known as Turtle Town as well. The visibility wasn’t as good on the days we were here as it was at Maluaka, but I am sure that changes a lot depending on the time of year and season. But it is pretty hard to go wrong with either one of Maui’s Turtle Town’s. If you would like to read more you can check out my post here.

#4 – Big Beach:

Big Beach, MauiBig beach is another of the great South Maui beaches. Would probably be higher on my list if it wasn’t for the dangerous shorebreak that makes it nearly impossible to swim here. Although the day I took the photo above the waves were pretty calm. There were a few people swimming and even some snorkelers as well. I even saw a few turtles from up where the photo was taken. (which also doubles as the trail to Little Beach) The waves at Big Beach were crashing loudly most other days we were here; it was impressive to see. If you would like to read more you can check out my post here.

#5 – Kamaole II Beach:
Kamaole II Beach Panoramic

Kamaole II Beach is another beach that might not be near the top of many people’s lists. But since we stayed across the street at the Maui Banyan, we spent a lot of time here. So we have a lot of great memories from this beach. We did a lot of swimming, and the snorkeling was pretty good too – especially around the rocky point shown above. And we got a bit of boogie boarding in as well. There was one day we even saw some whales leaping out of the water off in the distance. If you would like to read more you can check out my post here.

#6 – Napili Beach:

Napili Beach, MauiNapili Beach just seems like a great place to spend the day. The water looks so clear, and everyone there was having a great time. If we ever stay in West Maui, it will be at one of the resorts along Napili Beach. It was one of my first choices when we were researching for our wedding trip of 2008. But we just couldn’t justify spending twice the amount to stay here compared to sunny Kihei – especially with the wedding to pay for. But it was certainly worth the drive to check it out. We plan to visit again on our next trip.

#7 – Honolua Bay:

Honolua Bay, MauiHonolua Bay is another great Maui snorkeling location. When we visited in 2008 this was one of the few calm snorkel locations on the island. But in 2009 only the surfers were there. There is no sand along the shoreline, but we were there to snorkel, and you can always find more fish along the rocky areas anyhow. The visibility along the shoreline wasn’t the best. But once you get out a bit things get much better – especially along either side of the bay. We saw lots of fish here, and an octopus too. No turtles though, but apparently there are some in the area. During our visit in 2008 there were even a few charter boats there, which seemed like a great way to see the West Maui coast, and might be worth looking into for next time.

#8 – Black Sand Beach at Wainapanapa State Park:

Black Sand Beach, Maui This Black Sand Beach is a long way from where most people spend most of their time, but a black lava sand beach really is worth the drive, especially along the scenic Hana Highway. I look forward to spending more time here on our next trip. Although I don’t think it is a very good swimming beach – it looked pretty rough. But what a great beach for taking photos. And there are some trails on either side that I am hoping to explore next time as well.

#9 – Ho’okipa Beach:

Ho'okipa Beach, MauiHo’okipa Beach doesn’t seem to be a great swimming beach, but it is known as one of the best windsurfing beaches in the world. The lookout above the beach makes for a great place to watch and take some photos. Definitely worth checking out. We even saw some turtles popping up for air amongst the surfers.

#10 – Ka’anapali Beach:

I will have to get a photo for Ka’anapali Beach during our next trip. We only stopped here briefly on our 2008 wedding trip. But what an scenic beach it is. The sand just seems to keep going and going. Definitely another one we plan to spend more time at on our next trip to Maui. It is very popular, and usually ranked a lot higher on most people’s lists. But since we didn’t spend much time there it will have to be lower on this list – at least until next time.

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My second favorite spot to snorkel was Palauea Beach, also known as White Rock. It is another one of Maui’s Turtle Towns. I had to swim out a bit farther at this beach before I saw any turtles, but there was certainly plenty to see along the way with lots of fish and coral to check out.

Palauea Beach is located on Makena Road, just south of the Fairmont Kea Lani. Parking is along the roadside, and will be obvious once you see all the other cars parked. As with anywhere, make sure not to leave any valuables in your car.

I should also mention that there are no facilities or lifeguards here, so be sure to use your own facilities before you get there. And if you are not a strong swimmer, then one of the charter tours is probably a better bet.

I swam out starting from the rocks in the foreground and headed to the left. It had rained a quite a bit when we first arrived, so the water was a bit murky. But the visibility was quite good towards the end of our trip once the weather improved, with lots of fish and turtles.

Hawaii Stitch8627_editAccording to the Maui Revealed guidebook, the rocks near the top of the photo are also good snorkeling. I didn’t get the chance to compare the two sides though. I guess that will have to be a goal during my next visit as I cannot wait to check out the water here again…

And while I was snorkeling, Shauna was busy taking some great photos:
sand lines

Once again if you are not a strong swimmer, or do not like the thought of swimming at a beach with no lifeguards, then you should probably check out the charter tours as a way to experience the snorkeling at one of Maui’s Turtle Towns. Better safe than sorry when dealing with the ocean. The photo below shows the area I explored the most. Much of the best snorkeling was out closer to the charter boat.

Palauea Beach, Maui

I found a great website for checking out the ocean conditions around Maui, and the other islands as well. It has aerial photos, beach descriptions, hazard ratings, and of course surf conditions. I would recommend checking it out before heading into the water so you know what you are up against.

During our next visit to Maui, I am also hoping to check out Molokini. I want to see if it really is that much better than the snorkeling along the shoreline. I would like to find a tour that doesn’t go to Turtle Town though, since I have found how to reach two of them from shore (Palauea and Maluaka). For the price of a charter tour I would like to spend as much time at Molokini as possible, and skip the areas I can get to from shore on my own.

If you would like to check out some additional photos of Palauea beach (and other sites on Maui) Shauna has posted some on her Flickr account here.

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