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Posts Tagged ‘snorkeling’

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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I had heard that Black Rock at Ka’anapali was one of the best snorkeling locations on the island of Maui. I wanted to check it out on a previous trip, but didn’t make it there as we always stay in Kihei. Shauna doesn’t like snorkeling, and I am not a big fan of shopping. So I made a plan where Shauna would drop me off at Black Rock for a few hours so I could snorkel while she went shopping at the Whaler’s Village. It worked out great for both of us.

The snorkeling at Black Rock was very good, with great visibility. However it was far too busy for my liking. Most of the turtles I saw were completely surrounded by people. There was one right near the shore that was pretty much getting swarmed by kids, until a large Hawaiian guy came down and shouted for them all to ‘get away from the turtle’. Overall it was a good place to snorkel, but I preferred my time at Honolua and the various Wailea beaches which were less busy with just as many fish and turtles. Here are some of my favorite photos from my day at Black Rock. It was overcast and raining while I was here, so the photos probably would have been better if it was sunny the entire time. Only one turtle photo as well, since I was trying out the video on my camera this time. However it seemed that I needed some practice as none of the video I took was usable. Fortunately I got another chance later in the trip, and got some great turtle video. More to come on that in a later post.

Kaanapali Beach - Maui

Black Rock - at Kaanapali Beach, Maui

Maui Fish

Maui Fishes

First Turtle of the Trip

Needle Fish

Beautiful Kaanapali Beach, Maui

A great day at the beach, and I was very happy to be back for another Maui vacation. Shauna had a great time with her shopping as well, so the day was a success all around. Stay tuned for more posts and photos from our latest Hawaiian Adventures!

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We had only stopped briefly at Mokapu Beach on our previous trips to Maui, but knew we wanted to spend some more time there. It’s located in south Maui, with a parking lot on Ulua Beach Road near the Wailea Elua Village. The parking lot leads to a turnaround between Mokapu and Ulua Beach Parks and direct access to the Wailea Beach Path which connects all the amazing Wailea Beaches. On our first visit to Mokapu beach we watched a beautiful sunset and captured some photos of the beach and palm tree silhouettes. On our last day of the trip I was finally able to try out the snorkelling. The water was clear and there was lots of fish… mostly in the shallows right along the rocky point.

A self portrait silhouette we took during the sunset at Mokapu Beach…

Mokapu Beach Sunset Silhouette Maui Hawaii Wedding Northern Pixel Photography

View of the sunset from the water…

Mokapu Beach Sunset Maui Hawaii Wedding

View from the water looking towards the Rocky Point between Mokapu and Ulua Beaches…

Mokapu Beach, Maui

Some of the coral, sea urchins, and fish in the clear water at Mokapu Beach…

Mokapu Beach Snorkelling Fish Coral

Mokapu Beach Snorkelling

The view looking north towards Mokapu Beach from the rocky point…

Mokapu Beach, Maui

And the beautiful sunsets…

Mokapu Beach Sunset

Mokapu Beach Sunset Hawaii

With beautiful sunsets, great snorkelling, and even a wedding on the beach one evening we were there, Mokapu is definitely one of my new favorite Maui Beaches.

You can follow our blog to receive notification of our new posts – we have lots more to come as we sort through the photos from our trip – or leave a comment below if you like the post or have any questions. Thanks for reading!

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We have been to Maui three times now, with a lot of great experiences, memories, and photographs. So I was looking back and thinking about all of my favorite activities we have done.  So of course it made perfect sense to add a blog post with our favorite Maui Activities. Although it was a pretty tough list to narrow down, as there are so many amazing things you can do there. Since we mostly travel the island on our own, there are not many paid tours on the list (although we would like to take a helicopter tour some day). Anyhow, here is the list, hope you enjoy it, and as always you can click on the color links to see the full post for each:

#1 – Of course our wedding is first on the list. Such a perfect day at Secret Cove Beach, and our favorite memory of all. Getting married on the beach in Hawaii is the best thing we could have done:

Secret Cove (Pa'ako Beach), Maui

Sunset at Secret Cove Beach

#2 – Whale Watching with the Pacific Whale Foundation. It is definitely worth going out just to see and hear the humpbacks, no matter what the distance. We were lucky enough to have them swim right up to the boat. It was an unforgettable experience.

Pacific Whale Foundation - Maui Whale Watching

Whale-Watching

#3 – The amazing Haleakala Sunrise. We have been up to view the sunrise twice now, and will certainly go back up again on our next trip. I also enjoyed taking photos of the night sky. But watching the sun slowly rise above the clouds was a sight to behold. But be sure to dress warm for this one, as that wind is something else.

Haleakala Sunrise - Maui

Lookout Tower- Haleakala Volcano Crater Sunrise, Maui

#4 – The Old Lahaina Luau. Another amazing memory from our wedding trip of 2008. It was recommended online as one of the best Maui Luau’s. Whether you choose this one or another, a luau is definitely something to experience on any trip to Hawaii.

Old Lahaina Luau

#5 – Snorkeling at turtle town. I love to swim, love to snorkel, and love taking photos. So I spent a lot of time in the water with my new underwater camera on our latest trip. Turtle town near Wailea is one of my favorite spots. If you arent comfortable swimming from shore there are a lot of tour boat options that will get you here as well, to swim with the fish and the turtles.

Snorkeling with Turtles

#6 – Driving the Hana Highway. An all day adventure with as many side trips and stops as you can manage. So many sights and stops and adventures to be had.

South Maui Coastline

#7 – Honolua Bay – One of our favorite places on the island of Maui. On our first trip he heard it was a great snorkeling location. We didnt know about the rainforest out there however – what an amazing place. And the snorkeling was awesome (when the surf isn’t up).

Honolua Bay

Tropical Forest at Honolua Bay, Maui

#8 – Hiking the Pipiwai trail. An adventure that might be best done while staying in Hana. But we made an early morning drive from Kihei and hiked this amazing trail. From the Infinity Pool, to the banyan tree, to the Bamboo Forest, to the 400 foot waterfall at the end, this was such an awesome hike.

Maui Bamboo Forest

Makahiku Falls Infinity Pool - Maui

#9 – Watching the sunsets on the beach is one of our favorite (and free) activities on the island. We especially loved the views from Secret Cove and Big Beach. The perfect way to end yet another day in paradise:

Beautiful Maui Sunset

Kamaole Beach Sunset

#10 – Kula Botanical Garden. We spent a great morning walking through the gardens here. Its a self guided trail where you can wander the trails at your own pace, and view the great variety of tropical plants and flowers. Definitely great for photos:

Crazy Flower at Kula Tropical Flower Gardens, Maui

at Kula Tropical Gardens, Maui

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed the list. It was hard to narrow down as there is so much to do. We definitely look forward to our next visit, as there are many more activities we would like to try.

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We had been to Honolua Bay during both of our previous trips, so we knew it was one of the places we had to visit again during our most recent trip in April 2011. The first time we stopped here we were amazed at the lush green rainforest you walk through on your way to the beach. We went snorkelling that day, and were very happy with the water clarity and number of fish.

On our second trip the surf was up. There were no snorkelers and a whole lot of surfers. The waves were quite big, so we did not even bother trying to enter the water.

So this time we were not sure what to expect. We brought our snorkelling gear though, and remained hopeful the water would be calm. We got to the pullout overlooking the Bay, and were very happy to see that not only was it calm, but the charter boats were anchored and lots of people were in the water snorkelling:

Beautiful Honolua Bay

We then began to wonder whether or not we would be able to find a parking spot. There is no parking lot at Honolua Bay. You just have to find a spot along the edge of the road, which becomes rather difficult when it gets busy. One important thing to remember is that you should not leave anything in your car. When we returned to our car we found that the car directly across the road from ours had gotten its windows smashed. A police officer was there talking with them, and we overheard that they had some fairly valuable stuff stolen. Apparently break-ins are quite frequent here.

The forest you walk through on your way to the shoreline is pretty amazing, worth the trip on its own even if you dont go in the water:
Honolua Forest

Tropical Forest at Honolua Bay, Maui

Trail to the beach:
Walking down the path to Honolua Bay, Maui

We took everything we had brought along for the day down to the beach with us. Shauna wasn’t interested in snorkelling, so she sat on the beach and watched all of our stuff. She did have some company though:
Beach cat

I should also mention that the ‘beach’ at Honolua is a lot like many of the beaches we saw on the Big Island… lots of rocks and not a lot of sand…

The rocky beach at Honolua Bay

But we were not here to enjoy the sand, so we headed out into the water. Like many beaches, the water closest to shore is not very clear. But once you get out away from the shoreline it begins to get better and better. I had read that the right side of the bay has some of the best snorkelling on the island of Maui, so we headed that way to check it out. Once we got past the tour boats the water became very clear:

And this one out a bit further:
Needle-fish

I was really keeping an eye out for turtles, since this was only our second time in the water, and we had not seen any at this point in the trip. We never did see any turtles, but the variety of fish was quite impressive:

Parrotfish

Puffer Fish

After a while we decided it was time to head back to shore. It was approaching lunch time and we figured Shauna would be getting bored back on shore. It turns out she was having a great time. There were a few cats wandering the beach, one of which decided to stop and have a nap beside her.

As we were swimming back towards shore, I decided to swim along the edge of the coral where the water drops off and gets quite a bit deeper. I figured there would be a better chance of seeing turtles and other various marine life we had not seen in the shallower water. But of course I would never have imagined the sight that suddenly appeared before me:

Honolua Shark

It was about six feet long, and resting on the bottom about twenty-five to thirty feet down. I looked up to show my mom and brother, however they were a little ways ahead of me with their heads down snorkelling, and did not see or hear me. I snapped a few quick photos and continued on my way. It was resting in a crevasse among the coral, and I was happy that it did not seem interested that I was there. There was a Fish of Hawaii book back at the condo which I used to decide this was a Grey Reef Shark. The book had all the shark species that are found in Hawaiian waters, and I really enjoyed looking through it. Since the water was pretty deep, and it was sitting in a fairly dark crevasse, the photo did not turn out the clearest. But from the photo and the vision that was etched into my memory, this shark did not have any black or white tips on the fins, and the fin shape/size did not seem to fit any of the other descriptions. It was pretty amazing to see in the ocean, and not just an aquarium tank like all the sharks I had seen before.

Photo of Honolua from above:

Honolua Snorkeling

Looking at the rest of my snorkelling photos from our trip, the water at Honolua was by far the clearest of the places we tried. I still have not been out to Molokini though, and hear that it is even better. I just can’t work myself up to paying for a snorkel tour, when I have been able to have such a great time swimming from shore. My mom, brother, and I are all very good swimmers though, so I would recommend taking a snorkel charter boat if you are not comfortable swimming about the Pacific Ocean. And of course you should always check the ocean conditions before you go. As we got farther out into the bay we did notice a current pulling us out towards Molokai, which was a definite reminder we were not swimming in conditions similar to the lakes back home.

Looking back towards the rocky beach:

View of the Beach at Honolua

After we got out of the water we headed back to Napili Beach for lunch at the SeaHouse Restaurant, before heading back up the Northwest Coastline past Honolua. It was one of my favourite days of the entire trip. Here is a view of the water at Honolua looking down from the far side of the bay as we returned from the Nakalele Blowhole:

Honolua Bay

I really wanted to get back up to the water at Honolua for a second time during our trip. But since it is a good hour’s drive from our condo in Kihei we were not able to fit it into the rest of our busy plans. I would have spent the entire trip snorkelling if I could have, but there were so many other things to see and do on the island.

If you have the time, are in the area, and can pack light (don’t leave anything in the car) then I would absolutely recommend checking out the water at Honolua Bay. I should also mention that this is one place I would consider taking a charter tour, to avoid having to worry about the car being broken into. The snorkelling is definitely worth it – at least in the summer months when the water is calm. In the winter months I will stick to watching the surfers from the lookout above.

Snorkel Boat at Honolua Bay, Maui

Snorkeling at Honolua Bay, Maui

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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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