Posts Tagged ‘sunset’

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.

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During our wedding trip of 2008, we decided to spend the second week of our trip on the Island of Oahu. We stayed at the Waikiki Beach Hotel.  The room was very comfortable and had a great view, even though it was only a partial ocean view. One of the best things about it was the free breakfast. You can eat beside the pool, or take the food with you in the cooler they provide. Most mornings we filled up the cooler and went back to the room to eat on the balcony. It was a partial ocean view only because there was a building just to the left of this photo, and our building to the right. It was still quite impressive though…

Waikiki BeachThe hotel is located on the Diamond Head end of Waikiki Beach, so it is a bit of a walk to the International Marketplace. But as with most of the Waikiki hotels the Hilo Hattie and Ala Moana buses stop out front.

We took the elevator to the top floor to check out the view a couple times. It was definitely worth it:
Honolulu Panoramic

On our first full day on Oahu, we went to check out Hanauma Bay for some great snorkeling. The shuttle bus drops you off at the parking area at the top of the hill and you can walk down to the beach. The view on the way down is very good:

Hanauma BayBefore you can go in the water, you have to watch a short video about ocean habitat and preservation of the reef. As with most of Oahu, it was quite busy there. But there are lots of fish to see and I would certainly recommend it if you are on Oahu.

As we were walking back up the hill we noticed a massive school of fish from the road. We had not swam over to this side, so it was tempting to go back and check it out. But the bus was leaving soon so we carried on our way. I wasn’t sure if I would feel comfortable swimming with so many fish anyhow…

School of fish at Hanauma Bay

We wanted to do the circle island tour, but did not want to pay the tour bus rates and be on their set schedules. The hotel does not have much parking for rental cars, so we just rented one for the day. It ended up being one of our favorite days on Oahu. Of course having the Oahu Revealed guidebook helped us out as well. Although I don’t think it is as helpful as their other guidebooks. But their website is great for the links, reviews, and aerial views of resorts.

We started out towards the airport in a clockwise direction. We knew wanted to stop at the Waimea Valley Gardens, so that was our first destination. They have a paved trail with many tropical flowers and trees. At the end of the trail is a freshwater pond and waterfall:

Waimea Valley Audubon Center

From there it was back to the town of Haleiwa for lunch at Haleiwa Joe’s. They had good food and a great view. Definitely worth checking out.
Haleiwa Joe's

We were hoping to see some huge waves along the North Shore, but since we were there in late April, the ocean had calmed down.

Our next stop was Turtle Bay. If I was going to stay on Oahu again, this is the place I would like to stay at. It was still fairly busy, but still much less crowded than Honolulu. The water was quite clear, and the snorkeling was good. It was one of our favorite spots on Oahu.

Turtle Bay, Oahu

By this time, we did not have time to stop at the Polynesian Culture Center. I had been there on a previous trip to Oahu, and my mother went a few days later on this trip. She said it was still very good, and much more interactive than our first trip. They teach you a great deal about each of the Polynesian Islands, while putting on a very good show. Definitely worth checking out.

We did make a quick stop at Pounder’s Beach. The waves were quite big here, although there were a few crazy surfers enjoying them. We preferred to enjoy them from shore, and got some good photos.

Pounder's Beach, Oahu

We could have spent more time exploring around the east coast of the island, but decided to head back to the hotel.

One day while sitting at the Starbucks down the street, we noticed a bunch of small geckos running around. We got a lot of photos of them, but this was one of my favorites:
Waikiki wildlife

There were a lot of great sunsets during our week on Oahu as well. And lots of sailboats, and kayakers to include in the photos:

Waikiki SunsetThis is one of my favorite sunset photos we took:
Waikiki Beach Sunset

We found that the only time Waikiki Beach was not completely packed was at night, or early in the morning. It was a big difference for us after our quiet week on the island of Maui. The beaches there were busy, but certainly not as busy as Waikiki or Hanauma Beach. But we did get some good night photos at Waikiki:

Waikiki Beach at night

Our two favorite restaurants on Oahu were right across the street from the Waikiki Beach Hotel at the Marriott. Sansei Seafood and Sushi and The Kuhio Beach Grill. You can check out my post on Sansei here. The Kuhio Beach Grill had a nightly buffet, and each night was different. It might have been one of the only restaurants we ate dinner at if we had found it sooner. The food was amazing. You can’t get much better than a fresh seafood and crab-leg buffet.

We went to Perry’s Smorg a few nights before we found the buffet at the Marriott. There was no comparison at all between the two. I would not recommend Perry’s to anyone. The food was not good, and it was quite dark there.

Overall, we preferred all of the other Hawaiian islands quite a bit more than Oahu. Part of the reason might be that we didn’t have our own car, other than the one day, so we were more restricted to what we could do and where we could go. But it didn’t seem like a good idea to have a rental car the whole time with not much room for parking at the hotel, and the extra fees that comes with it.

We actually decided to take a day trip to Kauai, just to get away Honolulu, which I have described in another post here. It ended up being one of the best parts of our two week trip, and we are looking forward to going back to Kauai. We might go back to Oahu sometime, but only for a few days in order to check out Turtle Bay, Hanauma Bay, the Polynesian Culture Center, and of course Pearl Harbor (which we never got around to doing this trip).  We would not be spending another whole week though, and definitely not staying at Waikiki Beach.

Everything was just too busy there. Honolulu is a big city, and staying at Waikiki Beach is like being in most other large cities on the mainland – with large buildings, and people everywhere. It seemed hotter than the other islands as well – perhaps because of all the buildings and concrete. Of course the beach is great, but it was just too crowded for us. Even being in the ocean there felt more like a swimming pool – with people everywhere. It was certainly not the same type of Hawaiian experience as we found on the other islands.

How much you like Oahu will depend on what you are looking for I suppose. If you have never been to Hawaii before, and want to see some of the great tourist attractions, then Oahu is a good place to go for that. And if you like the city scene, with more of a night-life, then Waikiki is probably a great place to stay. But we did not find it relaxing at all compared to the laid back islands of Maui and Kauai.

Although you cannot get photos like this on the other islands…
Waikiki Beach, Honolulu

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My wife chose Secret Cove as the location for our wedding based upon the photos and information she found while doing some initial research on the internet, especially on theknot.com. This beach is also known as Makena Cove and Paako Beach. It was appealing since it is small, scenic, out of the way, and generally not as busy as other Maui Beaches can be.

Once we got to Maui, we could hardly wait to check it out for ourselves. So of course it was the first place we visited on our first day. We were very excited to finally be able to see it in person.

Secret Cove Beach Maui Destination Wedding Northern Pixel Photography

Access to the beach is through a stone wall just south of Big Beach. You come over a bit of a hill, and into a small dip. There is parking along the right side of the road up against the stone wall. You walk through the wall in a bit of a tunnel, and then come out under a tree to a spectacular view.
Entrance to Secret Cove (Pa'ako Beach), Maui

It was more perfect than we could have ever imagined. Even the photos do not do it justice. Here is a panoramic shot taken from the rocks along the left side of the beach looking back towards the road and Big Beach:

Hawaii Secret Cove

It was an ideal wedding location for our small ceremony. We decided on a morning wedding, to increase the chances of getting the beach to ourselves – which turned out to be a very good idea – we were the only ones there during our entire ceremony. Although with the morning sun behind the trees there were more shadows in the morning. At sunset the sun faces the beach, although the blueness of the water might not show up as much then. Just something to keep in mind for your wedding photos, whether you want a background of amazing blue ocean  or one of Maui’s sunsets. Either way you can’t go wrong though.

The waves were crashing pretty hard on our wedding day, which only added to the atmosphere of it all. It is hard to describe the feeling of being married on a beach, barefoot, while listening to the waves crashing on the rocks. We had a perfect Maui day, with only a slight breeze and hardly a cloud in the sky. I had to stop a few times just to look around and take it all in.

Here is a photo showing the harpist who played during our ceremony, with a view towards Molokini in the distance…

Secret Cove Beach, Maui Of all the photos we took at this beach, this one below is one of my favorites. It was taken during our return trip in 2009. This was the only day we visited when it was calm here. The waves were impressive every other time, except on this day…

20090411_808 It was so calm I had just started heading to the car to get my snorkeling gear. But then the large waves returned, and convinced me to just enjoy the view from shore like usual. The photo also shows one of the few sandy entrance areas into the water, although I do not recommend swimming here. The waves come crashing through it pretty good, so it did not seem like a good idea to fight through them for a swim. (But I really wanted to, and still do… perhaps next time.) But there are plenty of good swimming beaches on Maui, so no need to push my luck trying to get out at this one. Perhaps this is why this beach is often much less crowded than most of the other Maui Beaches – it is much more suited to weddings than swimming.

The photo below was taken in 2008 a few days after our wedding day. It was raining pretty good, and the waves were crashing even harder than before, and coming up the beach quite a bit further than usual…

Secret Cove Beach, Maui

During our last night in Maui of 2009 we decided to head back to Secret Cove to view the sunset. It turned out to be one of the better sunsets we had seen, with some of the most colorful sunset photos we took during our time in Hawaii.

20090413_0370There was one lucky couple getting married during this sunset. Hopefully their photos turned out as good as ours did.

Secret Cove SunsetI would recommend this beach to anyone looking for a great place to be married. It is an amazing location, and an experience that will never be forgotten. As I mentioned before you will have a much greater chance of having it to yourself if you have a morning wedding. One evening we stopped there to check things out, and there were three weddings going at the same time. Which of course makes it much harder to take good photos without getting other wedding parties in the background.

Kimberly from Aihara Visuals was our wonderful photographer. We couldn’t have been happier with the photos and the service we received from her and would recommend her to anyone. Her and her husband took over 500 photos during the few hours we booked them for. And all of her photo packages come with a DVD containing all of the photos. She took the wedding photo on my About page.

Her website is: http://www.aiharavisuals.com/

For our wedding ceremony we used Makena Weddings. They are also a husband and wife team, and they did a great job. Reverend Al does the ceremony, and Laurie does the planning end of things. She helped us with the flowers, hair/makeup, marriage licensing, and the harpist who played at our ceremony. They have many packages and options to choose from.

Their website is: http://www.4mauiweddings.com/index.htm

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it. As always, please let me know if you have any questions or comments, and feel free to check out my other posts from our time on Maui.

For wedding couples, if you haven’t already checked it out, another post you may be interested in reading is for the Seawatch Restaurant where we had our wedding reception.

Also, Shauna and I do Wedding Photography as well now, and would be happy to have an opportunity to photograph a destination wedding at this amazing beach. Our website is http://northernpixel.zenfolio.com/ 

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Kamaole II beach is located in South Kihei, right across the road from the Maui Banyan condos where we stayed. So of course we ended up spending a fair bit of time there. It was relatively quiet most of the time, and we always enjoyed our time there. It was a great beach for all the usual beach activities: laying in the sun, swimming, snorkeling, and even a bit of boogie boarding. We also got to do a bit of whale watching one day, and saw some giant whales leaping out of the water on the horizon. It was very neat to see from shore. But we couldn’t time the photos right, so weren’t able to get any good shots of them jumping.

We also enjoyed looking around on the rocky point between Kamaole II and Kamaole III. You get a great view from out there, and there were even a few small tide pools to look at. I enjoyed snorkelling around the rocky point, and saw some pretty good schools of fish there.

Quite often there were fishermen on the rocks in the morning and evenings, although I didnt get a chance to join them. Maybe next time…

Here is a Panoramic shot of Kamaole II beach looking South, showing the rocky point between the two beaches:

Kamaole II Beach, Maui

Kamaole II Beach looking North towards the mountains of West Maui:

2008 04 13 017

We took a lot of photos during the many great sunsets we saw at Kamaole Beach II:


Maui Sunset

There is also a nice trail which joins Kamaole I, II, and III, which was great for those in our group who liked to go for morning or evening walks. We were usually more interested in just hanging out at the beach though, so we didn’t use the trail.

Overall we were very happy staying so close to such a good beach. It was only a three minute walk from our condo unit at the Maui Banyan, which you can read the full review for here.

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