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Posts Tagged ‘wailea’

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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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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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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Update:

The Seawatch Restaurant has been sold and renamed ‘Gannon’s – A Pacific View Restaurant’. As I haven’t been there since it was re-opened I am not sure whether things have changed or not. But Susan Jencks is still listed as the wedding co-ordinator, so it should still be a good place for wedding receptions.

Original Post:

After a lot of research on the internet, especially theknot.com, we decided on the Seawatch Restaurant in Wailea as the location for our wedding reception. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we were married on the beach during April 2008 at Secret Cove south of Wailea.

We had a morning wedding to increase our chances of having the beach to ourselves – a plan that worked very nicely. After the wedding we went to the beach for the day, and then on to the Seawatch for dinner.

We had booked the Seawatch well in advance for our reception dinner. They were very good to deal with, which I suppose can be expected since they do so many weddings. We talked with a few other restaurants during our planning in order to find the best place for our reception. But Susan at the Seawatch was far and away the best to deal with so we decided to book there.

As impressed as we were with their booking service, we were even more impressed once we arrived on our wedding day. The Seawatch is located on the Wailea Gold Golf Course, which is very well kept. It is uphill from the ocean, which leads to some amazing views – with the green of the golf course and palm trees leading to the blue of the ocean and sky. You can also see Molokini and Kaho’olawe in the distance.

20090412_987These photos show the great view, in addition to the Lower Lawn area.

20090412_969Our reception was held at the Lower Pond. We were happy to find it was the wedding area with the best roof coverage. Although if it was blowing in during a storm you might still get wet.

In the end it didn’t matter, since there was no rain on our wedding day. But it might be something to keep in mind just in case. The Upper Pond is partially covered, but the Lower Lawn area is not covered at all. However both of these areas – especially the Lower Lawn – are better suited to bigger parties. We had a party of thirteen, and there was plenty of room for us at the Lower Pond. They had the table setup with a round table at one end, with a long table at the other end.

They will decorate for you, but my wife chose to do it since she enjoys decorating, and wanted to save a bit of money. So when we got there, it was an empty table with only a white table cloth, plates, glasses, and silverware.

Shauna had ordered some orchids and monstera leaves from Paradise Flower Farms up in Kula. She also ordered some woven lahula boxes from Alaina Kai and had them sent ahead of time to our wedding planner. She used some of the flowers and some ribbon to decorate the boxes:

Brown Ribbon Lauhala Box Wedding Favor
We used chocolate covered macadamia nuts from Costco as the candy for the favor boxes. We also bought a number of pineapples from Costco for the centerpieces. She brought some floral wire from home to make a ring of flowers to place at the base of the pineapples. It ended up looking quite impressive.

Apr 16 2008 0339Since the Seawatch requires that you choose a menu when you book with them, she was also able to make custom menus and found napkins to suit the color scheme at home prior to our trip. We chose the Plumeria Wedding Menu.

The food was very good. The drinks were very good as well. We had the Kula Greens for a starter. And most of our group tried either the Filet Mignon of Beef Tenderloin, or the Macadamia Crusted Island Fish for dinner. I managed to try a bit of both, and had a hard time choosing which was better. Hard to go wrong with either of those choices.

Anyhow, here is a view of the lower pond area, with the Wailea Gold golf course in the background. I also enjoyed checking out the pro shop there. It was a very fancy course.

Apr 16 2008 0343We ordered our wedding cake through Maui Wedding Cakes. I believe they have some sort of deal with the Seawatch, where you have to order through them and the Seawatch picks up the cake and takes care of that end of things.

We ordered a square, two tiered chocolate macadamia nut ganache, with chocolate covered strawberries. It was the best wedding cake we have ever eaten. (The fresh macadamia nuts and strawberries had a lot to do with that.)
Wedding Cake by Maui Wedding Cakes
The cake was amazing, and the fresh strawberries were unlike any strawberry we had ever tasted. (all the fruit we had in Hawaii tasted so much better)
Wedding Cake by Maui Wedding Cakes On our return trip of 2009 we looked into getting another one of these cakes. But they did not come small enough for just the two of us, so we decided against it. But if we ever go in a group again we will be getting another one of these for sure. Again, other than the tiki torches, my wife did the decorating, so I am not sure how the Seawatch itself decorates.

Apr 16 2008 0506

Below is a view of the Upper Pond area. You can also see the Lower Pond area in the upper right of the photo. On our wedding night, the wedding group at the Upper Pond had a musician playing. However, with the Lower Pond being so close, we were able to enjoy the music as well. It worked out perfectly for us – we had plenty of room, a roof over our heads, and still got to enjoy some live music.

20090412_981All in all we could not have been more happy with our wedding reception at the Seawatch Restaurant. We would recommend it to any couple looking for an amazing reception dinner location to celebrate your wedding. Just be sure to book early.

http://www.seawatchrestaurant.com/

 

 

Non-wedding related review of the Seawatch:

During our 2009 trip we decided to go back to the Seawatch for breakfast. Once again we were impressed with the atmosphere and the incredible views. As a regular restaurant we found the food to be a bit overpriced though, as is the case with most of the restaurants in Wailea. We both ordered the crab benedict. It was good, but for almost $20 a plate we had hoped it would taste quite a bit better than $8 per plate smoked salmon benedict we had tried for breakfast at Maui Coffee Roasters in Kahului a few days earlier.

We will likely go back to the Seawatch again on our next trip, mainly to revisit the site of our wedding reception. But it seemed that weddings are definitely their specialty, and as I already mentioned, we would recommend the Seawatch to anyone for an amazing place to have a wedding reception.

Shauna has many more photos from our wedding reception at the Seawatch on her Flickr account here.

She also has more photos of the wedding favors and decorations here.

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