OK, first and foremost, this isn’t going to be an in-depth, expert, evaluation of road cycling on Maui … it’s just my impressions and opinions. If you want something more, I suggest you take a look at Tom Meloy’s very nice writeup from a few years ago.
On a recent vacation to Maui, I decided to rent a bike and try some cycling. I did, and here’s what I found…
As many of you probably know … I’m a shutterbug … I put myself in the ‘serious amateur’ category.
My camera of choice is a Canon 7D … and I have two lenses currently. A Canon 70-300 zoom and the lens that came with the camera and a Canon 28-135 “kit” lens. Both have in lens image stabilization and are quite adequate for my uses.
That said … I’ve heard great things about Canon’s “L” line of lenses. These are higher end lenses that have better quality optics.
For my current trip to Hawaii, I planned on taking a lot of pictures of surfers and whales (it is whale season in Maui). In the past, I’ve had reasonably good results with my current lenses, but wanted to try out some a higher end lens.
A bit of digging around on the internet and I found LensRentals.com … they had a wide range of lenses available and, as an added bonus, they would ship the lens you rented direct to your destination.
Second half of the vacation is done … this time it was to the “Big Island” of Hawaii (which is named Hawaii, just to confuse us).
We did get some snorkeling in … but not as much as we would have liked to. Did a bit of exploring, no geocaching, and very little hiking.
The condo we stayed in was not nearly as nice as the one we had on Kauai … it was larger (much larger), but not nearly as nicely maintained. We asked for a upper level unit … and boy, did we get what we asked for. The condo’s entrance was on the 2nd floor of the building, but then there was a huge stairway to get to the main living area. The bedroom was another flight of stairs up. This unit is *NOT* accessible by people with handicaps.
One other thing of note about the condo … the complex is huge and an incredible maze. The 2nd night Ginny and I decided to exploring after dark … and got very lost. I should have brought my GPS. It wasn’t until the last few days that we actually got a handle on where we were.
We attended a Luau on Thursday … and were very unimpressed. Ginny did a pretty good write up on it on her blog. The food was mediocre, performance dry, but my biggest problem was the excessive religious references.
Our snorkel trip was with an outfit called Sea Paradise they weren’t bad. Not as polished as some of the other places, but they had all the important stuff. I was a bit disappointed that the catamrain’s mast had been taken down for maintenance, but sailing on those trips is mostly for show. There were less than 20 people on the cruise and all adults, so we didn’t have to deal with kids running around. They took us to two snorkel spots (first one was great, 2nd one was so-so). Got a few pictures. Since Ginny wanted a reasonably good underwater camera, I got a new one (Canon SD770 IS) and gave her the Canon A75 … unfortunately the A75 developed a glitch that caused the sensor to act weirdly. I’ll probably have to get her a replacement camera. The underwater housing is fine, so there’s no need to replace it. We also snorkeled at a beach park … which wasn’t bad, but the water was WAY too shallow for my tastes.
Maybe it’s because it’s winter … but the water on both Kauai and the big island seems very rough. And the big island doesn’t have a lot of beaches. We had planned on snorkeling at ‘Two Step’ (named because you get into the water with two steps), but never got around to it.
We had a number of good meals … the food at at Kenichi, which is a sushi / asian fusion restaurant, was good but the service was bad. I ordered an rice appetizer but didn’t get it until after the main course. We also ate at Jameson’s By The Sea, which was pretty good. Good food & service.
We did, however, cook in quite a bit … which may seem an odd thing to do on vacation, but that’s why we like renting condos. You (usually) get all the facilities you’re used to at home … refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, clothes washer, dryer, etc. The only issues are that a) often you don’t get all the supplies you need. Things like laundry soap, condiments (ketchup, soy sauce, olive oil, etc), sometimes even dishwasher soap and b) You don’t always get all the appliances you might want. Things like coffee grinder, rice cooker, etc (actually, lack of a rick cooker in Hawaii is very odd … but we’ve encountered it).
We went out to Volcano National Park on Wednesday … very long drive. Unforunately the volcano wasn’t flowing. Apparently the sea vent tends to stop and start. The best way to be sure you’re going out when it’s flowing is to check the HVO … but we didn’t know about that at the time. Since it’s such a long drive, on roads that are not well lit, we decided not to go out on Friday (we would have gotten back well after 11pm and our flight was the next day). We drove around the park a bit, had a very disappointing lunch at the park lodge, did a little bit of hiking, and headed home.
One thing that was a disappointment was that we coudln’t get on one of the ‘eco tours’ to Manaloa for star gazing. We tried to book one, but they were full until after we left. Next time we’re going to book that well before we arrive.
As with Kauai, the Big Island wasn’t quite what we were hoping for … but we did enjoy ourselves. We’ll be back at some point … but, again, probably in the summer instead of winter.