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Our Maui Experience

December 16, 2001

At 9:00AM, we met our instructor from B&B Scuba at their store in Kihei and we followed her to Ulua Beach, just South of Wailea, for our Navigation Dive, the first segment of our Advanced Sandra at the Grand WaileaOpen Water scuba certification course.  Sandra opted for a full-length 3mm wetsuit, while I chose a long-sleeved shorty.  Our shore dive went only to 20 feet, and I'm not sure we really got the hang of the navigation.  Our instructor was clearly going through the motions, and didn't care whether we knew what we were doing or not.  The reef at Ulua was far from spectacular, though there were some spotted morays, tang, trunkfish, flounder, needlefish, and a bit of nice hard coral.  Visibility on the sandy bottom was only about 50 feet, and we just tried to get the whole thing over with.

Wailea is clearly the Bel-Air of Maui, with extravagant hotels, beautiful condominium resorts, and outstanding golf courses.  The town is beautiful, but feels more like Los Angeles than Hawaii.  Makena is a more artsy type of town, but as construction rages on, the character of Makena seems to be melting away, revealing an extension of Wailea.  We traveled south of Makena to LaPerouse Bay, where the lava fields begin.  There is good snorkeling offshore here, but watch out for razor sharp lava rocks.   The road ends here, and we backtracked to Wailea, where we lounged at the incredible Maui Prince hotel, enjoying the 85 sunshine and tropical drinks.  We checked out the Renaissance hotel as well, which was also grand, with goldfish ponds and jungles in the lobby, and the magnificent Grand Wailea.

We headed back to B&B's shop for our night dive that evening, and headed immediately back to Ulua Beach, though with a different instructor.  Our lights kept breaking, but eventually we scrounged enough to make it happen.  We saw and handled urchins, crabs, octopus, and Handling an octopus on one of our dives morays, but overall the site was pretty devoid of life.  It was a pretty boring dive, but at least we got our certification so we could go on the Manta Ray night dive later in the trip.

After a shower, we headed into Kihei to check out the dining and nightlife.  We quickly realized that there was none.  The town was dead, except for a bar called Life's A Beach, but after waiting to order for about a half hour, we got up and left.  We ended up driving around town looking desperately for somewhere to eat or some kind of entertainment, but we were sorely disappointed.  We ended up eating at Jack in the Box (the only restaurant in town serving "dinner" after 10:00PM), and went back to our hotel and tried to get some rest for the next morning's dive.

Kihei is a town of condos and American-style strip malls.  We didn't care for the town at all, as the beaches were not very good, the snorkeling was poor, the traffic was bad, and nightlife was nonexistent.  There are no grand hotels here, for good reason. The closest ones are to the south in Wailea.  Next time, we'll stay in West Maui.

 DAY 2                   DAY 4


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