Thursday, June 08, 2017

Maui 2017 Day 3: Birthday, Molokini Snorkel Trip, Fish Tacos

05/28/2017
Maui 2017 Day 3: Birthday, Molokini Snorkel Trip, Fish Tacos

What's my biggest wish for my birthday morning? To wake up at 5:20am, of course!!

"Bright and early"
Of course I am not insane, but I am insane for EPIC SNORKELING. And for that, you-bethcha I'll get up at 5:20am, heck, I'll even get up at 5:15!

I digress. The reason we got up so daaaamn early was to head out on the Kai Kanani Sailing Charters' "Molokini Express Tour". Molokini Crater is a volcanic crater just a few miles off the west coast shore of Maui (where we were staying!) The cool thing about this particular sailing company is that they leave from the beach, just 10 min south of our hotel -- rather than us having to drive a ways up to Ma'aalea Port to take a boat out. That not only means less time getting there and less time driving, but also this boat is the *first boat* of the day to get to Molokini Crater. Since it's such a gorgeous and magnificent snorkel location, some 2000 people come there every day and eventually stir up the fish a bunch and it gets crowded. But not at 6:45am it doesn't!! So that was incredible. We were the ONLY people out on the reef. The staff was fantastic, offered us great yoghurt and granola and watermelon on the boat for breakfast, and taught people how to use flippers or their snorkels if they were concerned about it. They even had GoPros to rent out which was a brilliant idea. Super organized and fun crew.




We headed out swiftly after a rocky walk on the beach to get onto the catamaran, and then got to Molokini only 10 or 15 min later. Amazing. And off we went, right into the water! They said the visibility was approximately 200 FT. TWO-HUNDRED-FEET!!!!!!!!!!!! Totally insane, and a truly amazing experience.

First up, here's the GoPro video of the snorkeling.







Check out that epic coral!!! These next fish they called the "Parrotts of Molokini" since there were so many of them.



I continued the epic snorkeling and took a bunch of videos too. This place was amazing and we all had an amazing time there. Check it!!!





This very thin, long fish was so strange!



AMAZING


Aloha!!

We stayed at Molokini for a total of about 30-45 min which went by very quickly. I was swimming and diving the whole time and had an absolute blast. It was reminiscent of snorkeling in Australia, although the fish were quite different and so was the type of coral. It was also very deep, but so clear, which I'd never seen before. Really awesome.






Then we had to head back to the catamaran and head to the 2nd snorkeling spot, a place they call "Turtle Town".



Alex aboard the Kai Kanani II

It was tough to spot the turtles at Turtle Town, they said they had seen 3 there but it was a very wide area and had gotten a bit less clear due to the waves closer to the shore from the recent "King Tide". At one point a few people saw a small turtle, I didn't manage to so I was a bit sad about that. Instead I focused on all the awesome fish and coral that I did see, which truly was awesome. What a GREAT and amazing way to start the day for my 35th Birthday!!! Woo!!






Here's some of the fish we saw!



So... that was amazing!!!!

We got dropped off back at the hotel, changed and showered and then hungrily headed towards the breakfast buffet!!! Mmm... I've literally never seen Alex eat so much in his entire life. It was a sight to see!! haha. The food was all super high quality, especially the made-to-order omelette station and the SMOKED SALMON oh man!!!! Incredible.


That smoked salmon!
"POG" juice!


Alex happy as a kid on Christmas (Chanukah?!) morning
Maaaaaaaaan that rocked.

Epic food in our bellies and having already swam for 1.5 hrs, it was time for some sunshine and relaxation at the beach. We headed there to chill out for a while, and I also chatted with my parents on the phone who wished me a happy birthday (and happy, it sure is!)


Sleeping Beauty :)
"Please don't take. Mahalo!"
After some sunshine and good chillin' at the beach, we headed back up to the more shaded area by the pool as it got closer to the super hot time of day (12 or 1). We befriended a couple sitting on the HILARIOUS seats *IN THE WATER* (a "swim-up bar" where you could even order food!). As it turns out the one girl not only worked at the Fairmont but was also Canadian. "Oh that's cool, from where?"... "LONDON, ONTARIO"!!!!!! Haha, of course. That was hilarious and we ended up chatting with them for a while. Cool peeps.

Eventually they headed off and I snagged the dude's water-seat-chair thing at the "bar" and ordered an epic rum punch thing. Mmm. We told them it was my birthday and the staff was SUPER nice. They then gave me a FREE birthday Mud Pie Ice Cream cake!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!

Water slide (on the left) and swim-up barstools (right, at the back of the photo). Good times!
Alex and I worked our ol' school Wally World chops by hitting up the water slide several times. It was actually pretty awesome -- it seemed like it would be small but it actually turned about 3 times pretty fast, and dropped you down the stairs into the OTHER pool!!! Man, so fun. So we did that like 10 times in a row until we had too much water up our noses. #win.

We ended up in the other pool and some young kids asked us if we wanted to play the game "Horse" -- where you try to shoot a basketball into a hoop from the water. We got totally schooled by these 10 yr olds. It was hilarious. I fooled around at one point as I was (attempting) to launch a shot from way back... "Kobe!"... "Curry!" The one slightly older kid laughed and after I missed SO bad, he said "Curry never misses"!! hahahaha!!!!! Epic. They legitimately kicked our asses which was hilarious and also probably a good (and well-earned confidence booster for them). We in no way attempted to let them win, we were just utterly terrible at Water Basketball. Better stick to the day job of software engineering, it seems.

The view of the pool from our room balcony! WHHATT!!
We had then had enough sun, so we headed inside to relax for a bit. But wait! First my epic legend of a wife, presented me with not one, but TWO incredibly thoughtful and epic bday gifts-- including concert tickets to go see Ed Sheeran in LA!!!!!!! Ahhhh!!! The other was tickets to see the creator of The Simpsons, Matt Groening, with Lausch in Berkeley in October. Incredible. It's like she knows exactly what I love!! haha.

Then we headed out to go... shopping. Yes, it's hard to keep me away from surf shops, so we went to peruse some Billabong and Quiksilver stuff, but confirmed that I had already purchased the most epic Quiksilver shirt the day before at the much smaller shop. haha.



Look at all those flavours!

"Stupid Sexy Flanders"
SWEEEEEEEEEET

But wait, the fun's not over yet! After shopping for a bit, we headed out to Coconut's Fish Cafe, the legendary place for Fish Tacos with mango salsa and coconut coleslaw... they were AMAZING!!!!!!!!! Fun surfboard tables, good friends, and incredible food made for a perfect birthday dinner. Glorious times.





It was getting a bit darker but we had a bottle of Champagne from the hotel and some Maui Onion chips, so we cracked those open and enjoyed a little. Alex also test flew his drone and took some photos of the sunset from the beach which was suuuuper cool. Of course since we're not insane, we got some "Shave Ice" afterwards. I got Passionfruit, Lychee, Cantelope, which was sweeeeeeet.





One last stop for the evening was the new Maui Brewing Co. tasting room in Kihei. They have some fun and odd local craft beer and it was super fun to go and try a few tastes (and buy a fun Maui Brewing Co. glass!) Fun times and a great wrapup to a LONG and SUPER EPIC BIRTHDAY!

I tried the Pacific Rim (Specialty Pale Ale with Matcha Green Tea), Barefoot Brew (Ale Brewed with local honey),  Imperial Coconut Porter (the "Imperial" version of the more common one that you can find elsewhere), and the newly released Blood Orange Lorenzini (Double IPA with blood oranges). All very interesting and tasty -- the matcha one was a bit crazy but I was glad to try all of these! I think the Blood Orange one was my favourite.








What a fabulous day and very grateful for my epic wife and epic friends who were all-in for this full day celebration. Good times! It was a really special day and fun of so much fun, adventure, and tasty, tasty fish tacos.

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