After staying at Turtle Bay in Hawaii and not yet seeing a turtle we were looking forward to meeting some in Maui! Our duplex beach condo was a lovely surprise and we luxuriated in having a bedroom each, all overlooking the sea which lapped at the edge of the garden only 10 feet away. We fell asleep to the sounds of the ocean and awoke to the sun rising over the volcano. With a kitchen and BBQ it was lovely to be able to cook for ourselves - and do some laundry (simple pleasures!)
On our first morning we were up at 6am to go on a boat trip to snorkel around 'turtle town' and the Molokini Crater. After breakfast was served on the boat we donned our snorkels and flippers and stepped off at the first stop 'turtle town'. We saw angel fish 🐠rainbow fish 🐟 and many other beautiful creatures 🐡 - but no turtles!
After getting back on the boat we headed to the Molokolini Crater to snorkel the reef and as we approached saw holes in the rock - WW2 fighters used this rock for ammunition practise! Cruising into the crater we saw a dolphin 🐬 pod playing near the boat and once in the water we saw some more amazing fish - it really was like swimming in an aquarium. We were very proud of Sophia who was cruising around like a fish herself and Jake who wasn't keen on the feeing of the snorkel but cruised on over to the drop off and back anyway.
The Molokini Crater
Back on board we were provided with a BBQ lunch and cocktails. It was 10.45 am!!
The crew gave some really informative talks on marine life and Hawaiian green sea turtles, which are actually brown but get their name because when they used to be hunted and were cooked, the food was green. We learnt how they can hold their breath for 5 hours and how they can lay up to 1200 eggs each and only one might make it to adulthood. Maybe this is why the mother leaves her eggs on the beach after laying them and doesn't return 😞. Sophia and Jake went back and wrote about all they had learnt from the days marine education on a surfboard which was the table on our balcony!
We still hadn't seen turtles! We had been given a couple of spots to go and search so set off around 5pm when they are often found basking. We parked at a viewpoint at Hookipa Beach and from the top could see surfers tackling 8-10 foot waves. We also saw many crosses on the rocks below us where surfers had lost their lives doing what they love. As we walked down to the beach we realised that what we thought we rocks on the beach were actually turtles 🐢 at last 🎉!
As with the seal at Turtle Bay, a rope was around them and volunteers watched over them to make sure people didn't go within 15 feet of them so they weren't disturbed. However the channel into the surf was also their entry and exit so it was a bit like dodgeball with turtles getting in and out! They are such beautiful creatures with the cutest faces.
Dave was keen to have his first ever surfing lesson in Hawaii so had booked for himself and Sophia to have a go. We drove to a beach on Friday he South shore which had a good beginners wave and after a lesson on the ground about oceans and waves which Jake and I joined in for, they hit the water. It wasn't long before they were both standing up cruising in on a wave and and one point even getting a 'party' wave together. Such an amazing Daddy-daughter experience we were all on a high afterwards! This was Sophia's board - it was 9 ft 6!
The following day we drove to the upmarket town of Waimea, where The Four Seasons, Marriot and other 5 star resorts are situated on the calmest sandy beach on the island. We looked like locals arriving with our beach chairs, coolbox and goggles! We were right next to Turtle town and swam out to finally enjoy seeing these graceful creatures swimming around us. We felt very privileged to share the water with them and Dave almost high-fived a flipper as one swam past him!
After 4 nights on Maui we were really sad to leave as it felt like we had really connected with the island and there was so much more to explore. The national park with an active volcano which can often be seen gently erupting and many waterfalls and lush mountain scenery on the high ground which is always under cloud. We will have to come back! But onwards back to Honolulu to catch our flight to Australia. We can't wait to finally visit the Minz's (Dave's sister and her family). It's been 2 years since their last visit to England and we can't wait for some quality family time.