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Thread: Ideas for Hawaii?

  1. #1
    Guppy
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    08/08/2007
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    Ideas for Hawaii?

    The family wants to go to Hawaii next summer following my son’s HS graduation. We’ve never been before and need some help narrowing down the choices for a week’s visit.

    Son – wants to learn to surf, nice beach/water, diving, active stuff
    Daughter – wants nice shopping, diving active stuff
    Wife – wants nice shopping, volcanoes, diving, and up for anything else
    Me – Diving, hiking, kayaking, sailing, biking, volcanoes, etc; anything but shopping

    There's a lot of islands out there! Should we plan to stay put on just one for this trip, or do some inter-island travel?

    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    Shark Founding Member
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    07/18/2007
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    I would say that you should look at Maui. If your wife is looking for an active volcano, only the Big Island will do, but IMO it isn't the best choice for the rest of your desired activities.

    Maui has:
    Great shopping and restaurants in Wailea, Kihei, and Lahaina.
    Great beaches all up and down the coast from Makena to Kapalua.
    Great diving at Molokini, S. Maui, W. Maui, Lanai, and Molokai (4 islands)
    Great beaches to learn surfing (gentle waves).
    Great water access for all your water activities: kayaking, sailing, etc.
    Choice of many zipline options
    Biking down the volcano (Haleakala)
    Horseback riding all over the island, including IN the crater of Haleakala
    Jet skiing, windsurfing, kite boarding, and parasailing all available in the summer
    Hiking all around the island, particularly in the W. Maui mountains and on Haleakala

    Pretty much anything you may want to do you can find on Maui...except that erupting volcano.
    ScubaToys and Zeagle....it just doesn't get better than that!

  3. #3
    Guppy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zenagirl View Post
    I would say that you should look at Maui. If your wife is looking for an active volcano, only the Big Island will do, but IMO it isn't the best choice for the rest of your desired activities.

    Maui has:
    Great shopping and restaurants in Wailea, Kihei, and Lahaina.
    Great beaches all up and down the coast from Makena to Kapalua.
    Great diving at Molokini, S. Maui, W. Maui, Lanai, and Molokai (4 islands)
    Great beaches to learn surfing (gentle waves).
    Great water access for all your water activities: kayaking, sailing, etc.
    Choice of many zipline options
    Biking down the volcano (Haleakala)
    Horseback riding all over the island, including IN the crater of Haleakala
    Jet skiing, windsurfing, kite boarding, and parasailing all available in the summer
    Hiking all around the island, particularly in the W. Maui mountains and on Haleakala

    Pretty much anything you may want to do you can find on Maui...except that erupting volcano.
    Thanks, ZG! This looks like a great fit for our needs. Volcanoes are over-rated(!).

  4. #4
    Guppy
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    Whoops! Forgot to ask some follow-up questions...

    What's the best plan for lodging? Rent a condo? Stay in a hotel?

    Do you have recommendations for a dive op?

    Is renting a car a good idea or is there good public transport?

  5. #5
    Shark Founding Member
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    On Maui you'll have to rent a car, same really for all of the islands. The two main areas people stay are: Kaanapali, which is a planned resort area with timeshares and resorts mainly; or S. Maui (Kihei/Wailea), which has a mix of houses, condos, timeshares, and resorts. Much of the decision of where is based on what type of a traveler you are.

    Since you're a family, you're probably going to do better renting either a condo or timeshare unit instead of a hotel/resort. Having at least a kitchennette will save you a lot of money, even if you're like me and don't cook when you're on vacation. Being able to have breakfast items, snacks, and drinks at the very least will literally save you hundreds of dollars. You'll also likely have access to laundry, which will make packing so much easier and allow you to take less clothing, saving on checked bag fees.

    Our preferred dive operator is Ed Robinson's Dive Adventures in Kihei. They have a daily 2-tank charter that is appropriate for any level of diver, but they also have advanced charters 4 days per week (3-tank and Adventure charters), that are totally geared toward the independent and advanced diver who are familiar with live boat diving in sometimes challenging conditions. They go to S. Maui and Molokini and choose sites depending on the divers on their boat. Their guides are excellent and do a great job of taking care of the divers without micro-managing.

    For Lanai charters we choose to go with Lahaina Divers in Lahaina because they run big 46' Newton dive boats, which although take 24 divers, are VERY comfortable for the often rough crossing to Lanai. Its worth the trade off to us to be comfortable on the crossing since we've done it in the smaller 32' aluminum v-hull boats and won't do it again. They're geared toward the vacation or beginning diver and micro-manage their groups some, but they do a good job and take care of everyone well. They also run regular charters to Molokai for shark diving, which is supposed to be fantastic, but only for the advanced diver due to the often challenging conditions at Molokai.

    There's also good shore diving on Maui, and the best guy for that is Shaka Doug in Kihei. He is a great guide, goes out a bit later than the boat charters, and I've never heard of anyone not having a great time with him.

    Other recommended boat operators would be B&B, Mike Severns, and Pro Divers out of Kihei, and Extended Horizons out of Lahaina. Maui Dreams is another shore diving operator in Kihei that gets good reviews as well, who also has a boat they manage called the Maui Diamond.

    Boat diving is expensive in Hawaii, so be prepared for sticker shock. However, dive operators like Ed Robinson's are "valet" dive operators in that you only touch your gear when you hand it to them before the boat leaves, you're wearing it during the dive, and when you're packing up at the end of the charter. If you rent gear, it is all there for you and you only touch it when you're wearing it. Most provide drinks and snacks while you're on the boat as well, and Ed Robinson's even provides towels on the boats. Dives are also always guided and honestly a good dive is essential when first diving Hawaii as you'd miss so many cool things without one.

    It is hard to find a bad operator on Maui, and really the only two I personally stay away from are Scuba Shack and Maui Dive Shops.

    I also meant to mention that if you're planning a trip longer than about a week, you could spend part of the time on Maui and part of the time on the Big Island. That way you could do the Manta night dive and see Kilauea as well. Or if you're really interested in WWII history, you could stay on Oahu part of the time and do Pearl Harbor, the Pacific Air Museum on Ford Island, the USS Missouri, etc. There's so much to do in Hawaii that it can be hard to choose sometimes.
    ScubaToys and Zeagle....it just doesn't get better than that!

  6. #6
    TadPole
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    Scout,

    I have been going to Maui since 1997 and have only stayed at the Ka'anapali Beach Hotel. Site Loading It is an older hotel but well maintained and the staff is great. They offer diving right off the beach at Black Rock. It is after all the same beach and ocean the more expensive hotels are located on. For boat diving I use Lahaina Divers Scuba Dive Lanai, Molokini, Molokai, and Maui | Lahaina Divers The are very professional, offering dives for beginners to experienced. The back wall of Molokini is a must dive. Their boats are well maintained and large. The staff is first rate. During the summer all the dive operators are almost always running at capacity. Almost all the operators go to the same places. Hope this helps. Just my 2 cents worth. Just got back in June from Maui.

    Joe

  7. #7
    Shark
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    I'm packed and ready to go!!! what time are you going to pick me up???
    God is good, no matter what!!

  8. #8
    Shark Founding Member
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    I have to say that IMO if you're staying near Lahaina that it is worth getting up early and driving to the Kihei boat ramp to catch a boat to Molokini and S. Maui sites. Lahaina Divers goes from Lahaina to Molokini, but it's a good 60+ minute boat ride (which has gorgeous scenery) and they do both tanks at Molokini. Although that isn't necessarily a bad thing, there are some amazing sites in S. Maui that are better (IMO) than Molokini. Besides some great reef systems in S. Maui like Red Hill, 85, the Apartments, etc., there are also WWII wrecks, like the Hell Diver, Hell Cat (both WWII planes), as well as a degaussing station, and a couple of landing crafts wrecked on the bottom. None of which Lahaina Divers dives.

    After doing around 150 dives on Maui, the backwall isn't one of my favorite dives at Molokini. I'd much rather do Reef's End, Shark Condos, or Ene Nue than the backwall. It is definitely one of those dives worth doing once if you've never been to Maui, but after about the 3rd or 4th time, it just didn't excite me anymore....now after 20+ dives on the backwall.....never mind! <LOL>

    I must add that a charter to Lanai should be on your "must dive" list. Both Cathedral I and II are fantasic dives and definitely worth the crossing to Lanai. Make sure you have a dive light for Lanai!
    ScubaToys and Zeagle....it just doesn't get better than that!

  9. #9
    Guppy
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    JoeC and Zenagirl.... Thank you! I've got a good direction to start researching.

    Is there a "best" time of year to visit? Is early in summer (June) better than late in summer (August)? Or, should we wait for winter break?

  10. #10
    Grouper
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    I would mention, for me I have been to Maui, Oahu, the Big Island, most recently the Big Island in May and all are great, it is Hawaii, but I would only plan a return trip to the Big Island. I found the beaches to pretty empty, even near town with spinner dolphins and green turtles swimming all around, the sand was amazing, even beach with black or green sand if you look. The hiking is pretty amazing and there are tons of things to do from the volcano to planetarium as well. Also it is pretty inexpensive. You come back from a pretty amazing dive and have a beer and 2.50 fish tacos from a 600lb marlin they are cutting up from the mornings catch. If you like great beaches, great diving, and no crowds for less than you probably spend at home, perhaps you might like the big island. I know I was extremely surprised and can't wait to get back, Ben

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