Maui & Kauai Day 1: Seeing sea turtles!

Hubby’s dad once told us that you should always be planning your next vacation before the upcoming one is over. I don’t remember what the reasoning was behind that, but it seemed like sound advice I couldn’t disagree with! As it turns out though, a Netherland study found that vacationers were actually more happy before their vacation than after; perhaps suggesting that planning a trip and having something to look forward boosts happiness quite a bit. Makes perfect sense to me!

Intentional or not, hubby and I had done just that! After visiting Kaua’i in February 2016 and being surprised by the winter weather that didn’t allow us to do many water activities, I was already scheming up a way to convince hubby we needed to go back to Kaua’i for a vacation re-do.

More specifically, I had my heart set on kayaking the Na’Pali Coast, an adventure that we didn’t get to do during our first Kaua’i visit due to [poor planning and] the rough winter surf. It felt so silly insisting that we go back and kayak the Na’Pali Coast, considering we had already hiked it, seen it by air, and seen it by boat, but there was just something so thrilling about taking on this big adventure via paddling and getting to see the Na’Pali Coast up close and personal instead of buried in a jungle or seasick on a boat. Moreover, one of the only ways to see some of the enchanting sea caves located along the coast was to kayak to them.

In any case, hubby eventually agreed to a Hawaii re-do and for months I did nothing but day dream of our next visit to Kaua’i, when we could finally do our Na’Pali Coast kayaking adventure.

…actually, I take that back; I didn’t do “nothing”… I spent months and months training for our 17 mile kayak trip and panicking that I wouldn’t be ready! While hubby and I seem to do it all as far as physical activity, including running, biking, hiking, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and who knows what else I’m forgetting, we don’t really do anything that involves upper body strength or endurance. Hubby and I used to go together regularly to the rock climbing gym in Albuquerque, but after moving to Denver, only hubby kept up with this activity occasionally, as I found it a hassle to visit the crowed rock climbing gym nearest us after work.

With this big kayak trip in the books, I decided it was time to get back on the wall and attempt to get my upper body in shape, so I renewed my gym membership and we started climbing once or twice a week at 6 A.M. instead of after work, in order to beat the crowds. I was determined to make our Na’Pali Coast kayak trip a memorable one and I didn’t want to remember being exhausted or miserable; I wanted to remember soaking in every view of the coast as we coasted along in our kayak!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Our Hawaii re-visit started off at 3:00 o’clock in the morning on Thursday, waiting for the first train to leave Denver’s Union Station headed to the airport. In fact, our morning started even earlier than that considering we had to gather ourselves and our luggage and request an Uber ride to get to Union Station, since, apparently, no other individuals are crazy enough to be up at that hour riding public transit in our area of town.

day 1-1

Needless to say, our vacation started off with lots of yawns, but it paid off, because by noon, we had already set foot on the first of two islands we would stay on for our Hawaii re-visit: Maui!

I had chosen Maui for a very specific and somewhat silly reason: the sea turtles! During our first visit to Kaua’i, like the child I am, I had really wanted to see sea turtles, but never saw a single one. Hubby had seen one or two on our boat trip along the Na’Pali coast, but in my opinion, that hardly counted (even if I hadn’t been so sea sick that I missed them) because seeing sea turtles way out in the ocean seemed like a given! I had read on so many forums and in so many guide books that the turtles were everywhere around Hawaii, so I had expected to run into them so much that I would be counting them in my sleep instead of sheep!

So I did a little research and it seemed like the island of Maui would be a sure bet for running into these guys on our vacation. In fact, even the reviews of the condo rental we chose boasted of sea turtles being seen from the lanai (balcony) every day by guests.

Upon flying over Maui on our flight in, I ashamedly began somewhat regretting choosing Maui as it didn’t seem nearly as green, gorgeous, and breathtaking as the island of Kaua’i. Maui seemed brown, barren, and desert-y. Had we spoiled ourselves by first visiting the most gorgeous island of them all?

day 1-2

Turns out that Maui just has a dry side of the island, which Kaua’i also has. As we ventured away from the airport after landing, the island turned more and more green. Whew!

But even if I had been disappointed by the dry, desert look that seemed to define my initial perception of Maui, that would have easily been replaced by the whole reason I chose the island. Within 30 minutes of being in our condo overlooking the ocean, we had already seen three sea turtles from our lanai swimming along the rocky ocean floor. I was amazed at how much bigger they were than what I was expecting and so delighted that they had come by to welcome us to the island. Hubby captured our very first turtle sighting on camera and I was looking forward to seeing many more!


Our first afternoon in Maui was not very action-packed. We spent a long time taking in the gorgeous, clear blue ocean views from our condo lanai before visiting the small, private beach below us to snorkel and swim.

Again, like the child I am, I insisted on packing a large, pink, inflatable flamingo in my luggage and wasted no time in blowing up my flamingo to take to the water on our first day. I promptly named him “Mingo” and as you’ll see in the upcoming days of our trip, he tagged along for a number of adventures!


Next up: We visit some recommended attractions on the island!



2 thoughts on “Maui & Kauai Day 1: Seeing sea turtles!

    • We stayed at Kaleialoha Oceanfront Condos, but booked our specific condo through VRBO, since many condos in Hawaii are privately-owned and then rented out by the owners; so do your research, as every condo, even if it’s in the same building, is not the same as another and can have different rules/prices/amenities.

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