October 25th, 2022
In part two of this Live blog we are heading back to Maui, the place where all this began, this was to be primarily a vacation so there was lots of downtime and pool-sitting to be done. As such we will be fairly brief in this section of the Live Blog, as no one cares too much about us sitting around a pool getting brown! But it should serve as a nice example of how to spend your time in Maui, even when you are not tearing around the Island.
Heading for Paradise
We awoke in the Doubletree Los Angeles nice and early as we had an 11 am flight to catch. We needed to return the Rental Car, and get to the airport in Los Angeles’s famous Rush Hour. When we picked up the car it was half empty and the agent had told us to bring it back empty, we were taking this a little too literally and it got to the point we really were not sure if we would make it to the airport. So, rather than miss the plane while sitting on the side of the Freeway we pulled off and put a splashback in the tank.
Other than this it was an uneventful journey to the airport. We returned the car and hopped on the Shuttle back to the terminals. Check-in for Alaska was again straightforward forward although you are required to use the Self-Service Check-in desks. These are pretty user-friendly but there were plenty of technologically challenged around who were flummoxed by the machines, we really wonder if it would take fewer man-hours to just have check-in agents rather than the need for assistants helping people work the self-serve check-in machines.
We had access to the newly re-opened Centurian Lounge on our American Express Card, and while we were flying out of Terminal 6, and the lounge was over in the Tom Bradly terminal, we decided to hike over to check it out. Really it’s a long slog past T5 and T4 through the basement linkage tunnels, but we were pretty excited about the re-opened lounge.
It was a really cool place, with loads of L.A.-based artwork and some nice and relaxing seating areas. The food options were via a Buffet and it was really good. The bar was only offering a limited menu, but this basically meant the cocktail menu was off, everything else was good to go, so we got the Vacation off with a few glasses of bubbles.
We then had to hike back to the terminal to catch the flight. Unfortunately, as we emerged from the basement, we found the flight had been delayed…annoying as we could have chilled a little longer in the Centurian!
The flight out to Maui was pretty uneventful. We were in the cheap seats in the back, and service on the 5-hour flight is pretty basic, as is expected on US Domestic. There were free drinks, but only soft drinks or you could pay for alcohol. We were given a few snacks as well but this was definitely a low-cost flight, but it had been priced that way too.
The cabin was nice and clean though and the seats were far better than the awful Hawaiian Airline flight we had taken in March. Overall it was a decent flight for the price and we would happily fly Alaska Airlines again.
The Pilot also really got his foot down and we landed a little earlier than planned. The route in was really stunning as we flew right down the back side of Haleakala past Hana and along the Lava Coast. The top of the volcano was totally clear () and we got some stunning views. This all faded away a little as we rounded the Volcano and into the central valley.
The winds were really up and the sea was wild and white-capped. This made for some very lively turbulence as we headed to the airport. The wings were really flapping and a few passengers were making a few squeals and groans too. It was pretty wild. But all in a day’s work for the guys up front and we actually got down pretty smoothly.
Unfortunately, the good work in the air was undone by the Ground crews who left the plane standing on the apron for 45 mins before the gate was ready. We also got stuck waiting for the bags as they were in NO hurry to get them off.
Kahului – Sixt Rental Cars
Eventually, we got the luggage and headed off to the Car hire center. It’s all changed at Kahului and the Hire Car Centre is now serviced by a handy little tram. We jumped aboard and off we went.
We got a bargain Rental from Sixt. Rental prices have gone a bit insane recently and it’s meant us being really creative in how we rent cars. We have ended up with Exotic Cars, Jeeps, and all sorts of oddities as the pricing of even basic cars has been really hectic. We were really struggling for Maui though and even a basic compact rental was coming in at over $1000! As the dates approached the pricing calmed down but the best we could do was $700 for a compact.
Then with around a week to go Sixt popped up with a similar deal, around $700 for a compact. But their whole range was only a few $ more, so a full-size or an SUV was around $750, and a Mustang Cabralo was the same! This was a no-brainer and while we were unsure how we would get the luggage in a mustang we are a sucker for some top-down fun!
Sixt were really good and the check-in was dead easy. They tried the whole up-sell thing but we were confident in the insurance from our Amex and the fact we had booked through a UK site. We did hear a few around us getting stung for unnecessary cover though.
In total it had taken nearly 2 hours from wheels down to the Highway, very little of that was Sixt, and the majority of the ground crew at Kahului, we guess they, like everyone, are suffering from Staff shortages. But this is Maui and even with a disappointing Airport experience, it all melts away the second you head out of the airport and hit the road. The mountains rise up and the sun shines on another glorious day in paradise.
We were staying in a Condo so on the way we stopped off at Safeway for Provisions. The Condo complex has outdoor BBQs so we picked up some Steaks, Poke, some Maui Brewing Company Beers, and some Pineapple Wine, along with some Coffee for the morning, and a few other bits and bobs! This came to $160 and we almost freaked out!
We know prices have gone up, but damn. Safeway was a pretty heart-stopping experience each time on this trip! We have the Club membership and hunt out the best offers, trying to buy local but still, it’s butt-clenching stuff these days!
We arrived at Napili point around 5 pm, about an hour before sunset. Checked in and got settled. By the time we got into the condo, looked around, and settled in a bit, the sun was starting to dip. I desperately wanted to say hi to my turtley friends that live in the Bay, so hurriedly got changed and ran off to take a dip with the Honu.
Snorkeling with the Turtles in the warm clear water as the sun dipped into the ocean is just about the most soul-southing thing you can imagine. As I cruised around the bay I even came across the most magical sight ever, two turtles actually mating! I give them as much privacy as possible not only as it’s important not to interrupt the process, but also, no one like a Voyeur right?
As the sun set the light faded fast, so I headed out of the water and back to the unit. Literally about 100 meters. Kate was sitting watching the Sunset and letting the folks back home we had arrived safely.
This is where things went a little awry and we realized the BBQs were out of service. And infact the area around them had been severely dug up by an excavator. We will go into this more tomorrow. But for now, we just Pan-Seared the Steak and dined on the Lanai, with Mac Salad, Poke, and a giant lump of cow!