day 2 :
tuesday, 5 february
Thanks to our new travel coffee setup, we brewed great coffee this morning, ground from island beans. For Christmas, Dawn had gotten Eric an Aeropress, along with a Hario Slim burr grinder, in preparation for this trip. It's a compact and lightweight setup for travel, and you can brew up coffee that puts hotel room drip coffee to shame. We only wished we'd remembered to bring our tiny milk frother for making cappuccini!
First things first, today we wanted to explore "our" beach and home turf before venturing out to other areas in Maui later in the week. So after breakfast, we spent the morning playing in the sand and exploring a bit of nearby Kihei. There are three Kamaole beaches (I, II, and III), and our place was on Kam I, the northernmost of the three. The sand here is soft and the beach stretches for a third of a mile. Rocky outcroppings of black lava bookmark the ends of the beach.
The rocks at the north end are fun to explore. Sand sits amongst the rocks, so you can easily walk between the rocks and find a secluded sandy spot nestled inside, where you could enjoy a picnic lunch or watch the waves crash onto the rocks below. During our trip, Ian frequently requested that we explore these rocks.
As it started nearing lunchtime, we headed a couple miles north, to the central part of Kihei. First, we stopped at Longs Drugs for Band-Aids and gin. Fun tip: if you have a kid or you like character Band-Aids, they have a HUGE selection of Band-Aids, including Hello Kitty, Mickey Mouse, Muppets, and at least a dozen more (our local drugstore in Seattle only had Transformers in stock, last we checked).
Next stop was Yee's Orchard stand, just around the corner. Mr. Yee has owned the orchard here since 1945, and the development of Kihei has grown around it. In the middle of a big dirt lot with mango trees behind, we pulled up to the tiny stand. Crates on a couple tables were filled with the most amazing fruit you'll find on the island. We picked up some apple bananas (shorter and sweeter than the bananas we're familiar with), lilikoʻi (passion fruit), Jamaican passion fruit, a tiny grapefruit, a perfectly ripe Maui pineapple, avocadoes, and the most amazing mangoes we've ever eaten, called Golden Glow, a variety developed by Mr. Yee himself. We also grabbed a container of pickled green mango. The orchard primarily grows mangoes, and they sell several varieties here. Their other fruits are brought in daily from the big island, and all are delicious.
Ian had fun stopping here, not just to help pick out fruit. There were a couple peacocks wandering about, and the farm tractor was right there in front of the stand. Ian loved watching a man get on the tractor and drive off as Dawn was paying for our finds.
Lunch was up next, so we went to Coconut's Fish Cafe, just around the corner. This place is awesome. They've got casual counter service, and you sit down at surf board shaped tables as you wait for your food to be brought to your table. We started with the coconut shrimp, a ubiquitous item on menus around Maui, which were delicious dipped in the accompanying mango chili sauce. Eric loved his fishburger with opakapaka, and Dawn devoured their famous fish tacos. The tacos are piled high with 17 different ingredients. They stack two corn tortillas underneath, and the tortillas are not only warmed, but even a touch crisp on the bottom from the grill. Delicious and messy.
Now it was nap time (for Ian, not us, although we probably should have spent less time boogie boarding during naps, and more time napping ourselves). This is why it's important for us to stay in lodging that we love to hang out in, and have the beach right there - we tend to spend every early afternoon hanging out during Ian's nap. It's actually quite a nice way to travel, having daily siestas and down time for reading or staring off into the sky. It took traveling with a child to realize this, though.
So Dawn hung out on the lanai and watched the lizards sunning themselves on the garden lights' mini solar panels, while Eric did some boogie boarding on the beach. Then we all enjoyed a snack of the most delicious juicy pineapple imaginable.
We needed to get better fitting water shoes for Ian, and the surf shops that we'd stopped in only carry adult sizes, so we were forced to head up to Walmart near the airport, which we were told was one of the only places carrying children sized water shoes. While we were there, we were awed by the end display filled top to bottom with Spam products. We also picked up a pack of Kona Brewing Company beer.
We'd mentioned the possibility of sushi to Ian earlier, and he had gotten his heart set on the idea. So we tried to go to Sushi Paradise, a place we'd heard good things about. But when we walked in the door of the tiny place at 6:08, the sushi bar was already full, and all of the empty tables were reserved. The restaurant had just opened at 6! We were all disappointed, so we made a reservation for the following evening and headed to Eskimo Candy instead.
Candy for dinner? Well, Eskimo candy, of course, is fish. Eskimo Candy Seafood Market and Café sells wholesale meats and seafood, but also has a large menu of prepared items to eat on the tables outside. Eric raved about his mahimahi fish and chips, and Dawn absolutely loved her poke rice bowl. This is raw ahi marinated in a few ways: tonight, a wasabi dressing and a spicy tuna dressing, along with sesame seaweed atop a bowl of white rice. We both agreed this was the best cheap eat of our trip.
Since we'd done very little planning before we arrived, we spent the evening reading our Maui Revealed book and mapping out possibilities for our stay. We discovered that there is a companion iPhone app for the book, which turned out to be handy while tooling around the island. We also found that mauiguidebook.com has very helpful free online advice.