The Seawatch Restaurant in Wailea is one of those places where you look around and pinch yourself and whisper about how lucky you are. Out on the terrace you can see the snorkel boats at Molokini, lots of whales when they are in town, Lanai off to your right and some good breakfasts right in front of you at reasonable prices. The setting is elegant and, though I said off-the-beaten-track earlier, The Seawatch is a great start for anyone’s day, and a delicious feeder event for Maluaka Beach. You did stash your beach stuff in the trunk, right?
Adjacent to the picturesque Keawalai Church that dates from 1832, you’ll see a public parking lot on your left with a bathroom and showers. Park here. Grab your beach stuff and snorkel gear and walk just a little further down Makena Road and you’ll come to Maluaka Beach, fronting the somewhat bizarre-looking Maui Prince Hotel.
I love many beaches on Maui, but let me share a couple of thoughts about Maluaka. The green sea turtles like it. Keep your distance when snorkeling near them and visiting their “cleaning station.” That’s right, about 1/4 mile from shore there is a white buoy where the Maui Prince’s catamaran vendor ties up. Snorkel out to a point about 40 yards to the left of the buoy and be prepared to be blissed-out by the sight of numerous green sea turtles being picked clean of parasites by a cast of enthusiastic tropical fish. If you are lucky, the resident flock of frigate birds will appear from sea and circle above you, riding the thermals. It is an awesome sight watching these birds come in from sea. One moment they are not there and the next moment you start seeing dozens.
The other breakfast/beach option is The Five Palms Restaurant in the Mana Kai Maui hotel just before Wailea, offering a staggeringly beautiful view down Keawakapu Beach and a broad ocean vista. Whale watching can be great from this restaurant and this very long beach will give you a chance to walk off the breakfast.