Feeling naked in Hawaii: Honeymooning in Maui
We couldn’t wait to take our flight from Los Angeles to Maui, Hawaii on December 5 for our honeymoon.
We got married in May and waited to honeymoon so we had something to look forward too.
Neither of us had been to Hawaii and we couldn’t wait for some sunshine and beach time as winter started approaching in California.
We arrived at our resort in Lahaina, Maui on Tuesday. We spent the afternoon checking out the pool, dipping into the ocean and watching the sunset from the beach.
We hadn’t done much planning for our time so we needed to figure out how we would spend the next 5 days.
Thankfully friends had recommended some trails to run, sights to see and road trips to make.
That evening my Dexcom (continuous glucose monitor) was playing up. I started to get some sensor errors which meant it wouldn’t read my blood sugar levels and I had to test my blood manually with my meter and finger prick to know what my sugar levels were.
We woke up early on Day 2 and headed out to door to a trail near our hotel. We started at the beach and ran 5.5 miles up the mountain, turning back at the top to head down.
Mahana Ridge Trail was a beautiful yet challenging trail. Lots of mud, overgrowth on the hard to find single trail, dense tropical forest switching to open grass fields.
As soon as we started running my Dexcom read “sensor error” – thankfully I had bought my glucose monitor and test strips to test my BGLs manually.
We ran, took photos and my BGLs ranged between 130 – 200 (7-11 mmol/L). Not ideal but not horrible.
I continually tested on the run to make sure I wasn’t going too high or too low.
On the run we could see the ocean on our left and the mountains on our right. The crystal-clear blue water was magical and the lush green mountains glistened in the sun.
I knew the next few days was going to be magical.
As soon as we got back to our room I called Dexcom to get a replacement for the sensor that kept erroring.
I had bought a spare sensor with me so I could replace the bad one and would be set for the rest of the trip.
After my post-run shower, I got the sensor ready to insert. For anyone with a Dexcom you will understand this more than others.
I had everything ready to go for the insertion process and boom I clicked the damned orange button on the sensor insertor before I had attached it to my tummy. It was useless.
Alex and I desperately tried to salvage it. Tried to insert the sensor manually, tried to reconnect the sensor to the applicator but I knew it was broken once activated.
I called Dexcom again to see if they could send a replacement directly to Hawaii but the 3-day delay on sensor orders made its arrival the day we would be leaving at the earliest.
So here I was on my honeymoon having to return to old-fashion BGL testing with finger pricks and a glucose monitor. For the next 4 and a half days.
I felt completely naked not having the monitoring system I heavily relied on.
I knew that I couldn’t let this stress me or get in the way of enjoying myself. So here I was counting my test strips so I could ration them each day for the time I was in Maui.
My goal was to keep my BGLs below 200 mg/dL (11 mmol/L).
Again, not ideal but manageable.
I reminded myself I lived 12 years with type 1 diabetes using only finger pricks and a glucose monitor.
I have only had the continuous glucose monitor for the past 5 years. A privilege I had gotten used to and something a reminder like this made me not take for granted.
Back on track to enjoying Maui and carrying my diabetes supply “purse” around with me at all times we headed to a Hawaiian luau that had a full set vegan course and no BBQ pig ceremony.
This was such an incredible evening. We arrived at the beachside location just as the sun was setting. We got strangers to take photos of us on the beach wearing our beautiful leis and the smile on our faces was so genuine.
The show that awaited us was more than we expected. The entertainment took us around all the countries and regions of Islander people as we tasted 100% vegan courses from each of these regions – Hawaii, New Zealand, Tahiti, Samoa and Polynesia.
The music, dancing and traditions from each of these regions were shown throughout the evening.
The food was incredible.
Not knowing the carbs in any of the meals I gave small doses of insulin through my insulin pen. I find injecting for meals that are served immediately makes the insulin work a lot quicker than through the pump. I didn’t have time to pre-bolus for 30 mins.
I ended up using injections for a lot of our meals while in Maui so I could eat immediately once we got our food at restaurants.
Day 3 was another early start as we had a snorkeling tour booked for 7.30am.
We were going to the coral reef at Molokini Crater and hopefully see green sea turtles at another reef location.
The water was a bit rough and choppy on the 1-hour boat ride out to Molokini. Alex’s tummy turned with the waves and we were eager to get out into the ocean.
We got our snorkel and wetsuits and dived straight in. We bobbed along as we watched these beautiful black fish swim by us with no hesitation getting within a hand’s reach.
Back on the boat and off to our next location poor Alex was getting more and more sea sick as the rough water didn’t let up.
We gobbled down on some salad and veggie burgers and jumped back in the ocean on the search for some green sea turtles.
As we got in the water we saw some vibrant fish but no turtles, we swam further away from the boat and the rest of the people on the tour and out of the corner of my eye I saw a huge green sea turtle swimming away from me.
I jumped in my skin a little with excitement and nerves. The turtle was a lot bigger than I expected – so majestic and graceful.
I called Alex over and we followed it for a few seconds before it headed away from us.
Alex was very happy when the boat tour was over and we grabbed an Acai bowl at a local shopping mall and walked along the beach.
My BGLs didn’t have the best of day on day 3 but I knew there were so many factors that played a role in this – I was on vacation and carb counting acai bowls from cafes wasn’t my area of expertise, I had the remnants of a cold which I knew was slightly elevating my BGLs, along with my menstrual cycle hormones causing insulin resistance.
This gave me sufficient reason to not stress over my BGLs – test, correct, make necessary adjustments and move on.
By day 4, testing my BGLs was becoming routine and more of a momentary annoyance than anything else.
We slept in until 7am, made a fresh banana, Hawaiian pineapple and persimmon smoothie in our hotel room, put our swimmers on and headed to the rental store to get some snorkeling gear.
We wanted to see more than just a fleeting green sea turtle. That was our goal.
The rental shop owner was generous to show us a map of the best spots to see green turtles.
As we literally swam 100ft out from the beach and approached the coral reef we saw a beautiful green sea turtle heading our way.
Alex had his GoPro and we wanted to get some good footage following yesterday’s unimpressive captures.
We followed Mr. turtle for a little while then headed back to the coral reef right by the beach shoreline.
Wow, what a sight. We had big and small, but very curious green sea turtles come within feet of us, making me have to swim backwards so they wouldn’t come too close.
We even spotted a sting ray and Alex was brave enough to follow him while I stayed back and watched from a distance.
As we got back to shore we knew that morning of snorkeling was a special moment. Although there are lots of green sea turtles on Maui, they are an endangered species and may not be around forever.
No time to relax as we ate, showered and put on our running clothes for a run at the summit of Haleakala National Park, the still active volcano on Maui. Our plan was to run down one of the trails from 10,000 ft of elevation and then “run” back up.
We arrived with plenty of time to be back up the top to watch the sunset from the summit.
Today my sugar levels were much better until I started running downhill.
By the time we reached the bottom and turn around point my sugar levels had crashed and we sat down for a moment while I consumed an energy gel and Clif bar.
I had mentally planned on hiking back up to the Summit of Haleakala, absorbing the views of the red and black lava rocks against the deep blue ocean.
We took some action shots along the way trying to capture the beauty of the place.
I pushed some sections, running short sections interspersed with hiking until Alex decided he wanted to really push the last 1.5 miles.
Running up a steep ascent while gaining elevation is not an easy feat.
Looking back Day 4 was probably my favorite day. The morning spent with sea creatures in the ocean and the afternoon running on a volcano before watching the sun set at 10,000ft.
My BGLs were in pretty good range the whole day! What a difference it makes to feeling good.
Day 5 was another big day that lay ahead.
Most nights we were cooking dinner at our resort room which amazingly had a full kitchen with a fridge, stove, oven etc. We had bought some groceries and make tofu, vegetable curries with brown rice late in the evenings which satisfied our taste buds and allowed us to enjoy meals from the comfort of the balcony (or bed) lol.
Day 5 – the infamous Road to Hana awaited us.
We had a bit of a late start, getting on the road around 7:30am – to give some perspective the road trip takes an average of 12 hours to complete on the windy coastal roads and sight-seeing stops along the way.
We took the first hour easy with pit stops for Starbucks, gas and some much-needed snacks for the long drive ahead.
Alex was the designated driver and I was extremely thankful for this on some of the very narrow, windy and wet parts of the road.
I was prepared for sitting in the car for extended periods of time so had my insulin pump settings on 180% of my usual basal rate (daily dose).
First stop was the Twin Falls. The first waterfall wasn’t that impressive so we ventured further down the trail to find the 2nd one.
We were totally unprepared for the muddy, slippery and wet trail that lay ahead.
We had sandals on our feet and I didn’t bring any gels for the rare occurrence of a low blood sugar level, which of course happened.
The 2ndwaterfall was definitely worth destroying my sandals and nervously counting the minutes so I could get back to the car before I fainted.
I jumped in the brisk water for a quick photo before getting back on land and walking briskly to the safety of the car and a Clif bar.
Stop 2 was meant to be some rainbow Eucalyptus trees but we stumbled across another treacherous muddy path to find ourselves at another waterfall stop.
I wasn’t willing to jump in and either was Alex so we snapped some photos and moved on.
The road to Hana was lush green rainforest on the cliff side and jaw dropping ocean views on the other. It was one of the most beautiful and scenic drives I have been on.
We continued to pull over on the side of the road to see an Arboretum, more waterfalls, lava caves, road side fruit stands, the ocean crashing against the cliff’s edge, and even some coconut vegan ice cream.
As we reached the turnaround point we asked some locals if it was safe to drive the very narrow dirt road around the front of Hana so we wouldn’t have to turn back like most tourists did.
Our rental car wasn’t insured for this section of road but I knew Alex wanted to head this way. We heard the views were better than what we’d seen and if we timed it right we would see an incredible ocean sunset (not that we hadn’t seen enough of these already).
As we drove on the “two way” road that we could barely fit on with one car, we came across cattle on the road, the landscape changed from rainforest to vast grass fields and the mountains were shining bright with the sun directly on them.
We stopped for the sunset and made it back to our room by 7.30pm. An 11-12 hour road trip around half of Maui.
What an incredible day.
Day 6 – our last day in Maui we saw our last wild green sea turtle, jumped in the resort spa and enjoyed an Acai bowl before packing our things and heading to the airport.
Not only did I learn so much about the ocean, sea life, Hawaiian culture and nature, I learnt a lot about letting things be even when the circumstances aren’t ideal.
I didn’t let my diabetes hiccup stress me out or dictate how I was going to enjoy our honeymoon. I didn’t let it spoil the fun or stop me from doing everything we had and hadn’t planned.
I learnt to be adaptable to the situation and I am quietly proud of myself for doing that.
It feels like this past year we have travelled the world together and Maui was one of the most incredible places we saw.
5 days flew by and we took every opportunity to savor our time there.
Mahalo Hawaii. We will be back soon.
As soon as we got off the plane in Los Angeles and I stepped in our front door I put a new Dexcom sensor right back on.
All photos by Alex and myself.