Maui Hawaii - Oct 29 - Nov 7, 2010
October 29 - November 7, 2010
Bob & Debe
We arrived at the airport after a full day of travel and picked up the convertible mustang. (Oh yeah $34 per day) Then headed to Lahaina to our time sharing unit at The Westin - North Villas. It was very nice as we expected it would be. Westin is known for their name. Just shocked they now have time sharing but loved it. Nice pools, BBQ grills, on the beach, beautiful sunsets and rainbows every day, what more could I ask for.
After a great night sleep, it was time to check out the island. We where in Maui for our honeymoon almost 21 1/2 years ago and went again the year our youngest son was born in 1990. So was excited to come again and explore. Our last experience had not been good with a lot of raining and flooding. We were happy to wake up to sunshine today though. Yippee. So hoped in the car, put the top down and headed to the Maui Swap Meet on the Northeast Side of the Island. Since we wanted to drive the entire top section of the island today - this would be a good place to eat breakfast and get started. We bought some great fruit at the Swap Meet then headed to IHOP (oh yeah) for breakfast. As you can see from the below photos - we drove around the island's head. It was beautiful everywhere we looked. (Locals say the island of Maui is like a head on shoulders. So we were driving the head of the island today).
And of course, a stop for a shaved ice - made famous in the Hawaiian Islands.
We decided to spend the next day hitting a great snorkeling place we saw on the drive the day before. Then off to the South part of Maui to the lava fields. Honolua - Mokuleia Bay was one awesome bay for snorkeling. The shore was rocks so isn't a beach to lay out on but once in the water, a little swim out will take you to some awesome coral and fish. Very very great.
After snorkeling we headed to the Southwest part of the island and to the lava fields. Lunch was at Fat Daddy's then continued down the coastline. The lava fields were surreal as we drove through them. We found a great snorkeling place called "Dumps" to try. Another awesome place with lots of fish, coral and even a very large sea turtle. This time - everything close to the shore but again, not a beach to sunbathe at. Imagine lava and you can imagine what the shore is like. As we headed back to Lahaina, the view of the Mauna Kahalawai crater remains with the cloud hanging over the mountain of green was beautiful.
The next day was a relaxing day at the pool. But we did get to see an awesome sunset as a Holland American cruise ship heading between our island of Maui and the island in the distance - Lanai and off into the sunset.
Next it was off for more action. Yes, a bike ride down the Haleakala Crater. We wouldn't be going inside the crater area but down the outer wall of the crater. Since the top would be cold we had to dress in layers. Total would be 23 miles and Bob was really excited while I was apprehensive. The price ($55 per person) included helmet, bike, rain jacket, and back pack for the trip. We would max at a height of 6500 feet and on the way down go through the town of Komoda, thru Eucalyptus trees, lavender/rose farms, and great scenery. For active bike riders, this is one awesome ride. Well, even if you don't ride bikes a lot it is awesome. But if you don't have the butt for bikes - it is a pain right in the butt. Even though you only have a very few spots you need to pedal, it is hard on the behind. So take this recommendation from us based on your bike riding preference.
On the drive from the bike rental, we stopped at a lookout point to view the North Shore waves. Oh man were they awesome. No one was out on them but they were coming in back to back to back. Huge. We even saw a monk seal that had came upon shore to sunbathe for awhile. Once back to the time sharing - another awesome sunset right out our window. Nice
Now was the big test. Twenty years ago, we drove Hana Highway and even though we had made it to the town of Hana - we didn't make it to the Haleakala National Park (totally different part of the volcano's park then where we took the bike ride). Anyway, twenty years ago the heights, roads, and the massive rain caused me to panic and not make it to the Sacred Pools or Seven Pools that everyone goes to. So now, we would try it again. We decided to rent a Gypsy Guide to use on the drive. These can be rented for $39.95 and are so worth it. It literally gives you a detail description of everything all the way to the end. So it was up to each person what all they chose to stop and see. We decided the drive up to Hana we would stop at what we wanted to see since the drive back, we would probably be tired.
These stops were quite a few. Since Hana Highway has 620 curves, 56 bridges, and many one lane areas, stopping would break it all up. First stop was Waikamoi Ridge Trail. We were able to see the beautiful Rainbow Eucalyptus trees that everyone talks about. Then off to see the tree with sponge bark at Kaumahina State Wayside. Honomanii Bay was a beautiful Black Beach but the wind was blowing a mist across it. Next was Keanae Arboretam which was pretty much a botanical gardens.
Our first side road to take was to the town of Lanakila - famous for its church being the only thing that survived a tsunami years ago. The lava shores and huge waves were awesome and made for some very good photos.
The first really nice waterfall we stopped to see was called the Bear Claw waterfall. On a day like today - you see the three falls making the claw. Heavy rains changes it to just one big fall. Many waterfalls we saw today were small trickles since no rain was falling.
Next Waianapanapa State Park - a must to stop at. It not only has the Caves with the Legend of the Hawaiian Princess killed by her Chief husband (legend says the pool there fills with red shrimp once a year to represent the blood of that Princess), to seeing the blow hole, lava bridge and black beach. Just a beautiful and interesting place to visit.
And finally to Hana. Our last trip here 20 years ago- I wasn't able to make the drive back right away so we had to spend the night here at this hotel. But this time - wasn't a big deal. Across from the hotel is the Hana Ranch Restaurant. Great food but this time - to many people. Also in the third photo below you will see Hana Bay.
As you start driving out of Hana on to the Sacred Pools - you come across this "hut" BBQ place. Oh my gosh was this the best food ever. We were so glad that the Hana Restaurant was filled with people because I think we got better food and a better deal right here at the "hutts" Braddah Hutts to be exact. The meal you see there was $10 and a huge amount of food. And delicious to boot.
Another side street took us to a town with this island across from it. How neat a huge rock island with palm trees on the top. Also there were people surfing here.
Finally, to the Haleakala National Park where you find the Sacred Pools. The cost is $10 per car to enter this park (but keep the receipt because you can use it to enter the Haleakala National Park up at the top of the crater with it or vise versa).
The seven pools pretty much one flows into the other one. It does take some climbing to get down to them if you chose to swim in them though. As you can see, we are on the trail in the Park and looking down onto the pools. Couldn't get a photo of all seven of them in one shot but here are pictures of all of them.
Continuing from the pools but away from Hana you finally make it to the area where Charles Lindbergh's grave can be found. It wasn't the easiest to find since it is a few turns off the main road but worth the view from the point of the island. I will say that the Gyspy GPS stops working after this gravesite since the road, if continued on, is very bad and not advised to drive on. But many people use the mostly single lane road to continue around the island. We didn't and chose to take the same Hana Highway road back.
Oh the drive back we pretty much stayed on the road with only a couple stops. One area made me think about how close the holiday season was when I saw the CHRISTmas poinsettas growing. Beautiful.
We had also stopped at the Nahika Marketplace (below photo on the left) on the way to Hana while we were starving. It had several types of restaurants to chose between but we found it to be a little expensive. In the below right photo you can see the restaurant called "Charlie's" owed by Willie Nelson. His place is located in the town of Paia which is the beginning or in our case now the end of the Hana Highway experience.
And of course, I have my "I SURVIVED THE ROAD TO HANA!" t-shirt. What a difference twenty years of growing trees and better roads makes. And of course, no huge rainfall. But really, I wondered why I couldn't make it back then.
Our last few days we filled with relaxing, driving to the local town of Lahaina and hanging out at the time sharing. In Lahaina, we checked out the remains of a Fort, the old Court House, Cookhouse theatre and the big huge tree that took up an entire block of the town. (see photo below with Bob standing in the middle of the tree) Huge.
We also found a great restaurant that we visited twice. Great view and great food. Called Aloha Mixed Plate. We were told if you get a chance to eat at a restaurant that serves mixed plates do it. Mixed plate - the name, started from the farmers in the sugar cane fields all stopping to eat and pulling out their traditional dishes. They begin to share their food together and the name Mixed Plates came together. These traditional dishes include dishes from Filipinos, Japanese, Koreans, and of course Hawaiians. Now you can get a little taste of all of these on one plate. Delicious!
Even though I have given you things that we did, there are so many other things to do. IN the following photos you will see things we did and didn't do to add to your list. I mentioned the Maui Swap Meet which is every Saturday Morning (cost 50 cents per person to get it and filled with tshirt, clothes, food, crafts, about everything). You can also whale watch from the popular points around the western side of the island. Shave Ice is something we truly enjoy and had one quite often around the island. You can also take a train ride on the Sugar Cane Train. And the up and coming physical activity in Hawaii is the paddle surfing.
One thing for sure you will see in Maui - rainbows. The crater remains have clouds that hang on them all during the day so misty rains from those mountains cause awesome rainbows all around the island. So take that camera every where you go.
And of course, some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world.
This stunning, beautiful island reminded us why our US 50th state is one of our favorite vacation places in the world. And going back makes us know we have to keep it on the top of our list of places to go to relax. Thank you for coming along to one of our favorite places. Hope you have enjoyed this trip with us and just maybe, found some new things to do if you go head back to Maui.
Debe Bob and Debe Canaday