Maui, March 2013 — Part 1
From March 5 to March 20, we were in Maui having a lovely vacation. This is the eighth trip I’ve taken to Hawaii and the seventh family vacation. We usually stay at the Luana Kai condos in Kihei. A condo is nice in that you get a kitchen and a washer/dryer. This allows you to pack a bit lighter and means you don’t have to eat out all the time. Our view from there looked like:
Josh, our son, and his significant other Bethany were also along for the first week. This was Bethany’s first trip to Hawaii so we tried to pack in most of the sightseeing type activities in the first week.
(Note, click on photos to embiggen.)
|Out to sea||Across the bay|
On the 6th we drove to Lahaina (about a half hour drive depending on traffic) and did a bit of shopping along Front Street. You can buy all the trinkets you may want here as well as some nice artwork. If the shopping proves too hectic, you may always just look out to sea:
We ate lunch at the Aloha Mixed Plate. This is a lovely restaurant with an emphasis on local food. A “mixed plate” typically contains white rice, macaroni salad and a choice of protein like teriyaki beef, kalua pork and cabbage or lau lau (beef or chicken in taro leaves). When you are seated, if you mention that you won’t need alcoholic drinks, you will often get a table next to the sea. We were right next to the water and our view was:
And, the food is good, also. 🙂
On the 7th, we set sail for the island of Lana’i aboard a catamaran from Trilogy.We set out at about 10AM and quickly began sighting humpbacks. About halfway across a mother and calf surfaced about a couple of hundred yards away and the captain cut the engines. This worked out great as the whales wanted to come over and check us out. You aren’t allowed to approach the whales but they can come and look at you if they want. They surfaced about 20 feet from the boat and then swam directly underneath. The ocean was very calm that day and visibility was great so you could see the white of the whales markings as they swam by. At first, as the whales slowly swam closer, the dappling of the sun blended with the white striping of the whales fins and tails. Slowly becoming clearer until suddenly the eye would connect all the dots and the silent silhouette of a 40 foot long creature swimming under the boat would spring into view.
|Ocean with sun rays||Whale under water|
|Mother and calf||Heading away|
After the great fun of the ride over, we relaxed on the beach, snorkeled and walked around to see tide pools, cliffs and sea arches.
|snorkel photo||snorkel photo|
|Wave and rocks||Sea arch|
On the 8th we drove around the north side of the island. On the way, we stopped by Kapalua at the “Dragon’s Teeth.” This is a lovely lava formation. As you walk in along the edge of a golf course, you will pass by an Hawaiian burial ground on the Ritz Carlton site. Hedges surround the burial grounds so there is no need to go into them. Skirt the golf course (make sure not to annoy any golfers) and you will arrive at the view. In addition to the lava, we saw a number of green sea turtles. On this trip we saw quite a few more turtles than we ever have before, so this is possibly a good sign that they may be coming back somewhat.
|Dragon’s Teeth||Green Sea Turtle|
Continuing on, the next really interesting thing (except, you know, for all the wonderful scenery) was the blowhole. To get to this, you must walk down a rough trail (or mild cliff) to the ocean. Along the way are various signs pointing out that the blowhole is not something to mess with. Unfortunately, not everyone pays attention to these and a couple of people have died. As long as you don’t go near the blowhole and take care on the rocks leading down to it, it is quite the sight.
Waves forcing their way through a tunnel into the rock shelf and then launching upwards power the jetting water. The amount of activity varies with the tide and other factors. It can be anywhere from a mild burp to a jet engine roaring geyser.
|Warning sign – pay attention.||The blowhole|
|The way back up|
The road continues winding along the northern shore. The emphasis here is on the winding and less so on the road as the road becomes quite narrow in a few spots. Follow caution as you go around blind curves. Running into someone going the other way could really ruin your day.
On the 8th, Bethany and I went up in a helicopter. We flew around the island. Neither of us had done this before and it was quite nice to see things from this different viewpoint.
|Big and little beaches with the Pu’u Olai cinder cone.||Waterfall on eastern side of Haleakala|
|Hana area.||Eastern Maui around Paia|
After the helicopter we began making our way to Haleakala. The top was cloudy so we decided to stop at various places and see if it cleared up some. The first stop was at the Kula Botanical Gardens. Great place with many wonderful tropical plants–and a cat.
After some beautiful flowers, clearly the next thing to do was to go look at some goats. So, it was off to the Surfing Goat Dairy.
The summit appeared to be clearing up after we had witnessed the feeding of the goats and so we wound our way up to the top of Haleakala. It was fairly clear by the time we got to the top. Occasional clouds crawled across the summit and oozed down into the crater. The crater isn’t really a volcanic caldera but rather has been sculpted by erosional forces. We hiked down for a bit and the views were well worth the effort.
|Summit sign||Haleakalā High Altitude Observatory Site|