Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hawaii Part One: Maui

Gee, since it has only been about five weeks since Kevin and I got back from Hawaii I guess it is time I got around to writing a little something. I have finally found a few minutes to organize a few photos and type up a little bit about the trip. This is the bare bones of our trip. We saw so many beautiful places and did so much cool stuff but I will spare you the over the top detail I would love to put in here.
We flew into the Big Island the first day and took a little 20 seat prop plan over to Maui (hate to fly, hate to fly). The first night there we got some gear at Costco and went out for some Hawaiian food.
The first morning on Maui we went on a snorkel trip out to Molikini crater. Molokini is an extinct, crescent shaped volcanic crater that is now home to oodles of coral, fish, eels and other aquatic critters. The boat also has an all you can eat BBQ and free beer. This was a beautiful intro to Hawaii. Sunshine, water, fish, burgers and three beers before noon.

The next day was our one "relaxation" day. We had nothing planned and nowhere to go. We did get up early to watch the finishers in the Maui marathon/half-marathon that we were supposed to run. Let me just say that I am beyond glad that I decided not to run this one. The heat and humidity were oppressive just standing at the finish line for an hour and half. There was no cool ocean breeze and temps were in the high 80's. This would have killed me. No way I could have beat my Eugene half time. No way, no how. Kevin felt the same way. We did enjoy cheering on the other runners though and getting to see the fast marathoners finish. From our usual vantage point at the back of the pack we never get to see these guys.

Anyway, we spent the early afternoon on the beach swimming and snorkeling where we found our first sea turtles. These guys are the coolest things. It was a thrill to be in the water with them. And don't worry, we didn't approach them. They just would swim around everybody and do their own thing.

This is Kaanapali Beach which was right outside our hotel and where we spent the relaxation day. Gorgeous beach. Beautiful, friendly but still very nice resort called Kaanapali Beach Hotel. It was the best and I would recommend it to anyone.

I had one of those perfect moments later in the afternoon. Kevin and I went to a restaurant that had an outside bar with sand for a floor. We sat with our bare feet in the sand, gentle ocean breeze (too late for you runners), Jack Johnson-esque singer, tropical umbrella drinks, sweetie by my side, looking out at the ocean and feeling completely relaxed. If I could have bottled that feeling . . . Maui is also probably as close as I will ever get to my dream of a sock free/barefoot life. Later that night we watched a free family musical act/hula show outside the hotel that was better than the one we paid for at the luau we went to on the Big Island. Everything at this hotel really felt like you were part of the ohana (family, to us mainlanders).

Oh, appropos of nothing, apparently Hawaii will try to kill you if it can.

The next day we left the hot, dry western side of Maui and drove towards the warm, wet eastern side. On the way I made Kevin stop at the Surfing Goat Dairy because I felt the need to commune with the goats. We ate tasty goat cheese and got to hang with the ungulates for a bit.
We then drove up the windy hills to Haleakala National Park. Views from the top were almost non-existent because we were at about 10,500 feet and above the clouds but it cleared for a moment and we got to see some of the crater on Haleakala.
After Haleakala we drove the incredibly overrated road to Hana. Twisty, windy, with something like 60 one-lane section and bridges. Annoying and it made me sick to my stomach. People call this the prettiest drive in the country but I think they are cracked. Its nice and all but not nearly as nice as the hype makes it out to be. The next day in the Hana district we went for the coolest horseback ride.

The company is owned and operated by native Hawaiians and our guide performed a few chants before and during the ride for us. He also spoke a lot about the history, flora, fauna of the region. Having grown up in the area he was very knowledgeable about everything we were seeing. He was interested in people not just going for a horse ride but actually learning something about Hawaii, its people and its culture. On the ride up in the hills we got to pick fresh guava from horseback and eat while we rode. We stopped with this as our view.

I wish you could get a sense of the size of the falls. To give you some idea look at the right side of the photo and the soft, carpet like greenery. Those are bamboo trees (nasty, invasive species) and they are about 40 feet tall. This was one of the more beautiful spots on the island that we went to. The horses were the perfect trail ride horses. Docile followers who obey every command. Bad qualities in humans; ideal qualities in a horse. The horses are all younger rescue horses and they couldn't have been better. My horse was Kona and I knew he was perfect for me when I first walked over to him and he began to pee an absolute flood and farted. The ride leader chose well!
On the way back from horseback riding we stopped and swam in the famous Seven Sacred Pools which are neither sacred nor seven. The next morning we stopped at the black sand beach in the state park where we stayed. Stunning. Oh my God was this beach was beautiful. This state park is also where we saw the first of many, many mongoose (another invasive species). It is also the home to cabins that looked like the perfect place to unwittingly star in a horror movie. I will stay almost anywhere but that place really freaked me out the first night. We found this little critter/turd on the beach and tried to "save" him. After chucking him back in the surf and watching him bob on the surface it occurred to us that perhaps we just committed sea slugicide instead. I think we would be acquitted on some sort of marine life good samaritan clause though.

Next day was back along the *&%ing road to Hana and to the airport for our flight back to the Big Island.

1 comment:

kath said...

You should write "tell it like it is" travel guides. I would totally buy them. "People, don't go here. It sucks."

I'm SO glad you had a fabulous, relaxing vacation. You deserve it!