Published: June 20th 2012June 16th 2012
16th May ’12 Goodbye Kauai, hello Maui
Same routine – airport, flight, car rental and drive to the accommodation. This time we are staying in a B&B, but it advertised the rooms as studios with their own verandahs. This is indeed true and the room is lovely, however the rooms are on the ground floor and the owners live above, this would not be a problem except for the fact that the place is run by the original Stepford Wife! Complete with an ‘I’m only a little girl’ voice, this would not be a problem but for the list of rules, including no loud noise at all at any time and more importantly no smoking anywhere on the property – this wouldn’t be so bad but they have large grounds which are well away from the building, so now I have to go out onto the road to smoke, this wouldn’t be so bad but every time you go out at night all the security lights come on and then a little head appears peering out the window! Oh well its only for 4 nights…..
We drove down to the shopping centre to find some supplies and have tea
and they have a Cold Stone Creamery there!! So had a compensation ice cream, but won’t be doing it again as it was sooo expensive and not a patch on the ones in New York (and they don’t sing).
17th June ‘12
Woken up at about 6am by the light and the birds. There is no air con and all the windows have wooden slats on them, so in order to get some air flow through the room we had to open a couple. Dozed off and then got woken at 7.30am by breakfast being delivered to the patio table. Gave up and got up, homemade muffins and fruit mmmmmm.
Today we decided to drive around the north coast of the island. We started off by driving up to visit the ’Lao Valley State Park. This was a lovely area, all green and tropical, with tall mountains. There was a walkway up to the lookout for the ‘Lao Needle, this rock formation was used by a lookout for warriors during battles. It is also known as the phallic stone of Kanaloa the ocean god.
There was a nice walk along by the river and through a
garden area which was planted with typical Hawaiian plants. The river is known as the River of Blood after a particular battle between two tribes, during which vast numbers of people were killed and their bodies blocked the river, hence the name.
This area was very important to the Hawaiian people, not only politically but also as a sacred area. The remains of the highest chiefs are believed to have been buried in secret hiding places up in the valley.
We then started around the coastal road, which runs along the cliff edge, has very few barriers – maybe the odd wooden post and a sheer drop to one side!! This was of course the side we were driving on! I have to say this was one of the most terrifying drives of my life! A lot of the time the road is just a single lane with passing places here and there. There was a fair bit of traffic going in both directions and the moment that nearly finished me off was when we were second in a queue of 4 cars going uphill and we came across 4 cars coming down. There were no barriers on
Maui 'Lao Valley State Park
Down the valley and the river of blood!
our side just a drop, the cars coming down tried to squeeze themselves into the mountain side but it meant we had no margin for error when trying to pass them. One of the guys got out of his car and helped the cars going up negotiate our way round. Howard said ‘ do you want to get out and walk this just incase?!’ he thought this was being helpful!!! I couldn’t move, I was paralysed with fear and I had the seat with the window looking over the drop!
Aaaarrrrggghh at last we got past and further up the road found an area you could pull off and park in and we did until my shaking subsided! There were good views over the many little bays and the rocky coastline, but I can honestly say I don’t think it was worth the terror to see what you did!
Once we were back down at sea level we carried on exploring the coast line and visited the ‘old’ town of Lahaina. Eventually we managed to find somewhere to park, no mean feat as the town was packed full of tourists. It is actually known as a port city
and has a colourful past linked to drunken sailors and their shenanigans! It was a lovely little place and easy to walk around.
There was an art market taking place in amongst the most amazing banyan tree down near the wharf. The tree just seemed to go on for ever and had new trunks popping up everywhere connecting into the original tree’s branches.
The main street was lined with the usual souvenir shops, eating places and absolutely loads of art galleries! After a good look around we carried on by the coast and once we were back near our area of Maui – Kihei and Wailea we stopped to check out some of the beaches. The tide was in so most places had no sand showing but we did sit and watch the ocean and spotted a seal whose head kept popping up out of the waves.
We had a look around the little shopping areas here also and found a lovely potchy craft market. We also found Taco Bell and made the mistake of trying it out (as a possible cheap source of food and an alternative to McDonalds), Howard was nearly sick and the only
good thing we could say about it was that the wrap was nice!
We did ear mark a few good beaches for our seaside day on Tuesday. That night we had no option but to sleep with all the window slats open, but we needed to be up and out early the next day so it worth it.
18th June ‘12
So once again up with the dawn, but today we were going to drive The Road to Hana. This was a drive right around the coast and the whole of the big part of the peanut shape that is Maui. I was dreading this after yesterday’s experience! Our Stepford Wife had advised us to do it on an organised tour, due to the 666 bends and the length of the drive (about 100 miles) amongst other things. Howard, of course, was having none of it. The b&b also had copies of the narrated cd, Driving the Hana Coast – Your personal guide to Paradise, which you could borrow, so armed with this and having taken 2 travel sickness tablets we set off.
I must say the cd was full of information about everything, the flora
and fauna, the sights you would see and handy hints. The only trouble was the guy spoke so quickly that by the time we interpreted what he was saying we had often passed the things! There was supposed to be a map with it but we didn’t have this so finding the stopping points was a bit hit and miss but I reckon we found most of them.
It was a nice drive, there were no sheer drop offs and most of the time it was a 2 lane road so it felt very safe, which was great. The road had been built originally by prisoners from a camp on the way which was now a Youth camp! The area was also where most of the original Polynesian settlers lived and still contains the homes of most of the actual Hawaiians who live on Maui. There was an interesting tale on the cd of how the Hawaiian inhabitants were conned out of their land and despite the government saying they will get it back they are still waiting…..the same old story!
The road wound through the rain forest with beautiful trees and flowers everywhere. We knew there was
Remains of the Fort
supposed to be a lot of water falls on the way and we did see some lovely ones, but as the cd informed us on regular occasions there were plenty more that were closed to the public.
We eventually arrived at Hana, a small settlement leading down to the ocean, with wooden one storey houses. We stopped in the bay and watched the waves pounding the rocks for a while.
This was the point where the drive ends but you can carry on although the road narrows and is unpaved for large sections. The cd says ‘ I’m not telling you not to do it but if you do be prepared for one hell of an adventure!’ so of course we carried on!!!
Well I can’t say I would describe it as one hell of an adventure but the road was rough, apparently not only has the state run out of funds to pave it but also the locals like it that way – hmmmmm.
We pulled in and saw the gorgeous Wailua Falls, which was just off the road and surrounded by the rain forest and then carried onto the Haleakala National Park Visitor’s Centre
The amazing Banyan Tree!
and there used our annual pass that had been lurking in the depths of Howard’s wallet ever since we left America all those months ago! Here we walked to the seven sacred pools of Oheo, again another beautiful sight. The wind though was so strong, standing on the cliff edge by the sea was a very dodgy experience! The pools though led down from one to another and eventually ran out into the sea. There were several people swimming in them but how they managed not to get blown away was beyond me! We hiked up to the top of them and then followed the trail round to see the original Hale – open sided, thatched roof meeting house (like the ones in Samoa that were called Fales) and then returned to the car.
From here we hit the unpaved part of the road, it was still wide enough for 2 cars to pass without any problems and we carried on up and over the lava fields. So we had the Haleakala crater towering up to one side, the road going through the lava and then on the other side the dramatic coastline with the pounding waves. It was
The Amazing Banyan Tree again!
quite spectacular but after an hour or so the novelty wore off and by the time we got back onto main road I had had more than enough.
After this Howard wanted to drive up to the crater of the volcano (which is dormant), I can’t say I fancied yet more hair pins but up we went. We then found ourselves in the middle of a full scale drama!! We had seen smoke from a way off, but rounding a bend we had to stop as the road was lined with emergency vehicles and people staring up the mountainside at the helicopter that were circling overhead with large containers of water hanging beneath them.
We pulled over to try and suss out what was happening and I could see great vents of steam coming up out of the ground and thick smoke higher up the mountain side. There were lots of homes in this area and I got the impression that there must be a fire up behind some of the houses that the helicopters were trying to stop. It was obvious we couldn’t go on and fearing that they might start evacuating people we turned around and
headed back down quickly.
So after this little drama we gave up on the volcano and went back down to the sea and found a gorgeous beach, all sandy and lined with palm trees.
19th June ‘12
After the early morning breakfast Howard was up and watching the England match, that was fine as I had to get this bloody blog up to date and it was cloudy. I also couldn’t stop reading the latest Mo Hayder that I discovered on the book shelf here!!
This afternoon we headed to the beach at Wailea armed with one of the b&b’s boogie boards. I have to say it is not as easy as it looks! I fell off numerous times, got half drowned and totally covered in sand, but I managed to ride one wave right onto the beach!! Howard did better than me, but I reckon that was because he’s taller and the board was more his size! It was great fun and when we get to the Big Island I am going to buy a small board as we are there for a week and they are cheap enough in the supermarkets. By the end
I shall be a pro ha ha ha.
So that’s the end of our Maui adventure and tomorrow we fly to Hawaii aka The Big Island and the active volcanoes!!! Also another major step on our ‘on the trail of Captain Cook tour’ – where he met his gruesome end!
There are more photos below