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Published: October 17th 2015
Getting to Maui was good fun. At Kona (on the Big Island) we took back our rental car, argued for being charged for insurance that we never needed, got refunded and arrived at the “commuter terminal” – this was a portacabin. We ended up on a tiny propeller plane with 6 other people, 2 of which were the pilots. It was a lovely sunny day, however the wind was howling – the plane was shaking even before they started the propeller! Anyway we made it to Maui (flight wasn’t actually that bad) and headed straight to our last minute hostel booking.
The (slightly crazy) lady that checked us into the hostel definitely had the Aloha Spirit that was missing from the Big Island. She gave us loads of tips on where to go including a beach that has loads of sea turtles and going up Haleakala (10,000 foot mountain – highest point on the island) at sun rise.
Next morning we (now standard) got up early and started out to beat the traffic on the Road to Hana. This is basically an uber windy road that hugs the coast with around 600 turns over about 35 miles. It went
through some amazing rainforest and had any number of waterfalls running down the sides of the mountains and out to sea. We stopped along the way to take in some of the views and do a couple of small hikes. We arrived at Wai’anapanapa State Park just before Hana to set up our tent and go to a small black sand beach – the campsite was a little odd but we could see the sea when we opened the tent. It was ridiculously humid there which made sleeping tough.
After a sticky night we headed off to Kipahulu for the seven pools of Oheo Gulch. We did a fairly humid round trip hike (Pipiwai trail) to take in a couple of waterfalls (one being well over 400 foot high) and the seven pools. The trail took us through a bamboo forest – it “played music”/banged around a lot when there was a small breeze, very cool. We returned to our sweaty camp site and did a little walk around the coast followed by yet another dead humid night’s sleep.
We decided after a couple of nights’ camping in really hot weather we deserved to stay in a hostel,
after one final night of camping on Haleakala. We started our drive up the massive mountain - apparently the steepest ascent from coast to 10,000 feet anywhere on earth – and hit the clouds around 6,000 feet. The campsite was at 6,800, slap bang in the middle of said clouds. It was cold and damp so pretty different to the previous night’s clamfest – however it was free! Anyway we went up to the summit (clouds went up to about 9,000 feet) and did a bit of the Sliding Sands trail. This was down into the crater of the now extinct volcano. We were treated to some awesome views above the clouds and then they slowly parted so we could see the peaks of the Big Island. We went back down to the campsite and right before we were about to hit the sack, disaster struck….
With a rather large squeal followed by a very rude word and a large snap I came around the corner to see Vicks lying on top of the tent with one very broken tent pole sticking out at a funny angle. Turns out that she had done a double trip in the dark
over a guy rope and then over a stone so not any ordinary fall – done in style. The pole had snapped in a way that made the tent just about liveable but with the damp conditions everything was soaked the next morning. Is this the end of the Green Berg (nickname for the tent)? Find out in the next blog… (love a good cliff hanger).
We luckily had to be up at 4:50 in any case to go back up the summit for sunrise, and we were so glad that the crazy lady at our first hostel had told us to do it. Sunrise above the clouds was simply stunning. We are pretty sure that it was the best view of a sunrise that we will ever see – better than Death Valley and that is some high praise! We cruised down to Wailuku for a massive breakfast. After eating and discussing hair brained ideas on how to fix the tent we headed out to a supposedly good snorkelling spot at Malu’aka beach. It was an ace beach but too choppy for snorkelling until I managed to see a sea turtle swim right underneath me! We headed onto
the next beach down the coast imaginatively called Big Beach (it was a big beach). The sand was uber fine and the sea a lovely shade of turquoise. However the waves were pretty much breaking right on the shore and there were massive currents. The waves probably topped off at about 5 feet so it wasn’t very nice in the water (queue loads of sand in hair). We headed to our hostel and after finally washing all the sand out of our hair we headed to a spot that the crazy lady from the first hostel had told us was good for watching sea turtles. After getting rather lost and watching a surfing competition on the same beach we stumbled by this small corner of the bay where about 30 enormous sea turtles had come out of the water to chill on the beach – they do this every day at 5pm, without fail!
Our final full day in Hawaii started with a quick trip to the ‘Iao Valley. This was the location of the opening scene on Jurassic Park. After paying $5 to park and then find there were no parking spaces left, we left the car on
the verge of the car park and took a look around. The views were good from the very limited number of paths but not amazing. If you plan to go to Maui maybe miss this one out (or else park on the road leading up to it and walk up). Also, we both got bitten like crazy by mozzies – little bastards.
We followed this up with a trip over to the West side of the island. We headed for a number of beaches the guidebook suggested were good for snorkelling. However all of them were too rough (even though it was an ace day). We finally settled on a lovely little beach at Kapalua. The sea was dead calm here and we managed to snorkel with some amazing coloured fish, coral and sea turtles. It was just like Finding Nemo down there. Not quite up to the standard of snorkelling on the Big Island but was still pretty amazing. We also saw a number of weddings happening on the beach – lovely setting but surrounded by tourists chilling out in their bikinis so not exactly picturesque. Vicks enjoyed watching the ceremony though, they sounded the conch and then
played the ukulele! We later saw a sun set from Ka’anapali, where the rich people stay. Some pretty stunning colours but there were too many clouds around. After sunset we headed for Lahaina for some food and ate Hawaiian style at a local restaurant (fancy for us I know). We stopped to see the largest Banyan Tree in the U.S. right in the centre of the town. This was a crazy tree that looked like loads of separate ones but were all linked to one another from their branches.
Our final morning in Hawaii started in panic as I lost the key to our room ($10 fine) but we then headed up the Waihee Ridge trail. This gave us ace views but it was rather muddy and muggy. Vicks took her Maui tumble toll up to 3 with two less dramatic, but still entertaining, falls in the mud.
Overall, we are dead happy (and lucky) to have gone to Hawaii. We have seen unbelievable beaches, an active volcano, sunsets above the clouds and enough sea turtles to last a life time. It is pretty difficult to do properly on a budget like ours, but if you find the
right places it is an amazing place.
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