Maui Wowie

Posted by on May 25, 2011 at 10:06 pm :: 4 Comments

Jason and I just hit our tenth anniversary. What a fantastic decade! We traveled to Oahu to commemorate our 5th anniversary so we thought it was only fitting that we should travel to another Hawaiian island, Maui, to celebrate our tenth. Okay, okay, so we were just looking for an excuse to go to Hawaii again but who isn’t looking for an excuse to go to Hawaii?
Our week on the island was packed! Maui is a bigger less-navigable island than Oahu so fitting in all that we wanted to do required a few too many early morning rises for my vacation tastes but we had some truly memorable experiences so I can’t complain too much.

The first day we were on Maui I eagerly gorged myself on delicious sunshine and fresh ocean air. What an oinker I am!

This spot in Ka'anapali, called Black Rock, is where the ancient Hawaiians believed souls of the departed jumped off of Maui to meet their ancestors. Everyday at sunset a diver ceremoniously leaps from these cliffs and we got a great shot of it.

Compacting the details of an adventurous week into a little post won’t be easy but here’s my best attempt:
1. We snorkeled in the Molokini crater in the clearest water I have seen this side of a swimming pool. Visibility was well over 100 feet and the fish weren’t even slightly shy. It was like swimming in a monstrous aquarium. Amazing! We saw at least a dozen types of fish including triggerfish, yellow tangs, and raccoon butterflyfish. Jason is pretty sure a reef shark also cruised by him.

These triggerfish are just one of the many species we saw in the crater. To see our You Tube clip of this school click on the link provided in the comment section.

The very essence of hotness: a foggy snorkeling mask, lumps of messy wet hair, and an awkwardly placed breathing tube. Oh baby!

2. We watched the sunrise over the Haleakala Crater. This is a very popular tourist activity but it lived up to much of the hype. In order to make it to the crater by 5:50 AM though, an ungodly time in of itself, we had to get up at about 2:30 AM and travel a winding road that gains 10,023 feet in 37 miles, one of the greatest elevation changes in that distance in the world. Although the hour was painful and the ride was slow, witnessing the day dawning in these heavens was sublime. The thick layer of turbulent clouds driving up the sides of Haleakala gilded by the rising sun gave the setting an ethereal characteristic. I felt like a god of Olympus watching the beauty of the world unfold beneath me. Lovely! After the sun was up we hiked down the Sliding Sands trail into the crater itself. Talk about otherworldly! The endless veins of eroding green, red, brown, black, blue, and yellow volcanic gravel creeping across the desolate landscape toward the crater’s floor in complete silence made me question the reality of my surroundings more than a few times.

A striking sunrise: painted clouds blanketing austere peaks.

The Haleakala crater was punctured by cinder cones, etched with the jagged remains of ancient lava flows, and streaked with vivid but barren sands. Its utter silence seemed completely at odds with its violent past. No picture could adequately portray its bizarreness.

3. We boogie boarded on Polo Beach near our hotel, the Fairmont Kea Lani. It was a blast! Neither of us had boogied before but I rode a wave all the way to the shore on my first attempt, which got me some envious “How’d she do that?” looks from a group of tourists that had been trying unsuccessfully to do that very thing for over an hour. It was all beginner’s luck-not every wave was that easy-but I did inspire confidence in a number of other beach goers. My easy ride convinced a bunch of cowardly observers that it really couldn’t be that hard so the assemblage of boarders in the water almost instantly doubled. I got some pretty painful burns on my stomach and elbows from being dragged along the shore by wave after wave and, a week later, I am still picking sand out of my hair but it was all worth it! I loved boogieing! By the way, boogie boarding is much easier and less tiring than surfing so if surfing intimidates you, you might want to give boogie boarding a try.

Those legs smack in the middle of that tidal upheaval belong to me. This was just one of the many times I got gobbled by a wave while I was boogie boarding.

That is the smile of a woman who just caught a fantastic wave and now has enough sand in her hair to create her own personal head beach.

Jason must be a lard because he broke that wave's back. 🙂

4. We drove through the lush waterfall-filled tropics on Maui’s east side, commonly referred to as the highway to Hana, with our Mustang convertible’s top down. Absolutely gorgeous! We made a lot of waterfall stops along the way and found plenty of other diversions like the Seven Sacred Pools, a couple of black sand beaches, and an enormous ancient Hawaiian temple called the Pi’olanihale Heiau. Fantastic!

This beautiful black sand beach is near Hana in Wai'anapanapa State Park. Do beaches get any prettier than this?

Just one of the many amazing falls on Maui's east side.

This is only part of the massive temple known as Pi'ilanihale Heiau. Its giant structure was built in stages between 1200 and 1570 AD and spans 3 acres.

Signs at the Kahanu Garden instructed patrons not to walk under the coconut trees because of falling coconuts. So naturally Jason had to simulate a coconut conking.

This view of the Seven Sacred Pools, more correctly called the 'Ohe'o Gulch, was taken from the bridge above. It doesn't show the idyllic waterfalls that cascade from pool to pool as this stream journeys to the ocean but you get the pretty picture.

This flowing trio called Waikani Falls, or the Three Bears, was my favorite of the the many gorgeous falls we encountered on the way to Hana. This baby was the stuff that tropical paradise legends are made of.

5. We ziplined 2,800 feet across a gulch near Makawao with 700 feet of air between our dangling bodies and the ground. Awesome!

This zipline company had twin lines at each zip so Jason and I got to scream in sync.

Heights are not my friend but I actually wasn't nervous zipping across this forest.

700 feet up and 2800 feet across: one cherry of a ride.

6. We rode horses through the eucalyptus forests and windy pastures of the Pi’iholo Ranch. It was quite relaxing and gave Jason a chance to improve his shabby riding skills.

Jason was given the gentlest horse on the ranch, Boomer, due to his poor ponying capabilities. I, on the other hand, rode Cheese, a steed that occasionally bit the butt of the horse in front of him or the legs of the riders at his side.

We spent the rest of our time, which honestly wasn’t much, wandering along the coastline, shopping in Lahaina, eating some truly fantastic fish, making little hiking excursions to the ‘Iao Needle and Dragon’s Teeth, being wowed by the magic of Warren and Annabelle’s, and dipping our feet in Maui’s impossibly blue waters.

We walked along Polo Beach one night and heard whale song coming from migrating humpbacks. I was almost as excited as Captain Kirk.

Sun? Check. Sand? Double check. Smile? Absolutely.

This was the view from our private lanai. Go ahead and be jealous.

Jason was practically begging for a salt soaking by hanging out at those rocks...and boy did he get it.

These strange protrusions, known as the Dragon's Teeth, formed as this lava rock was eaten away by saltwater from the churning spitting sea below.

This stream runs through the lush 'Iao Valley. The ancient Hawaiians believed this valley was sacred so many of their chiefs are buried within its walls.

What a lovely vacation! Good thing our 15th anniversary isn’t too far away or we might have to think of some other excuse to return to the charming islands of Hawaii.

4 Comments

  • Rachel says:

    Here are the links to a couple quick You Tube clips:
    Molokini crater:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLCOQ1kPiUg
    And a clip of the Three Bears:

  • Sue says:

    Wow what a fabulous trip you guys had. It brings back memories of when Keith and I were in Hawaii with Steve, Wendy, Phil, and Pam last year.

  • Andrew says:

    Very cool. You forgot to take a picture of you napping after the sunrise at the crater. 😀 Also, you have a watch on in all your water pics, were you afraid of loosing track of time at the beach 😉

    I’ll definitely need to visit maui sometime.

  • Rachel says:

    Yes, I was afraid of losing track of time on the beach. It’s easy to forget how long you’ve spent getting sand in places sand should never go.

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