Sunday 10-17-10 Maui
Sharing a rental minivan with our friends, we toured two full days around this beautiful island. We went up to the 10,023 foot high Haleakala, in the National Park. Haleakala, meaning 'house of the sun' has 12 observatories, all closed to the public. The views are spectacular from up there...and we enjoyed seeing the beautiful silversword plant, an endangered hearty plant only found in that National Park. We found a great kite boarding beach at Kanaha Beach Park, near Kahului. Matt was stoked, but sad he couldn't kite that day. Next we went to Ioa Valley State Park, where an emerald-green pinnacle shoots straight up from the valley floor to a height of 2250 ft. The Iao needle is a popular tourist stop...the cameras were clicking; it reminded us of similar grandeurs in the Marquesas.... We drove back to Lahaina and had dinner at the Lahaina Yacht Club before returning to our boats for the night.
We awoke and were off our boats at 0630 to start a full day of many sights and stops along the Hana Highway- a famous narrow twisting scenic road with 54 one-lane bridges to cross. Getting to the Kipahulu section of the Haleakala National Park was our goal. Maui has been experiencing a drought, so many of the roadside waterfalls were trickles or non-existent, but the Waimoku Falls at the end of the Pipiwai Trail in the 'Ohe'o Gulch was impressive with its 400' waterfall dropping down a sheer rock face. There are 24 terraced pools connected by gentle cascades and streams extending from this fall to the ocean. We walked through the bamboo forest, and were struck how serene and beautiful the area was. After a refreshing dip in the pool, we drove along the south edge of the island, and the untamed Pi'ilani Highway was like a trip to the boonies along the coast. It was barren, brown, dry and rugged, with miles of driving on unpaved road. The road itself crosses a vast lava flow dating from Haleakala's last eruption in 1790. We stopped for an incredible sunset view from a cliff along the highway and were able to view four islands from our vantage point. We finally made it back to our boats, weary but with lots of good pictures and memories.
Today was our last full day on Maui, and we started it by visiting the Whalers Museum in Ka'anapali. We later met with David, Ellen, Eric, and Jason who live locally and completed a six year circumnavigation in their sv Peace and Aloha a few years back. We had a lovely dinner with them and returned aboard around 2230 hours (late for us!), hoisted the outboard and dinghy to the deck, and prepared for an early morning departure. Our plan is to anchor for the evening in Lono Harbor on the southwest coast of Molokai, and depart for Honolulu early Tues. morning. Crossing the channels between these islands is known to be calmest in the early mornings. We've had wonderful mild weather so far...we hope it continues!