It's time for another trip. This time, we spend 10 days in Maui in celebration of Sandy's father's 80th birthday. This trip took a long time set up because of the schedules of the working folks involved, but much of the family will be there.
We'll be flying in to Kahului via Honolulu and driving a rental car across the waist of the island to Ma'alaea.
The condo is in the Ma'alaea Kai complex right on the beach. The first three nights will be spent in one unit with other members of the extended family. For the last week, we've rented a 2nd unit because our two younger boys will be flying in after they finish there final exams. My oldest son and his girlfriend will also joint us so our unit will be filled too.
There is no specific plan that I know of what we are going to do, but I may ride a bicycle down the Haleakala volcano this time. Some snorkeling is also on the agenda at some point.
Our flight was from LAX to Honolulu, then we have to change airplanes at Honolulu with a 2+ hour layover. Sandy had a bit of a problem at the TSA security checkpoint in the interisland terminal. There was something that they wanted to look at in her bag and she got distracted and left her iBook at the security checkpoint. It had her name and home phone number on it so they called the number. Fortunately Charlie was still at home and he took the call and gave them her cell phone number. Fortunately again, her cell phone was actually on (which it usually isn't) and we got the call. She was able to walk back to security to get it. Close call.
The others flew directly to Maui and are there already but are having some kind of difficulty getting into the condo. Hopefully, by the time that we get there, get our car and meet them, they'll have it straightened out. Ahhh... the joys of travel...
We got here safe and sound and are just resting from a tiring day of traveling. The condo is pretty nice, Sandy and I have a room to ourselves. It has a full kitchen with all the stuff that we might need except food. We'll fix that tomorrow.
The others got here first and pigged out at the Carl's Junior that is close by. Sandy and I went up to the very small village and had an excellent Mexican dinner.
Today was a lay back and get acclimated day. This is the view from our balcony. We can see generally south including all of the Haleakala volcano to parts of the island of Lanai.
The small island of Molokini is of special significance because that is where most of the snorkel and scuba dive tours go. It is a partially collapsed cinder cone with the "inside" of the remaining crescent facing us. The island itself is off limits to people as it is a bird sanctuary and the waters around it are an ocean sanctuary so that there is no fishing or taking of any specimens around the island. The area inside is well protected from swells so that the tour operators can be pretty sure that the conditions are going to be acceptable just about every day. The island is 8.5 miles away.
We took a drive back to town, the long way, to see what was there and then hit up SafeWay, Big K and Costco for provisions. Food is expensive here, usually twice as on the mainland. Restaurant food is even more expensive.
The weather is pretty steady, about 85, humid and windy during the day, about 10°F cooler at night. We got a good look at Haleakala today as the clouds cleared for a while.
We booked a snorkel trip to Molokini. My underwater camera takes regular film and I had to drive about 10 miles to a nearby town to find any and the ABC Store there had just one roll. Film is really becoming obsolete.
Today, we got up early and walked down to the small boat harbor at Ma'alaea to slip 37 to locate the boat that will take us to Molokini. It took about an hour to get there and we spent an hour in the clear water. The temperature was good, but most of the fish had left town.
There was a little silt in the water and the bottom was maybe 30 feet down, so the colors are not too great. After about 10 feet in depth, the colors start to fade quickly.
Today, there were more than Frigate birds on the island. The Hawai'ian state government was running a semi-annual inspection of the island so that there were about 20 folks climbing about counting birds nests and such.
There were snorkelers, scuba and snuba divers aplenty in the water from the 14 boats that were anchored inside the island crescent at the time. There were a couple of more dive boats anchored on the other side. "Snuba" diving is getting quite popular here. Snuba divers don't need a certification as scuba divers do as their air apparatus is not completely self contained. Each pair of snuba divers is tethered to a small floating 3000 psi scuba tank so that they can't go any deeper than 20 ft. Also, both divers draw from the same tank so that their dive time is something like half a scuba diver's dive time capability. Since the snuba divers can only go to shallow depths, they don't use as much air per breath as a scuba diver who goes deeper and breaths air at typically higher pressure, but these divers are not trained to use air efficiently so they blow it off faster.
The other standard stop for the snorkel boats is "turtle town" which is a spot on the southwest coast of Maui. There are usually lots of sea turtles there but today it was fairly murky due to several days of strong south swell. I didn't see any turtles this time. Then they fed us lunch and all the Mai Tai's and beer that we wanted and took us back to the harbor. That was enough for one day, it's time to relax for the afternoon.
Today we picked up my son Richard and his girlfriend, Cara, at the airport and drove directly to the new condo. This one is down the row a bit from the other one, it's the 7th from the left, the Kana'i A Nolu. We had 8 people in the original unit at the Maalaea Kai and it was pretty crowed and noisy. Adding 4 more, Richard, Cara, my youngest son Zack (due in this evening) and Charlie (my other son (due in Friday after his last final), would simply have been too much. Now we have two units with 6 people each. We had arranged for the 2nd condo (owned by the same person, a friend of Grandpa Charlie) Mary's Maui Condos for the next week. This unit is a little nicer than the other one but it doesn't get the very strong breeze through the unit like the other one. I really liked the breeze.
This one actually has a beach of sorts, but the surf goes right up the the rocks. A little further down the beach, though, there is more sand and that looks be be above high tide. At least it looks like you could wade out into the ocean here. The rocks at the other one made that impractical.
Today, we did a little touring around Lahaina which is about 10 miles north of our condo. Sandy, Joan and I took the bus ($1 fare) that runs from Ma'alaea directly to Lahaina. Richard, Cara and Zack followed in the rental car because they were going to other places and there wasn't room for 6 in the car. In any event, we reconnected at the Banyan tree park in downtown Lahaina. We wandered around together for awhile, generally heading north.
One of my goals was the Sugar Cane Train, the Lahaina, Kaanapali and Pacific. This is an old steam cane train that has been restored. This display engine is obviously no longer in service.
The running train is pulled by a narrow gauge 2-4-0 cane engine. However, when Zack and I got to the station, we found that was too expensive at $22.50/head for the 5 mile or so trip to the north end of Kaanapali so we didn't ride the train. We left Sandy and Joan to do more shopping and took the car.
7 years ago we stayed at a condo at the very north end of the Kaanapali beach. The Kahekili State Beach Park there which is a very nice public beach and also has excellent snorkeling. We plan to snorkel there tomorrow morning.
Last night, we all went over to the other condo and made dinner for the crew, a big pot of spaghetti, 1.5 kg worth which is a lot, more than 3 lbs. It fed the whole crew for about $7.
We did got to Kahekili Beach Park this morning. The snorkeling was excellent and the park was very nice. Richard, Cara, Zack and I were out for over an hour, until our legs were ready to fall off. Then it was back home with a stop at a Barnes and Noble to buy a book showing the hiking trails on Maui. We think that the activity for tomorrow will be a drive on the Hana road and some hikes up into the jungle.
This reef is very shallow so that the colors of the coral show up a lot better. Snorkeling in very shallow water is better than deeper water as long as there it is deep enough to be able to clear the reef and there is minimal surge.
Charlie gets in tonight on the last flight from Honolulu. He's already at LAX now. Sandy ordered an iPod touch with the last of her frequent flyer miles (not enough to book another flight) and it wasn't supposed to ship for a couple of weeks. However, it arrived today in time for Charlie to pick it up and bring it with him. Sandy will have a new toy to play with.
In the mid afternoon we drove about 10 miles to the Iao Needle State Park for a short walk. This area is a true rainforest and it was raining. The photo shows a restored village area up in a canyon.
The Iao Needle, or Kuka'emoku, is a 2250 ft high dike of volcanic tuft that is the phallic symbol for the god of the ocean. It was used as a lookout by the Maui warriors during battles with Kamehameha I. As we drove back down the canyon, the flora changed abruptly back to the drier looking area that we have become used to.
Today was a long day and this was our target, Waimoku Falls in Haleakala National Park. This is only the top half of the falls, I estimate that the height of the falls exceeds 300'. The falls are located at the end of a 2 mile trail as far out on the Hana road as one can get in a rental car. With stops, it took 5 hours to get there even though it's only about 75 miles by road from Maalaea. Even the trip back took more than 2.5 hours with NO stops and no traffic. We were out for about 11 hours and returned very tired.
The fall is running pretty light for this time of year because there has been a drought in Hana since April.
Today we drove up to the top of the Haleakala volcano. One of the main man made features is this observatory site used for tracking and cataloging space objects. The sign says that it can see a basketball at geosynchronous orbits (about 22,000 miles).
The summit of the Haleakala volcano is 10,023 ft high. I had to essentially force Charlie and Zack to stand under the sign for this photo, both of their faces are about to break from the force needed to crack a smile. From the top, one can also see Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea volcanos on the big island. Those are both about 14,000 ft above sea level. Sandy and i visited Mauna Kea a couple of years ago.
The Haleakala crater is pretty large, about 10 miles across. There is a network of trails in the crater, some coming up from sea level. I would think that it would be best to hike DOWN these trails. The crater appears to be more of a caldera, created from the collapse of the top of the mountain. The most recent flows are about 1000 years old.
After the trip down the mountain, we made another stop and Costco for lunch and enough food to hold us to the end of the trip.
Sandy and Grandpa Charlie took a bus to a local town and wandered around there.
Today was a quiet day. I took my three boys (actually all young men now) snorkeling back at Kahekili park. Actually, this is not a state park but a private one open to the public. I should have been suspicious, it was too nice to be run by the state. Anyway, we saw about the same stuff as last time but the swell came up during the dive and it a really strong surge developed. Then it was back to the condo for lunch and a nap.
The "formal" birthday party for Grandpa Charlie (his 80th) is scheduled after dinner this evening.
We didn't do much of anything today except hang around the condo. It was quite a bit hotter today than it has been in the last week. Richard and Cara took the car to go to a hiking trail, but the trails that they picked were closed. Then they came back for the boogie boards to play in the surf down the beach just beyond the last condo. There is sort of a local's beach camp there under a bunch of trees with a nice sandy beach and some pretty acceptable surf. However, Cara caught only one wave, Richard none, and Charlie got several short rides.
We've pretty much eaten up all the food in both units, after dinner tonight and breakfast tomorrow, there will be nearly none. Sandy, Charlie, Zack and I catch an 0930 flight to Honolulu tomorrow and then Sandy and I take one plane and Charlie and Zack take another to LAX. We get in about a half hour apart so we'll meet them and take the van home. Charlie left it in the B lot. Richard and Cara fly back to SFO tomorrow afternoon so they'll turn in the rental car. The folks in the other unit fly out tomorrow afternoon to Honolulu and then catch a redeye to LAX. We'll meet them there very early and take them home. Then they have to drive back to Vallejo.
We'll have just one day at home to get things in order before Sandy and I take off again in the middle of the night to fly to Pambamarca, Ecuador for about 6 weeks. Charlie and Zack will be holding down the fort for half of the summer.
Yesterday was a travel day. We made it back just before midnight and I was up again at 5 AM to head back to the airport to pick up the other half of the family. Half of them have already left for the drive back north to Vallejo. The other half will leave some time today. Sandy and I are packing for our trip to Ecuador, we leave at 2 AM tomorrow.
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© 2009 George Schreyer
Created 5 Jun 09
Last Updated June 18, 2009