Tuesday, November 14, 2006

12 November 2006

We “survived” the road to Hana today. Hana is a small town on the eastern shore of Maui. Taking “The Road to Hana” is a popular tourist excursion because the road is very windy with several nice overlooks from the cliffs along the coast.
We thought there would be more access to beautiful waterfalls, but if they were there, we missed them. We did walk in to Twin Falls, which was a pretty falls, but not as impressive as we expected. I’m guessing that most of the impressive falls are on the private property that lines the roads.
Several of the streams that come down off of the mountain have been diverted from flowing into the ocean so that they flow to somewhere else. It looks like it was probably done a long time ago, so I assume that it has to do with harnessing the power of freshwater for the sugar cane crops which used to be the life-blood of the area.

We stopped for a picnic lunch at an overlook that was probably 400’ above the water on a sheer cliff. I have never stood so close to such a huge drop-off. I wouldn’t have stood as close to this one if it had not been for a pair of very interesting sea-birds that kept teasing us by flying by and disappearing from view below us. They turned out to be White-tailed Tropicbirds, which have a long, thin tail about as long as their body.

As we neared Hana we stopped at Wai’anapanapa State Park. The sky was threatening rain and the surf was building up which made the coastline very interesting. We sat at an overlook and identified a colony of Black Noddies which were flying in and around a huge rock tower that jutted out of the water. Then we walked down to Black Sand Beach and explored the caves along the coastline and took pictures of the waves crashing through the rocky shore. (To understand the colors in these images you have to visit our photography blog at http://oakhaven.blogspot.com)

We had decided when we scheduled our trip to stay out at Hana for one night so that we wouldn’t have to drive back the 40 miles in the same day. It was a very good decision, since the drive (along with sight-seeing) took us six hours and Julie was wiped out after all those miles of curves. We were planning on spending tomorrow visiting more sights at this end of the island, but there is a bridge that was knocked out by the earthquake a few weeks ago. Supposedly, you used to be able to walk past the bridge for an hour and a half to get to the Seven Sacred Pools (which we have been told repeatedly are not sacred or seven), but now they have closed it off all together. We are spending the night at Joe’s Place ($45 for a private room with shared bath), which seems nice.

13 November 2006
We are back at Peace of Maui tonight after taking the “Road From Hana” today. I am so glad that we stayed out at Hana last night. We spent this morning checking out the coastline past Hana. The surf has been up which makes the waves very energetic and exciting. We didn’t feel comfortable swimming at the first few beaches that we stopped at because of the size of the waves. We did swim at Red Sands Beach which is a secluded beach in a small bay protected by a natural breakwater. Most of the beaches are not marked in any way, but Red Sands Beach takes the prize for the most difficult to get to. You have to park along the side of the road, cut across a lawn area for a school, follow a path through five foot high grass that looks like it hasn’t seen more than a few people walk by in weeks. Then you get to a path that leads along the face of a cliff that is only about 1-2’ wide and sloping toward the 50’ drop off to the rocks along the coast. If that wasn’t bad enough, the path is not cut into a stable, hard material, but is made up of gravelly volcanic rock that was covered with little round pine cones that made it very treacherous. You could see where the path had slid away in some places, and you hoped that it wasn’t going to do it again soon. It was a relief to get down to the beach, but while there I was worried that someone would come behind us and knock off the narrow ridge and leave us stranded.

We managed to see more of the falls along Hana Road coming back than we did see going there. We pulled off and hiked into two of them which had a big enough pool below to go swimming in. We managed to get back in three hours which was much quicker than yesterday’s trip. We stopped at several art galleries which were inspiring. Dinner was at the Pa’ia Fish Market where Julie had a chicken taco and I had Mahi fish and chips. We got in early enough to do a load of laundry, although their drier is not working, so we had to hang it out on a line. I hope it will be dry tomorrow since we will be leaving in the morning and heading over to the west side of Maui to spend our last night. We spoke with a woman tonight who was telling us about several good snorkeling beaches over there.

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