Thursday, April 11, 2013

Along the Road to Hana Maui

We started on the notoriously winding road to Hana early in the morning. The rain began to let up by the time we reached Kaumahina State Wayside.
Kaumahina State Wayside had a bathroom, a lookout and a short trail, allowing us to stretch our feet. We had stopped earlier at The Garden of Eden Botanical Garden, which our guide book said cost $3 admission. It is now $15, cash only. Since we didn't bring that much extra cash, we had to pass.
The Keanae Arboretum was a pleasant, jungle-y place to walk...and IT was free.
The tulip trees are in bloom.
I love the colors of the Painted Eucalyptus tree trunks.
My favorite flower was the Torch Ginger.
These are the more commonly seen, red ginger.
A very nice example of the trunk of a ficus tree.
As we were leaving Keanae Arboretum, I spotted this car which had missed the turn in the road and ended up down by the bank of the river.
 It was probably trying to avoid hitting a pedestrian on this blind, hair-pin turn in the road.
There is a small community in Keanae. They live near the Keanae Peninsula.
While I was running around taking pictures at Keanae Peninsula....
Larry was playing his Native American flute which is made of Cedar.
Larry bought a bamboo Hawaiian nose flute at The Celebration of the Arts Festival at the Ritz Carlton in Kapalua. The Hawaiian nose flute has a beautiful sound, which was made famous by Anthony Natividad.
The other side of the Keanae Peninsula was extremely windy.
The ocean waves pounded the shore.
There was no sand visible on the beach, only intricately shaped lava rocks.
The horses stood with their backs to the wind.
The drive home from Keanae was something of a white-knuckler, as we tried to enjoy the gorgeous scenery and negotiate the sharply winding, narrow roads, all at the same time.
There were no good places to pull over, so these pictures were taken on-the-fly, out the car window.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

One Month Vacation on Maui

Last year we spent a month on Oahu. That gave us plenty of time to play tourist at a leisurely pace. We were able to visit most of the island and saw just about everything of interest. This year we went to Maui. It's a totally different type of vacation than we had last year. We do almost the same thing each day. Every morning, we walk for a few miles along one of the many beaches in South Maui. We have a picnic breakfast of fruit with crackers and cheese at the beach. By 10:00 AM, we get out of the sun, so we never had a sunburn. Between 10:00 and 4:00 we either stay at the house and do projects or we do something touristy either indoors or in the shade. We spend the time between 4:00 and 7:00 walking on the beach, eating dinner and viewing the sunset.
An example of Hawaiian graffiti.  Ono means delicious or fantastic in Hawaiian. As you can see from the top picture, camping at Makena Landing Beach Park would indeed be ono, if it was allowed.
Yesterday, we took our son Jon on a whale watching trip as his 21st birthday present. He's been working on the cruise ship, Pride of America, since Christmas. Since he works in the bowels of the ship, he rarely sees daylight, much less Hawaii, so he enjoyed being able to drive around Maui with us.
We choose the company, Ultimate Whale Watching because they have speedy little rafts that zip rapidly to the location of the whales. You are right down there on the water, so it's a more intimate experience than it would be if we were standing high on a deck on a larger boat.
The crew on our trip was Rachel and Pog.

Rachel radioed to the crew on one of their other boats to see if they were still following a pod of whales they had been viewing on her previous whale watching expedition that morning. When the answer was affirmative, she told everyone to hang on tight. We practically flew to the site, which was right off the coast of Lanai. 

There were about five or six whales in the pod. They were incredibly active, especially considering that this is very close to the end of their time in Maui, almost time for their long journey back to Alaska.

This shows how close some of the whales swam while they were breeching or jumping out of the water.

They often slapped the water with their fins.
I was a bit too slow to capture more than a splash as my camera went into hibernation mode.
To me, this splash looks like a piggy falling backwards into the water. Can you see it?
This whale looks like he's doing the backstroke.
They rise out of the water facing forward, then they flip over in midair and  land in the water on their back, creating a huge splash.
We saw about twenty whale breechings in about an hour's time. I don't know if that's normal since this was our first whale watching trip. 
When our time was up, we had to leave them, even though they were still  being very active and fun to watch.
Unfortunately, Jon started getting seasick near the end of the tour. A small raft on a wavy sea isn't the same as his cruise ship.
Happy Birthday Jon!