Wednesday 22nd October.
North west Maui and on to Los Angeles.
Our last morning in Hawaii...
We had got rather used to waking up to bright sunshine and the sound of the ocean...
No run today. Just packing followed by a glorious swim in the pool. After coffee and croissants we did some planning for our LA road trip. Mustang booked for pick up at 5am tomorrow morning. Tick. Tour around LA researched. Tick.
Hotels? Wait and see.
Then it was time to move out and move on...
It seemed that we had been planning and looking forward to this trip for so long, it's strange to think it's nearly over and we are into the next phase... Back to work for Chris and a rest from intensive training, home to Brock for Mike for house sitting duties, and vet locum work. Onward to New Zealand for the next adventure for us.
Before all of that, however, there was the North West coast of Maui to explore.
We set off through Maalaea heading west to the small village of Olowalu. There really was nothing there but a small grocery store, but it was surrounded by incredible mountain scenery. Think Glen Coe, only steeper, pointier and greener.
It was also a great place for snorkelling. There was a narrow strip of sandy beach all along the side of the road. We were rather unimpressed with the close proximity of the road as lorries thundered past at regular intervals. On the beach, however, all was forgotten as we discovered the reason for the diving boat and buoys just off shore and the reason for its name - the Coral Garden.
We swam out through cloudy sandy waters for about 200 metres and then, suddenly the sea became clear and shallow over a coral reef. There were loads of fish to see, especially Picasso Trigger Fish, parrot fish, brightly coloured bird wrasse, puffer fish and an iridescent emerald green pipe fish. The guidebook promised turtles, but none appeared today.
We dried off as best we could (or not much) and drove on to Lahaina.
Lahaina was a lovely place. Popular with tourists, yes, but still lovely. The whole town overlooked the ocean, where yachts were moored and a speedboat towed his airborne parascending passenger high above the water. The 'pastel cowboy town' look of Pa'ia was replicated here and grocery stores and restaurants mingled with jewellers, ukulele manufacturers and beach wear shops.
We parked in the shade of the Banyan Tree Park, which provided a complete canopy of shady leaves. After wandering along the seafront we spotted a bar with upstairs tables overlooking the sea and ordered beers, fish tacos and seared tuna with black sesame seed crust. Marvellous.
Driving further north we passed the luxury hotel belt. White sand beaches beloved by the rich and famous and augmented by the addition of hotels, golf courses and tennis courts.
We kept going, up round the northernmost tip of the island where the scenery changed dramatically. Rocky outcrops, white surf, steep mountainsides and lush vegetation.
We stopped at the Nakalele Blowhole, a spectacular hole in the rocky cliff top where a plume of surf shoots up when a big wave crashes into the rocks below.
It was very impressive. First you would hear the thump of the surf below then a small puff of spray from below, followed by a plume of spray about 50 feet high, followed by a splash as the water gushed up from beneath.
A tricky scramble down over lava rocks but an easier climb up.
We drove on along the Kahekili Highway towards the airport in anticipation of our 5pm check in. This stretch of road is notorious for being a narrow single carriageway winding road following the steep cliff edge. There are passing places at regular intervals but we were glad to be driving on the right with the mountain on our right, so we were slightly further away from the edge! The guide describes how they have seen some car passengers looking as if they have 'bungee jumped into hell' as they travel along this road! We had Mike driving and all is well!
We arrive back in Kahului with less time to spare than we had planned. 10 to 5. Time for a quick refreshing swim at our favourite beach. Ahhh...
Then a quick hose down under the beach shower, a speedy re-packing of bags, return the hire car to Dollar and airport shuttle. Checked in on time.... And then a long and frustrating wait at the airport listening to awful warbling Aloha music. It may be all about love and happiness and welcome, but it wore a bit thin after two hours! Why oh why do United insist you check in so early for what is essentially a domestic flight?
In the end all was well despite taking off later than planned, we settled down and slept our way back to Los Angeles.