Another early start - 4.15 - to pack and head up to the airport for our 5.15 check in. The rain seemed to finally have stopped as we left Hilo!
There were great views over Big Island as we took off and interesting to see the brown colour of the sea close to land where the rain-soaked land spilled freshwater into the sea.
Flying in over to land on Maui island 30 minutes later we were surprised to see how mountainous it looked.
We collected our car from a deserted 'Dollar' rental office (it was only 8.30am) and decided that as we had a 2pm check in at our apartment we would spend the day driving the famous 'Hana Highway' - a 43 mile drive along the spectacular northern coast of Maui, passing beautiful beaches and waterfalls.
Comfortably installed in our air conditioned Ford Explorer we set off.
First stop Pa'ia. Dubbed 'Bandit's Salcombe' by the boys, it had lots of art gallerys, surf wear shops, coffee shops and deli stores. It was also populated by people driving beaten up trucks with very high suspension and the store fronts all looked like something out of a pastel painted cowboy film set!
We drove on along the spectacular, winding mountain round through lush forests and past countless waterfalls.
Next stop Ho'okipa beach. Famous for its surfing and windsurfing - considered to be the best windsurfing beach in the world. We could see why. A huge expanse of sand and even bigger expanse of sea and surf with huge waves and long runs in. There was no windsurfing allowed until after 11 and so we watched the surfers, of all ages and sizes, in awe and then drove on.
If was all truly beautiful but we resist the temptation to keep stopping, aware of the long 'there and back' drive ahead.
We were finally tempted, however, to stop in Ke'anue. A spectacular small rocky peninsula pounded by the ocean. Better still, it has a roadside stall called 'Aunty Sandys' famous for its delicious banana bread! We buy the last loaf, hot and straight from the oven. It comes with serviette and a knife so we take our delicious smelling package to the rocky beach, cut it into slices and enjoy!! Probably one of those small but memorable moments that will last forever...Aunty Sandy's banana bread at Ke'anae!
As we drove along there were diversions where workmen were clearing debris and rocks from the road, presumably the result of last night's storm.
Wai'apapanapa bay was our next destination. A black sand beach and some freshwater pools in caves. The caves were dark and although the water was clear and cool, we were not tempted to swim! The beach was better. Black shingle and lots of waves to play in.
Finally we reached our destination and saw the truth in that saying 'It's not about the destination, it's about the journey'.... Our plans to stop here for lunch lacked research and apart from a couple of dodgy looking shacks selling 'plate meals' there was only a grocery store and even that failed to impress!
We bought some rolls, cheese, salami and salad and pressed on to Hamoa, said to be one of the best beaches in Hawaii and great for body surfing. We agreed and spent a merry afternoon rolling around in the surf. Eventually we decided to move on to Venus pool, further south from Hana. This was another freshwater pool, separated from the ocean by a bank of pebbles. Ideal for swimming.
Then it was time to head back to town. A long drive along a windy road and another heavy rain storm meant for a rather soggy visit to a couple of stunningly beautiful waterfalls on the way.
The low point of the day was a necessary visit to 'K-mart' for provisions....
Then we follows direction to our accommodation in Ma'alaea. It was dark now and we followed directions to a locked safe to collect our key before letting ourselves into our lovely little air conditioned apartment #419 at Kana'i a Nalu. It was smart and beautifully furnished with a soft deep carpet and with a balcony overlooking palm trees and a sandy beach below.
The boys manfully carried all our luggage and shopping up the four flights of stairs to the flat while Kathy unpacked and sorted. Time for beers and macadamias on the balcony!
We sat and watched and listened to the ocean and then headed out for a cheap and cheerful supper at Pizza Madness, then home to bed.