Monday Sep 1
This morning we were both awake before 8am. This is unheard of for the two of us when we’re on vacation, but we slept-in with our internal clocks still set to West Coast time. So we got up and watched the clouds on the mountains and a nearly empty Ka’anapali Beach from our balcony.
Not a bad sight to wake up to:
We noticed that the trade winds were a lot stronger and wondered how windy it was going to get. Around 10am we made our way to CJ’s Deli & Diner for a late breakfast. I had a croissant sandwich with scrambled eggs, crisp bacon, thin slices of Maui onion and a couple of thick tomato slices. Bill had a wrap with scrambled eggs, homemade salsa and Portuguese sausage. Both were quite good and a good way to get the day going.
After breakfast we packed our cooler with ice, bottled water and POG, and headed north along the coast of West Maui. Today we planned to drive around all of West Maui and then cut across the island to get back to Ka’anapali. Maui is oddly shaped with West Maui sticking out like a random growth. We’re staying in Ka’anapali. The airport is in Kahului. The center of the two masses are home to tall mountains with very flat lands in the middle. Thousands of acres of sugar cane grow in the middle of the island. The trade winds blow from the northeast.
This was the route we drove going clockwise (the blue line):
It was a beautiful drive with lots of great places to pull over and take pictures. Thanks to my travel book… (By the way, this is the first trip I’ve ever been on where I actually took a travel book with me.) we stopped in the city of Kapalua to visit Makalua-puna Point which is home to some unique lava formations called Dragon’s Teeth. The rough surf and high winds caused the lava to cool in some unusual shapes and in a color much lighter than the lava formations on the rest of the island. The waves were really pounding the rocks and we were both sprayed with water a few times. The gusting wind just made it funny. I got hit with one that almost soaked my back and legs… thankfully I turned just in time to keep salt water from hitting the camera.
It was really beautiful and totally worth the five minute walk along the side of a golf course from the tiny parking lot. I also learned that I’m pretty good at hiking on lava rocks in flip flops.
There’s also a man-made labyrinth there. I haven’t been able to find out when it was created, but I did learn it’s made with the nearby rocks and some white coral. Pretty cool.
Funny enough, there is no sign for this area. The only signs mark a large expanse of lawn separating the Ritz-Carlton from the water. I read that the Ritz was originally planned to be an ocean front hotel until the 1980s whe the developers discovered the remains of approximately 2000 ancient Hawaiians buried there .
The developers actually began digging up the remains when the local community found out and staged some emotional protests. Thankfully, the developers found some common sense and relocated the hotel… and interred the bones back in their rightful place. That’s some smart thinking.
The leafy bushes lining one side of the former cemetary were lunch for some sort of bug that made the leave look like lace.
We continued around the northwestern edge of the island past beautiful beaches and rough surf. We took lots of photos at a few turnouts and scenic lookouts.
One side of Poelua Bay.
The other side of Poelua Bay where we watched a couple of guys windsurfing with what looked like mini parachutes.
We hung around this vista point for a little while. It was really beautiful and the wind wasn’t quite so strong. We watched a few guys attempting to surf.
In the ten minutes or so we stood watching, not one of them got up on their board.
After a little while the road changed from a cleanly paved, two-lane, state maintained highway to a bumpy, narrow county road… in many parts, just wide enough for one car. It was definitely interesting in a few parts… especially in one two miles section where it’s one narrow lane with a sheer cliff on both sides of us; one heading straight up, one heading straight down… with no guard rails. Bill had been joking as to why the guide book said this road was terrifying… then he looked down to his left.
Less confident drivers would find it terrifying. Thankfully, I have full confidence in Bill’s driving abilities and we enjoyed the drive as there weren’t many cars on the road. Many of the tourists we encountered at the vista points and turnouts on the state maintained highway didn’t continue onto the county road.
Moments before the tightest hairpin turn we’d ever seen.
We saw a line in my travel book that motivated us to conquer any road to get to this destination: “Julie’s is a stand on the left… that makes the best banana bread on the planet.” That’s a serious claim and we needed to find it out for ourselves. Unfortunately, we forgot that it was a friggin’ holiday and Julie’s was closed. The roads really weren’t that bad and we will try to go back later in the week.
This was a random turnout along the side of the road with lava rocks that were fun to climb on.
And it had some pretty multi-colored flowers.
We spent a little time in Kahului before heading back to Ka’anapali and our hotel. For dinner we ate at Aloha Mixed Plate in downtown Lahaina. Here we each had some traditional Hawaiian food and enjoyed it immensely. The restaurant is located right near the water with the patio covered only with trees and a few sail awnings. Food is served on Styrofoam plates with plastic utensils. Bill had the Ali’i Plate that consisted of Lau Lau and Kalua pig with sides of poi, lomi lomi salmon, macaroni salad, steamed rice and a side of haupia for dessert. I ordered a plate that was the same minus the Kalua pig. (which was fabulous too, I just couldn’t eat that much!) The great thing about this restaurant, other than the great food, was the prices. Dinner was well under $30 this time… much easier to handle. We might actually eat here more than once. This was the first either of us had heard of or seen haupia and we weren’t able to find any description on the menu. We gave it a try anyway and it was delicious. It was a coconut pudding-like dessert that was only slightly sweet and much firmer than regular pudding… but not really like Jell-O either. Here’s what Wiki has to say about haupia. We’ll definitely eat it again when given the opportunity.
We got back to our hotel just around sunset and were able to watch the ceremonial cliff diver from the balcony near our elevator. The whole hotel is open to let the breeze in, so there are lots of little spots to see the beach and watch the sunset.
The guy doing a flip in mid air isn’t the actual cliff diver, he’s just some guy who was swimming in the area and decided to show off for the spectators. The cliff diver is climbing the rocks on the right side carrying the torch. The height doesn’t look very high from this vantage point. But, it’s about thirty feet to the water from where they jump.
We’ve yet to have a Mai Tai on this trip, but we have enjoyed many glasses of POG. It’s a blend of passion fruit, orange and guava juices. We actually bought a gallon at the local grocery store and have been drinking it while watching the sunset from our balcony. Funny enough, we haven’t opened the complimentary bottle of champagne the hotel gave us the evening that we arrived. I wonder if it’ll be good mixed with POG.