Saturday, April 16, 2011

Hawaii Day 6: Drive around the north side of Maui

I am determined to document our trip to Hawaii.  I know blogs are supposed to be full of current events and our trip, all the way back in January, hardly classifies as current anymore, but I don't care. When I go back and read this in five years, it will seem close enough.  So I left off telling you about day 5 when we experienced the sunrise at the top of Haleakala.  Today's story is about another road trip on an island where most people go to relax on the beach.

After day 5 – the day with little sleep, we had to push it to get to Cheese Burger restaurant for the breakfast special by 10 AM.  $5.99 for eggs, hashbrowns and toast.  Would you like cheese on your eggs? $2 extra.  Juice instead of coffee?  That’ll be $3.  OK, so our effort to eat cheap didn’t work out so well this morning. We’ll redeem our Scottish ways later today.  
After breakfast we set off on el camino.   
Is Maui the right place for a road trip? Well, on this trip, it seems so.  We drove up past Lahaina and Ka’anapali beach where we were a couple of days ago and pushed on to new sights.  First up was the airport.  After days of lava looking, Drew thought it only fair to punish me with airport stuff.  There were no planes coming in so we traveled on.  We experienced view after gorgeous view along the highway
Our first real diversion was the Nakalele Blowhole.  But first we had to hike to the blowhole.  We passed by these large potholes that we nicknamed the toilet bowls.  The water would surge in and out of them with great fury.  If you wanted to get rid of a body, this would be the place. 

The rest of the walk was like hiking on the moon.  Wind and water erosion has sculptured the lava into interesting shapes and patterns.

The red layer in the middle is most likely a separate lava flow that contains more iron than the gray ones sandwiching it.

Here I am for scale in front of a nifty example of erosion and sedimentation in volcanic terrain.
Looks like there was some sort depression in the older lava flow where water deposited the tan sand.  It was probably pretty high energy, like in a shoreline pothole, because you can see the chunks of lava entrained in the sand near the bottom and right side of the pothole.  Then the younger lava flow buried the whole thing. The heat from the molten flow baked the upper part of the sand, changing its color and welding it together.

I loved poking around here, but we wanted to get to the blowhole. Tides and sea conditions have to be right for the Nakalele Blowhole to be spouting.  Seems we got moderately lucky because every few minutes the surf would pound in and shoot high-powered mist followed by frothy water up through the hole. Locals had a fun time standing adjacent to the hole and giggling when they got wet.  
It was a hoot to watch.

I had mentioned lunch nonchalantly on the walk back to the car.  After that, Drew had lunch on the brain. We found a nice overlook where we munched on veggies and turkey sandwiches while we napped (Drew) and looked at whales in the distance through binoculars (Lucy). 

On the road again to the Olivine Pools.  A quick apparel change in the car before poking our way down the cliff 

to these surreal tidal pools on a lava ledge a few feet above roiling, sea-turtle “infested” waters.   The power of the ocean was on display here and we could feel the surf pounding away at the lava rocks.

The pools are named the Olivine Pools because of the abundant olivine, an olive-green transparent magnesium-iron silicate mineral common in basalt, in the rock here. You can see the glassy greenish-gold olivine crystals in this close up of the lava.

While whales spouted off in the distance, we dabbled in the cool salty pools.  One was deep enough to jump into, 

but when I did I got creeped out by the numerous tropical fish, crabs, and jumping fish in the slightly murky water.  Better to just poke around and enjoy the waves trying to destroy the lava.
The afternoon was getting late, so we loaded back into the car
and set out on a road so narrow and filled with tourists that this

was bound to happen.  While passing, the blue Mustang convertible inched over a little too far and lost its footing over the edge of the pavement. Since we were on island time, with nowhere particular to go and no time to be there, we pulled out the beach chairs and popped the tops on a couple of beers while we waited for the incident team to come.

A half an hour later a local on his quad puttered up and hitched on to pull the Mustang back onto the roadway.  We were back in business.  Along the road we cruised, taking in the scenery along the way.  We tried to stop for the what our guidebook called the "best banana bread on the island", at the beautiful and lush little village of Kahakuloa, 

 but the stand was all closed up. Talk about disappointment.

We continued around 636-foot high Kahakuloa Head, enjoying the views and our time together.

A short stop for a romantic walk at sunset on Sugar Beach 

on the way back to the condo before an early night in.  At our condo we opened up our delicious pre-made Asian salad kit that we bought in a hurry at Costco when we were hungry. The picture showed chicken, almonds, and Chinese noodles in a bed of lettuce.  

It looked quick and healthy.   You can imagine how surprised we were when we opened the packaging and found two salad “kits” but no salad!  Guess we should have read the fine print that said, "Just add lettuce."

Oops. I laughed so hard I cried, but did we go out to dinner? Heck no. We ate Asian salad, sans salad.  And that is what you get when you mix two Scotts with a bit of Asian.

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