14 December 2009

Maui Baby

I have traveled a lot this year, which has been fantastic, but in reality 2009 has actually been a very rough year for me.  I was laid off from my job in late January and couldn't find full time work for 7 and 1/2 months.  When I was unemployed and having a hard time finding steady work, I tried my hand at some part time jobs.  I landed two restaurant jobs concurrently then I had a brief stint doing consulting work for a major software company.  The consulting job ended earlier than expected and I found myself with a week off from work.  Coincidentally, Ryan also had the week off.  It was an easy decision, we bought tickets to Maui!

We booked our flights on a Thursday and flew out on Sunday.  Because everything was so last minute, we were able to score a really great deal through priceline.com.  We each got airfare and lodging for the price you would normally pay for just a flight!

For this trip, I decided to do something a little special.  Those of you who have been reading for a while are familiar with Spidey.  Allison (my bff and 2006 Summer in Europe travel buddy) and I found him in an Airport Bathroom in Athens, and he has been our travel buddy ever since.  I decided to break him back out for this trip, and we had a fun time!  Here Spidey is mapping out our route.

We arrived in Hawaii around 2pm, hopped in our rented Jeep, and heading to Costco to stock up on food.  That's the beauty of staying in a condo, you don't have to eat out every meal!

We went to bed early, as we were still pretty much on Seattle time, but we got up in the wee hours of the next morning to drive up to the top of Haleakala to watch the sun rise.  Ryan got some great pictures with his tripod!  It was super cold too, so bundle up if you are going!  Granted, I'm from Montana so I'm pretty much immune to cold, but I was still glad to have my gloves!
 
  
Self portrait
After  sunrise, we drove up to the true summit to check out more volcano action.  The Volcano wasn't really doing anything, but I suppose that's a good thing.  When we got to the car, however, I found Spidey in pieces!  I asked him, and apparently he had an accident, although he wasn't too keen to talk about it.  I'm hoping his injuries weren't self inflicted....
I tried to put on a brave face, as the Spidey injury incident had shaken me to the core.  As you can see from this photo op the oxygen deprivation from the elevation helped me cheer up....
I was trying to be artsy with this cactus photo (volcano plant? not sure...).  I think it turned out.  And of course, Ryan only gets better with elevation.

After our volcano visit, we decided to drive around the island to Hana.  We stopped at this black sand beach along the way. As you can see, it was still a little overcast this morning.  I'm glad that the sun poked out later!
 
 
You can't tell, but I'm standing in front of a blowhole.  The tide was down, so it was no big deal, but I could have been "blown" away!  Too cheesy???  Oh well, it's been a rough year....

After the beach we headed to a Lava Tube cave!  COOOL!  Here are some pretty flowers at the entrance. 

Then the actual entrance.  Check out this awesome entry sign.  Do not defecate in the cave!
 
The cave was pitch black (duh) except for a few "escape hatches" in the roof (not the technical term).  For the first picture, Ryan opened his shutter speed while I flashed all of the cave walls with our provided flashlights.

The cave proprietors called this type of formation "chocolate chips".  Sure does look tasty!
Here's our lovely Jeep, which was actually pretty fun to zip around in.  We took the top off most of the time, and when we emerged from the cave the weather had improved enough for a little top-down action.

Now I may be messing up the order of these next few events, but just trust that we did all of these things in our five remaining days in Hawaii.

One night, we met up with my friend Sarah who I had worked with at the Ram, before she left us to move to Maui.  It's always great to know a "local" though, and she took us to Fred's, this great Mexican restaurant, where we enjoyed some tasty (read: LARGE) drinks!
 
Sunsets are so predictably beautiful in Hawaii.  And my hair was predictably large in Hawaii too.  Oh humidity, how I love/loathe thee!


Here's Sarah and I next to Fred - the Fred's mascot. 
One thing I was shocked by is how DARK it gets.  The sun sets and it is DARK!  I guess it's some sort of living next to the ocean thing....

Most of the days, I spent a lot of time on the beach.  It was pretty awesome - here was my view:

For a snack one day, we had Passion Fruit.  You take a bite out of the outside then suck out the gooey innards.  Kinda looks like brain or eyeballs.  I have to say it was tasty and delicious.

Another day while on a hike, we took a side option and went exploring,.  Here I am just hanging on some mangrove.  I kept imaging trudging through the mangrove trees with Bear Grylls, survival enthusiast and star of Discovery's Man vs. Wild.  EXTREME!

One day we went driving to find the Seven Sacred Pools.  En route, we stopped at the Venus Pool recommended by our lovely guide book.  This was WAY BETTER than the SSP's.  We practically had the whole place to ourselves, and the water was so clear and beautiful.
  The only drawback to this place was the hike in.  Not that it was difficult in any way, nor was it at all long (it took at MOST 5 minutes).  But it was ridden with Mosquitoes, who LOVE me.  See, look at this photo.  Three horrendous bites in less than 5 minutes.  And that's just my FOREARM!  I counted and had 17 bites in 5 minutes.  Sick and wrong people!
We did also visit the Seven Sacred Pools, but as you can see from the ONE picture I took, I was mostly unimpressed.


Another day, we went snorkeling at Molekini island.  We scored spots on a nice boat and motored out to the island.  It was a pretty clear, sunny day, but the water clarity was only so-so!
We donned our snokeling gear and hopped into the water.  The boat offered underwater cameras for renting, and we decided it was a good enough deal to sign up.  It actually took some pretty great pictures, including this excellent self portrait!

Fishes!
 
 
 
 

I made this one my Christmas Card this year.  Mele Kalikimaka!

Our lovely boat.  They made us some delish cheeseburgers for lunch!
After diving at our first locale by the island, we went to a second place called Turtle Cove, or something like that.  Ryan had a knack for finding the turtles, as you can see.
 

Another day we drove into Lahaina, the main tourist city of Maui where most people stay.  We didn't stay on this side of the island, and I'm glad.  I'm not good with crowds, but it was a lovely place to visit.  At the centre of town, there was a Banyan Tree, which are just so cool!  I saw my first Banyan tree in Barcelona in 2006 and I was completely fascinated.  Long branches grow out and then roots grow down from the branches to support the weight of the tree.  Thus you end up with one big tree that can have hundreds of trunks!  This is just ONE TREE!


On our last day we drove around the other, non-Hana side of the island.  They had some lovely beaches!
 
 We kept driving and came across this beautiful valley.  

 This was a LONG drive.  There were no bathrooms.  But I'm a trooper, and so we pulled off to the side of the road.  Too bad I fell into a mud pit!
All in all, this was a great trip!  I would highly recommend Maui to anyone looking for a nice, relaxing week in paradise!

Aloha!

1 comment:

Allison said...

the snorkle self port is awesomess!! haha. i wish i coulda come! next time, send me in place of spidey =)