Haleakala by Car – Saturday

A lazy start to the day and breakfast at the on site restaurant , The Beach Club, gets us on the road just before noon. We’re going right past the Costco so we swing in that way for gas and unbelievably more shopping. Gas is certainly a deal at almost 25 cents below the typical gas station. However, the Saturday traffic in the area is a zoo. This little stop costs us close to 1 hr in a traffic jam.

Wave Rider
Wave Rider at Baldwin Beach

Once free of congestion we roll over to Paia and check out a beach noted for boogie boarding and body surfing. The wind is strong and sand is blowing everywhere. This will likely be the starting point for the ride on Monday.

As we head up towards the summit there is one particular turn that we’ve been warned not to miss, but sure enough I blow right through the turn but quickly realize the mistake and turn around. In the car this is no big deal, on the bike it adds up to an additional 1,700′ of climbing to a dead end.

Sure enough the road is an unrelenting “up”. I note only 3 short flat sections. We see about 5 riders going up, two couples and a solo rider in a lime green jacket. I knew about the distance, the grade, the switchbacks, the narrow road in places, the 30°F temperature drop by the time you get to the top, but nobody mentioned the wind! It’s howling today and we have to brace ourselves just to walk around. At one point we spot mister lime green walking his ride. Initially I thought he was tired but later figured out that he was having trouble staying on the bike and on the road in an open section. We later saw him successfully grinding his way up to the summit. I hope it’s less windy when I ride on Monday.

As we’re driving up the scenery goes from uplands cattle grazing ranch country,


to sparse plant growth above the tree line,

and then just volcanic rock.
Vista at Haleakala

At Leleiwi, the first of two overlooks, we get our first glimpse of the crater. You have to hike a short distance on a trail and the wind is howling and the temperatures have dropped substantially from the 78F on the beach. Shirley returns to the car and I push on to get a look and take some pictures. I’m rewarded with a spectacular view of the crater and need to hide behind the shelter just to manage to hold steady enough to that the pictures. I intentionally increase the shutter speed just to compensate for getting buffeted around by the wind.

Crater Overview
Leleiwi Overlook

Back in the car we continue up to the summit at Puu Ulaula Overlook (also known as Red Hill). It’s a windy walk up to the shelter but really everybody gets their picture taken under the summit sign.

It's Windy!
It’s Windy!
Shirley at the Top
Shirley at the Top

At the summit you are right next to the Haleakala Obsevatory also known as Science City. Because of the US Airfoce presence here we, not alowed to go over and explore that area.

Science City
Science City
House of the Sun
House of the Sun

On the way down we stop at the Visitor Center, just below the summit. It’s already closed at 2pm, (they have really short hours) so we don’t get to see the exhibits, but take quick look around and of course some more photos of the crater.



Further down the road we stop again, this time at the Kalahaku Overlook and get yet another spectacular look at the crater and surrounding areas from a different vantage point.

Crater Cones
Crater Cones
Makawao Union Church
Makawao Union Church

We wind our way down the Crater Road and take a slightly different route back hoping over to Kula and then back over to Makawao where we stop to take a few pictures of this beautiful church we spotted earlier in the day.

The Makawao Union Church was built in 1916 in memorial of Henry Perrine Baldwin and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Mr. Baldwin must have been quite the force back in the day, a lot of stuff is named after him.

After checking out a couple of dinner options in Paia we decide to find a new guten-free restaurant over in Kihei which is about 45 minutes away. After picking up fish & chips we head back to the condo, another 45 minutes, and enjoy dinner and a movie. Lots exploring, lots of interesting stuff, lots of driving and we’re done for the day.


More Pictures of the Day

Snorkelling Adventure – Friday

WakeUp early again at about 4:45am to get ready ad drive over to the Maalaea Harbour to catch the snorkelling adventure at 6:15am. The 1st part of the adventure was the boat ride to the first site. It was windy and rough and our course had us cutting through the wave trough going sort of with the wind. Within minutes everybody was soaked from the spray breaking over the deck. I was quite glad to be wrapped up in my black jacket I use for cycle commuting. Even with nice temperatures being wet and out in a strong wind had folks huddling under their beach towels.

Unfortunately, due to the wind we didn’t get to go to Molokini or Turtle Town, which was the hype of the advertising (small print, subject to weather conditions, destinations at the captains discretion) . They did their best and went to a couple of sites that were a bit sheltered from the wind. The snorkelling  was fun and we saw lots of fish, green sea turtles, a manta ray, and four reef sharks. One of the stops was over a wreck in about 90′ of water. Most of the passengers hopped in to float over the wreck to get a better look. Snorkel Stop #3The last stop was at an old pier where several 100′ of concrete and steel were taken out by a storm and the sunken remains have become a man made coral reef. Back on the boat for a BBQ lunch and we’re heading back to the harbour Six hours and a sunburn later we’re back in harbour and have a look around at the shops. This location is also home to the Maui Ocean Centre Aquarium which only contains native Hawaiian marine life. The Centre was very well done and quite impressive After the snorkelling and seeing quite a variety of fish were were able to put some names to faces.

Then a drive around Kihei for some casual sight seeing and a stroll on a beach and we’re “done” for the day. On the drive back to the condo we pick up some takeout from Outback and settle in for a relaxing evening. Later a dip in the ocean and/or pool before calling it a day. Tomorrow is a lazier day with a sleep in and brunch at the Beach Club and then a drive up Halalekala to check out the bike route. The 3am start to see the sunrise has been canceled due to the need to dial it back a notch or two and relax a bit more.

The Presentation – Thursday

After surviving a Timeshare presentation from Wyndham I’m not sure it was really worth the $100 show discount, good thing it was raining most of that time.  Speaking of rain, what’s up with the weather? All the locals are saying this is quite unusual etc. etc. but Thursday drizzled most of the day with some serious short downpours mixed in. I know folks back in Winnipeg are dealing with -35°C so some rain when it’s +80°F is not exactly a hardship but some sun would be nice.

During one of the sunny breaks we had lunch in Lanahai at Cheese Burger in Paradise and then walked the town taking in the sights. The humidity is through the roof with the rain and then heat so we move on to explore more of the island by car. Driving north we head to mile marker 38 to see some pools on the edge of the ocean formed by a lava flow and a blow hole. The road is narrow and twisty and the guide books don’t even mention that in comparison to the road to Hana so I wonder how crazy that drive will be.

Hiking around on the shoreline cliffs is quite something. No trails or trails everywhere, no or few signs, and certainly no restrictions. Just walk right up to the edge of a 200′ cliff, as close as you dare, at your own risk. Makes for some good photos.

After some exploring t’s back to civilization for some take-out dinner to bring back to the condo.

It’s Friday and we’re up before the birds today or perhaps they are just hiding because of the wid. High surf warnings made the news last night so we’re not sure if today’s snorkeling adventure is a “GO’ or not. We’ll drive over and find out. Could need some alternate plans for today. The weather forecasts have been for sun, but so far, day by day the sun is getting pushed out until “tomorrow”. This really needs to stop.


1st Day in Maui – Wednesday

Getting the lay of the land on the first full day in Maui after a late arrival.  Did some exploring of the resort  and then attended an orientation session put on by the concierge. He did a great job and of course managed to sell us all kinds of stuff as the result of his pitch so we’ve got activities lined up for the next few days. He also got us to go to a timeshare presentation to obtain a discount on some stuff. I hope that won’t be too much of a mistake, I’m not too keen on these kinds of “deals”.

The Aston Kaanapali Shores is a great resort with wonderful grounds and a nice beach and a great view if the ocean with the island of Lanai in the distance. Just looking at the ocean for a few minutes any we spot multiple Humpback whales either breaching, waving a dorsal fin, flashing a tail in the air, or spraying up some water as they surface to breath through their blowhole

Our original room, while OK, had a queen size bed. Shirley checked with the front desk and managed to change rooms to get a king bed and as it turns out quite a nice too upgrade. We’re now on the “penthouse” floor and the room, while the same size, is much more nicely decorated, better appliances, bathroom fixtures and an awesome view. We think the lady at the front desk really decided to bless us, because this is a primo room in the resourt.

With al that done we headed over to the Beaches Club and enjoyed a great breakfast while overlooking the pool and ocean and then hit the road for a little sightseeing.

Considering where we are we managed to see a lot of shopping centres, grocery stores and the Costco. Hopefully, that’s the end of that, and we’ll be on to seeing the real sights for the rest of the vacation.

The one major attraction that we manage to get to is the Iao Needle, in Iao Park, in the Iao Valley, this is kind of an Iao thing. Anyway, the main claim to fame is the “needle” a large lava formation that from the park vantage point does indeed look like a needle. Later in the vacation we fly by in a helicopter and learn that it’s actually the end of a long narrow ridge. The park is nice with several short hiking trails and gardens as well as architectural heritage area featuring Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese, Filipino and New England style houses.
Not sure what the deal is but there are lots of chickens and roosters roaming the island and we’ll hear lots of “cock a doodle doo” during the vacation.

After being out and about for the afternoon we return to the condo and get a pleasant surprise as we pick up the keys to our new room, which is very nice. We unpack and settle in for the rest of the vacation.