Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Maui: Halfway to Hana

It came time to leave the Big Island and fly to Maui. We drove to the airport, returned the rental car, and told the shuttle driver the name of our airline. “Oh, you’re in the Commuter Terminal,” she chuckled. After passing the gates for the major airlines, we swung around between two hangars and were dropped off at this building, which was open on both ends. That explains the presence of the bird.


The airline counter was just an unattended plywood box with a telephone, and a sign reading “Pick up phone to check in.” I picked up the phone, and some person on the other end asked for our names. I gave them, and she said, “OK, you’re checked in.”

Eventually, our plane landed and taxied up to the fence. It was an 8-passenger single-engine aircraft, the smallest aircraft we had ever flown in. The pilot and co-pilot got out and unloaded the luggage of the arriving passengers. They appeared to be about 15 years old, and had these odd expressions on their faces that seemed to say, “I can’t believe we get paid to do this.”

We crowded into the tiny plane.


I was worried when this guy sat down.


When we landed in Maui, we drove to our hotel. It was immediately apparent that this island differed from the others.


Everyone we had spoken to prior to visiting Maui told us, “You absolutely have to take the road to Hana.” Hana is a tiny town in northeastern Maui that is accessible by a coastal road. The road is narrow and incredibly curvy, with dozens of one-lane bridges.


It’s also ridiculously scenic.



One of the reasons people make the drive is to see something called The Seven Sacred Pools, which is a series of waterfalls descending to the ocean. After a couple of hours of winding, nausea-inducing curves, we reached the halfway point and decided that those sacred pools couldn't possibly be sacred enough to be worth this drive, so we headed back.

There were lots of little turnoffs on the road, so we stopped at one and saw this Indiana-Jones-like gate.


Some people came out from behind it, so we climbed over a low wall and followed an overgrown jungle path.



We didn't know where we were going, but along the way, we found these unexpected warning signs.



We then came to this waterfall. See the guy on top? He didn't read the signs.


After hanging out at the waterfall for awhile, we continued the drive back, and found an ocean overlook. In that massive surf, you can just barely make out the sails of windsurfers.

We wanted to get closer, so we drove down to the beach. Look at these jagged rocks. I immediately lost all interest in windsurfing.


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