Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Day Five in Hawaii

Day 5:
And this was R's dream day! Our ship docked at Maui for two days and we had a big list of to-see places in the magic isle - Maui. With so many excursions to choose from it was tough deciding what we really wanted to do and during the planning stages of this vacation we had many a struggle deciding. But we were really glad we did what we did.

As with Hilo we had booked a rental car with Thrifty and it was a convertible this time! Yup the dream of zipping across the islands with the wind playing in the hair did come true. Maui Thrifty was not really efficient like the one in Hilo but they did get the job done and soon we were zipping to Hana!

The Road to Hana is one of Maui's famous tourist attractions. The 68-mile long stretch encompassing Hawaiian highways 36 and 360 connecting Kahului and Hana is known for its narrow, winding roads with breathtaking scenery. The route consists of around 56 bridges of which more than 45 are one lane bridges. Driving through lush rainforest is beautiful but adding picturesque blue waters and beaches make it magical. The 60+ miles to Hana normally takes around 2.5 hours to 3 hours with no stops and a typical tourist takes 5 hours to reach Hana. And we took 7 hours to reach Hana!

On our Chrysler Sebring we were off. Our first stop was at wind surfing capital of the world, Hoopika Beach. Pristine blue waters doted by men and women riding the waves , white sands and the trees make this a wonderful spot for people watching and a picnic. We stopped for a few minutes before heading off. Time is precious when you are on a cruise ship and you are heading off to Hana with a photographer-in-tow.

And off we went. All along nature showcased at its best and with the top of in our rental we were able to smell the wet earth and the powerful waves slashing the rocks. It is an experience and an amazing one. The whispering and waving bamboo forests, the cascading waterfalls, the beaches were all spectacular. The black sand beach with the sea arch and blowhole was probably the best part of the trip. The Ke`ane Peninsula with its very powerful waves slashing against the volcanic rocks made it a sight to be remembered.

We stopped along the way enjoying local favorites, sugarcane juice with ginger, hot from the oven moist banana nut bread and shave ice! Yummy! We had some rain along the way and the top came on and off.

And finally we were in Hana, a small town and just beyond it we entered the Haleakala National Park. This is the location of the seven scared pools, this is a series of lovely waterfalls and tranquil pools trails through the O'heo Gulch and into the ocean. Unfortunately due to a heavy inflow of water the pools were closed for swimming. But we did walk along the trails and enjoy the beauty of the place.

It was past 3.30 when we were ready to head out of the National Park and we wanted to get moving and hit the winding roads when there was light. And off we went. Non-stop winding roads and if you are prone to motion sickness this is not the road for you and the driving does tend to get difficult. So caution is recommended.

We were back at the harbor and at the ship by 6pm. We decided to head for a sit-down dinner at one of ship's main restaurants - Alizar. It was decent food in a spectacular but overcrowded dining area. We were lucky to get a table for ourselves and enjoy the meal.

And I need to add this, more a personal joke but for memories sake. This is where we first met " the captain" aka the ship photographer. Well the "captain" made it his job to interupt conversations and private moments to click pictures. Well the one he took of us that day in Alizar was the best. Baby bro KA had a grudge against poor captain and baby bro had his sweet revenge later in the cruise.

And that was day five and we were half done with our vacation!

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