Hawaii Blog Days 1-2

No-one really wants to read a travel blog. That is, a blog simply about the act of travel. I’m pretty sure if you’ve ever sat on a plane for 9+ hours, you can imagine what it feels like to fly to Hawaii, with the possible exception of the added excitement if you’re going to race in Kona. So I’ll spare you 2000 words on the many, many hours we spent on board increasingly smaller planes (and, thankfully, shorter flights) and simply say that;

– We felt like winners when nobody at AA asked us to pay for the bike box
– We felt less stellar at LAX when a salad and 2 drinks cost $25
– Hawaiian airlines gives you no checked bag allowance on inter-island flights, so our efforts to restrict ourselves to one suitcase and the bike box were rewarded

After a day that lasted 28 hours, we finally made it to our hotel in Kahalui, Maui and slept the sleep of the weary but grateful.

Maui is one island up from The Big Island and shaped a little bit like a kneeling person, with a “head” to the west and a larger eastern “body” section. Kahalui is located at the top of the “neck”.

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Some random facts about Maui:
– It is the 3rd most densely populated island (behind Oahu and the Big Island) with roughly 145,000 inhabitants
– Tobacco is illegal in all public places
– You must ask for water at a restaurant, although it is free
– It’s known as the Valley isle, for reasons which will become obvious

Never ending days are accompanied by constantly arriving meals, but that balances out when you then don’t eat for 13 hours, so on waking up at 7am we were a bit peckish. There’s a nice diner attached to our hotel, and Shrimp and Poke eggs benedict sets you up pretty well for the day.

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We went for a wander along the beach, looking at the scuttling crabs, the enormous cruise ship that was in harbour and the paddle boarders, surfers and canoes. A chap pulled up in his car and set up a small stall selling what we thought were the biggest mangoes we’d ever seen but which turned out to be the biggest avocados in existence. You could have played rugby with them.

I was a bit unsure whether to swim or not, since the substantial on-shore breeze made it pretty choppy, even in our little bay, but I decided to give it a go and I’m glad I did, although from a fitness point of view, my 15 minutes makes next to no difference. However, James, standing on the shore watching me, was treated to the sight of an enormous manta ray, leaping out of the water, a hundred yards or so from where I was swimming. He estimates it to have been about 8ft across – certainly a lot bigger than me!

Size seems to have become the theme for today. Rental car booking was designated a blue job, and thriftiness is a virtue highly prized, which two facts combined meant we have ended up with a truck of ludicrous proportion (it was the cheapest option at the time of booking).. The Chevy Tahoe is unnecessarily huge, bordering on unusably colossal. We have automatic right of way versus anything smaller than a 747 and even then, I wouldn’t entirely doubt the truck. It is everything that’s wrong with large scale American excess and it’s brilliant.

So we decided to drive the coast road circling Maui’s “head”. We thought it was a little strange that the satnav predicted such a slow journey time and kept insisting we drive what looked like the longer way round, but within 10 miles, the reason for this became pretty clear as the road rose and fell, then narrowed, then twisted, then all three simultaneously. The scenery was stunning – wild seas crashing over black rocks to one side, lush greenery and the cloud-capped shadow of the volcano to the other. I could admire both, since I wasn’t the one wrestling a virtual tanker round the 180 degree switchbacks. We pulled over often, to try to photograph the views, and because our sheer size meant if we met anything coming the other way, they felt obligated to take on the job of reversing. Squirting rock was a favourite vista, with the added beauty of the hyper-oxygenated aquamarine sea.

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The road lunacy ends in Lahaina, where we took a short walk that joined up the most historic parts of town, including a ginormous banyan tree that dwarfs his “famous” Kona cousin, and the prison, where in 1855, being drunk and disorderly accounted for the largest proportion of incarcerations (with lascivious behaviour a disappointing third behind “furious riding”, a list I feel would be ordered differently in Kona at about this time of year) and finished the day with a delicious dinner – macadamia nut crusted Mahi Mahi for me. As an introduction to Maui, today was pretty cool!

Pictures are limited as most are on my camera, not phone. I’ll try to remember to do both so you can see some of this amazing island over the next few days.

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