Back it up

I woke up with a swimming hangover this morning. Not a hangover from drinking, but a full body soreness from snorkeling. Parts of me were sore that I didn’t know could get sore without falling down a set of stairs. I probably should swim more if I plan to swim so much.

Coffee and a Danish helped. Yulia and I grabbed some from the local shop, after waiting in a huge line. We brought that back and enjoyed it on the balcony, then when Sasha and Petru woke we made a real breakfast. We weren’t in a rush. Our main plan was to go see the Blowhole up north. I had wanted to take a loop around the north end of Maui, but we had abandoned that idea when one of the locals said we would get attacked by meth-heads. There was nothing about Meth on my Shaka guide tour – so we figured we would just stick with the Blowhole.

We are already pretty far north on Maui – so it wasn’t a huge drive out to the Nakalele blowhole. We parked and hiked to the cliffside – then realized we parked in the wrong area. So we went back to the jeep, and parked further up. It was hot out so I bought some water from a stand at the lot (selling banana bread as well – how much do they think we tourists eat?). There were warnings everywhere not to get too close or jump into the blowhole. You think it’s stupid but apparently someone dies every year here. It’s a hole in the jagged lava that shoots massive jets of seawater. And someone thinks that’s safe to play in. Darwin Awards here we come!

Hiking back up we saw that lots of cars were heading further up the road. They weren’t afraid of taking the north road. So we figured that we could turn the tour on and do the same. We were also far enough that we were close to Wailuku, which we visited on the last trip and had a really cool market street with some nice places to eat. It was early, and even with this being a slow one-lane road we could make a late lunch there.

We headed out and shortly hit the Olivine Pools. These are also a hike from the road, and are a set of huge tidal pools in the rocks. Apparently its also deadly and people die there every year. There seems to be a theme where people who visit don’t understand that the ocean and sharp rocks are a bad mix. I noted this down – and we just took pictures from afar. It was amazing to see though, the pools were right down in the ocean waves so occasional waves would crash over the edges and refill the pools. Excess water cascaded down the sides back into the ocean.

We continued around, and pretty soon the road turned into a one lane road for the most part. It was similar to the road to Hana, but was climbing much higher. There were cliff views the whole way, and the biggest issue we had was fewer turnouts, so if you met cars there was the need to have someone back up until they found a wide spot. We only hit a couple of times this happened, if you looked far enough down the road you could see if someone was coming and just waited your turn.

Occasionally there were small towns tucked up on the road. This was much different than Hana – as these places are far more isolated. They also had a few local stops for fruit or a local snack – but nothing was open today. That was fine because we were planning to pick up lunch in Wailuku. There were a lot of chickens running into the road in places, and we saw a few wild goats by the roadside as well. We would wind through these areas then get treated with a new cliff view of the ocean and forests of Maui.

The road turned back to a two lane highway eventually, and started getting straighter as well. We came around the far side and were pulling into downtown Wailuku. This was good as we were hungry and the last time we were here we loved the market street and all the small restaurants and shops. I found us some parking and we walked up Market street.

It was dead. Almost completely empty.

Apparently the Covid shutdown decimated the businesses here. There was only one restaurant remaining, and it was closing for the day when we arrived (apparently they are lunch only and we were just a bit too late.) There was a coffee shop, a couple of stores, and a lot of empty storefronts. This was really sad to see as I don’t know how long it will take for this area to recover. The Lahaina Front Street still has empty stores, but with the tourist volume things should return pretty quick. This of off the main path – so who knows how long it will take.

We checked online to find somewhere to eat – lots of places were closed on Mondays, so we drove for a bit – then headed over to Ma’alea Harbor. We knew there were a few open places there – and we were in luck. We got a table at a restaurant that is part of the Aquarium there – Seascape – and had a terrific view of the boats in the harbor. The burgers in Maui are all locally ranched – and just fantastic. Sasha had a Garlic Chicken Plate lunch, and Yulia had a tree-fish special that was perfect. We relaxed and were actually surprised watching some of the boats. There were a few fishing boats here that were the same size as out boat back home. I always think of it as too small for ocean use (it’s 37 feet). But we saw boats that size coming in with no issue. I guess if you can read the weather and know your boat its just fine. I’m not that confident yet.

We went straight back to our condo from there. This means that we have now taken a full loop of both volcanoes on Maui this trip, and we’ve drives the whole coastline. That’s pretty cool, and you can really see how there are so many microclimates on a single island. There’s literally farmland, desert, rainforest, high cliffs, and ocean beaches. It’s the whole world on a rock in the ocean.