So where were we? Oh yes… midweek!
On Wednesday, Stephanie’s father, Barry and his wife Ann joined us. In the afternoon, we tried to take Ann snorkeling at our favorite snorkeling beach on Maui – Po’olenalena Beach. We have been here four or five times in the past, and there are always turtles to be viewed. This time, some CRAZY surf had sprung up out of nowhere. It was strong and rough and thoroughly unsuitable for snorkeling. Stephanie tried anyway, and managed to keep up our streak of spotting sea turtles at Po’olenalena. In the end, though, she ended up just frolicking in the water with me and Ann for a while.
Thursday began with snorkeling in the morning at another new beach for us, Palauea (White Rock Beach). The calm water was a nice change from the previous day, and we found plenty of great fish AND sea turtles.
We then went to the town of Lahaina. There are lots of (overpriced) shops, (overpriced) restaurants and (overpriced) art galleries here, but it’s always fun to window shop. Of course, there’s also Banyan Tree Park and the some historic buildings. In the evening, we surprised Barry and Ann with an evening at Warren & Annabelle’s. Stephanie and I had done this once before and loved it; it’s not really Hawaiian at all, but it is fun.
The evening begins in Annabelle’s parlor. Annabelle is the resident ghost. While we dined on appetizers, crazy tropical drinks and Stephanie’s favorite dessert in the world, invisible Annabelle entertained us on the piano. We would call out a song, and she would play it. Then it was in to Warren’s theater for some close-up magic. Warren himself wasn’t on stage (we were lucky enough to see him the last time), but we got two other incredible (and funny) slight-of-hand illusionists. It’s not what you’d call an inexpensive evening, but it is a lot of fun, and a well-worth it “thank you” to Barry for taking us to Hawaii.
On our last full day, we drove around the southeast of Haleakala and Maui almost all the way to Hana. This southern route is almost totally deserted, and passes some ruggedly beautiful coast. Our destination was Kipahulu on the far side of Haleakala and a hike through Oheo Gulch. We have done this hike twice before, and it’s Stephanie’s favorite hike in the entire world. (There may be a pattern here.) It’s a two-mile hike along waterfalls and pools, through a bamboo forest to the top of the gulch where you’re at the base of a 400 foot waterfall – Waimoku Falls.
We found to our dismay that this hike has changed. You *used* to be able to swim in the pools, including one at the top of a 200+ foot waterfall. Unfortunately, a couple of people were swept over the falls to their death, so no more swimming. And you can no longer get right up to the base of Waimoku Falls at the top of the gulch. Also unfortunately, someone was killed by a falling rock at the falls. I understand the need to keep us safe, but I also understand that if I do something “dangerous,” then the risk is on me. This time, we (and a stranger/partner in crime) flirted with certain death by squeezing past the “Do Not Pass” sign, and going up to the base of the big falls anyway. I did draw the line at letting Stephanie stand in the falls. I’m okay to get close, but falling rocks are still a real thing.
Back at the bottom of the gulch is the Seven Sacred Pools. It’s a bit of a misnomer since there are more than seven of them and they aren’t sacred, but who am I to fly in the face of tradition? Ann joined us for a swim while Barry looked on.
Our last stop was at the Venus pool. This beautiful freshwater pool, called Waioka in Hawaiian, used to be hard to get to since the path is on private land. Eventually, the State of Hawaii stepped in and re-zoned the path for recreational use with an understanding that the land owners are not responsible for tourists who injure themselves.
The Venus pool gets its name from the calm tranquil waters that reflect the beautiful flora of Hawaii. Today, however, there was none of that. The ocean was pounding its way in, causing swirling currents, salty waves and an island of floating plant debris. That didn’t stop us from swimming, however. The water was too rough to climb down into, so we had to jump. The shortest jumping point is still a good six feet above the water. Ann even got in on the fun and jumped in. I tried the 10 foot rock ledge as well, but that’s a bit higher than I’m comfortable with. There were other people diving from 15 and even 20 feet, but the 6 foot ledge was enough for us. As soon as we got there we spread out our towels to dry, and as soon as we jumped into the water, it started raining. Oh well, such is life on a tropical island. There are certainly worse things in life than being a little wet when you’re already wet in paradise. 🙂
We enjoyed the long drive and beautiful views on the way back to Kihei and our hotel. And we couldn’t help but run across the street for one last sunset. The next morning, it would be off to Honolulu to meet the rest of the family for our cruise.