This post covers days 4 & 5 of our trip to Maui, which were full of rain, birds, rainbows, sunsets, fog, flowers, and FAILs.
Woke up to more rain, and a cool Spotted Dove on our deck [thanks, Dad, for identifying it for us!]:
So there was some relaxing on the deck with coffee/tea while we waited for the rain to stop:
The sun came out around 10:00, so we wandered across the street to take our morning pics of the harbor and mountains:
Then headed up the street for some breakfast at an open-air plaza across from our hotel with shops, restaurants, and a HUGE wrap-around koi pond complete with bridges and tunnels – it was so cool. I got a pic of some painted turtles enjoying the grassy edges of the pond, and Jim got this cool shot of a white koi nibbling a leaf:
Our plan for the day was to drive 2 hours to visit Kula Botanical Gardens & Haleakalā crater. Haleakalā is a massive [dormant] shield volcano making up more than 75% of Maui. The crater is at 10,000 feet. Kula Botanical Garden is on the slopes of Haleakalā at 3,300 feet. It’s a good half-day trip, as the drive from Lāhainā to Kula takes an hour, and the drive from Kula to the top of Haleakalā takes another hour up a very steep zig-zaggy road:
We headed out after breakfast:
The further away from Lāhainā we got, the more drizzly the weather got, and we could see a heavy bank of clouds sitting on the mountains. Finally, as we neared Kula, the skies opened up into a complete downpour. Like the kind where you have to turn the windshield wipers on super high. Meh! We reluctantly decided to turn around and head back. And of course, an hour later, as we pulled into Lāhainā, it was bright and sunny!
Though extremely windy:
So, it was back to our hotel balcony for a bit:
Our friend Mr. Spotted Dove came back, and Jim coaxed him to eat peanuts out of his hand [he wanted nothing to do with bread or cheerios – he was all about our shelled [unsalted] peanuts]:
A few more rain showers brought a beautiful rainbow to the mountains behind our hotel:
Followed by a spectacular sunset!
This was the day! The day we were going to conquer the Botanical Garden and crater *nods*. The sun was shining, the weather was beautiful, no clouds in the sky! Well, not many. We had breakfast on the deck with some new friends [a Myna bird, female Sparrow, & male Sparrow – thanks to Mom & Dad for the identifications] and hubby did some performance art on his way to get coffee & tea [which made me giggle quite a lot, especially b/c the man doing park cleanup right behind him either didn’t notice him or was ignoring him]:
After driving for about an hour, we stopped at an overlook and took some pics. Here’s basically the same shot taken by me [on the left, with my Nikon DSLR] and hubby on the right [with his Olympus point & shoot and filter]:
I think his blows mine out of the water! I need to get me some filters. If you zoom in on either shot, you can see the huge line of wind turbines on the ridge.
We arrived at Kula Botanical Garden at 11:00am. It was very overcast. Meh!!!
It started to rain halfway through the garden path, but thankfully I had a thick plastic bag to stash my DSLR in! There were also pagodas along the path, which offered much needed shelter. One pagoda was on the edge of a pond and I grabbed hubby and whispered “nēnē!” I was so excited! We never spotted any nēnē [pronounced “nay nay”] on the Big Island last year. The nēnē is the official bird of Hawaii, and is very endangered – only about 2,500 birds exist across the 4 main Hawaiian Islands. It is believed they evolved from the Canada Goose 500,000 years ago:
We left the Botanical Garden in the pouring rain and headed towards Haleakalā Crater. The road is SO windy, and the speed limit is 20mph. So it takes an hour to drive the 20 miles to the summit [elevation 10,023 feet]. We knew we were doomed when most of the road looked like this:
But at least the rain had stopped. I kept hoping we’d burst through the cloud cover and emerge into sunshine. Halfway through the drive I looked down and realized we’d forgotten to fill the gas tank before leaving Lāhainā – d’oh!
We pulled off the road and had a debate about driving the last 10 miles to the crater, or turning around and bailing. We were so close! We decided if the display dropped to 2 bars, we’d turn around. There are no gas stations in the Park!
Half an hour later we made it to the summit! And were greeted with this lovely view:
Mind you, on a clear day, it looks like this [photos courtesy of the National Park Service]:
*SIGH*. We tried. And we easily made it back to Kula, to a gas station, with 2 bars on the gas display to spare. But driving all that way and not seeing the crater was super disappointing.
However, we DID get to see the very rare Silver Sword plant, which only grows on Haleakalā crater, and only above 7,000 feet:
I only got a couple pics because it was FREEZING up there! It’s like 45° at the summit! I had a sweatshirt in the car, so I threw that on to take the pictures, but Jim didn’t have anything. Brrrrrrr!
The drive down was quite beautiful, as the clouds gave way here and there to sweeping views of the Pacific:
We got back to Lāhainā around 3:30, so we drove up the road to a public park for a quick swim – it’s so much fun having an underwater camera! Or in this case, just a water proof camera 🙂 I hope these pics can convey how much fun it is to play in the waves in Hawaii! They lift you up and gently drop you back down to the sand:
Although sometimes they bitch-slap you:
We got back to the hotel in time for another gorgeous sunset:
I’ll end this post with my cranky face:
I don’t recommend putting on water proof suntan lotion when you’re already soaking wet.
Stay tuned for more Maui adventures!