In the morning I was just wandering around Kihei Beach with a camera. Later that day I checked out of the hotel and had several hours before the rental car would be returned so I cruised over to Maalaea Harbor. In a corner of the ocean where the jetty meets iron shore there were at least six large sea turtles feeding among the waves and rocks. I took some liberties with the colors.
The better known road to Hana has a 30 mile stretch with 550 curves and over 50 one lane bridges through the rain forest. However, there is a back way, but the car rental companies don’t want you to drive there. The road is dry and relatively straight. A few sections are a little bumpy or of graded gravel. It is a series of narrow blind spots that have the car rental companies spooked. You come to the top of a short steep hill on a one lane wide road and there is zero visibility with the possibility of oncoming traffic.
Eventually you arrive at Kipahulu, the lesser known side of Haleakala National Park. It will take another 20 minutes to reach Hana making it one of the hardest places to reach on Maui. Kipahulu is famous for its waterfalls and fresh water pools.
I have visited the crater previously, but this was the first time I hiked down into it any real distance. It might be a mile, but that takes one to an overlook providing a different perspective than what is viewed from the rim. My thanks to the girls for their volunteer modeling job. They were photographed before the hike. Remember, in only 90 minutes you can drive from the beach to the summit at 10,000 feet (3,000 Meters).
This scenic spot is tucked away on West Maui. It is not well known and usually skipped by those on the island for only a few days.
Lahaina was once a whaling town, but today it is a tourist trap, its streets lined with souvenir shops and restaurants. Other photos are from various beach locations.
You can start anywhere to find Maui, but my story starts at LAX before crossing 2600 miles of the Pacific Ocean to land on this island paradise in time to watch the sunset from Kihei beach. These are all new photographs, captured yesterday.
Many photos are of recognizable places, like the Manhattan skyline. None of these landscapes are of instantly identifiable locations. The two aerials were photographed somewhere between Houston and LA, but I can’t tell you even what state is pictured. Remaining images are from Kauai, but without the Hawaii tag, nobody would ever know. [A fellow blogger who is also a pilot identified "Farmland II". See the comments.]
On my last full day on Kauai I went up to Hanalei Bay to see the high seas. Someone tried to go surfing. Paramedics took him away in an ambulance. Locals say it is possible to get swept off the dock by a rouge wave.
These were photographed on the Mahaulepu Trail, at various beaches or in the hills behind Kapaa. I did eat every bite of the delicious Ronald Burger at Joe’s on the Green in Poipu.
These were photographed around the hotel, in Kapaa or in the hills behind the town.
Here are a few views on the way up and from the top of Wiamea Canyon. I was a bit disappointed when the clouds came rolling in, but managed to make the best of it.
Hanalei Bay was featured in the movie The Descendants. It is the location of some of the most expensive beach homes in the world.
The Kuilau Trail is one of the easier ones on Kauai and offers stunning views of the area surrounding the Blue Hole.
Kapaa is a town in what is called the central area of Kauai. It is about 5 minutes from the airport.
The Wetlands were right outside my hotel room balcony. Kona Seawall was taken from the same location where the three girls were sitting. The Mercedes was restored and had a bright red interior.
The pier in Kona is a center of activity. People hang out there or swim on a small sandy beach. Every evening the outrigger canoe teams practice with the men and women alternating days so that the canoes never sit idle. One man takes a daily swim with his clothes on, makes a mud ball and stuffs it in a drain pipe when he is done.
South of Kona there are a series of nearby beaches. Place of Refuge is a Pu’uhonua o National Historic Park and it is adjacent to Two Steps Beach, a popular snorkeling and scuba diving spot. Further down the road is Hookena Beach Park where I photographed some locals and their boats.
The Big Island is mostly covered by lava fields and volcanic ash. The beaches are no exception. Few of them are sandy.
While visiting the petroglyphs, I spoke to a lady who said “I don’t do drugs, but there are some trippy looking trees up at the North end of this island. Just drive past Hawi until the road ends.” She forgot to mention the steep trail down to the beach.
On the third Sunday of each month there is a street fair in Kona where vendors set up stands and sell their goods, mostly artsy stuff. Photographers may wish to note that while two subjects are not looking at the camera, they were in on it before I shot.
It’s about 95 miles from Hilo to Kona over scenic roads, going through Waimea. The day began with a stunning view of Mauna Kea from my hotel room watching light from the sunrise move down from the summit. Akaka falls and its surrounding rain forest are on the way, followed by miles of lava fields. In Kona on the pier both the mood and climate are completely different from Hilo.
This is a magical place where molten lava and poisonous gases spew forth from the ground. Nature is at its peak of fury here. The message is we are nothing. In minutes one passes from desolate inhospitable areas at altitude to lush rain forests and pacific beaches. The landscape is unreal often covered by lava flows.
After a short stop at Rainbow Falls I headed for the Saddle Road to visit Mauna Kea. There is a visitor center about halfway up to the summit from the main road. The road surface then turns to gravel and is steep for 5 miles. My rented Hyundai Elantra barely made it because the minimum speed to produce enough power was also fast enough to overpower the suspension. The final 3 miles is very steep, but paved. The summit is at an oxygen starved 13,796 feet (4,200 Meters). The final photo is one of the spectacular views from my hotel room in Hilo.
This is what happens when you spend a day on Maui and don’t try to do anything special. No long drive up to the crater or Hana. Just laze around and don’t go all that far from the hotel in Kihei. Hawaii simply encourages this sort of behavior. To the locals, it is the Hawaiian way. I photographed the paddleboard instructor because the board was bright yellow, matching the top of her bikini. A large part of Maui is devoted to growing sugar. It is harvest time so the sugar mill is running and the sugar fields are burning. A food truck is parked around the corner from the hotel in Kihei every evening. Its lovely owner sells calamari among other tasty items.
My explorations of Maui included the long drive up to Haleakala. Start at sea level, and arrive at 10,000 feet (3000 meters) 90 minutes later. The crater is spectacular, and I also managed managed to capture informal portraits of the ranger and a pretty blond hiker. The ranger gave her safety talk to the tune of Gilligan’s Island. Three images are obviously not from the crater. The black and white was taken near the main power station, the stitched pano is a small village tucked away on West Maui, and the the sunset was in Kihei.