Today was our second chance at La Perouse Bay and the alarm was set early to head out for a dawn snorkel. This time The weather was the one throwing a spanner in the works. It rarely rains continuously in the tourist regions of Maui and bad weather is usually in the form of cloud and wind with the occasional shower. But today a large ocean weather front had moved in and the mountains which usually do so well to deflect the poor weather had failed.
The entire island was covered in thick cloud and constant rain. Our Oceanview had vanished as had our appetite for adventure. We spent a lazy morning getting ready before packing the car and head off for Part one of Our Road to Hana adventure.
First, we stopped off in Safeway for provisions. We stocked up on drinks and snacks and a Giant Sandwich for dinner in Hana along with some fresh Hot-wings for $9.99/lb and headed off to the Jungle. We had just one final stop to make before embarking on the Road to Hana. We would have to re-visit la Perouse Bay again next time.
Ho’okipa Beach – Turtles
We stopped off at Ho’okipa Beach just after Paia before we started on the road to Hana Proper. The Surf was fairly high and the carpark was filled with surfers pickups truck but we found a spot and ate lunch while watching the surfers. The rain was still coming down.
We ventured down the beach anyway as we wanted to get a chance to see the Turtles. For some reason, the Turtles of Hookipa have a habit of hauling out of the water and basking on the beach. We were not sure how much basking they would be doing today as it was nearly as soggy on the beach as off but we wanted to check.
Sure enough, there were 9-10 Large turtles laid up on the beach just relaxing. Often Life Guards keep a close watch on the Tourists to make sure the Turtles have their space but today they were absent and it was clear why they are usually needed. People were getting far to close, laying next to the turtles getting selfies etc… pretty sad to see. Combine this with the weather we moved on happy to have seen the turtles up close. It is amazing the recovery these creatures have enjoyed since we all but wiped them out!
Anyone visiting the beach needs to be careful as the Turtles really do look like rocks from anything more than about 10ft away!
Road To Hana
This Epic road should need no introduction but here goes anyway. The Road to Hana is a 52 Mile road that winds and snakes its way around the Remote North Maui Coastline. The narrow Road passes through some of the remotest areas on the island snaking along the rugged wide-swept coastline and dense tropical rainforest. It crosses gorges via 56 Narrow, often one-lane bridges and often drops to a single lane (for both directions) and has hundreds of blind narrow bends. For some, it is a true embodiment of hell. The road is so treacherous it has even spawned a popular line of souvenir tee-shirts and other items all sporting the phrase “I Survived the Road To Hana”.
Why on earth would anyone endure this torture? Well, it’s not for the destination. Hana is a lovely town and worth a visit but it’s not THAT great. The Piwipi trail and Seven sacred pools are also great attractions but not sure they are worth enduring that drive. So why?
Well, the phrase the Road IS the destination definitely applies here. We were chatting with a couple who had been advised by a friend not to bother. It was a really long drive and Hana wasn’t that great when it was over. This friend had completely missed the whole point. The Drive is long but it weaves through some of the most stunning landscapes imaginable. There are many waterfalls dotting the way, Huge seacliffs, covered in dense foliage plunge into the deep blue sea. Dense jungle Foliage shrouds the road as you weave along its route. The fact it is long is what is great about it as you never know what is around the next bend. The word “wow” is used constantly, along with the phrases “Oh My God!”, “Look at that!” and “Pull over here, I want a photo!”
Today it was raining. A lot. The cloud cover was low and the visibility nearly zero. Really not an ideal day to head out to Hana. In all honesty, we should have cancelled. But we had reservations at the Heavenly Hana Paradise all paid for so had very little option.
The one great thing about tackling the Hana Highway in these conditions is an awful lot of people did indeed cancel their trips and the road was very quiet. This is a real bonus as in our opinion the roads fearsome reputation is vastly overstated. It’s really not that bad. In fact, the only risk/worry/danger on the road is the hordes of dithering indecisive and erratic tourists. With the road clear of these, we had a clear run. This suits me fine.
With the Lack of any real views, we shied away from too many stops. We also didn’t fancy being repeatedly soaked getting out the car. We bypassed the Twin falls, which are highly overrated. We viewed the Rainbow Eucalyptus from the dryness of the car.
Our first main stop was the Ke’anae Peninsula. This is an ancient Lava flow jutting out into the sea and home to arguably the best Banana bread on the Island. Aunty Sandys. The rather curt and slow service is easily made up for my the moist warm banana bread that HAS to be eaten fresh. Preferable parked up watching the breakers crash against the Lava Rocks. Just drive a little bit further round from Sandy’s to park up. The rain even let up briefly to allow me some time to shoot some wave shots.
We Skipped the Ke’anae Arbortorium as there is little to enjoy with the rain pouring down and simply pushed on at a good pace. Only really stopping to take in some waterfalls. Annoyingly despite the rain, the waterfalls were not in particularly active states and there was only average flow. While this makes them very pretty we were hoping to see some raging torrents, but this was the wrong kind of rain for that…the wrong kind of rain for anything in our opinion!!!
As we pushed down the road the weather had at least created an air of adventure. The area is very remote but the number of cars normally can make it feel like downtown L.A! With the rain and mist, it really did feel very remote. A real Jungle adventure and one that made us think of Jurrasic parks inhabitants! It was refreshing to see the area like this. We managed to Capture the entire trip in TimeLapse starting from the mile Zero Marker.
In under 2 hours, we had made it to the town of Hana. Our home for the evening. We had booked into a place called the Heavenly Hana Paradise and despite the fantastic name we didn’t really know what to expect.
Heavenly Hana Paradise
What we got was certainly unique. The road down to the accommodation was very steep and rough lucky we had an SUV and it didn’t exactly feel we were in the right place. After a while, we came across a large house in a secluded clearing in the rainforest. Surrounded by trees and jungle plant and filled with tropical fruit trees. We felt a million miles away from anything and that felt an awful lot like paradise to us.
It was a long way from luxurious, incredibly rustic in fact, but this is what we expected. It was however very comfortable and our small room had everything we needed. After a short time settling in we head out to explore and make the most of the remaining light. The Rain was still of and on but lighter than it had been. After a quick tour around Hana, we made a beeline for the Waianapanapa State Park.
Pulling into the Carpark that is normally busting at the seams it was almost empty. The Mongoose and Feral Cats that inhabit the area were out in force foraging for the leftovers of the day’s guests. A Combination of the rain and late hour meant we almost had the place to ourselves and could actually get shots of the beach as if it were deserted, quite a trick! It’s just a shame the rain was falling.
The Blowhole was pretty active and the Waves smashing hard on the rocks. It was nice to see the place deserted and wild but after a while, we were just soggy and a little cold and decided to retire for the night into our little Tropical Paradise Getaway.
This really wasn’t the Day we planned but it was an experience and made more bearable by the fact we have seen the road before in better lights. Fingers crossed for tomorrow our last day on the Island and we had big plans that would not be workable in the rain!