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Matt of Canada

Around the World on Points!

Hawaii Part 2: Maui

 

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Day 5: Our short inter-island flight had some good views of Maui and the three small islands, Molokai, Lanai, and Kaho’olawe. At OGG (Maui airport) we picked up the rental car and drove to the Aston Kaanapali Shores. Easy drive with nice views of the ocean, the small islands, and some good surfing beaches that appear to be very popular with locals and only locals. After checking in and settling we had just enough time to catch the sunset over the beach, right behind the hotel. We had dinner at Pizza Paradiso across the street, followed by grocery shopping. We went to bed early, as tomorrow we will go see the sunrise at Haleakala!

Day 6: Woke up at 2:40 am and in the car by 3:05. We made it to the summit at 5:10 for 6:00 sunrise. I was shocked to see that there were tons of cars already there. I read that we should arrive 45 minutes early to get into the small upper parking lot, but we were 100 cars too late. Similarly, we had to find a viewing spot among around 1000 people. I expected busy but not this busy! To be fair, it’s probably busier because it is closed tomorrow.

Anyways, the sunrise (and the whole experience) was incredible. Even better than I expected, in spite of the crowds. Other than on an airplane I’ve never looked down on clouds like these. The crater is also quite a sight, once there is enough light to see it. We took hundreds of pictures from start to finish. After the sun has fully risen the summit starts to empty very quickly, and twenty minutes later we had it all to ourselves.

As the sun starts to show above the clouds there was someone singing/chanting a Hawaiian prayer/song, which greatly added to the experience. I’m not at all religious, but if I was I would come here to worship the sun!

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Sunrise above the clouds

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After a quick stop at the visitors centre/giftshop we made our way down. The drive down was slow, mostly because we would have to wait behind bikers.

There are many “volcano bicycle” tours on Haleakala. They bring people and bikes up the mountain on trucks, and then they all bike down the steep, winding road which they share with the cards. On the way down we saw an ambulance and an injured bicyclist, which was not surprising. This leads to my next point – why in the world would anyone want to do this? First of all, the road down is not that scenic (not that you’d be focusing on the scenery anyways). All they are doing is biking downhill. On a narrow road. With small shoulders. And many cars. Why? If you really want to bike downhill, you don’t need to find the most dangerous road in Hawaii to do it. In fact, unless you are from Florida there are probably very thrilling downhill biking trails near your hometown. I don’t get it. Is it just so you can say you’ve biked down a volcano? Even though there is nothing “volcanic” nor Hawaiian about it?

After our long morning we took the rest of the day easy. We took a nap at our hotel and then spent some time at Kaanapali beach. Afterwards we went to Whalers shopping centre where we walked around and had lunch. Then off to Lahaina where we walked around for a while. After a break at the hotel we went back to Lahaina for dinner at Lahainaluna cafe, which consisted of some very good tacos.

 

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