Maui, Part IV: Lahaina, Haleakala Crater & Black Rock

July 8, 2011

The day after the wedding we were both sore from not having shot a wedding in a while!  But the weather was nice and it was time to finally explore the town of Lahaina, which is just a few minutes drive from Ka’anapali.

The weather was extremely warm so we found cover in the shade of the banyan tree.  Yes, this is one giant tree!

Banyan Tree in Lahaina

This tree covers an entire block just for itself and would clearly expand if we let nature take its course!

We didn’t find Lahaina to be the most interesting place and so after having lunch at a deli we headed back to the Hotel.  Unfortunately, I got food poisoning from my sandwich and spent the rest of the day inside.  Heidi headed out to the pool to lounge for the rest of the day.

Heidi Lounging at the hotel with a sliver of Molokai in the background

July 9, 2011

The next day we took it easy, just walking along the beach and over to the Whaler’s Village shopping center.

Ka'anapali Beach - looking back at the Royal Lahaina from the Sheraton
Ka'anapali Beach – looking back at the Royal Lahaina from the Sheraton. It's amazing how you can have almost a whole beach to yourself. Just on the other side were swarms of people.

The beach walk is one of the great things about Ka’anapali!  You can walk from one resort to the next very easily as well as check out the beaches and other fun things like the image of Heidi below :).

Hula Heidi at the Sheraton

That evening was our last chance to make it up to Haleakala for sunset so we decided to go.  It’s amazing that you can go from an elevation of sea level to 10,000 feet in a little over an hour!  Don’t forget to bring your jacket because it is cold up here!

Haleakala National Park – A look into the crater

Did we mention that it was cold up here?  I haven’t need this jacket since we were at Base Camp ;).  Actually the temperature was about 40 degrees Fahrenheit but still cold when you were just at 85 degrees.

Yes, I really am cold, but it was amazing up here.

Here’s the proof of the elevation 😉

Heidi standing next to the elevation sign with a silversword plant to the right. This type of silversword only grows up here.

At this elevation we were above most of the clouds.

Heidi with one of our many 'holding the sun' photos.

The Sunset was amazing and worth braving the cold.  You usually only get an image like this from an airplane window.

A spectacular sunset above the clouds

After the sun had set it was a mass exodus of people heading down the mountain and by the time we were near sea level the temperature had returned to about 85 degrees.  Nice!

July 10, 2011

This was our last day in Maui but our flight wasn’t until 9PM so we wanted to get a full day of fun in the sun and it was also our last chance to swim with turtles.  So we decided to head over to Black Rock near the Sheraton Hotel.  If we didn’t have any luck here we were ready to head back to the south side.

Back Rock with some crazy kids jumping in the background
Back Rock with some crazy kids jumping in the background

We had heard that turtles were commonly spotted here but after seeing all the craziness here we didn’t think there would be any living creatures in these waters, but we were wrong!  Almost as soon as we got there someone was yelling that they saw a turtle.  We got our snorkel gear on as quickly as possible and jumped into the water.  Unfortunately, we were too late and didn’t see anything but soon enough there was another one and it was coming right at me.  This turtle was massive at probably 4 feet long.  I didn’t know what to do so I tried to give it some space and it just swam right under me.

Large majestic Honu at Black Rock, Maui

While the turtles are protected, it was unfortunate that many kids were doing whatever they could to grab a hold of them to show off.  Very sad, and they probably should block off part of this area to protect some of the wildlife that live in the area.

I was fortunate enough to see a few turtles and none of them seemed to mind the attention that they were getting.  I swam with this one for about 10 minutes and now have a greater appreciation for sea turtles and would rank them among the great ones.

This turtle was clearly more intelligent than I
This turtle was clearly more intelligent than I

After our morning swim we returned to our hotel to check out, grab some lunch then return to the beach!  We chose a spot next to Kahekili Beach Park because they have showers.  So no need to waste the day when you can clean up before heading to the airport!

Kahekili Beach Park
Kahekili Beach Park, Maui

We took one last swim and did some snorkeling as well.  Surprisingly there are a lot of fish and coral around here as well as a diving practice spot for novices.

… And the newlyweds, Gary and Rita stopped by to bid us farewell!

g&h with Gary and Rita at Kahelili Beach Park, Maui

Off to the airport!