Author Topic: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta  (Read 41312 times)

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #60 on: December 14, 2014, 10:19:56 PM »
I really don't know.
1 - We weren't even planning on going there, as we were going to do the Venus Pool past Hana instead.
2 - Even if we had wanted to go, there was not a single safe spot in the ocean that day due to the hurricanes.
Thanks for the tips. Did you end up doing the Venus pools? Would you just recommend the blow hole instead of the Olivine pools and do the Venus pools instead?

Online Something Fishy

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Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #61 on: December 14, 2014, 10:28:09 PM »
Thanks for the tips. Did you end up doing the Venus pools? Would you just recommend the blow hole instead of the Olivine pools and do the Venus pools instead?

We did not do the Venus pools in the end as there were far too many people around. But we had no regrets, as we had done Ching's Pond the day before on a whim.

I would definitely not skip the blowhole (and acid war zone). If anything I'd skip the Dragons Teeth and do the Olivine pools instead. You have plenty of time to do the acid war zone, blowhole, pools, and even a short hike or two so long as you get started early.
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Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #62 on: December 14, 2014, 10:48:33 PM »
We did not do the Venus pools in the end as there were far too many people around. But we had no regrets, as we had done Ching's Pond the day before on a whim.

I would definitely not skip the blowhole (and acid war zone). If anything I'd skip the Dragons Teeth and do the Olivine pools instead. You have plenty of time to do the acid war zone, blowhole, pools, and even a short hike or two so long as you get started early.
That sound like a good idea. Were you crazy enough to dive at Ching's Pond? Did you see anyone who did?

Online Something Fishy

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Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #63 on: December 14, 2014, 10:53:54 PM »
That sound like a good idea. Were you crazy enough to dive at Ching's Pond? Did you see anyone who did?

I'm the sort of klutz who had to hike all the way back down to the pond because I forgot my pants there. No way I'm diving off a bridge :o :o :o...

I didn't see anyone else do it either (not that there were too many people there, it was quite deserted).
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Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #64 on: December 14, 2014, 10:55:36 PM »
I'm the sort of klutz who had to hike all the way back down to the pond because I forgot my pants there. No way I'm diving off a bridge :o :o :o...

I didn't see anyone else do it either (not that there were too many people there, it was quite deserted).
;D I don't plan on diving either, just curious if you had a picture.

Online Something Fishy

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Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #65 on: December 14, 2014, 10:56:52 PM »
;D I don't plan on diving either, just curious if you had a picture.

Oh, I have pictures, trust me ;).

But just not of anyone diving.
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Offline DMYD

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Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #66 on: December 14, 2014, 10:58:17 PM »
Wow Those are some pictures!

Offline Dan

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Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #67 on: December 15, 2014, 01:31:21 PM »
Olivine Pools and Blowhole are must-dos.

Dragon teeth are interesting, but probably not worth it for most.
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #68 on: December 15, 2014, 01:34:31 PM »
Olivine Pools and Blowhole are must-dos.

Dragon teeth are interesting, but probably not worth it for most.
I always planned on Olivine Pools and Blowhole. Skip the Venus pools on the RTH?

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Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #69 on: December 15, 2014, 01:58:17 PM »
Olivine Pools and Blowhole are must-dos.

Dragon teeth are interesting, but probably not worth it for most.

Agree. Had I done the hikes or olivine pools I possible wouldn't have gone to the Dragons Teeth.
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Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #70 on: December 16, 2014, 01:32:26 AM »
Day 3, Tuesday:

We woke up to a gray, drab day. The forecast called for nicer weather later, so we pressed on with the day's plans. Not that the forecast means much in Hawaii - there will always be a shower or two during the day, but beautiful otherwise. But what with the hurricanes having messed up the normal patterns so thoroughly, we figured we may as well check the forecast.

A turkey family taking a morning stroll in our yard:



The plan was to head to La Perouse Bay and the Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve. There are two spots in the reserve called the Fishbowl and Aquarium, which are famous for the best snorkeling on Maui, maybe even all of Hawaii. The reserve has however been closed for years to visitors under pain of death (or a fine of $1000 and jail time, but close enough :P). The closure was set to expire the week before we came, but there was no info readily available if it did in fact open or not. We were hoping to snorkel the reserve, with the legalities and surf hopefully cooperating.

If the reserve turned out to be closed, our backup plan was to hike the lava fields to the remote Keawanku Beach described in the Adventures section of the Maui Revealed.

As you could see from the map below, the road situation in Maui is kinda batty. Instead of driving from Kula to South Maui - less than 10 miles as the crow flies - you are forced to take a roundabout route all the way around, more than quadrupling the drive. This isn't like the north coast of Kauai where the terrain make roads impossible - this is simply bad planning. Apparently the county has been planning a connecting road for years, but other than spending $15m "studying" it, they've done nothing. In the meantime Oprah built her own private road to go from her upcountry house to the beach, but unless you're worth a couple of billion you'll have to drive through Kahului traffic like everyone else  >:(. This craziness also affects anyone going to and from Haleakala.



For some reason my GPS didn't send me down on obvious Hwy 37 route, instead directing me down a side country road called Pulehu Rd. I was glad it did, as it was far prettier and more relaxing than taking the highway. It weaved in and out of charming little towns, the road lined with flowers in all colors of the rainbow. Soon we were wending our way through the sugar fields, the tall cane closing in on both sides of the car. It was an exceedingly enjoyable ride (except for the short stretch which went past the main recycling plant. Ugh :P).

I would highly recommend people take this road instead of the highway on the return from a Haleakala sunrise, heading to either south or west Maui. Here are the directions from Haleakala to Wailea and Lahaina; according to Google it's only 3 minutes longer than the regular route.

While we were on the road the weather cleared a bit and we got our hopes up. In Kihei we stopped at a dive shop for a bottle of sunscreen, and we were told that as far as they know there is still no safe swimming on the island; in fact they had canceled that morning's dive >:(.

Further down we stopped at each of the three Kamaole beaches and chatted with the lifeguards. They all agreed - no swimming if you value your life.

So much for snorkeling... On to Plan B: off to the lava hike we go.

The further south we went, the worse the weather got. By the time we reached La Perouse Bay the rain was coming down in buckets. Passing through Ahihi-Kinau (the road cutting through is open for traffic - see map), we met a couple of state employees patrolling the area. Turns out that not only did the reserve not open yet, but they're taking it so seriously that even in this weather there are still patrols. In the end the closure was extended till 2016, but it seems likely to stay closed forever.

La Perouse Bay is the end of the road - you can't go any further south. It is a wild and wonderful place, where the sea is still battering the young lava coast. You could see up the slopes of Haleakala, and clearly make out the path of the latest eruption. The plain is fresh and raw, with jagged lava as far as the eye could see. The scene is somewhat reminiscent of the Big Island, even though this lava is older (it's a machlokes haposkim if the eruption that created this area was in 1490 or 1790). Seeing this sight through the pouring rain was absolutely awe-inspiring.

The parking lot was packed with cars full of dejected-looking people who've had their plans dashed by the weather. We decided to give it half an hour: if the rain lets up - even a little - we're heading out.

As we were finishing lunch in the car we saw a couple come staggering over the lava, soaked to the bone. I hailed them down.

"You've been down thataway?"

"Yup."

"All the way to Keawanku?"

"Yup."

"In this weather?? Was it worth it?"

"Absolutely!"

That was enough for us. We grabbed our stuff and headed out into the pouring rain.

We were carrying food, water, my Sony NEX camera and 18-55mm lens (no shlepping all my gear on a hike like this), and the GoPro. On top of that we carried a diving bag with all our snorkel equipment - fins, masks, towels, the works. We were going to get into the ocean, I don't care how the weather is! Carrying all this, in the pouring rain, for 6 miles on a vague trail over slippery and extremely sharp lava sounds like the beginning of a horror story.

But wonder of wonders, this hike turned out to be one of the most fun things we had ever done on vacation.

There are two ways to hike from La Perouse Bay to Keawanku Beach. The first one is about two miles each way over what's called the King's Highway. This path was built 200 years ago and is very well-defined and relatively easy. The second route is three miles long, hugs the coastline, and is far more interesting and challenging. We decided to take the book's recommendation and make it a 5 mile loop. Taking into account all our side trips and detours, it turned out to be over 6 miles.

Here's the GPS trace of our hike: La Perouse Bay is on the upper left, and Keawanku Beach is the bay on the lower right. The top, relatively straight path is the King's Highyway, while the bottom detour is the longer route. You could see that the first part of the hike is along the beach, under a grove of kiawe trees. After that the two routes diverge, only to meet again a mile or two further on:



Once again the Revealed app was invaluable, since it's really not clear where to pick up the second trail, especially in the rain. Without the app's GPS we would have stayed on the King's Highway and not done the most interesting part of the hike.

By the time we left the shelter of the trees the downpour had slowed to a shower, and was to continue for another hour or so.

The beginning of the second trail during a momentary lull of the rain - you could see how indistinct it is:



The same spot, looking toward the volcano. The tiny bits of white coral (lower center and right) were the only indicators that this is the trail:



Walking was extremely treacherous and slow going; every step had to be calculated. One wrong step or slip and down the cliff you go:



And slip I did, right alongside this narrow hole in the lava shelf. Luckily I caught myself; all I got were some nasty cuts from grabbing onto the sharp lava:



The ocean was absolutely raging; it was impossibly violent. Remind me why we were shlepping snorkel gear again :o?







Eventually the rain stopped. The views were absolutely spectacular. Note the lava flow on the slopes of the volcano; this is the flow we're hiking on. In some spots the trail was fairly well defined, but in most all we had to go on were the bits of coral pointing in a general direction:









Walking on lava is extremely strenuous. It is jagged, sharp, and points in all different directions. You can't grab a boulder or lean against one for support; you WILL get cut. Your foot doesn't land on anything solid, as everything is basically loose rubble. You put a foot down, the lava crunches underneath, your foot shifts, and you feel every stone right through your soles. This hike will murder your shoes - my sneakers were in pretty good condition when I set out. By the time I got back to the car the soles were shredded into strips.

However even with all this we were having an amazing time. There was not a soul around and the landscape was like from a different planet. There were things to see and explore around every bend: green anchialine ponds, reeking from sulfur and lined with bacteria in all different colors, monster waves trying to take down a sea arch, volcanic cones in the distance. It was a hike unlike anything I've ever done.

Presently we met up with the King's Highway again. It made the going simpler, if not easier. The pebbles lining the path were even smaller than what we had encountered so far; they crunched and shuffled underfoot, so it was like walking on broken glass. It was however far smoother; no more clambering over boulders and getting scratched up - there were actual bridges filling in the gullies:



On top of the bridge:



After a little more than two hours, as we crested a hill, the sun burst out and illuminated a magical scene: below us lay Keawanku Beach, an oasis of green among the stark lava. Gentle waves lapped against the pebbled beach, protected from the ocean's fury in the bay. We scrambled down the lat bit of the path and collapsed on the beach:



Alas, this peaceful scene was not to last. This picture was taken exactly 4 seconds after the one above, looking back the way we came. You could see how fickle the weather was; already the clouds were overtaking the sun, and the wind was churning up the waves:



Being that we carried our snorkel gear all this way, we weren't going to waste it (do you have any idea how much a single size 17 fin weighs ????). We geared up and tried to enter the water. The ocean was having none of that; time and time again it rebuffed our advances and told us in no uncertain terms that it was. not. interested. This is as close as I got to snorkeling:



So we just sat in the surf, rested up and relaxed. All too soon it was time to start heading back.

On the return we took the King's Highway all the way:



I'm not sure I want to know the story behind this, or how its owner made it back:



Two miles of uneventful hiking later, we were back under the kiawe trees and in the company of some wild goats:



Before we knew it we were back at the parking lot, with one last glimpse at the wild coast:



Our Plan B had turned out to be a long, cold, wet, difficult, and painful hike. But we were exhilarated. It had been absolutely fascinating, exploring a corner of Hawaii that is so different then what the millions of tourists see every day. The Revealed book puts this hike in the Adventure section, and I couldn't agree more. It was worth every second.

We dragged our tired bodies into the house just in time for yet another spectacular sunset. Different, but no less spectacular:



Tomorrow we would have more luck - both weather- and snorkeling-wise - in one of the most amazing places imaginable. We were flying to Lana'i for the day.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2017, 10:56:07 PM by Something Fishy »
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Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #71 on: December 16, 2014, 01:49:56 AM »
OMG, amazing! I can't wait to go!

Online whYME

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Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #72 on: December 16, 2014, 01:57:27 AM »
OMG, amazing! I can't wait to go!
+1
You've outdone yourself once again.

Online TimT

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Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #73 on: December 16, 2014, 02:05:21 AM »
You gotta bentch 2 ha'gomels, 1 for the flying & 1 for the hiking.  :)

Offline jaywhy

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Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #74 on: December 16, 2014, 06:02:06 AM »
Wow, breathtaking.