Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Hawaii Part III - Haleakala to Sea

We woke up early on Thursday morning for our next big adventure. Okay, it was earlier than early at 2:30 am so I not even sure if qualifies as morning. We had to meet at the Haleakala Bike Shop at 3:30 to catch our sunrise tour. The bike shop would fit you to a Gary Fisher mountain bike, give you rain proof gear and drive you in a van with all your stuff to the top of Haleakala to watch the sun rise. Haleakala is a dormant volcano that rises some 10,200 feet above sea level and boasts a large moon like crater at the top that could fit the city of Manhattan in it. It is considered one of the best places to watch the sun rise and I can say that it didn't really disappoint. Strangely enough, it is cold cold cold up there (which doesn't make that much sense to me since 12k ft mountains in Arizona aren't that cold) but the temps were probably in the 30 with a lot of wind. The sun rise was beautiful for a short time and before disappearing above the second cloud level.

I promise I did not edit this picture at all.

Tom standing on the moon.

After we watched the sun rise, we loaded back into the van to go to the park entrance where we would start our bike ride. We got to do a self guided bike back to the shop down 7000 ft. It was awesome to fly downhill since this is NOT something we ever get to do in Phoenix. We quickly left our group in the dust (amateurs) and started stripping off the clothes as we got lower in elevation and the temperature rose. My bike, although awesome compared to my K2 at home, had squeaky brakes, so I tried not to use them to much ;)
Hang Loose! We are locked and loaded.

View while biking while still high on the mountain.

Back down into the large tree level.

We stopped for breakfast about an hour down and ate at a table overlooking all of Maui. After this, we had directions back to the bike shop and were supposed to take a right about 2000 ft still above sea level to the bike shop where our car was. We were having a blast and I knew that the company allocated extra time to shop and eat in some of the towns on the way down the mountain so we decided to keep going until we hit the sea. It was an extra 30 minutes flying downhill until we came to the town of Paia. We found an alternative route back to the bike shop which allowed us to bike 4 miles along the ocean before embarking on a long steep climb back up to the bike shop. I will admit the extra 8 mile climb up the mountain kicked both our butts. We ended gasping for air and sweating a lot but I think it was totally worth it! How often do you get to bike from the top of a mountain all the way to the sea. AWESOME!

Tom biking along the Hana Highway.

We stopped to rest at the wind surfing beach we had stopped at before.

The day didn't end there. The whole biking trip only took till about 10:45 am for us because we started so early so we decided to head to the west side of Maui for the afternoon since we hadn't been there yet. We went to a place called Black Rock Beach which was known to be a good snorkeling spot. This spot had deeper water with more fish and some cool fish schools. There were also these long skinny fish that swam at the surface which was a bit unnerving when they swam right at me. I also started to get the hang of snorkeling here and tried some dives under the water level. You just have to remember not to breath in while under water and to blow out the water when you come back up. It was fun when I forgot this periodically.

Notice the long skinny fish at the surface level.

I followed this guy under and tried to learn from him how to dive deep.

This may have been the most packed day of our vacation. We had our B&B book us a luau and this was the only night available, so we went home, got cleaned up and drove back to the west side for our Feast at Lele luau. I didn't have many expectations for this as I knew that they can sometimes be sort of cheesy, but lets just say this one was anything but. Five separate courses of food and and unlimited drinks made for a great night. The food and dance were in four parts consisting of Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa, and New Zealand. The New Zealand portion even performed the Haka which is a famous dance of the New Zealand All Blacks Rugby Team. It seriously gave me chills. Overall an awesome day. I had to keep punching Tom (at his request) on the drive home to keep us both awake. Whatever you want honey. We had been up for some 23 hours before crashing. Definitely one of my favorite days on the hmoon.

Friday morning we woke late and lounged until it was time to back up and hit our flight to Kauai. Good bye Maui, I enjoyed you.

To be continued...

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