After all the excitement at the Little Beach beach party on Day 3 in Maui, Day 4 was already here. I have a history of feeling incredibly sad on the last day of a trip – I was doing much better than usual this time. I felt happy, refreshed, and almost ready to leave. Perhaps I was thankful for the ankle feeling better and for getting the chance to spend another day with my new found female friends. Or I was ready for the cooler and much drier climate of Northern California.
Kima had registered us for the Aloha Surf Hostel Wednesday tour to the West Maui mountains. The tour started with D.T. Fleming Beach, voted one of the best beaches in America, many years in a row. The tour would continue to Olivine Pools, the heart shaped rock, the Nakalele blow hole, Honolua Bay, and end with delicious food and a beer cocktail (I don’t even like beer, but this place was amazing) at the Maui Brewing Company. Jarod, the curly-haired guy from Oakland was going to be our volunteer and driving us around for this tour. I threw my towel in, and asked Kima to save space for the three of us (Kima, Shanna and me) to sit together in the van. Kim was also now a good friend but these were three seaters, so Kim found a seat in the back.
The morning of Day 4 was a very interesting one. I had a nice breakfast on the breakfast bar near the reception desk at the hostel. I hadn’t noticed until then it had a nice view – coconut trees and papaya trees, along with sugarcane plantations in the distance reminding you of the history of Paia; chirping birds and a majestic blue sky. After having lived in upstate New York for three cold, long years, I don’t take the blue skies for granted:
My ankle had been a lot of pain the night before, but luckily it was much better the next morning. It still felt stiff and not normal, but I could slowly walk around. I packed my bag since I had to check out that morning, and placed it on the bed to get it all set to zip up.
Just then, out of nowhere, I saw something large and black that almost looked like black thread, on the wall. My bag had been there just a few moments ago. A slightly closer look confirmed my suspicion. It was a spider. The biggest one I had ever seen. To top it, it was carrying a white pouch underneath it, and seemed to barely crawl, mostly staying still.
I talked to the girl at the reception about the spider threat 🙂 After a few minutes that seemed like an eternity to me, she finally came down and confirmed that yes it was a spider, and it was a pregnant mommy spider. So, of course, we wouldn’t want to kill it. So, the receptionist got a brave girl to catch the spider.
She got a jar, and a magazine and headed into the room. She covered the spider with the jar so the mamma spider climbed right in; then covered the jar with the magazine and brought it out for us to see. She told me that there could be as many as 200 eggs or 200 baby spiders in that white pouch. We looked around and laughed – how many girls did it take to catch a spider – exactly four 🙂 Although, only one actually did the job and the rest of us just cheered from the sidelines.
Back to the van tour, Jarod played some good music as we made our way through Lahaina and up towards the West Maui Mountains. The first stop was D.T. Fleming Beach – the flags were red for high tide and danger, and with the ankle injury I didn’t step into the water, and just stayed back and took some photos:
After D.T. Fleming Beach, next stop was heading further into the breathtaking West Maui Mountains – starting with the Olivine Pools. It was a short hike, and an extraordinary view of the brilliant blue ocean, rocks around, and the tall, lush green, west Maui mountains in the backdrop.
A little bit about these pools: They are basically like swimming in the ocean, except it is way more dangerous. It gives people the illusion that it is an enclosed and ‘safe’ pool, however, one large wave over the rocks and the Olivine Pools and you can get sucked up into the ocean. I would warn against going into these pools, even if you are a strong swimmer.
Nature in Hawaii is untamed, wild and dangerous, and every year a number of over zealous travelers get hurt or lose their lives trying to go a bit too far. A guy called Steven died here in January 2017, and there is a marker for him there that his family built. My travel group from the van went down to the pool, and you can see them as tiny little dots in the photos I took from the top of the cliff:
After the Olivine Pools, the next stop was the Nakalele Blowhole and the heart shaped rock. I don’t want to make this blog sound overly ominous and dark, but the blowhole is again quite dangerous. No, it’s not the water fountain at our neighborhood park or even at the Bellagio in Vegas where you can stand next to it and enjoy the sprinkles of water on your face. If you get too close, you can get sucked up in the “blowhole” – it has happened here before. If the wave gets too high, which it does sometimes, it can suck you into the ocean, so my advise is to value your own life and watch this natural wonder from far. I can affirm to you it’s not less beautiful from afar. My iphone battery didn’t last after this, and my charger was in the van, so the photos below are thanks to Pauline from our group:
I was able to charge my phone after a little bit, and capture a good shot of the West Maui Mountains:
The nice thing about this spot (the blowhole and the heart shaped rock) is there is a little shack outside selling water, and if you are desperate like me with the heat and humidity, here’s your chance to grab a water and not having to wait till you get back to civilization! Also, note that the hikes to see the blow hole and the heart shaped rock from afar are rocky, but otherwise pretty short and easy.
After these ethereal sites we would head to Honolua Bay, which will be the strangest short hike I have ever been to, leading to a beautiful bay that people could swim in, or just have a nice picnic on the bank of it.
The reason the hike was so strange is that it was full of roosters and chicken, and little chicks. Ever heard of rooster fights and chicken clucks your entire way on a hike? Yup, you can find it all here. The even more strange thing is that I noticed a number of these roosters and chicken were so high up on a tree, perched like a crow or another bird. Here are some photos to provide this was real:
After Honolua Bay, it was certainly time for some food and drink, so we were very happy when Jarod announced we were finally done with the tour and heading to the Maui Brewing Company as our last stop for the day, and boy was that a good one! A yum veggie burger, really good fries, and a delicious beer (pineapple mai tai mana beer cocktail) later, I was happy and mentally getting ready to leave this beautiful place and these wonderful friends. I do not like beer at all, and yet I loved this place; so if you do love beer, can’t imagine how happy this place will make you 🙂
The last stop was to watch a sunset on our way back to the hostel. I took the opportunity to get a photo with the friends I made here – Kim, Shanna and Kima, who I will always remember (and whose company I will miss), whenever I think of, or visit Maui:
We headed back to the hostel, and the girls helped me get my luggage to the car (given the ankle was still bothering me), and we hugged each other good bye; most of them were leaving a day or two later. We noticed unfortunately that my car was covered in tiny flying cockroaches, and I had to spend a good 10 minutes cursing and killing them with my flipflop before quickly getting into the car and closing the door so they don’t get in. This was my most terrifying moment of Maui, lol. Not the blowhole, not the Olivine Pools, but these little flying monsters.
At the end of this day, I realized a few things:
- This Day 4 ‘West Maui Mountains’ tour was probably the best day on this trip.
- There were about 4 places I could have died on this Day 4 tour, and yet I was alive, (mainly because my hurt ankle tamed my adventurous spirit), which was something to celebrate.
- I had been incredibly lucky that everything worked out so well as it did, from the hostel being in a great location, to the weather being great all 4 days, me not being bitten by a spider, and meeting some amazing people.
As I left the hostel, I looked back at the wonderful experience I had on this four day trip, made especially special by the people I had met and bonded with. Girlfriends i.e. female friends rock. I think so much is written about romantic love, but much more really deserves to be written about friendship.
Like dew drops shining in the rain, like a sea shell found on the shore, and like the sand stuck in my shoes that I got all the way back to California, good friendships leave you with wonderful memories of love, laughter and joy that will remain in your heart for years to come.
My next post will be a summary of this trip – with recommendations on things to do and places to see if you have only 4-5 days in Maui like I did. I hope this post, and the next one, will help you plan your trip, or unlock wonderful memories from your previous adventures.
Until next time,