The Valley Isle
09.09.2010 - 10.09.2010 28 °C
We are picked up at the Maui Airport by our next rental car owner, Pawel. The cars we have been renting are just old beat up has-beens. This one is '94 Geo Prism, whatever that is. This car was made before the invention of the cup holder. Back in the day, did they just jam our coffee between their legs? Oddly, we have to drive Pawel back to Paia to drop him off on the side of the road. Did we just rent his own personal car for a week? Well at least we aren't driving a Jeep or Mustang that screams, I'm a tourist.
The tourism and development in Maui seems considerably greater than in Kauai. We are greeted with rows of condos and resorts. None the less, it's a beautiful sprawling land scape, palm trees swaying everywhere. Our first mission is to gather supplies and permits for our time on the island. After some rush hour fun and road raging, we exit the city going south-west to the dry side of the island.
At the Olowalu campsite, our first private camping experience on this journey, we notice a MEC tent set up. Julie starts to wonder who else is from our homeland. The first people we run into, Julie knows it is them. Sparking conversation with Jack and Lisette, it turns out they are from Edmonton, and on a journey similar to ours, in search of something more to life. These two seem like a lot of fun, and so we exchange our contact info, and figure our paths will cross in coming days in Hawaii or in coming months in New Zealand.
This area is very dry and dusty so we leave off the fly for our tent to expose the night sky. We don't last too long star gazing before we slip away to dreamland. The next morning is pretty much like everyday in Maui, sunny. First stop is a farmers' market to chat up the locals and plan what to eat in the coming days. Then, we're off to Black Rock for some snorkeling with millions of tourists. It starts out like most reefs, 75% bleached and void of much life. As we are heading in (since Julie is freezing cold by this point) a green sea turtle drifts by gracefully under us, and directly after, a spotted sting-ray moves along the sandy bottom. Our spirits are raised, but decided to get out and find somewhere quieter for the afternoon. At the parking lot there is a line up cars waiting for our spot, we are happy to head out and let them fight the growing crowds.
We scoot over to Olowalu beach, a old boat launch that has been closed off. It seems like a spot where only locals seem to swim and fish, but it's quiet, so we sprawl out in the sun. Our guide book mentions there has been shark attacks in this area, but we suit up for a snorkel and wade slowly in. The deeper we get the larger and more colourful the coral becomes. The vibrant yellows are breath taking, but the thought of being shit out by a shark holds us to a short stay in the waters.
After showering up at the beach (like the local bums) we are off to Lahaina for the Friday night art gallery open houses in the downtown area. We wander through several galleries sipping on wine and nibbling on cheese (in my bathing suit and flip flops). Nobody really cares, everyone is carefree and it turns out to be really interesting to hob nob with the upper crust.
It is getting late and we have to meet with our first couch surfer hostess, Teressa. So Julie finishes taking some night photos of historical buildings and we head off to Kihei. Julie didn't want to be late for our first couch surfing experience. When we arrive and meet Teressa, Julie and I connect with her right away. Teressa is incredibly inviting, and ensures we are comfortable in every way. After about an hour or more of some great conversation we are pretty tired and head to bed.