Taking the Road to Hana back to Lahaina was an entirely different drive, even though it was the same route in reverse. When we went it was a clear day and on the return it was pouring rain. The tropical jungle was such a powerful green I could almost feel myself changing hue. Rob and I got an early start so traffic wasn't too bad, although we did meet batches of oncoming cars in places on the twisting road. During our travels here we've seen t-shirts, "I survived the Road to Hana." It is a bit harrowing, sometimes threatening falling rocks and mud slides, but the main danger is really other drivers barrelling toward you on narrow roads, when you've nowhere to go. So lighter traffic during a rainstorm was welcome.
|Mokolea Point (Hiway 30 |
past the 38 mile marker)
Lahaina has been a popular destination for centuries. First with the Polynesians, who made this their royal capital, then with whalers, who found it a perfect port, and with missionaries determined to save souls and increase literacy. Now tourists visit from all over the world.
Humpback whales come in the thousands to Maui Nui to breed and calve in the shallow warm waters. The whales have probably been visiting here long before the Hawaiians built their villages. The trip from Alaska takes 4-6 weeks, and the whole time they travel and stay they don't eat. The best time for whale watching is December - March, with February the peak time.
|This 100 year old banyon tree|
occupies a whole block in Lahaina
While visiting Maui it has been windy and about 22/23 degrees, not very hot, but we spent time on the beach most days. There was the Front Street beach in town, Baby beach around the corner, and short drives to Napali, Kaanapali, and Kapalua. The sand on these beaches was the texture of brown sugar and felt great on bare feet. Blue, blue water and white foaming surf. What's not to love?
Jodo Misssion is also located in Lahaina. A historical account shares the Buddhist mission rented a private house in order to propagate in Lahaina in 1912, and then moved to its present location in 1931. Just down the street from where we were staying, the missions was right on the beach, with a Japanese cemetery located across the road. The Japanese first came to the island to work the sugar cane fields and make enough money to return to their villages as rich men. Now there are 4th and 5th generation Japanese Americans calling Hawaii home.
Standing on the beach in Lahaina
As the sun's crimson shaft
Settles down past the distant isle
- Shinko Kishi, Archbishop of Jodo shu
The beach at night is magical and one of the highlights for me was the Feast at Lele, where we had front row seats to watch canoes come to shore at sunset, with dancers coming out to greet them. This was a gourmand's feast of five courses and a musical and culinary journey to Hawai`i, Aotearoa, Tahiti and Samoa. Leis and open bar with wine and beer pairings. I had mentioned it was a celebration dinner, they added a special touch to the dessert, a chocolate wafer saying Happy Anniversary.