Wednesday, October 13, 2010

NBWM13 Maui Haleakala Crater

Welcome to Maui
Haleakala National Park and Booze Cruise
Our First day in Maui took us to Haleakala National Park. Haleakala stands for the House of the Sun.

It was a steep drive from sea level to an elevation of 970, all in less than 2 hours. The tour guide said the majority of the mountain is underwater and from the base to the summit is 5 miles. It's the biggest mass of material in the world with 2/3rds of it underwater.

Our guide said, "Maui is known for 3 W's - Wind, Waves and Wings (birds)" The tour guide then directed our attention to the map that was given to us when we got on the bus. He said, "Maui is an island created by two volcanoes with a valley between them. The valley is Kahului, where your ship is. The top volcano looks like the shape of a woman's head, a profile and the bottom volcano looks like her body with the valley as the neck." I don't think I can look at a map of Maui and not see the woman from now on.

Below is a picture where I’m standing next to the tour bus. Please note the red sandals. This is my “Aleta, where is your stupid sign” day. You’ll see why in a few minutes.

At our first stop, close to the summit, we saw plants called silverswords, which are indigenous to Hawaii.

They are silver in color and sharp looking leaves, but they are really soft to the touch.

They only bloom once with really tall blooms and then the plant dies, look how large the bloom is!

I thought they were lovely. Neat to find out that the silverswords are only silver on Haleakala, because the silver reflects the bright sunlight, whereas on other islands, the same plants are green. (The plant adapted to the harsh sunlight.) Our tour guide said, "When people think of Hawaii, they think of all the flowers, but none of that is native to Hawaii. Hawaii is volcano. Haleakala is natural. Boring, isn't it? But this is the real Hawaii." Personally, I thought it was beautiful.

The second stop brought us almost to the top, the driver opened the bus doors and said, "Welcome to Alaska. When you come back, I'll bring you back to Hawaii!"

He wasn't kidding; it was C O L D !!! 40 degrees in Hawaii! Mom had to buy a jacket at the gift shop and she was sweet to lend it to me. I couldn't have made it on the trail without it.

There was a trial to the summit, very rocky and I wasn't prepared - no jacket and I wore my red sandals. Call me crazy, but I decided to try the rocky path anyway. (Picture of trail below – do you see the trail? Exactly – this is why I needed a stupid sign, going on this with sandals.)

Not far from the top, my ankle twisted. I didn't want Greg to worry, so I told him, "I think this is as far as I'll go." He went on without me. I waited a little while and felt like I was OK, so I slowly continued on and made it to the top. Very foolish of me to make the trek in sandals, but it was worth it.

We were over the clouds and what few clouds were above us - they were moving super fast, little wisps of white. It felt like we were at the sky ceiling and could touch it. The crater beneath us had slopes and red dashes of color. It was cool.

Greg was so happy that I made it to the summit top. Kissing in the clouds…

It is at this point that I have to mention the luck of the Irish, because Greg most certainly has it! I saw everyone boarding the bus to go back to the cruise ship. Greg wanted to take a couple more pictures and then he walked towards the gift ship. I got on the bus and told the driver that my husband was in the gift shop. He waited and Greg got on... the driver put the bus in gear when a person came running towards the bus, waiving his hands. The person got on board and said, "Did anyone forget their wallet?" (They aren't allowed to open the wallet.)

Greg looked at me and said, "That might be me." He stood up, checked his short pockets and sure enough... no wallet! He ran off the bus and got his wallet. Everyone chuckled and said he had an angel looking after him. After all, we were leaving a summit crater and not going to be returning here, can you imagine if he had left it there? He wouldn't have been able to get back on the ship - on each island there are three check points (first to get on the port, second to check the baggage and another to actually board the boat). Thank heavens he had his wallet found and returned to him (and yes, with all the money there).

But that's not all folks... we get to the first check point, where the guard gets on the bus and looks at the driver's license and the ship card. The bus is let onto the port. Then, we are walking towards the second check point, where you have to show your ID and they go through your bags, etc, as if you are boarding a plane. A man ran up to Greg and said, "I think you dropped this!" OMG, it was Greg's driver's license! Luck of the Irish, I tell you. From that point forward, Mom would ask Greg, "Do you have your wallet? Do you have your ids?" Hehe, I think towards the end of the trip, it was driving Greg a little batty, but hey, I totally understand.

Back on board and in our room, we rested.... we had the booze cruise to go on, sorry, I mean, the sunset cruise. Yep, we went from one ship to another. I think most of the people went on the ride just to drink. I tried a Mai Tai drink, but didn't like it. I'm not someone who drinks, ah well, but I had to try it! We were in Maui after all. The sunset was pretty and it was relaxing on the boat.
Sunset on one side of the boat:

Moon on the other side of the boat. I like this picture a lot.

Greg looked at me and said, "You don't know how beautiful you are, do you?" And he took a picture of me on his iPhone.. awww.

I’m including this picture, because Greg liked these “never ending” shots in the elevator.
Once we got back to the Pride of America, we had a quick supper. Greg and I went to see the Polynesian Show in the Hollywood Theater. They did a good job, but we were sooo tired by the end of the show. I'm glad we went to it though.


Cruella Collett said...

That sounds like a wonderful time spent on Hawaii! The pictures are gorgeous (I'm terribly jealous now). And the stories of you and Greg are so sweet :)

LaurAyn said...

Greg is right and that photo of you is spectacular.

The Forscheins said...

pretty pictures and yes, REAL luck is on Greg's side!