Monday, June 27, 2016

Maui wrap-up

One last post from Maui!

Just an assortment of things we have seen and done in the last weeks on this beautiful island.

Hula in the street - I love the music and the dancing:

Exploring the trails through the lava field at the southern end of Maui:

It's quite lovely down there, as long as you go early before it gets too hot:

Some kind of measurement tool, with the island of Kaho'olawe peaking out in the back:

Admiring the clear blue water (and schlepping our snorkel gear, thanks John!):

Colorful brackish pools amid the dark lava:

A pretty spot for some snorkeling - and spotting another sea turtle underwater.  So cool.

Well, those shoes did me well for all the hikes and runs through igneous rocks.  One last big tear, and it's a good time to toss them!

It has been the month of amazing fruit - fresh papayas, mangoes right off the tree, a few mountain apples, a couple lilikoi (yay!), and a nice set of apple bananas, all from the yard where we're staying.  We are SO spoiled for fresh fruit right now.  That's on top of Maui Gold pineapple from the store and black raspberries from a local farmer.

So when a breadfruit ('ulu) showed up at the door, I wasn't quite sure what to make of it.  Neither a bread, nor a fruit, more like a slightly sweet potato.  OK, I have learned that technically it is a fruit.  But it still acts like a potato.  One that starts out sticky on the outside.

Lynn wrapped it in tinfoil and baked it, dealing with it at its stickiest (thank you Lynn!).  From there I could cut it, remove the seed and peel it.  Then I roasted it in our toaster oven.

It seems to have come out just fine!  It's pretty starchy and I find that it needs ketchup.  Overall, thumbs up for breadfruit:

And now, a few photos from the "John at work" album:

Pretty solar panels:

Rocky beach on Lana'i:

Solar project on Lana'i:

Lana'i beach:

View of Lana'i from west Maui:

While driving back from Lahaina, John got to see some surf in high wind, whee!

Haleakala made the sheet of National Park stamps!  It's the one on the lower left, a lovely shot with a rainbow across the crater.  It's hard to see in this photo - buy a set and check it out  :)

Not quite the exact shot (also, no rainbow), but this one was taken in person on my last day running across the crater:

Silverswords in bloom!  First time I got to see that.  Every time I visit Haleakala I see something new.

On my way toward the ascent on the Halemau'u Trail, I heard 4 Nene geese flying overhead.  Hello Nene's!  One perched on a nearby bunch of rocks (center of the photo) and chatted with me while I walked by.  Then the geese landed on various outcroppings and called to one another as I made my way up the switchbacks.  Not sure what they were conversing about, but I like to think they were serenading me as I said "so long" to Haleakala.  Thank you Nene's!

Brief glimpse of a sugar cane hauler heading for the mill - it's the last year of cane burning and harvesting, and I think some people are glad about that.  Personally I'll be relieved when the smoke and dust are no longer; happily where we live we haven't been too affected:

John and I hiked up to the cross above Wailuku, a nice steep little haul with a good view just a bit higher up - here's Kahului Bay on a sunny morning:

Looking down toward 'Iao Valley (the first couple miles of the half marathon we ran with Kip):

On a separate run I did to Kihei, I finally found time to walk on the boardwalk at Kealia Pond.  Very pretty, with lots of coastal birds, and a view of the west Maui mountains:

A rare find at the end of that run - a license plate from DC!  I've been collecting a list of license plates we have spotted, and we're quite amazed that the list has continued to grow into our final days here.  Most common are CA, NV, and OR.  We've also seen: WA, TX, IL, AZ, MO, UT, IN, LA, AK, GA, CO, British Columbia, MN, NJ, MA, ID, OK, SD, NY, MT, FL, ND (rare even on the mainland), DC (below), and finally one from TN.  That was a fun game.

John finally went surfing!  We rented a board, I played around a bit and confirmed that I'm a complete noob while trying to show John what I learned (probably not too helpful), then John took a turn:

Paddling out:

This is mostly a photo of the type of waves and a few of the people out messing around that morning.  John might be in this picture, but he's not the one standing up.  He did manage a few good runs on his knees and spent some time working on balance.  The last time he went out, when I finally had a camera with me, the wind had picked up and John was having a harder time "catching a wave".  We had a lot of fun - him practicing and me watching.  Thank you for that experience, Maui!

What's up next?  Well, since we kind of substituted a long summer in lieu of the past winter and spring, I suppose it's only fair that we're swapping the upcoming summer with winter.  Not only that, but we're crossing the international date line and jumping ahead a day.  I expect we'll be rather confused (more than normal) for a few days.  We also have to purchase southern hemisphere compasses.  Small price to pay for a 6-week visit to Australia!  Heading to Sydney on Thursday.

No blog posts planned until August ... see you on the flip side!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

A weekend on Kaua'i

John returned from a project on Lanai Friday afternoon, we flew to Kauai on Saturday morning, via Honolulu.  John noted that he visited 4 islands in less than 24 hours - impressive!

We were excited to take advantage of John's 3-day weekend to return to Kauai and do some more exploring of the Garden Isle.  It's such a pretty place, the first place we landed when we visited Hawaii in 2008, and the scenery blew us away back then.

There are pieces of Maui that remind me of Kauai.  The whole island is just gorgeous.  We started with a drive up the mountain and some overlooks into Waimea canyon:

A bit redder than your normal waterfall:

Big scenery (that's John on the lower right):

Spectacular waterfall, I can see why the helicopter stopped by for a look:

We had a fun hike down the Awa'awapuhi trail, mostly in the clouds until we got just below the cloud canopy right at the end - awesome!  The topography is hard to believe, really.

John checking out the goats on the opposite ridge.  We could hear them so we figured they must be around somewhere.  Hard to fathom where those mountain goats are able to roam.  There's probably one in this photo but it's way far away and tiny:

Some pretty shots from John's phone:

Hello up there!  Oh, that's me:

Clouds settled on the upper part of the mountain, and "I can't get enough of this scenery":

All different colors on the same flower:

The swinging bridge of Hanapepe, oh and we realized that we don't see rivers on Maui so it was interesting to find so many on Kauai:

Samples at the Kauai Island Brewery and John's version of "beer goggles":

At the "glass beach" where much of the sand is made of small smooth pieces of actual glass:

Nice sunset after a spell of rain (a normal Kauai afternoon, it seems):

We present - our tent!

Our first AirBnB tent experience, and it was a good one.  Gotta love the occasional interesting options with AirBnB.

Not so easy to see, but there's a pair of swim fins dangling from the top rail of the bridge (like sneakers on a telephone wire?) - made me laugh:

A patch of taro farming near the entrance to the Kalalau Trail:

Interesting looking cave:

Such greenery on Kauai:

View back to the beach cove from the Kalalau Trail:

Despite the vegetation in this picture, the trail was actually in great shape.  I remember it being narrower and harder to traverse back in 2008:

Hi there!

Looking up the valley from our turn-around spot:

And the beautiful beach just below.  John loves a good beach.

Um, John?

View from inside a small cave:

The beautiful Na Pali Coast:

We decided to explore the Hanalei River so we rented a kayak and paddled for a couple hours.  We went upstream looking for a waterfall, but eventually found a series of small rapids that diminished our "upstream" enthusiasm.  Time to head back.

View of the river from an overlook - there's a kayak barely visible, which could have been us a couple hours prior:

I thought there were a lot of chickens on Maui, but no, Kauai might just be the "roaming chicken capital of the world":

Wonderful whale mural in Kapa'a:

Amid the requisite afternoon rain, here's a look at the Menehune Fish Pond and wildlife refuge:

My brother's school:

The pretty Shipwreck Beach by the southern resorts:

Also a nice trail along limestone cliffs to see the ocean waves.  We haven't seen a lot of limestone on the islands, so this was an interesting geological topic of discussion.

How I might have looked during my surfing lesson a couple weeks ago (minus the giant wave, of course):

John imagining how he will look once he starts learning how to surf:

One last adventure, a hike up Okolehao Trail.  It was a bit muddy and slippery, wouldn't expect anything less from this jungle-like island:

Lovely morning overlooking Hanalei Bay:

Misty morning lighting:

We packed a lot in, what a fun weekend!  Thank you Kauai!