Lahaina, HI (WTAP)-- The free day on Maui started for some of us as a scramble to rent a car and strike off across part of Maui to find and drive "The Road to Hana!"
This is an incredibly twisty-turny section of 42 miles in which it takes two to three hours to traverse one way, without stops to hike and see waterfalls and sites. The hairpin curves and breathtaking views of sea, glades and valleys along the North shore keeps your speed to less than ten miles per hour in spots! Plus, there are more than 102 one lane bridges requiring you to give way to on-coming traffic!
Some say this most popular drive in Hawaii was the basis for the Bing Crosby/ Bob Hope pictures, "The Road to..." series. You can see the appeal for Hollywood! Hawaii was a getaway for those silver screen elite.
We return from our successful attempt to reach the end of the roadway, just in time to catch the sun sinking in the west behind nearby Moliki island, site of an old lepper colony in decades past. Apparently, the Hawaiian people are predisposed to this disfigurement disease.
We seen none of it in the happy, warm faces of the people we meet. There are a number of retired Caucasian workers at the resorts, transportation shuttles or gift shops on all the islands. There are many, many locals working in the wait staff and service industries here.
The next day after returning the rental car bright and early, we all assembled to take a taxi down to the main harbor wharf. We have chartered a Maui Ocean Center whale watching cruise this morning.
It occurs to me that I could have bused the travelers to the dock in six circuits of three miles each way in my rental car, but it would have taken time. One issue might have been liability, as we continue to hear emergency response vehicles on all three islands. But all goes well. The taxis are comfortable a d efficient. We are ready in plenty of time!
Even though it is late in the season, we are successful in spotting three male whales courting a female and her cafe. They sound and blow, rise and roll several times before out-distancing our chartere ship. After two hours, we return the four and a half miles back to port. We are satisfied to have seen these Pacific blue whale specimens up close and played tag with them for more than an hour!
I am especially releived as I had strongly recommended the cruise, based upon our success on the last Hawaii visit. It's one of the few times I have referenced one of our other trips, though I answer questions about what or where for our guests all the time! The work of a host is never done!
Finally we gather for the luau meal and dance show, just at the far end of our complex. The meal is a great buffet and the presenters are all skilled performers who know exactly how to thrill us and entertain.
Though a light mist begins to fall, we are treated to a double rainbow and no one leaves early! We even get one of our guests to take the stage for the Hula contest and even Gail takes to the stage for a mass hula lesson!
Tired but satisfied, we begin packing for the long ten hour return flight tomorrow. It will stretch overnight and we will all need some sleep on the plane. We wish they would move Hawaii closer to our mainland, but enjoy it's remote flavors and traditions.
If you ever get a chance to come visit, take it! We leave our shoes' and footprints in the sand and vow to return again someday!