Our Livin' Large Maui Vacation - Day 5

Day 5 in Maui.  What to do?  To Matt's dismay, we did NOT spend it relaxing.  Not even close.  In all honesty, I'm not even really sure how to relax.  Especially on vacation.

We started our morning with another tasty breakfast at the Honolua Store.  I opted for Portuguese sausage and eggs on a bed of rice.  When in Rome... avoid the Spam!  And sad attempts at artsy macro photos with the iPhone. 

With adequately full tummies, armed with Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook, we started our adventurous day of hiking and exploring West Maui.  We had six hours before the rental car was due and I was not going to let a little thing like a time crunch limit the amount of sightseeing we could cram into one day.  

We followed the hiking trail at the far end of our hotel a mile in the wrong direction and then back before we found the unique lava formation known as the Dragon's Teeth.  Satisfied to have my first check mark for the day, we jumped in the car and made our way to Punalau Beach.  Empty, peaceful, and a perfect place to go hide out for the day.  Matt and I spent ten minutes dipping our feet in the sandy cool water, watching the waves crash on the large rocks just off the shoreline and were back on the road soon after.  Weather and shore conditions were not conducive for putting us in a snorkeling mood.  So much to see and so little time...

Our next stop was the Nakalele Blowhole.  There were warnings in my guide book.  There was signage on the trail down to the rock features.  I made sure to keep a safe distance and Matt thought it would be a great story to tell if he was sucked down into the hole and launched back up over the walls at the Olivine Pools an hour later.  More on that gem in bit.  Gem meaning the pools, not Matt's story.  The ocean was raging, the winds were up, and the blow hole was wildly active with sprays reaching way more than 50 feet in the air.  Here's a mild sampling of what was pounding away beneath our feet:

I was mesmerized to say the least.  I don't have any pictures that do the blowhole (in the bottom left of the above photos) justice, so you'll just have to Google it or see it for yourself on your next trip to Maui.

We were soon back in the car scanning the roadside for clues to help us find the Olivine Pools.  I was excited to hike down to these hidden tide pools and swim as close to the powerful ocean waves as we could get.  The stories were enough to entice my inquiring mind.  Just look what happens when you type the name into the search bar:

Yup.  The second item down is "olivine pools maui deaths."  There are even near death horror stories with photo evidence out there on the interwebs.  You are on your own searching for those.

Matt and I made the steep trek down the rocky cliff, all the while I kept my eyes fixed on the pools.  I watched wave after wave crash on the volcanic walls dividing the pools from the ocean.  And as tempestuous as the ocean was, the pools remained still and serene save a few splatterings of drops every few minutes.  We tucked our towels and belongings under a secure dry rock and plunged our way into the cool clear waters.  I'm not sure how to accurately describe what it is like to be so close to an ocean storming a mere 10 feet away, while sitting on a lava rock surrounded by pristine crystal water being enjoyed by crabs and fish and other small tide pool inhabitants.  There is absolutely nothing like it.  There were large shallow pools, narrow deep holes that were barely large enough for one person to splash into, and we had it all to ourselves.  I only wish I had brought my camera.

On the hike back out, which seemed infinitely easier than going down, we passed two separate families excited to go down and experience the pools for themselves.  For an idea of scale, Matt and I are at the top of the cliff and one member of the other groups can be seen on his way down in the bottom left of the picture.  The pools can be seen in the bottom center.  I cannot wait to get back out there.  With camera, next time.

After I had satisfactorily tapped into my mildly adventurous adrenaline reserve, we pressed on with our driving tour.  Matt keenly navigated a harrowing one lane road as we wove through acres and acres of farms and cattle ranches covering the cliffs overlooking the Pacific.  The television commercials say happy cows come from California.  The ads are wrong... if I were a Holstein, I'd take Maui over the San Joaquin Valley any day of the week.

I made Matt pull over for a small breathing reprieve and handfuls of samplings of coconut candy and banana bread at Julia's.  I shared a few gratuitous kisses with the resident Pit mix and Chihuahua mix adorning the porch, stuffed my coconut hole with all the available treats and eats, bought a loaf of banana bread, and scurried back to the car.  I braced myself for the remainder of the ride, avoiding eye-contact with the cliff just feet away from Matt's side of the car.

We wove our way through Kahakuloa, making a pit stop at the Kaukini Gallery, and continued on our way all the way back to Kalalui.  Lunch was a heart stopping, gut dropping meal at Da Kitchen Cafe.  Here is a picture.  I won't describe it because I'm afraid your own arteries might clog just reading the description.  Just believe me when I say it was incredibly rich.  I made it less than half way through before hoisting my white napkin and waving it while I cried for mercy.  I ate the rest for dinner later that night.  There's just something about curry that I can't resist.

We didn't make it too far out of Kalalui... okay, we didn't make it more than a mile from the restaurant before parking the car in front of Ululani's for one last taste of shave ice.  Matt and I shared a Hawaiian Rainbow served on top of a Haipua ice cream.  It's a good thing this place is 2500 miles away.  Seriously, the fluffy heaven in a cup topped with more heaven sitting on top of coconutty creamy heaven would lure me back day after day.  Such is the life of a sugar addict.

With a mere 55 minutes remaining with our rental car and a 45 minute drive back to the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, Matt and I were back on the road post haste.  Traffic in Lahaina, a fuel stop, and five o'clock on the nose rental car return is how we ended our sun drenched, rock scaling, ocean splashing day.  All that was left was enjoying our evening in our fance schmance room, a hot shower, and a Nestea plunge into bed.

Only one day remained to enjoy Maui and I left the Day 6 agenda for our Livin' Large vacation up to Matt.  Check back to see what Matt's definition of vacation entails.  Spoiler alert: it isn't spending all day in a car!

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