Hawaii 2012 - Day 10: Snorkeling - Road to Hana - Waikamoi Nature Trail

Maui Travel Blog

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Your reporter prepared to go below sea level (photo by Stephan van Gessel)

A multifunctional day! We started it with something we had postponed too long: exploring a tiny part of Maui located below sea level. On other words, we went out snorkeling! For that we headed out south to Ahihi-Kina'u Natural Area Reserve, a reserve just above La Pérouse Bay. Lots of tourist jump into a bay that is located next to the road. And one can surely have a great time here the real gem is a 5 minute hike away. And that is what we did of course, so we got a better snorkeling place and we had to share it with less people.

Getting into the water was the hardest part. The sharp rocks of the La Pérouse Bay lava fields just extend into the sea.

Maui below sea level (photo: provided by Stephan van Gessel)
And something you absolutely don't want is being smashed by a freak wave against one of these rocks! Inside the water the under water lava rocks are habitats for the most beautiful fish. It is like stepping into one of those Discovery Channel documentaries: fish in all sizes, some really big, some really weird and almost scary, in all kinds of colours, real coral, and mysterious rocks. Just awesome!

Stephan had invested in a disposable water-proof camera and evolved into some kind of local and contemporary Jacques Cousteau. When the camera was full we headed back to the hotel to get showered and ready for our next activity: the Road to Hana.

After a quick lunch in the village of Pa'ia (of course Coconut Battered Shrimps for me) we headed eastward along Maui's north coast on The Road to Hana aka the Hana Highway.

Waikamoi Nature Trail
This is one of the coolest highways of the state, and probably of the US. Just like with the Kahekili Highway (see yesterday's blog) the word highway is a bit of an overstatement since the maximum speed is just 5 - 15 miles per hour. The road is extremely narrow, 109 kilometers (68 miles) long, contains about 600 curves and crosses 59 bridges of which 46 are single lane bridges. It winds heavily, high above the sea, most of the time through lush jungle. Just perfect, a pleasure to drive! A nice aerial photo that illustrates how curved the road is can be seen here.

Unlike the Kahekili Highway, the road does have guard rails and the shape of the pavement is way better. So, the rental companies (it is unbelievable but true) do allow their renters to drive the road.

Ke'anae Peninsula
We had driven the whole road to Hana in 2009 (see here) at that time we had mostly focused on just driving it. Today we had decided to just drive a part and do one of the many hikes along and visit some vista points.

The Waikamoi Nature Trail was the hike of our choice. By far not one of our wildest hikes. Barely 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) long and an ascend of only 65 meters (214 ft). But all of it in the jungle! The Indiana Jones feeling was there for 100%. Views and vistas anywhere. Close by (beautiful flowers and plants), as well as far away (sea, bamboo forests, etc.)

We were running out of daylight time as well as out of gas, so we made the last visit for the day to the Ke'anae Peninsula, halfway the Road to Hana. The peninsula was formed by another lava flow coming down from Haleakala. But unlike the steep surrounding lava this lava formed an almost perfectly leveled stretch of land of 500 x 250 meters (1600x800 ft), only a few meters above sea level. From the edge of the peninsula there is a great view on the big waves that crash onto the sharp lava edges. A very inspiring way of ending the day.

More pictures below! (As well as a short video shot from the car while driving the road to Hana).

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Your reporter prepared to go below…
Your reporter prepared to go belo…
Maui below sea level (photo: provi…
Maui below sea level (photo: prov…
Waikamoi Nature Trail
Waikamoi Nature Trail
Keanae Peninsula
Ke'anae Peninsula
Our Snorkeling spot in Ahihi-Kina…
Our Snorkeling spot in Ahihi-Kina…
Maui below sea level (photo: provi…
Maui below sea level (photo: prov…
Maui below sea level (photo: provi…
Maui below sea level (photo: prov…
Maui below sea level (photo: provi…
Maui below sea level (photo: prov…
Stephans snorkel was not working …
Stephan's snorkel was not working…
Stephan diving under
Stephan diving under
Lunch at Johnny Bs in Paia
Lunch at Johnny B's in Pa'ia
Waikamoi Nature Trail
Waikamoi Nature Trail
Waikamoi Nature Trail
Waikamoi Nature Trail
Waikamoi Nature Trail
Waikamoi Nature Trail
Bamboo forest, Waikamoi Nature Tra…
Bamboo forest, Waikamoi Nature Tr…
Bamboo, Waikamoi Nature Trail
Bamboo, Waikamoi Nature Trail
Bamboo forest, Waikamoi Nature Tra…
Bamboo forest, Waikamoi Nature Tr…
Waikamoi Nature Trail
Waikamoi Nature Trail
Waikamoi Nature Trail
Waikamoi Nature Trail
Torch Ginger, Waikamoi Nature Trail
Torch Ginger, Waikamoi Nature Trail
Torch Ginger, Waikamoi Nature Trail
Torch Ginger, Waikamoi Nature Trail
Torch Ginger, Waikamoi Nature Trail
Torch Ginger, Waikamoi Nature Trail
Torch Ginger, Waikamoi Nature Trail
Torch Ginger, Waikamoi Nature Trail
Along the Road to Hana
Along the Road to Hana
Along the Road to Hana
Along the Road to Hana
Keanae Peninsula
Ke'anae Peninsula
Keanae Peninsula
Ke'anae Peninsula
Keanae Peninsula
Ke'anae Peninsula
Keanae Peninsula
Ke'anae Peninsula
Keanae Peninsula
Ke'anae Peninsula
Keanae Peninsula
Ke'anae Peninsula
Keanae Peninsula
Ke'anae Peninsula
Keanae Peninsula
Ke'anae Peninsula
Honomanu Park
Honomanu Park
Honomanu Park
Honomanu Park
Driving on the road to Hana
Maui
photo by: danielrice20