In 2009 when Rachel and I spent 3 weeks in the Pacific Northwest I took a few photos that required some additional post-processing. I started that work back then but life got in the way and they’ve stayed in a work-in-progress folder on my computer for years. I figured I might as well throw them out there as-is since they most likely won’t get any farther.
Haleakala, House of the sun. apparently the best way to see it is: to be picked up at 2am by bus, taken up the 9,740 feet to its overlook and wait for sunrise. the 2 am part was brutal but boy it was worth it. When walking out to the edge you don’t see much except the top of a few clouds (because you’re well above them). As the sun begins to rise the horizon begins to take form around you. Purple, blue, orange and red bounce off the surrounding cliffs making it more and more apparent what 9740 feet up really looks like. A few couples thought it was a good idea to cozy up on a rock outside the protective guard rail. once there was enough light to see the distance to the bottom of the crater they were gone, hopefully by choice. Once what we and many others besides us called the most beautiful sunrise on earth was completed it was time to make our decent.
The company we rode up with, Maui Mountain Cruisers, specializes in the cruel game of roll the tourist down the mountain. They dress you up in a bright blue jump suit, give you a goofy helmet and a rickety bike probably older than the mountain itself and push you down the Guinness book of world records steepest road. It’s like a high school science experiment gone bad. As a matter of fact the question is on the Hawaii state regents exam. All kidding Aside it one of the best thing you could ever do, as long as your brakes work (and Randy’s didn’t at first). the ride down the mountain is literally a coast. only 400 yards of pedaling in the whole 40 mile ride. The views were amazing. The cold wind on your face while you zip around sharp bends really made you feel alive.
At the bottom a hot breakfast was waiting for us (it was only 10AM although we had been up for 9 hours). after about an hour the bus brought us back to our hotel. It was just before noon and we decided to take a short nap. about 430 we woke up and got ready for dinner.
A few minutes walk from our room was the barefoot bar at the Hula Grill. we got a table in the sand so we kicked off our shoes and enjoyed a few drinks before the meal. Our table was up front near the Hawaiian band and hula dancer. We listened to the music, sipped pina coladas and ate as we watched another spectacular sunset over the beach.
wish you were here (but on a different island :-)),
Rachel and Randy
This morning, we quickly found out that our free one-day trolley pass was not really the ‘public transportation’ we thought it was. It was more of a tour trolley but it only took you to the shopping centers (probably the reason it was free). While waiting for the first trolley we met another honeymooning couple from Rhode Island who had the same deal as us… worthless trolley pass. After our brief 3 stop trolley ride we decided we’d have a better morning if we simply got off, walked the beach and perused the shops until it was time for our Atlantis tour.
XIV is 65′ passenger submarine which takes it’s victims down to a maximum depth of about 120′ to view the tropical fish at the artificial reefs on the ocean floor off Waikiki Beach. It was very interesting to say the least. One amazing thing is how the colors changed. Red quickly turns to brown and all other colors quickly begin to fade the deeper you go. While looking out the port hole(s) you could see lots of very cool fish and reefs, the most notable being Amberjack’s and Spotted Ray’s.
We ended the day with the Paradise Cove Luau. We haven’t been to any other Luau but from what we’ve been told (and from what we’ve experienced) Paradise Cove is the best. It certainly lived up to expectations. From the lei making, Canoe rides, the festival of the pig to the fire dancing. It simply had something for everyone. And don’t forget about those drinks! Our Bartender Lei Lei fixed us up what she called ‘AMF on Crack.’ Translation: lots of alcohol. Our package included 4 drinks and we watched as she poured 3+ shots in each drink. A very nice couple on sexy bus #2 (our bus) who were in Hawaii celebrating their 54th anniversary gave us several more tickets which we also used, although probably didn’t need to.
Paradise Cove not only has enough activities to keep you busy, but it also has fantastic scenery, and no we’re not talking about the half naked natives (although that’s pretty nice too…). The sunset from the Cove was absolutely gorgeous and there’s plenty of pictures so be sure to take a look.
During the show they inviting all the honeymooners to stand and be recognized. We expected more of the audience to be standing than actually were, there were perhaps 3 couples out of about 200 people, opposed to everywhere else on the island where it seemed like everyone we talked to was on their honeymoon. Soon after the band played the Hawaiian Wedding song and invited anyone in love to dance. Needless to say we jumped at opportunity.
On the ride home Oli (our host) showed us her hula skills as she was once a performer at the Luau festival. We were also told to ‘flash’ any of the ugly cousins (all other buses from the Luau) during what she called ‘Bus Wars.’ The flashing just consisted of keeping the bus lights off and using our cameras with the flash on. Quite entertaining although we only had one challenger.
When we got back to the hotel, we played our song (If you didn’t catch it during the wedding it’s “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds) and danced on our Balcony while onlookers passed by below. A very romantic ending to a perfect day.