After my harrowing experience on the Road to Hana I wanted a day to get my nerves back under control so I stayed away from that northbound route. My morning was booked with the owners update meeting so it was after lunch before I pointed my rental car toward the Maui Ocean Center.
Th Pacific Whale Foundation has an office in the same complex as the aquarium. The surf was up but I still did not see many surfers out. I was glad I did not have a whale watch booked for today.
I stopped at the scenic lookout only to find it packed!
I lucked out when one car pulled out giving me an opening to park. There was an outreach desk for Pacific Whale Foundation set up with a volunteer to answer questions.
There were quite a few “blows” as I was standing there and the we saw flippers waving in the air. Because of the size and the 2nd blow close to the flipper waver, we suspected it was a mother and calf. I could have stood there watching all morning but I had a mission so I bid adieu to the volunteer and gave up my spot to the next waiting car.
At the Pacific Whale Foundation’s store I signed up for a membership as this would give me discounts, booking priority and a free Whale Watch. I chose to book a sunrise photo safari to look for whales for Wednesday. That gives me a full day of Whale watching for Wednesday; the morning Photo Safari and the afternoon Snorkel and Whale Watch on the Pride of Maui.
I still have a regular whale watch coming to me. I have a year to use it so right now I’m holding it until I see if I get my special picture on the trips I have booked.
That mission accomplished I drove to Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge to see if there were any birds around. That’s when I realized I didn’t have a hat or water with me so it would have to b a very short visit.
Well as you can see from the title I not only survived the nose to nose standoff, I managed to come back down the mountain side and get back to the safe driving.
The first car would not give an inch. I climbed a boulder to get as far off the road as I could. Finally the car I was facing gunned the engine and shot past me. My car immediately slid of the rock and settled back onto the road but there was still one more car that had refused to back up.
With much arm waving and shouting the spectators finally got him off to the side of the road so I could just squeak past. I didn’t dare look at the drop off to my left or I’m sure I would have fainted dead away.
Having passed that obstacle I finished my drive to the top where I found a food truck with a small parking area. There were lots of cars parked and everyone was milling around. I pulled in too. It seemed as good a place as any to bring my heart rate back down to something close to normal.
I made up my mind that I was not leaving that parking area unless it was to go back the way I came. I’d had quite enough of the Road to Hana. I didn’t care that I hadn’t found the park I was looking for. Another time maybe.
It was almost 30 minutes before we saw cars beginning to climb the road on the opposite hill. Everyone ran for their cars including me. I tacked onto the end of the little caravan. But about 100 yards down we came to a stop. Finally a man came back to tell us all to back up. As the last in line I was the first to start to back up.
Still shaken from the first experience I wasn’t doing too good a job so our traffic director hopped in and had me back in the parking area in short order. It was obvious that he had a lot of experience backing up. Another 20-30 minute wait and we all started down again. This time he had the upcoming cars pulled over and our line of about 15 cars all managed to pass without incident. I was the last one and I watched the cars head on up the road once I had passed by.
The Road to Hana is beautiful but as I learned the hard way, also dangerous and treacherous. I don’t want to do a repeat of this anytime soon!
What a gorgeous morning. It was quite windy but it was warm and the sky was a brilliant blue with white cloud accents. It seemed as if the storm that started my day had passed through.
I’d spotted at least 3 whales from shore so that bodes well for the boat trip on Wednesday. My UTI was either gone or in check for now so all was right with my world.
I continued driving on RT 30. Eventually it would turn into the notorious Road to Hana, one of the top 10 deadliest roads in the world. Sandy and I drove part of it in the rain our first day in Maui in November. We then took the tour that drove us the whole way. I was willing to do the first section because that didn’t seem too bad but not the rest. Today I was just looking for the park where we saw the beautiful surf and the rainbow.
I didn’t remember it being too far out and it was a two lane road there.
I was stopping often to take pictures. I was seeing things I hadn’t been able to see from the tour bus or notice in the rain. It was just beautiful. I also think it was much more green than when we were there in November. Probably because of all the rain in Maui’s winter. I was really intent on what I was doing and lost track of mile markers. The resort said not to go past mile marker 38.
Suddenly I was looking at a long downhill stretch that was one lane. OOPS! I think I went too far. I could see a line of cars stopped that were going in the same direction I was . No place to turn around either. So taking a deep breath I eased forward.
This section wasn’t too bad and I didn’t meet any cars coming up. Probably due to the traffic jam ahead of me. I crossed the one lane bridge and started the climb up where I’d seen the cars stopped. I had a whole line of cars behind me when, close to the top, another car rounded a blind corner and we were nose to nose on one lane. A cliff face to my right and a deadly drop off to my left. Somebody was going to have to back up!
For some reason my mind chose that moment to flash to Josh Gates and his series “Expedition Unknown”.
We pause now for this commercial break or until I can get my panic under control!
Everybody said I’d be able to see whales from shore in February and they weren’t kidding. I found my turn off but there weren’t any surfers there today but I was able to drive down much further.
I found a little surfboard memorial. I guess its like the crosses on the side of the road. Somebody died there. A surfer didn’t return.
As I turned away something caught my eye. I’d swear I saw a huge splash but there were a lot of white caps so after watching for a few minutes I went back to the car. As I was turning around I saw it again only this time I was looking right toward it. Right after the splash was a blow! I decided the first one was probably a whale too. By the time I’d driven up the dirt road I’d seen 2 more. Cars were lining up along the road and people were running around with binoculars.
A bit too crowded for my taste I headed on up the road looking for pull offs where I could either find scenery or a view of the ocean for whales.
Everywhere there were people lined up. Pull outs were full of cars. Some regular visitors I spoke with said they had never seen it like this.
From the shore you glimpse the whale but its more the splash that catches your eye. There’s not much to photograph at that distance.
I figured I’d continue on a bit. I wanted to try to locate the park Sandy and I found in November. I know it was on the Road to Hana but I don’t recall it being very far along it. I have no desire to drive the bad parts of that road; single lanes, no room to pull off, massive cliffs. No thank you.
The sun came back out after that pretty amazing rain storm. Wind and torrential rains and five minutes later, sunshine. Wow!
Since the day looked to be a good one, I took off north on Rt 30. I wanted to see if any surfers were out. If there were rip tides it would probably be quiet but it was worth taking a look.
I wasn’t sure I’d remember the exact turn off so when I spotted a left I took it. Immediately I knew this wasn’t the one. This was a paved road. The one I was looking for is a pretty rugged dirt road.
I decided to see where this road went before I turned around. The sign said D.T. Fleming Beach Park, voted best beach in 2006. There was a rest room and maybe a bath house for changing???Also a life guard stand.
The beach seemed pretty popular. More and more people were coming while I was there. I suppose once the weather lifted everyone headed for the beach. You could see the weather was still very unsettled as rain squalls passed in the distance.
I was surprised that so many children were there. Don’t they have school?
The beach was certainly a pretty little beach. I found myself thinking that if these kids could handle the surf here maybe I could too.
I’ll have to think about it after I get my whale picture.
Monday morning, sometimes it just turns out that way (The Mamas and the Papas)
I woke up bright and early Monday morning. The weather report had said a storm was rolling in with high seas, rain and winds. Well it was certainly windy last night. With that in mind I thought after breakfast I’d give the GPS another chance. A folder with a bunch of GPS tours came with the unit. I could drive around and see if the weather cleared. My first whale watch wasn’t scheduled until Wednesday.
I sat at the table watching the sunrise. Maybe its because I was on the top floor but I had a lot more birds visit than when we were here in November. Oh the ever present Mynas were there but so were little finchy type birds including a pair of Redheads.
While I was kicking back I got a rather uncomfortable feeling. The meds I take for diabetes have the unpleasant side effect of making me prone to UTI’s. Now if I were at home such a development would be handled with a quick call to my doctor but she’s 3000 miles away!
To try to keep the situation under control at home I’ve switched to cranberry juice instead of orange juice. Luckily that was what I picked up at the TIMES grocery store last night. So out came the big glass and I rapidly downed 2 big glasses. My fingers are crossed that I caught it in time. I refuse to let a illness sideline me on this trip!
But back to my view from the pent house, I’ve heard we can see the whales from here and I’ve been watching all morning. So far nothing but I’ve got my binoculars handy in case.
The sky has cleared considerably and the sun has come out. Even the surf has settled down a bit. I think it might be a nice day after all.
OOPS! I may have spoken too soon!