Thursday, September 16, 2021
For dinner, we went to the Lava Rock Bar & Grill. We could not get a reservation, but we got seats at the bar right away. We both got steaks. They came out on wooden platters with a sizzling hot flat hunk of iron. We raised the temperature of the bar a few degrees as the steaks continued to cook.
Tomorrow is a beach day. How exciting can one vacation be?
Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
A GPS always helps, but in this case, it was crucial. We set off from Wailea and veered off the main road toward the little town of Haiku. This roads were good but winding and we eventually got to an altitude of about 1200 feet. We turned a couple times in the Haiku area and the GPS insisted we make a left turn off the paved road and travel another 0.2 miles. We found the loose stone tire tracks and proceeded past a rooster farm. Yes, at least a hundred rooters were pecking around little triangular shelters. We found out from the coffee guys that this farm (unaffiliated with the coffee) was involved with the cockfighting industry. Cockfighting is illegal in Hawaii (if only a misdemeanor), but raising fighting roosters is not illegal. Most likely, the roosters are exported, probably to Guam.
So anyway, we proceeded down the tire tracks to the end, in front of a barn and residence. We got out of the car and saw a business registration sheet on the window for "The Coffee Store". We looked into the doorway, and two men were in the room full of equipment and supplies. Jordan and Jay greeted me and then Susan came into view. Jordan's wife had just mentioned the Facebook post, so they had some warning and I confirmed my name. Jordan was actively roasting beans, and while we were there, he opened the oven and poured out hot, roasted coffee beans. The aroma was amazing. In this case, he was roasting Mokka beans, a specialty bean found on Maui.
Pure, 100% Kona coffee from the big island is the most expensive Hawaiian coffee, usually $40 per pound or more (retail, roasted). Pure, 100% Maui coffee is a bit less expensive, $30-35 per pound. South American and African coffees sell for about $20 per pound. Hawaiian coffee is good, but I doubt anyone would says it's twice as good. The higher price is apparently due to high labor costs and presumably environmental regulations and taxes.
This roastery acquires beans from Hawaiian and South American areas and roasts various pure and blended products. We purchased two pounds of Maui beans, a standard pure bean and a Mokka Peaberry blend (but 100% Maui).
We drove to a nearby vegan restaurant.
Sunday, September 12, 2021
From day 7, here are a couple more photos from the Road to Hana tour. The first is a bamboo forest, and the second is from inside a lava tube, looking at the ceiling at lava stalactites, sort of like upside-down Hershey's Kisses. There were also stalagmites, but my photo is unclear. There are some living creatures in the tube, mostly insects. We saw a pretty cool cockroach, but I don't have a photo.
Along this route can also be found a high concentration of locals who are tired of the ways in which heavy tourism can impact the human and natural environments. Of course, somewhere along the line, someone has to cut down a few trees to become a local, but without question, Maui struggles to deal with the constant swarms of tourists, even as tourism drops due to COVID-19. We saw a couple instances of locals indicating displeasure with tourists, including some gesturing toward our marked tour van.
The high point of this drive is to find a waterfall pool in which to take a dip. The waterfalls are not necessarily huge, but the attraction is to be one with the natural environment. However, the road is barely two lanes wide with no shoulders, so parking is limited to small pull-offs near the accessible waterfalls. By accessible, I mean, the ones visible from the road to which one can walk without too much trouble.
Recently, Maui has posted "no parking" signs near the known waterfalls because otherwise, careless would-be swimmers cause gridlock. There just isn't enough room for all the vehicles wishing to stop. The police write costly citations. We drove past people taking photos of their vehicles parked in front of the signs.
So, how did we get that photo? That's Gary in the middle of the pool next to Susan, with Lauren on the low ledge in the back about to jump, and our tour guide on the right (Dan took the photo). According to our guide, he and his boss explored streams along the route and found a hidden waterfall, unknown to most people. Apparently, there is no definitive guide to waterfall pools along the route. This spot had no parking restrictions. The guide said that occasionally, other tourists will follow his groups to the water, but the spot remains uncharted. We were at the spot for about a half hour with no other visitors. I tasted the water coming down one of the trickle falls on the left side of the photo. It was magical.
In all seriousness, tourism can be damaging. A local guide can help to minimize the footprint, but not everyone can afford a guide. My group is not rich, but we are privileged enough to have been able to hire the guy who could legally and safely show us the way. We left no trace aside from a few shifted rocks and a footprint or two through the bamboo forest, but only a few people will ever get to do this. Eventually, this swimming hole, too, will become popular and then restricted. Gary can provide details privately.
Saturday, September 11, 2021
On our last day on the Big Island (the island of Hawaii, part of the state of Hawaii), we drove to Kailua-Kona (near the airport) for breakfast. A wall on one side of the street caused lots of splashing. Greg got a good shot of Gary.
We then went to the airport. Greg left for home while Dan, Lauren, Susan and I went to Maui. Inter-island travel is pretty smooth, especially with TSA pre-check. Hawaiians are pretty conscientious about wearing anti-virus masks. We found the Krispy Kreme, the doughnut chain no longer available within a hundred miles of Rochester, NY.
Maui is not covered in recently hardened lava fields like the big island. However, the drive from the airport to our B&B was two-lanes each way, bumper to bumper, at 45 MPH. Again, apart from nice views from specific spots, Hawaii doesn't look like I thought it would look.
Gas is over $4 per gallon.
We arrived at our B&B and tried to view the sunset over the ocean, but distant clouds blocked the view.