Rainforests, snorkeling, and things in between

What is striking about Maui is how quickly and dramatically the scenery changes. The island is pretty small but juts two mountains out of the sea. Between its slopes you find everything from volcanic rock along the coasts, to dense, moist vegetation on West Maui. Sadly, I won’t have time on this trip to do a proper overnight in Hāna. Instead, we took a quick trip into Iao Valley State Park yesterday. Not much is accessible to the general public without trespassing, but the little we saw was definitely worth it.

Half way up the trail, local kids were taking tips for jumping from a 25 foot bridge into a shallow pool. I didn’t exactly want to break my ankle right before my flight out, so instead we opted to jump a shorter distance from a boulder. Despite it not being very extreme, it was pretty fun; not to mention that the cold water cut the afternoon humidity just right. Better than coffee.

On the way back to Kihei we hit a torrential storm. I’m surprised at how much I am enjoying rain here; I suppose it’s different than when it is accompanied by the cold cold breeze of the Bay Area. Here it is life-giving and, as has been the case with everything simple on my trip so far, life-affirming.

We left the western swath of rain behind as we approached our beach town, and hit the beach for the requisite beer, sunset and boogie boarding.

This morning we braved the threatening weather and drove south until the road turned to volcanic rock before dead-ending on the coast, at La Perouse Bay. Through a barbed-wire fence on the side of the road, we followed a wooded trail to the giant coast-side bed of craggly rock. The terrain, unsurprisingly, was lunar, cut with splotches of sand, occasional oases, and pools of varied sealife.

Taking care not to slip and split ourselves open, we hiked a mile or so before finding a small bay to snorkel in. Despite light rain and overcast clouds the water was clear, and we spent an hour swimming among a rainbow-variety of fish — from little puffy ones to long, skinny fuckers. The very best part was the giant sea turtle who had been napping in the area. Some five feet in length, it must have weighed several hundred pounds. Luckily, it didn’t mind too much being harrassed by our bevy of pallid mainlanders.

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