For Day 1, click here.
For Day 2, click here.
For my husband's version of Day 3, click here.
Saturday, our plan was to explore West Maui. The island of Maui is somewhat shaped like a figure 8, laying on its side. West Maui is the western part of that figure.
There is a winding road that goes all around that part of the island along the coastline. We were starting at the southern end, and planning to travel up and around the western side of the island.
Our first stop was Napili Beach, where the waves were perfect for boogie boarding. As it turns out, unless they start making boogie boards with a cutout to accommodate pregnant bellies, the two really don't mesh. It was a lot like trying to balance a board across a ball, and keeping it afloat in the waves. I'm sure I was quite a sight to onlookers on shore, but it was fun.
This photo was actually taken at Hamoa Beach a few days later, but it's the only one I have with my boogie board.
This was my first time going farther into the ocean than just up to my ankles, and actually going swimming, as the Pacific on the California coast is far too cold for swimming, even at the height of summer. In Maui, the ocean was a consistent 74 degrees, which was very comfortable.
After a while, we traveled a little farther down the road, to Honolua Bay. A short hike through rain forest leads to the shore. This was our first time ever in a rainforest, so naturally, we were blown away by the beauty of it. Lush foliage and vines were everywhere, dotted with tons of coconut palms. The thing that makes the rainforests on Maui unique is that they are so safe and "tame" - if we were exploring the rain forest in South America, there would be all sorts of deadly and dangerous animals lurking everywhere, but not so on this island. The only animals we kept seeing everywhere were chickens - somehow, years ago, chickens started breeding with some wild fowl, until by now they are everywhere. It's pretty funny hiking through a tropical rain forest, and hearing a rooster crowing! :)
The shore at this beach was very rocky, which is great in that it means there are coral reefs in the water, and coral reefs mean tropical fish. However, getting in and out of the water when the surf is high (as it was that day) is a lot harder, because as the waves come in, they can easily knock you back up onto the rocky shore. I was able to find a small spot that had mostly sand, and we snorkeled here for a while. We saw some coral and tropical fish, although the visibility that day wasn't great because the water was a little wild.
Back on the road, we continued on to the Nakalele Blowhole, which is about halfway around the West Maui part of the island. We had seen the blowhole from the helicopter, but wanted to get a better look up close. To get from the parking lot to the shore, we had to climb down a pretty steep cliff side over large boulders (no actual trail).
As I was standing at the top and looking down, trying to decide if it would be safe for me to go (my husband had already gone on ahead, not expecting me to want to do this hike), another couple came huffing and puffing back up to the top. They were both encouraging me to go, until the husband noticed I was pregnant. At that point, he changed his mind, and told me he was a physician, and that he thought I should not make the trek. I politely smiled and said I'd just start down slowly and see how it went, going "against medical advice". :)
See those tiny people on top of the hill? That's just beyond where the parking lot was.
I was taking my time and going very slowly, since being pregnant puts my balance off, to where I could easily tip forward when going downhill if I wasn't choosing my steps carefully. It took me a while, but I made it down safely, and the close-up view was definitely worth the effort.
Going back up actually turned out to be easier, as my balance was working in my favor going uphill. I didn't remember until we got back up the top that there is a heart-shaped hole in one of the rocks at the bottom, but I wasn't about to make the hike again to get a picture of us in front of it.
From here, we continued down the road to finish the loop around that part of the island, but we were stopped by an accident on a one-lane stretch ahead of us, and forced to turn around and go back the way we had come.
Since it was still early enough in the day, we drove on to Iao Valley State Park, which is in the middle of where the two parts of the island come together. This is a lush rain forest area with lots of waterfalls. It can be cloud-covered in the afternoon, but we were in luck and had clear skies to enjoy the views as we hiked the trails.
After this, we drove back to the house, and enjoyed dinner on the balcony with this beautiful view of the sunset.