Thursday, March 26, 2015

Marcy's Travel Blog- The Island of Maui and the famous Haleakala Crater!

It seems that we are getting in the habit of getting up very early! Monday morning we were up and ready to go by 4:30 a.m.! Off we went to catch the ferry that would bring us from the Island of Molokai to Maui. The ferry was there waiting for us. Coffee was available, though both Ron and I agreed that it was not the best we'd tasted.

This is Captain Pete. Interesting to note, Captain Pete has one artificial leg, which didn't stop him from doing a wonderful job. I wanted to ask him about his leg, but didn't want to seem rude.

We left before sunrise. This is the upper deck, where I SHOULD have chosen to sit. I went to the main deck. About one third of the way there the water became very choppy, and so did my stomach! Being the original motion sick kid, I could tell I was in trouble! Oh NO! I was bound and determined to keep my stomach. At one point I would have given $100 for some soda crackers, since that had always been a good "fix"!

 Since we got up so early, I had nothing in my stomach except that yucky coffee from the ferry. I held tight to their little urp bag and prayed for  smooth water!

Needless to say, the sight of the Maui Harbor was quite a relief. (Note to self: Dramamine, soda crackers, and something in my stomach- AND the upper deck on the way back is an excellent idea!)

We had reserved a car with "Enterprise". The company told us to call once we arrived, which we tried to do. No answer, and the recording said they were closed until Tuesday! Since it was Monday, we were confused. Then after several more calls, we got a recording saying they were closed until 8 a.m.- also which was confusing, since we were told they opened at 7 a.m.

We decided to get a bagel and try later! This is the Pioneer Inn. Lovely staff, and the bagel and coffee sure made my stomach feel better!

Wandering the harbor area, we came apron this famous Banyan tree. It's located in the Court House Square near the harbor. It was brought over from India, at a height of 8 feet. Now it's approximately 50 feet high and 200 feet wide!

Most of the stores were still closed, so we busied ourselves by reading all the historic markers in the area!

We finally were picked up by the car rental place- about two hours later than was promised. Ron said this "glitch" was not going to spoil our vacation, we'd just go with the flow. Good idea!

 Once we got the car, Ron gave me a quick tour of the area he use to live in several years ago. According to him, it had grown up around that area to the point it was hard to recognize! But as we drove, we encountered some beautiful scenery!

Ron told me he was taking me somewhere that looked like the moon!  So off we went- climbing by car upward, ever upward. The road was full of sharp turns and switch backs. We reached the clouds, yet kept climbing! Then we were in the cloud- a mist so thick, it was like a white out!!

We crawled along through the white stuff until finally we broke through! How fascinating to be looking "Next" to the clouds, then to be looking down on them! But on we drove- continuing our upward climb to 10,023 feet!

  I expected the crater to be a big hole with nothing but black lava rock. What I saw was quite different!

The Haleakala Observatory (buildings atop this crater) is one of the most important observing sites in the World! It has superb seeing conditions and dominant clear skies!

According to the Institute for Astronomy in Maui:

The University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy has managed this site for over 4 decades as a location for conducting dedicated astrophysical experiments. In most cases these are programs that could not be conducted anywhere else on Earth. Currently we have partners from the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Pan-STARRS consortium, Space Telescope Science Institute, Tohoku University in Japan, the Air Force and others working with us on the summit.

clear skies above haleakala


I purchased this picture of Haleakala. ( Photo was taken in the early morning hours.)

I'm not sure I can describe in words how I felt on Haleakala.  The name means - the house where the Sun lives.  At 10,024 feet I felt removed from civilization- as if I were on a different planet.  Of course I felt awed.  Who would not?   In this beautiful, rugged,  inspiring place I felt like a speck in the Universe, yet personally felt the power of nature, all at the same time. I was filled with gratitude that I had the chance to see this fantastic place! My curiosity ran amuck with questions- I wanted to learn more about this place. I even purchased a book about it.

And there's a great deal of energy there- you can feel it. It's not just dead rock. There's a pulse of sorts. Very hard to explain or put into words. All I know is that it's a wonderful experience to go there. I felt lucky indeed!

Next blog you'll hear about our experiences coming down the mountain and our return to Molokai!
Until then!

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