A Sister’s Report from Hawaii

I asked my sister Anne Torgerson for an account of her summer 2015 trip to Hawaii. What follows is her letter to me that she calls Part I:
Arrived in Maui, first thing I noticed was it was actually very hot and very humid. Found out later from locals that it was pretty odd weather and not the usual. So that was just a slight bummer on our trip – it was uncomfortably hot sometimes. Soon the other three arrived, got our car, and drove to the town of Kihei. The drive was not really beautiful, some mountains but it kind of reminded me of when I was in Central America. Kihei is a town stretched along a very long strip of beaches on the southwestern coast. We had a condo that was on the other side of the beach road. It was a two bedroom so they gave me my own room which was nice. Our view was very pretty, and we had a large lanai with floor to ceiling sliding doors. The guys came from Dallas and left at like five in the morning, so they were a bit tired. We decided to walk to eat which we did and then went to a bar and had some drinks. On the way back, we just stopped at one of the beaches along the way and got in to ride the waves a bit. It was very gentle there, and the water in Hawaii seems to be a perfect temperature.
We had to be up early the next day as we had to drive back to the airport and be at the helicopter by 8:00 a.m. They assigned seats based on balancing the helicopter. I got pretty much the best seat as I sat in the middle of three seats in the front right by the pilot. This meant I could see both sides and in front with a clear view. It was also cool to see the pilots controls and all that. There were four seats in the back, the worst seats being the two middle ones I would think. So we had the four of us and another couple, plus the pilot. We bought a “whole island” tour, so they started us west from the airport and then circled around the island of Maui, mainly staying on the coast. We did cut inland a bit to see a volcano that is there and once in the West Maui mountains to fly right between them. It was very cool, but the helicopter is much more sedate that I anticipated. It was like kind of slow motion, very smooth flying.

Maui, Hawaii, helicopter, travel, tourism, writing

Maui mountains from the helicopter

I was a bit nervous about the helicopter ride, but once it started it was not scary at all. In fact, I think I might like it to be a little faster and scarier! Anyway, the eastern half of the island is more remote and the beaches not so people friendly. Rougher coasts and sand, so the resorts are all on the western side. Very pretty though and he showed us the late George Harrison’s estate and Oprah’s too. I guess they like it isolated! The road to Hana is on that side as well, and we saw that from the air. After the helicopter ride, we started to go on that road (heading east) and stopped at “Twin Falls.” We had to park along the highway and walk a long way to get back. It is private property, but the people have a little fruit shack up at front to make money I guess and then they let people walk back into the farm to go to the falls. It is a long walk and the first falls just looked ok. We still kept on walking to get to the second. It had a dirty looking pool of water that you had to wade through to get back. Three of us waded back there and enjoyed the very beautiful waterfall, while my friend Jake pouted and didn’t want to get wet. That was ok because he could watch our stuff while we did.

After that, we were hungry and realized that if we kept going on the road to Hana we would not have food for a long time and it would take the rest of the day and then some to go and come back. We decided to turn around and went to a small town called Paia and ate at a pizza place that people recommended. Very good, but we were all pretty hot in the weather as Hawaii does not believe in or maybe does not normally need A/C.  It was also a town with cute shops so we did that for a bit. I then convinced them that we should drive west around the northern part of the coast to west Maui. The road was crazy curvy and very narrow but had spectacular views. It took a while, but everybody enjoyed it, and it was fun to be scared on the edge of the road. Towards the end of the drive there was a house that had an arts shop on the bottom that we stopped. We then drove along the resort-heavy western coast of Maui circling our way back to our town. Lots of beautiful beaches, lots of hotels, condos, etc. We stopped at the town of Lahaina for drinks/snacks and I convinced them to go to a bar that Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac owns called “Fleetwoods” (you know I love the Mac!) It was cool and we had drinks on the roof bar, pretty view. This town is probably the next best place to stay at, filled with restaurants and shops. We then made our way back to the condo. The guys had another friend who was vacationing there close by, so we then went out with him. Again I convinced them (I guess I like ordering people around) to go to Four Seasons which was south of us, close by. It was a great looking resort and we had drinks and ate at an outdoor bar/restaurant so we could take in the Four Seasons experience. Took some pics by the pool and left. I think we might have gone to another bar after that, but didn’t stay too long.

Fleetwood's on Front Street

Fleetwood’s on Front Street

(image from the website)

Next day we wanted to snorkel, but we quickly found that all the boat trips were booked. Kind of a bummer because there is an island called Molokini crater that is supposed to be great, but you need a boat. We started to check and there were several bays listed that you could just drive to. So we rented equipment for $10/each and drove to Honolua Bay. It has a rocky beach and as I was getting in, I promptly slipped on the rocks and cut my hand up and bruised it a bit, but had to persevere! I had a lot of trouble getting my mask not to fill up with water, so that was annoying, but it was still fun. In fact some of the boats where you had to pay $100 to go on where anchored there, so we avoided that charge! I also am 90% sure that I immediately spotted a shark. It looked smallish and was probably 15′ away but looked like a shark to me. Of course, no one else saw it. Saw a lot of fish too and enjoyed swimming around. After that, we drove back and stopped at a restaurant with an open window to the beach and had lunch. We then went back to the condo and just chilled and napped until we went went to a beach called Big Beach that was supposed to be beautiful. It was on the southern edge of our strip of beaches. It was indeed beautiful, and the waves were very strong. We all played in the water for a bit and then two in our group left to hike up to “little beach” as it is a nude beach and of course they wanted to look. So me and my friend Trent played in the waves. We then decided to get the little boards that were in our condo that we brought and decided to use them. Well, on my very first try, I joined the wave late and found myself on the front edge. I was vertical and looking straight down at the sand as the wave was about to turn over. I thought my death or at the least my total paralyzation was at hand. Luckily, the tip of the board hit the sand first and then the top of my head. It then turned me over and the side of my face slid on the sand and I tumbled around. When I got up I was laughing like a maniac because of sweet relief that I could still move. However, I bloodied my eyelid a bit, had sand all over me, and was in pain! We also spotted some broken up foam core of my board floating by. The force of the hit opened the wrapping of the board and broke the board on the inside. If you didn’t look close you couldn’t tell, so I just shoved it back in the condo closet. That sobered me up on the waves pretty much and we had to go anyway because….

We had reservations at a place called Mama’s Fish House that once again meant we had to drive back to the airport. We had late reservations because it is hard to get in, but for once we had planned for this and made reservations before arriving. It was very dark and so hard to see, but it was a very beautiful place. The restaurant had their own sandy beach and then a partially/mostly open air restaurant. I had to eat some fancy fish, but got lucky even though I didn’t know any of the fish and picked one that was pretty simple and not with sauces and stuff on it, so I could eat it. I also ate a huge dessert. I didn’t appreciate the food as much as everyone else, as you can imagine, but it was a nice “event” meal and I enjoyed the experience.

The next day we had to leave for Oahu, and so we just chilled and then left for the airport. I can tell you about Oahu maybe tomorrow, as I am tired of writing!

Hawaii, Anne Torgerson, travel writing

Anne in Hawaii

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