Our second day in Maui again began with breakfast in the Skyline Restaurant before leaving the ship for our tour. Today we were supposed to do the road to Hana, but the Moana Kea protestors blocked the routes to Hana and Haleakala, and all of those tours were cancelled. Instead we did a tour called “Best of Maui.”
We boarded the bus around 8:20am with Kama, the same guide and driver from last night in Haleakala.
Kama actually helped us out a lot last night by letting us know that the tour today was cancelled, even before NCL did. Without his notice we would have never made it to the Shore Excursion desk in time last night to swap to a different tour. We knew that Kama was doing the Best of Maui tour today and were hoping to end up on his bus.
This tour focused on the western part of Maui and we started off driving toward the West Maui Volcano that dominates this side of the island. On our way to the first stop of the day we passed through Wailuku, which Kama told us was the original business district of Maui.
After coming through Wailuku we entered the beautiful ‘Iao Valley and stopped at the ‘Iao Valley State Park.
At the park we had beautiful views of the valley and were able to see the ‘Iao Needle, which is a cone shaped formation at the top of the ridge line.
This valley is ridiculously green and I’m sure this is because it receives an average of 285 inches of rain per year. Even though this is a lot of rain, there are some areas of West Maui Volcano that get over 400 inches per year, making it one of the wettest spots in the world. Luckily we avoided rain today and enjoyed unimpeded views. Before heading back to the bus, we were able to hike down to the river at the bottom of the valley.
We headed back to Wailuku and then drove to Waikapu for a visit to the Maui Tropical Plantation. This place opened in 1983 and is adjacent to Kamu Farms. They grow lots of different plants and trees, have a restaurant, coffee shop, zip lines, and a tram that makes a circle of the property.
We took the tram ride with our driver and guide Paleka. He told us about the plants and trees that grow on the plantation. A few of my favorites were:
Ti Leaf Plants
Brazilian Dwarf Banana Trees
Strawberry Papaya Trees – Kamu Farms is largest grower of Strawberry Papayas in the world.
In the middle of the tram ride, we got out and watched a coconut husking and cracking demonstration, which was interesting.
Paleka also told us that although the nearby West Maui Volcano area is one of the wettest in the world, the plantation only averages 18 inches of rainfall per year. This is amazing considering it only took us about 20 minutes to drive between the two places.
After the tram ride, we were able to sample some more Maui Gold pineapple, which is incredible. Then I went to the coffee shop and had some Hawaiian drip coffee before heading back to the bus.
Our final stop for the day was the Maui Ocean Center in Ma’alaea. Upon arrival, Lilly from the Education Team came onboard the bus to brief us on the Ocean Center.
It opened in 1998 and provides services to other aquariums and sanctuaries in Maui. She said all animals in the Center are ones that are found on island.
We ended up having 2 1/2 hours at the Center, which included lunch at the Seascape Restaurant with an awesome view of the ocean and Haleakala in the distance.
The remainder of our time was spent exploring many different species of fish and other ocean life. The Black Tipped Reef Shark was a personal favorite along with the Green Sea Turtles.
After leaving the Maui Ocean Center, we took a slightly different route back to the ship and got a glimpse of the last sugar mill that functioned in Maui. Back at the harbor, we said goodbye to Kama and then walked across the street to the Maui Mall for a little shopping before getting back on the ship.
Tonight was formal night, so we got a little dressed up for dinner and pictures. Kate and Sara wore their sarongs they bought in Oahu as dresses and I enjoyed taking portraits of them together around the ship.
We had dinner in the Liberty Dining Room on deck 6, and then headed to the center of the ship for some professional pictures including one with the captain. His name is Ron Chrastina, and is from Myrtle Beach, SC. He seemed to be a really nice guy. His wife and two young boys were also on the ship with him.
After pictures, Sara went to Kid’s Club and Olivia, Kate, and I went to see the show “Lights, Camera, Music” in the Hollywood Theater. We picked up Sara around 10pm, grabbed a snack at the Aloha Cafe, and then Sara and I walked around on the top decks for a few minutes before returning back to the cabin to get some sleep.
Tomorrow we will be at Hilo on the big island of Hawai’i.