This morning we headed south to check out Ahihi Preserve. Denise kept encouraging us to find this spot for my snorkeling adventure (more about that later) and yesterday, our neighbor, Don, encouraged us to check out the massive lava flow down the same road. First we explored several tide pools just before entering the reserve. I have always wanted to see a tide pool. The ones we found were full of sea urchins and brightly colored fish, sea cucumbers and I even spotted an eel which really surprised me. There were lots of crabs and snails and beautiful living coral formations. WOW!
Then we headed on down to the preserve which turned out to be in easy walking distance from the tide pools. With admonitions of the beach naturalist in my ears about staying 15 to 20 feet away from the reef, I was overwhelmed to realize the cove was all reef and the only way to get in and out of it was ON THE REEF. The fish were everywhere - big fish, not the little ones in the tide pools. We don't have fish like this in Illinois. The biggest adventure turned out to be getting out of the water since I was poorly equipped and a wave caught me and tossed me against some coral. I have three or four minor cuts but I would do it again.
The lava flow further down the road was immense and unearthly. You can look up on to the slope of Haleakala and see how the lava flowed down the side into the sea. I think that the last eruption of Haleakala was in the late 1700's.
We stopped at Big Beach and I think it is the most beautiful beach I have ever seen in my life with sand as soft and fine as sugar. It is a rich tan color with water the color of turquoise and Molokini lying off shore as an accent shape in the water. It looked just like you think a beach in paradise should look. Incredible.
One would think that this would be enough, but with our time here drawing to a close, we only have food on hand in the condo for one more meal at "Hartleroad's Hide-Away" so we walked down to the Kihei Cafe for their Cheeseburger special. It certainly was - special that is. This is the same place that we bought home made sticky buns topped with Macadamia nuts for breakfast earlier in the week. Oh, My!
I want to also include a word about Easter worship yesterday with the Ala Lani United Methodists. The church actually houses three congregations: English speaking, Korean, and Tongan. They all met together yesterday and the Tongan choir, which filled the front quarter of the church, sang the traditional "Hallelujah Chorus" in Tongan, by memory and without accompaniment. The entire service was very moving but this choir filled the sanctuary with their voices.
It is time to begin thinking about getting packed up to come home. See you all soon. Oh, would someone please turn the temp up in Illinois? We are used to around 80 with a light breeze everyday.
Finally, thank you so much, Steve and Denise. Your island home has been a wonderful gift to us. Your Hawaii friends and neighbors have been wonderful to us as well. And thanks to Mom for encouraging us to come over here and enjoy it.