Montaña de Oro

This post used to contain pictures, but due to new storage limitations from WordPress, I had to fix the problem and decided to create a new blog that works as an archive for all the posts from my two years in California. This full post can be found here.

German friends mean spontaneity and as I Swede I can’t say anything else than that I love it! I didn’t have anything planned today than just chilling, maybe enrolling in that online space class that I wanna take, The Violent Universe. But then David asked me if I wanted to tag along to Montaña de Oro. A little bit later we were in Los Osos at the beautiful state park. Before going down to the beach we stood and watched out over the water and we saw two whales, small ones, so either babies or a smaller type of whale. They were breaching and it was so incredibly cool! I haven’t seen whales since Maui more than a year ago. When the whales were out of our sight we slid down a sand dune and walked along the beach for a while, looked in the tide pools, and enjoyed the nature. It was kinda windy, but not too bad. It was cloudy as well. The good weather will be back on Monday according to Google Now.

We took another way up, a wider sand dune, but it was still very hard to go up, my thighs were burning from trying not to slide down in the loose sand. That was the workout of the day.

We then followed a trail back to the car and continued to drive to Spooner’s Cave which is a beach in the park. We hung out there for a bit, building rock towers and breathing in the fresh saltwater air.

They dropped me off at PCV where I made dinner and have been painting my nails while watching Grimm. Now I am thinking of either going to bed or playing some GW2. I will most likely make myself a cup of tea, eat some fudge and play!

Whale Montaña de Oro Montaña de Oro The snake-formed path is where we came down. I have to admit that it was very fun!Montaña de Oro Montaña de Oro Montaña de Oro Montaña de Oro Montaña de Oro Eucalyptus forest We walked through an eucalyptus forest on the way back to the car.Spooner's Cove Spooner’s Cove.Spooner's Cove David, Thiago (from Brazil), and Alex.Spooner's Cove Spooner's Cove The boys climbing up on this rock. I would have followed if I didn’t have newly washed and very very tight jeans, I am 113% sure they would rip if I tried that climb, so I sat on the beach looking for pretty rocks.Spooner's CoveMy second attempt at a rock tower (I did one on the other beach but that wasn’t whole-heartedly).

Whale watching

This post used to contain pictures, but due to new storage limitations from WordPress, I had to fix the problem and decided to create a new blog that works as an archive for all the posts from my two years in California. This full post can be found here.

The weather today was the best ever! Every day so far, clouds have been hanging right over the mountains here and it has been windy. But today the mountains were completely free of clouds and the world’s second windiest harbor didn’t have any wind at all! It was a blue sky and it was just an awesome day here in Paradise.

The day didn’t start very well though. I woke up early because it was freezing cold in our room. I was half asleep and wasn’t really aware of what I was doing, but I took my hoodie and put my legs through the arms of the hoodie and pulled it up over my thighs. A very smart solution for a sleeping person. Then it got even colder so I removed it and put it on like normal, but then my legs were cold. So for tonight I’m taking both my hoodies out and am gonna put them on. I can’t believe how it can be so cold!

Anyway, after that we took the tour buses to the harbor in Ma’alaea, which is the second windiest harbor in the world. The tour was with Pacific Whale Foundation and was a very good tour. 2 hours out on the water under a blue sky and hot sun. The water under us was the bluest of blue I’ve ever seen. When I didn’t see any whales I just couldn’t stop looking down at the beautiful water. It was mesmerizing!

When it comes to the whales, the Humpback Whales, we saw a lot of them. They were seriously everywhere. Wherever you looked you could either see their backs breaching the water or see water blown out. And that you could see from very far away. They had a rule to not go closer to the whales than 100 yards except if they came up to the boat which they didn’t really do today. One time four of them came pretty close to the boat, but otherwise we watched them from afar. But they are big, like 45-50feet long so we saw them pretty good. The whole experience was just so amazing. We didn’t see any jumps close up but we did see some side fin splashes, a lot of tailfin splashes, and one head splash. They do that to get water in their mouths to look bigger and impress the females. So today we saw mostly males in competitive pods trying to win a females heart. We also saw a calf which probably wasn’t much older than just a few days, maybe weeks. It looked like a dolphin compared to the huge grownups.

It was incredible, but I so wish they had swam under the boat like they did the last Friday. That would have been soo awesome!!

After the whale watching we drove to Paia to hang around in the small and pretty city or just hang out at the beach for a couple of hours. I, Caroline and Sabrina (our new roomie) decided to spend those hours at the beach. The waves were really big today as well, and they were irregular. Fun for the surfers who could catch pretty much any wave.

At 4:30pm we drove back to the hostel where we had dinner, noodles in the microwave. It was good actually. At 7pm they opened a keg of beer and everyone was out in the common area playing drinking games, and just hanging out. I hardly drank anything, I tried Flip Cup and the Hands Game and I had a very nice time. And I’m so glad they have a quiet time after 10pm so I will still get some sleep :).

So, tomorrow’s the big volcano crater hike. It will probably kill me, but I really look forward to it. 12 miles is a lot though…

Whale watching in Ma'alaea Humpback whale Humpback whale Humpback whale Baby humpback whale The baby humpback whale with its mom!

Humpback whale Humpback whales Humpback whale Humpback whale Paia Beach Paia Beach

Beach day

This post used to contain pictures, but due to new storage limitations from WordPress, I had to fix the problem and decided to create a new blog that works as an archive for all the posts from my two years in California. This full post can be found here.

Today didn’t turn out the way it was supposed to but it was a very nice day anyway. Because of the bad weather (It’s not that bad, it was raining one night and morning and has been a little extra windy, but it is still 25C if not more. The waves on the north side of the island was supposed to be like 40feet today!!) the snorkeling with turtles was cancelled today again. So instead of that we went to Big Beach which was a very beautiful beach with yellow sand and huge waves! It was possible to be in the water, but it was tricky. They were breaking like right on the beach so it was very hard getting in and out of the water. Out wasn’t too bad. We just had to run out very fast and then we could jump with the waves, but going in. Oh my god! I thought I was gonna make it when I went in right after a big wave, but the next one caught up to me. The backcurrent of the first wave was like a brick wall and I couldn’t move particularly much.  So the next wave was at least as tall as I am and totally made me fall over and tumble around in the sandy water. I had sand, seriously everywhere after that!! But I survived and it was a workout even for just ten minutes.

That beach was by the way the same beach where the German au pair got bitten by a shark last summer and died. I wasn’t bitten and we didn’t see any sharks either. But we did see something else totally awesome! Whales! And today I learned that most of them here are Humpback whales. These were pretty close to shore and they were showing off. I think there were three of them and one of them did one of those super amazing whale jumps when they lift their upper body and then just falls down. And then they splashed with their side fins like all the time, blowing water and then one of them raised its tail and splashed it again and again and again. Like they do on SeaWorld. It was just so cool! I didn’t get a good picture of them but Caroline did get one awesome. I guess it doesn’t really matter though since we’re going to the whale watching tour tomorrow. And I can’t for everything in the world get a good translation of “whale watching” in Swedish. It’s disturbing…

The Big Beach was cut off from Little Beach by a small mountain and the view from that one was incredible. I wouldn’t say it was that good when you were looking on Little Beach, but Big beach was so beautiful. Well, Little Beach was too. But since that is a nude beach it wasn’t very nice to look at old men’s junks… Stephen Tyler from Aerosmith usually hangs out at that beach on Sundays, not nude. Maybe I will see him there on Sunday? He has a big house on that side of the island. I’m so not jealous…

Our next stop was the Kamaole Beach Park I. We played beach volleyball there for 1.5 hours. I didn’t enjoy it so much, but I missed it (I know, almost two weeks since I played!) so I felt that I had to. I really don’t like it to play more than 2 people on one side. Three is fine, but six? Oh no. But I got complemented on my serve which was awesome today. Better than everyone else’s, even the guys!

After that we had our last stop, Haui’s Life’s a Beach. It’s a restaurant and bar. I was starving and ordered a burger with ranch dressing and fried onion rings. And to that two Mai Tais. They were $2.50 each.

On the way home the girl in the front seat was so drunk. She was embarrassing herself with dancing and screaming along with the horrible songs she played on the iPhone’s AUX. Good thing it wasn’t a very long ride.

Back at the hostel I and Caroline tried the hot tub for the first time. It was warm and after 45minutes we were burning up and had to take cold showers. I will definitely go in that one after the 12 mile volcano hike on Saturday.

Our Canadian roomie left today and we got a new one. A German girl one year older than me. The funny thing about it, she came from San Diego where she’s been studying for the past six months. And the even funnier thing is that she came in from Waikiki, Oahu today and had spent 10 days on HI Waikiki where we also stayed! She arrived there on the 14th and we on the 15th. Haha! What a small world! She is very nice and is going to the whale watching tomorrow. I’m so excited about it, and then the Haleakala volcano hike on Saturday, beach day on Sunday and an amazing hike on Monday. And then of course Big Island. I just read on yelp.com that the black sand beach we are going to there have turtles basking on the sand. I really really want to see turtles up close again! Either snorkeling with them or seeing them on the beach.

Big Beach, Maui Big Beach.Big Beach, Maui Big Beach, Maui Little Beach, Maui (nude beach) Little Beach.Big Beach, big waves Big waves!Humpback whales Humpback whales!Kamoale Beach Park I Kamaole Beach Park I was a very nice beach with fine sand. But I spent the 1.5 hours playing beach volleyball instead. Even if I hate playing more than 2 people on each side. I had some fun though, and it was fun when everyone was so surprised a girl could have such a great serve as I had today (I usually dont, but today it was awesome for some reason)Kamaole Beach Park I

Road to Hana

This post used to contain pictures, but due to new storage limitations from WordPress, I had to fix the problem and decided to create a new blog that works as an archive for all the posts from my two years in California. This full post can be found here.

Wow! What a day!! I take back every bad thought I had about Maui yesterday. I am so glad we came to this hostel on a Monday around noon so we could sign up for this tour, it was amazing!! We saw lava rocks, turquoise water, black sand beach, red sand beach, bamboo forest, waterfalls, whales and swam in a freshwater cave. I will explain everything better under these headlines.

Road to HanaB was the Keanae Peninsula as well.

HANA HIGHWAY

This road was seriously ridiculous! You can compare it to Pacific Coast Highway 1 in California between Los Angeles and San Francisco. But this was crazier! It was sick! I just read online that it is 60 miles of scenic coastal road. It is extremely curvy and has around 620 curves and 59 bridges! I don’t get carsick but I was close today. I was very grateful that I didn’t have to drive that road and could enjoy the beautiful view. Bamboo were growing next to the road, palm trees, banana trees, beautiful red flowers. Big mountains on one side and the blue ocean on the other. It was amazing! On the way back we saw a lot of cats on the road. Someone in the van said that there are at least on cat per person on Maui. I should probably move there.Road to Hana Road to HanaSeven Sacred PoolsThe Seven Sacred Pools are part of Haleakala State Park, but we only stopped with the can for a few seconds to look at it.

KAENAE PENINSULA

Our first stop was for banana bread at a famous place called Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread. And it was delicious, just out of the oven and so moist! I and Caroline shared a loaf and that was a perfect breakfast since the pancake batter were out when we wanted to eat breakfast. One minute away from that place was such a beautiful peninsula with a lot of lava rocks and turquoise water. The contrast was so amazingly beautiful!! And the waves were big and white clouds of water splashed everywhere all the time. It was breathtaking!

Keanae Peninsula Keanae Peninsula

WAI’ANAPANAPA STATE PARK

The second stop was also completely taken out of a photoshopped picture of paradise. There were two parts of this stop and the first one for our van (two vans with like 12 people in each) was the black sand beach! I’ve never seen that and I was impressed by how black it actually was! The colors at this place was as beautiful and I just couldn’t believe what I saw. The black sand and lava rocks, the same awesome turquoise water and the green vegetation on the black lava rocks. I think the pictures speak for themselves! But as you all know, it is always more beautiful in real life and this place was truly amazing!

Wai'anapanapa State Park, Black Sand Beach Wai'anapanapa State Park Wai'anapanapa State Park

The second part of the stop was the Wai’anapanapa cave. I knew about it and had mentally prepared me for the experience. Because I knew I would regret it so bad if I chickened out. The cave is a freshwater cave you can swim through. I thought we were gonna have to swim underwater and that was what freaked me out a little bit. Swimming under water in a cave… Not exactly something safe. But apparently the water levels have been really low the last couple of months so that wasn’t  necessary. Puuh! BUT, it was still scary when our guide (who btw looked like the boy’s first grade teacher) told us that once we jumped through the little hole in the cave, there was no going back. Shit! I don’t like that sentence. But I actually wasn’t afraid and I didn’t have any second thoughts at all. I knew I wanted to do it and so many other people have done it so why not me? I felt a bit like Tris in the Divergent book when she at the Dauntless initiation had to jump off a roof into a black hole in the ground. I actually went first in the black hole in the cave.

Anyway, so here’s how the cave worked. First we had to jump down in to the pool. The water was cool, not too cold, maybe a little bit colder than the ocean in San Diego. The jump wasn’t high, it was like 1.5m maybe? Probably not even that. When we all were in the crystal clear water the guide and a guy went before me into a small tunnel. When I came in the second “room” of the cave the guide was pointing her flashlight at a tiny, tiny hole. It was a little jump of a few decimeters and below it was another room with a lower level of water and it was pitch dark in there. Since the second “room” were so small we had to go through the hole right away and I volunteered to go first. Crazy me! But I felt brave. In there I have to admit that I panicked a little. I was all alone in a black water cave, I had no idea how big it was, how low the ceiling was, what else could have been there in the dark with me. It wasn’t real bad, but it was scary. So I clung to the wall like a curled up baby and hung there until everyone was in the third “room”. My fingers hurt really bad after holding on to the lava rocks but I didn’t want to tramp water in there, it was scary. When we all were in there the guide swam first into an even smaller tunnel where I was afraid of hitting my head in the ceiling. I couldn’t see anything and I tried touching the wall all the time with my hand, but I had to swim at the same time. It wasn’t a very long tunnel, maybe 4m? And then we were done with the water. One last part before we could be out in the sun again. We had to climb out of that cave! And that was the scary part for real. The black cave was scary fun, I knew there weren’t any dangers there. But climbing up on a wet and sharp lava rock wall was scary. I tried going after the guide (she had the flashlight on the wall, but it didn’t reach all the way down to the water where we were) but I seriously couldn’t find anywhere to grasp. So I got back in the water and let another girl go ahead of me. And then I tried again. And, oh my god, I was so afraid of losing my grip and fall backwards and hit my head in the wall and probably die. I didn’t, but I was really scared and I scraped the front of my lower leg a little bit. When I got up and was safe my heart was trying to pound itself out of my chest and I was shaking. Not because of the cold water, but because of the adrenaline kick I had! That experience was the best thing ever. Such a rush and I felt so alive!! The rest of  the way up to the paved road was very slippery so the danger wasn’t over, but I climbed like a monkey, holding on to roots and did it. WOW!

Wai'anapanapa State Park CAVEThat’s me jumping in the cool freshwater. It was a little bit less than 2m deep.

There is a legend behind this cave and they say that a Hawaiian princess ran away from her cruel husband and hid in that cave. Her servant used a feather Kahili (a symbol of royalty) to fan the princess and the reflection in the water made the husband notice them and he killed the princess, coloring the cave all red. At certain times during the year the cave fills up with tiny red shrimp and some say it is a reminder of the blood of that princess.

Just when we got in the van to leave we spotted whales breaching pretty close to the beach so we watched them for a little while. They were way closer than the ones in San Diego. And on Friday I will see them even closer, like right next to the boat.

Whales!

BRADDAH HUTTS BBQ GRILL ISLAND STYLE

The third stop was lunch. Right when I was about to order they ran out of fish tacos and that was a real bummer, I’ve heard those are really good. So I took the BBQ chicken instead and that was probably the best barbecued chicken I’ve ever had. So amazing!!

HALEAKALA STATE PARK / PIPIWAI TRAIL (WAIMOKU FALLS)

Our fourth stop was the Haleakala State Park, where the big volcano crater is. But we went to another part of the park to do a hike in a bamboo forest and look at waterfalls. It was a pretty easy hike, two miles to the big waterfall and two miles back. It took us around 2 hours in total. In the beginning I was really afraid that my calves were gonna hurt and they did when we went up. But then it flattened out and the trail was actually like a real road with planks laid out. It was perfect. In the beginning of the hike there was a huuuge banyan tree! Those trees are so cool, with their trunks going in all directions and growing how they like.

Haleakala State Park, Pipiwai Trail, Banyan tree

The bamboo forest later on was pretty awesome! They were so high, so it was dark in there. We saw pools and tiny waterfalls on the way and it was just a very nice hike. At the end of the hike was Waimoku Falls which was a skinny but tall waterfall. It has a drop of about 400 feet (I don’t know how much that is in meters and I’m too tired to look it up, but it was pretty tall). The flow wasn’t that good, I think it was a while ago it rained here. Our guide said that the trail normally was all muddy but today it was really dry. It was like a giant wall there with a tiny pool where the water collected. It was dripping all along the wall and it was the same colors ad before. Black rock and green lush. It was really beautiful!

Haleakala State Park, Pipiwai Trail Haleakala State Park, Pipiwai Trail Tiny Caroline among the bamboo!Haleakala State Park, Pipiwai Trail, Waimoku FallsWaimoku falls at the end of Pipiwai Trail.

KAIHALULU RED SAND BEACH

The last stop was a red sand beach and it was also super cool! Now I’ve seen white, black (pink on Crete in Greece) and red beaches. On Big Island we will see a green one! It wasn’t just the color of the sand that was cool, it was a lot of lava rocks right outside the beach making like a pool in the small bay. The walls around the beach were massive. It probably would have been even more beautiful there if the sun would have been a little higher in the sky. It was just about to set behind the mountain.

Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach

When we started our journey I learned why I thought Maui was so boring. There are a lot of sugar cane fields here and this part of the island has flat ground and therefore a lot of fields. It looks really boring. My roommates by the way, are nice. Except Caroline, I have a 22 year old Canadian girl and an older woman from New York. She talks a lot but she is nice. AND, I forgot to write something yesterday. When we were at the mall a guy came up to us and asked us if we were from Sweden. He said we looked really Swedish with our blond hair and blue eyes. Haha!

I think that was all today. It was an eventful day. I’m tired but had such an awesome time! When we got back to the hostel at 8:30pm the list for tomorrow’s tour was already full, but we wrote our name on the waiting list and are either hoping for dropouts or an extra car so we can go to Lahaina and snorkel with turtles at Black Rock! Otherwise we will take the bus to Lahaina. Black Rock is further away so we will probably just hang out at the old Hawaiian capital and then eat at hard Rock Café.