day 9 :
tuesday, 12 february
This morning we took a short but beautiful family-friendly hike (more like a walk) in the ʻIao Valley. This national landmark is a lush valley on the east side of the West Maui Mountains, and the 40 minute walk is on paved pathways. The trail takes you up for a view of the ʻIao Needle, which is a tall vegetation-covered lava pillar from the extinct volcano. On your quick descent, the trail branches off to the right to lead you alongside the ʻIao Stream where there are small waterfalls, and then back near the parking lot, where you can walk through a tiny botanical garden.
With Yee's Orchard stand always "on the way home," it was easy to stop off here to restock our fruit supplies. They are closed on Mondays and Fridays, so we had been anxious for them to reopen today!
Dawn had been waiting for an appropriate amount of time to pass before she could go back to satisfy her craving for another poke bowl at Eskimo Candy – she had actually wanted to return the very next day after first trying that delicious bowl. Eric debated getting the amazing fish and chips again, but knew Dawn would be unwilling to share much of her bowl, so we both got poke bowls, while Ian enjoyed some coconut shrimp and rice.
It was only when Eric came inside after boogie boarding in the afternoon that he learned from our rental neighbor that a mom and baby whale were playing offshore the entire time, right behind him! We had spotted whales offshore from the property, but none that close. Too bad we missed them!
After Ian woke up from nap, we went down to the beach, where Ian attempted to bury Eric in sand. This didn't work so well because we were up in the drier part of the beach, and it was insanely windy, blowing the sand onto both Eric and Ian. The trade winds typically hit the south shore in the afternoon (making mornings the better time for the beach), but this was particularly intense wind today. So we opted to play in the wetter sand closer to the water and build sand castles. Eric dug a moat for the castle, which quickly became a tunnel for Ian's tractor.
We cooked at home for dinner, and made Michael Natkin's Coconut Rice with Black Beans, Plantains, and Mango Salsa, perfect for a tropical setting, with a few modifications to take advantage of the local produce in Maui. We substituted Maui onion for the red onion, and instead of plantain, we sautéed apple bananas sliced lengthwise, which were impressively delicious in this dish. We also added some of the green pickled mango we had picked up at Yee's. And a tip for making the salsa in a poorly-equipped kitchen, typical of rentals: since we didn't have a food processor or blender, we simply mashed the mango with a fork (easy, when they are as juicy ripe as these Golden Glows) and then used a cheese grater to grate in the onion, garlic, and jalapeño.