I just can't stop posting Hawaii pictures. I will stop soon. I promise. But until then, look to the bright side. First, you get to see neat pictures of my vacation. Second, in the process you are also gleaning all of the little tidbits of trip advice that I can remember. When you plan your Maui vacation, you will be prepared. Here is an important piece of advice: When in Maui, hike to the Olivine Pools.
The Olivine Pools were named for this semi-precious gem found encrusted in the surrounding lava and sandstone. These naturally-formed swimming pools are located on a lava shelf stretching along the coastline. Our guidebooks seem to indicate that when the sea is calm, the area is excellent for swimming, wading and sunbathing. However we found them only suitable for wading. The pools were very slippery due to the sea plants growing on the floor of the pools. Additionally, that lave rock is sharp and very jagged, and it is the only surface making up the floor, sides, shores, and trail to the pools. So there is not much comfort in lounging or sitting in the water.
However, despite the lack of "swimming" the wading provided a first rate opportunity to see the ocean from a new perspective. When you drive along the Hawaiian coastline, you are privy to views of steep lava cliffs, with deep blue, frothing waves crashing menacingly along the jagged lava rock below. The waves are big, and the force looks absolutely pulverizing. Well, this is exactly what you are seeing - at eye level - down in the Olivine pools. You put yourself in a little protected refuge within that very jagged lava rock cliff. And from there the waves are huge and powerful and memorizing.
Here are a few tips for safe Olivine pool exploration. First, wear reef shoes when walking on the lava. Wear study shoes to walk the trail to the pools, as it awkward and may be slippery. Do not wear lotions or oils in the pools as it may harm tiny sea life that make these pools their home. Do NOT remove rocks, fish, or any sea life from the area. Also, there are no facilities available, and you are not supposed to pee in the pools (in the hotel pool, maybe, but not these natural pools). Finally, and most importantly, monitor the ocean at all times - waves can be very unpredictable and dangerous. Do not go near the edge, and above all DO NOT get swept out to sea.
To get the the Olivine Pools yourself, first, get to Maui. From there, take Highway 30 past the Bellstone going toward Kahakuloa Village. A small gravel road on the left is located just prior to Mile Marker #16. Park and walk toward the ocean. A rock platform overlooks the pools. To the left of this overlook is a lava bench and a trail leading down to it and the lava shelf. The path is faint, and many times you feel as though you are making up the path as you go. And every once in a while, there is a little scramble over a lava rock formation.