Paddling to Makaiwa, it became apparent just how dry Maui has been these past months. Many of the waterfalls were completely dry. Large cylinders with dry plunge pools were a common site. Reports stated that rainfall in 1999 was very low and the last good rainfall was April 1999. The water levels in Maui's Wailoa ditch were running 13% of normal and the reservoirs at Waikamoi are nearly dry. Noticeably absent in all of our campsites were running streams, even with the heavy rains that we had been having on this trip, and the streams were actually lower in the morning than the night before!
The coordinates to Makaiwa were placed into Wayne's GPS and it was a good thing because we really needed updates as we paddled in the rough waters. Around O'opoulua Point the water became exceptionally rough, and here is where Wayne was indicating Makaiwa was supposed to be. The deep bay looked different from Chuck's photos (from his '99 trip), and Gary wanted to paddle a little past, to make sure the next cove wasn't our campsite. As we paddled in, Rusty radioed to ask for a description of the shore, since the mouth of Makaiwa was so rough. I radioed back, "CALM!" much to the delight of all the people with radios.
The clouds were gathering and it looked like we would have to set up our campsite in the rain, and sure enough, the rain began to fall and did not stop until 8:00 PM. It rained off and on all night, and by the morning, we were ready to go to the next campsite, which on paper was supposed to be Pilale, but the leadership wanted to go on past the bay to an unknown bay that Douglas had seen during a photo shoot. It had a "lighthouse" and two big rocks on either side of the bay that had crashing waves, but the shore had looked calm at that time. So we packed our kayaks launched and soon entered the washing machine at the mouth of Makaiwa, with no real idea about where we would end up for the night.
Paddling past the cliffs of this section was reminiscent of the section of Molokai just before Moomomi. Low cliffs, dry and weathered with boulder beaches. Finally, we reached Pilale, where we pulled our boats out on a steep boulder beach to have some lunch. Pilale has an extensive heiau with decent campsites in the grassy area behind the boulders and a very dry streambed, but the decision was made to continue on to the unknown bay 6 miles down the coast.
The winds were now to our backs, and Francis and Wayne were flying their kites, while Doug T. and I took the lead, not really knowing where our final destination would be. When we got to a very prominent point, I suggested that we wait for Douglas to catch up since it looked like Pauwela Point except there wasn't any "lighthouse." Sure enough, it was the point that Douglas remembered, and we pulled in past the large guardian rocks at the mouth of the bay. (Ed's note: the "lighthouse" is simply a steel pole on the head with a strobe light) The rocks known as Wehiwehi are the guardian stones that the inhabitants of the bay and gulch would study from their village on the slopes of Haleakala, to get an idea of the ocean conditions. We all landed and saw some nicely trimmed grass. Finally, we were going to sleep on grass, in an area that we would be able to dry our tents!
To the right of our campsite was a natural spring in the cliff and some of the paddlers filled their water bottles. Immediately to the side of our tents was a really toxic looking pond filled with pea-soup-colored water. Feeling really good, with all our tents pitched and dinner being served, there was a sense of jubilance that rippled through the campsite. Suddenly, a cow moo was heard, first very faintly, but then a second one followed by another. Not paying much attention to the calls of some stray cow, I looked up on the hill and saw about 5 Black Angus steers watching us. Soon there were 5 more, then 10 more, and then 10 more and they all were heading towards our campsite to get to the water. We were apparently camping in the herd's sleeping area!
Down the hill came cows, bulls and their keiki, some the size of compact SUVs, splashing in the toxic pond and drinking the water. Some of the herd went up to the spring to get a drink, but most of the cattle preferred the stagnant pond for their bathing and drinking needs. Soon the herd was becoming large enough that they were getting very close to Andy's tent, because they were running out of space in the pond. All of a sudden, just as gently as they had come, the lead bull lead the herd back up the hill whence they came. Andy received a large, soft present from one of the animals that was standing by his tent. Rusty immediately nicknamed our campsite "Cow Pie Cove," but later that night I discovered the name of the bay was Kuiaha.
The next morning, nobody had to tell us to get going, as we all packed our kayaks for the last day's paddle and headed to Mama's Fish House in Kuau. The wind was light in the morning but coming directly from behind, so I decided to fly my kite and it turned out to be a good decision, because by the time we reached Hookipa, the wind was whipping and I was really moving.
Turning into Mama's was tricky, because now the waves were picking up and there was a small channel between the breaks that would vary in size depending on the wave sets. But if you kept an eye out for the prominent blue roof of Mama's, you couldn't get lost.
Before long, Debbie and Paul were picking us up and taking us to the airport for our trip back home. The week sure went by fast!
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