OpenRoad Driver Volume 14 Issue 1 - Page 20

20 » OpenRoad Driver Directly below, Hana Bay was originally a haven for early Pacific navigators and later, a royal center. And rising beside the bay, Ka’uiki Hill furnished a stronghold for a powerful young chief. He became King Kamehameha the Great who ultimately unified the Hawaiian Islands. At the base of the hill, a plaque marks the birthplace of his favourite wife, Queen Ka’ahumanu. On an opposite ridge, Hana’s Cultural Centre encompasses a Hawaiian village of thatched hales, an old courthouse and a jail. Its museum displays an assortment of artifacts. Intriguing photos reveal Hana’s earliest days and document the 1946 tsunami that wiped out much of the town. A walk to Hana’s Red Sand Beach begins from the nearby community centre and continues pleasantly along a hillside covered with lacy ironwood trees. Beyond a weathered Japanese cemetery for cane workers, the footpath becomes dangerous as it plunges downward onto a narrow cliff side ledge. Small, slippery ironwood cones aggravate the risk. This path sets the record for medical emergencies. Arrival at this famed beach and Kaihalulu Bay rewards the well shod, hardy and venturesome. Just south, three destinations await discovery. Waianapanapa State Park embraces an attractive black sand beach, impressive sea arches and water-blasting blowhole. A paved trail loops past ocean-fed lava caves. According to legend, a beautiful chiefess was battered to death in such a cave. Every spring, this tragedy is recalled when millions of crimson shrimp turn these waters red. Snorkeling in one sky-lit cave reveals various colourful fish, but no shrimp. Kaeleku Cavern represents one of the world’s largest lava tubes. Donning safety helmets and gripping giant flashlights, we gingerly descend underground to investigate. A thousand years ago, a river of molten lava created this immense tube, depositing mineral-rich magma. Tiny yellow crystals glisten on one wall while volcanic mud coats another like thick chocolate frosting. Kahanu Botanical Garden encompasses a 123-acre botanic and historic preserve. A flat, mile-long path leads us through a forest of assorted breadfruit trees and groves of spidery rooted hala. We emerge onto a grassy lawn…and Hale O Pi’ilani Heiau, Hawaii’s largest temple. A 16th- century dynasty of celebrated chiefs also used the garden as a command post. We imagine King Pi’ilani’s lookouts atop this five-story structure, watching over Honomaele Bay for invading canoes. Nearby plots contain canoe plants that Polynesians brought to Maui over two thousand years ago. Labels identify varieties of banana, sugarcane and sweet potato, including unfamiliar plants. Notes explain their usage: how taro root was pounded into poi, paper mulberry into tapa cloth and turmeric for healing. And inside a fishing cottage, exhibits document and illustrate coastal plants. Just north promises two more attractions. The narrow road heads through rolling pastures dotted with white-faced Herefords. After sca ƖrFR'VvvV@6&VƖRB7r( VwV6vPGW&fbFVR&( V( 26WfV67&VB22pW&VBf6F'2f&W7FVBG&FW2W