I can’t argue whether it’s indeed “the world’s most beautiful drive”, but it’s surely a heavenly hell of a drive!
Cringing at the thought of being among tourist cars crawling along the way, we started the day at 7am. In an hour or so we got to the first vista point, overlooking a large bay with dozens of surfers. We stopped there again on our way back at about 4:30pm and there were maybe a hundred.
Soon afterwards the speed limit becomes 15mph with never-ending curves and endless single-lane bridges and narrows. It’s really quite stressful for driving: constantly spinning the wheel, shifting the pedals, and fighting off the temptation to take your eyes off the road for the scenery. The way back is even more difficult since the drive is mostly on the edge side and most hairspin turns are to the right, unnatural for a right-handed driver.
We got to Hana at about 1pm with maybe 10 photo-snapping stops. After a quick lunch, we stopped at Waianapanapa (how many A’s are there?) State Park and Keanae peninsula on our way back. The most remarkable view and sound is the roaring sea crashing into pitch-back modern-sculpture-like volcanic stones. Together with those black sand (volcanic ash) beaches along the way, the contrast to the beaches on the west side of the island where we stay is truly amazing.
The real highlight of the day, though, is our dinner at Mama’s Fish House. Recommended by a friend, it’s the most expensive meal we’ve ever had ($200 total), but it’s well worth it for the best fish dishes we’ve ever had. We got there at 5pm and it was already more than half filled. Most fish entrees are fresh catch of the day (with the fishing company name listed). The Ahi (bigeye/yellowfin tuna) sashimi appetizer is gorgeous. J had A’u (marlin/swordfish) and I had silver-mouth Lehi (snapper) with crispy skin, both incredibly tender and juicy. Compared with them, the Opah (moonfish) we had for lunch yesterday, which wasn’t too bad at all, was like rubber.