Maui, as always, was and is beautiful, from the moment you get off the plane and walk into the moist, fragrant air, combined with the quality of light, color, and space. As a visual artist, it is almost too easy to see beauty everywhere you turn, but of course easy is deceptive and there are many challenges to making art that is more than pretty pictures.
We were mainly on the west shore where many of the big resorts are. We stayed at one of the Kā’anapali Beach hotels. Walking on beaches and swimming in the Pacific Ocean in November is a treat. This year there was a lot of wind and periods of rain; even so, it was shorts and t-shirts weather, and they dry quickly from the occasional squalls in 80+ degree temps. Around the pools it was particularly amusing to see en masse evacuation as people scrambled off the decks when a few light sprinkles arrived.
During the days we were on Maui, we swam, snorkeled, walked on the beaches, and got to spend time with ‘Ohana, always special. On Thanksgiving day we went on one of the Pacific Whale Foundation’s snorkel cruises on their catamaran out of Lahaina. It was originally scheduled for Honolua Bay, but the strong winds and the surf in recent days had churned up sands which limited visibility for snorkeling. So we went south of Lahaina and had a really good time on and in the water, and even saw a whale on our return. It was exhilarating under sail and the spray kept everyone fresh as the hulls sliced into the swells.
That night we went to a big buffet smorgasbord at an open air restaurant at one of the older hotels at Kā’anapali Beach. The quantity and variety of food was amazing. There were tourists there (like us) but it felt like the experience was geared much more for local residents.
On Friday we went up to the northwestern part of the island since we hadn’t been to that area before. The light traffic up north was a welcome relief. We arrived at the turnout for the Nakalele Blowhole which was quite dramatic that day because of the big surf and winds. Later that afternoon we walked through the rainforest out to Honolua Bay, all of which was really beautiful, and very different from the rainforest we are used to on the Olympic Peninsula.
On route to the airport we stopped in again at Maui Coffee roasters (next to the landmark Pioneer Mill smokestack) in Lahaina. It was like visiting old friends, good coffee, generous sampling, personalized descriptions of the various beans and roasts. They are doing it right- fresh, small batch roasted beans. From there we drove up the hill to the local high school where we had hoped to see the printing history museum. Since it was a holiday weekend we didn’t fully expect to find it open; but we enjoyed seeing the exterior of the building nonetheless. We took the newly opened highway, Lahaina Bypass, with little to no traffic until we rejoined Hwy 30 on the coast. We explored Kahalui before returning the rental car, just as an afternoon squall opened up and dumped, and gave us a soaking. We took the shuttle to the inter-island terminal and dried out at the open air check-in counter. The check-in process and flight went smoothly and while the winds and heavy cloud cover gave pause, we were happy that we had elected to take a smaller plane to the Big Island. The check-in process was casual to say the least and offered a refreshing change to the major carriers.
Click to open the gallery and see these and additional pictures on a larger scale.