4 Days in Maui
For the past several days, I have been basking in the sometimes-glorious, sometimes-sweltering, sometimes-soaking climate of Maui, Hawaii. I haven't been to Maui since I was 9 years old and I remember very little from that trip (aside from nearly drowning and the taste of freshly-cracked coconuts). This trip was quick and dirty and it was motivated by love- one of my very favorite people was married on the second day of the trip and I was beyond excited to be witness to the ceremony. The first couple of days were finished with celebrations: day one ended with the rehearsal dinner and a very fortunate sighting of a sea turtle napping on the beach; day two ended with the wedding, photographs on the beach, and star-gazing under the Maui moon. We didn’t spend as much time on the island as we are now wishing we had and I honestly cannot remember the logic behind containing the experience to two full-days and two half-days. We must have lost our minds going into it. Maui is amazing and so under-valued (as evidenced by the alarming amount of litter on the beaches) and I cannot wait to return.
Now, onto the fun! As I said, day one was spent enjoying wedding festivities. We spent some time beach-combing, checking out some cool black crabs that we roaming the beach and getting soaked by a combination of sea water and the drizzling rain. It’s important to note that I use the phrase “we spent some time beach-combing” loosely since it was really only me who was bent over double staring at the ground for shiny objects and the raison d’être of my “seagull-ing” - heart-shaped rocks. I gifted the lovely bride with the best one I found: a perfectly heart-shaped piece of coral. It was spectacular and, to make things even more serendipitous, it was the last one I found. Le sigh….
Day two, Andy and I hiked the 10 whole minutes from our Air Bnb to the beach and wandered around aimlessly, shouting gleefully when we came across cool stuff and trying to outrun the tide that was, fortunately for us seagull-ers, going out. I found several brightly-colored bits of plastic that I thought we exceptional until Andy recognized them for what they were (ahem, litter). We found the shell of a spiny lobster, some amazing shells, and once the tide was properly out, we went diving into the shallows with snorkel masks on.
I was legitimately terrified and I made Andy hold my hand when we went under to admire the brightly colored sea creatures that were within swimming range of the beach: a HUGE, bright pink spiny lobster, some sort of crazy striped fish, and a black fish with a neon blue spot on its side. On top of that, there were sections of live coral and I’ve never witnessed anything so beautiful. I dove down into the shallows trying to grab at the shells I found and was repeatedly rebuffed by the current; whenever I grasped a particularly exceptional specimen, I found myself hopping up and down on one foot after being pummeled by the rocks moving around on the under-current. The ocean giveth and the ocean taketh away…
After our little outing, we quickly showered and dressed for the wedding. I spent most of the afternoon crying and laughing at the love shared by my two friends. Honestly though, their ceremony was simply perfect. There was no “MARRIAGE IS AN ABRASION PROCESS” or “I’M GIVING YOU MY DAUGHTER, SIR!” stuff- it was about the couple and the community that supported their love. I couldn’t have imagined anything more perfect for them.
That night, we took some sunset photos, ate some amazing food, and tried to “spotlight” the newlyweds on the beach for their first dance (the venue did not have a place for dancing). We found constellations, watched the tides, and tried to figure out what the heck we were going to do the following day. A plan was hatched, we parted ways, and got ready for MAUI DAY THREE.
Day three was spent on, around, and underneath the Pacific Ocean. We rented SUPs for a surprisingly excellent $30/day rate and tried our hands and legs and feet and shoulders and core at SUP surfing with the pros and the bros. We caught a few decent waves (100% on my knees because I was too terrified to try it standing up) and attempted to do some wildlife-viewing with our snorkel masks but discovered that the water was far too murky to see much of anything. After quite a lot of SUP-surfing, we found ourselves well out past the break and I found myself in over my head as a huge set of waves came rolling in. I know next to nothing about surfing so when I say “huge,” I’m not sure how big the waves actually were but they totally freaked me out. I tried to time my arrival back to the shore between sets but ended up getting smacked off my board into the water hard enough that my snorkel mask went flying and was never seen again. I clambered back up onto the SUP, glanced down and noticed how close i had come to wrecking myself on a strangely tower-like bit of rock and coral. I hot-paddled my way back in and lay down on the beach with and watched people outperform me on the waves. Chatting and laughing with my gal-pals, we noticed slowly how sunburned I was. Ouch.
After an amazing lunch of mahi-mahi tacos, Andy and I drove up to the summit of Haleakala - the 10,000’ volcano that makes up 75% of Maui’s land mass. We were in a major hurry and were terrified we would miss the sunset when we rolled up behind an idiot driving a red chevy… the man would NOT get over, even at the pull-outs that clearly read “slow-moving vehicles must use pull-out.” We were infuriated by the time he pulled off at the Haleakala visitor center. We gunned it to the top and stepped out into 40* air and shivered our way to the summit crater, glancing out at a very opaque cloud bank and feeling sad that we had missed the sunset. We meandered around for a bit and, giving up hope, turned for the car. We were gifted with this:
Later that night, we exchanged time slathering lotion on each other and gulping as much water as we could stomach. Andy wasn’t very burned but I was horribly red and laying down was painful. Seriously, 50spf does nothing for me. Sleeping was an uncomfortable experience but I woke up in the morning feeling slightly better.
On our last and final day, we went for a hike up Waihee Ridge, a quick 2 1/4 mile hike through the mist and jungle to a view that we did not see. The trail was slick with mud and debris and we realized how timely our arrival had been- just after a lovely storm that had shut down much of the “cool” places to go hiking on Maui.
We had fun though, it was lovely and so green and we listened hard for birds and saw very few. We did see a few crazy plants and Andy snapped photos of a terrrrrrrifying spider. It was really excellent to get out and stretch our legs- I think we both needed it before getting back on a plane and sitting for the next 7 hours.
The trip home was uneventful and full of snacking. I wish we had spent more time exploring Maui but now that we’ve been together, we cannot wait to return.