“Aloha! In just a few short minutes we will be landing at Kahului Airport. It is currently 75 degrees in Lahaina, with 68 percent humidity and 10 percent chance of showers. Please keep your seatbelts on until the captain has turned off the fastened seatbelt sign. We hope you’ve enjoyed your flight and once again thank you for flying United Airlines.”
I slid the shade of the window seat open and was greeted by the most beautiful sight; the island of Maui. The beautiful lush island with rocky lava rocks jetting out of the indigo blue water reminded me of Jurassic Parks ‘Isla Nublar’ (which was fitting because as we landed my Ipod began to play John Williams Jurassic Park musical score– it was pure magic!)
Friendly locals with sincere smiles greeted Lexie and me at the gate; a nice change from the forced plastic grins we were used to day-to-day back at home. We briskly claimed our luggage and walked to a bus that shuttled us to our rental car company. By the time we finished signing wavers and insurance papers the sweet humidity had set in and we couldn’t wait to turn on the cars A/C.
We had made it to Maui, the small island 2,471 miles away from California and a 5-hour plane ride across the Pacific Ocean and now it was our time to explore!
[While in Hawaii we did so many fun and interesting things it would take me a couple of days to divulge the fun we had, so I chose to share some of the trips highlights]
.:. We had our Blue Crush moment! The minute we booked our trip to Hawaii, Lexie and I discussed the top things we wanted out of our adventure. We both agreed we had to recreate and capture a specific scene from the movie Blue Crush. For those who have never seen Blue Crush…have you been living under a lava rock!? In the movie the main character Anne Marie Chadwick, like many pro surfers, does underwater rock running to improve lung capacity and prepare her for the Pipe Masters Surf competition. We scouted the perfect location- Airport Beach- and combed the beach for the perfect boulder. We grabbed the biggest rock we could find, which honestly wasn’t that big but did the job, and got to work.
I wont lie it was difficult positioning ourselves perfectly at the bottom of the sea floor but in the end we got it! We tanned and relaxed on the beach for the rest of the day with not a worry or care in the world. We later celebrated our first day with special concoctions named after Hawaii’s famous exotic fruit, lilikoi, also known as yellow passion fruit.
Don’t worry your mind,
There’s paradise waiting for us in summertime.
The warm thoughts set your tension’s aside,
There’s a paradise waiting for us in summertime.’
.:. While exploring Lahaina we stopped into a local swim shop and met the first of many down to earth locals; Bonnie. She introduced us to life changing bikinis and helped us find the perfect fitting pieces. We were told we needed to continue to tan in order to get rid of our mainland tans and I wasn’t going to argue with that. We left the store with a variety of different bikini tops and bottoms but also a new appreciation for ourselves. Bonnie explained that the Hawaiians were so relaxed and that they could spot a tourist mainlander from a mile away because they were the ones that tried hard to fit in and really cared about appearance. They were the ones with the flashy colored expensive cars or designer handbags. True locals went with the flow, nothing was ever forced. I loved how straight forward and easy that mentality was. Lexie and I adapted quickly and set out to work on our local bronze tan. We hit the road and found ourselves at Slaughter House beach were we explored and captured some fun photos before the sun went down.
#livelikealocal: the motto I live by when traveling to knew places. I can’t stand tourist attractions with long lines, money traps and loads of teens taking selfies. I yearn for paths very rarely hiked and am open for whatever.
*Travel Tip– Find a travel buddy that has the same mentality as you. I was lucky enough to have explored Europe with Lexie and know we both have the same travel style. We both are unafraid of jumping off of rocks into unknown water and trying the local fish that looks like it was fished out of a sewer but tastes like absolute heaven. When it comes to food please be open-minded and if you really aren’t willing to take a risk be respectful of the culture that you are submerged in. I was once in Spain traveling with a small group of girls, Lexie being one of them. While in the middle of dinner one of the girls ruined the ambiance and experience because she couldn’t stand the “texture” of the fish we were eating and disrespectfully sent it back making a scene. For most of the trip she went on to eat boring sandwiches and pieces of bread throughout the day. Please don’t be that traveler. Be up for anything! If you don’t like it say thank you and move on, at least you can say you tried something new.
.:. One of the longest and most exciting days of our trip had to be the day we traveled the famous road to Hana. We woke at 5:00 am and set out for a journey through one of Hawaii’s most scenic drives. The road leading up to the small town of Hana was breath taking. With a speed limit of 25 mph, the 64.4 mile Hana Highway has been noted as being one of the most dangerous stretches of land to drive. We wound in and out of 600 heart-stopping curves along narrow pieces of road and crossed 54 bridges that were architectural miracles/ masterpieces. We used the Gypsy Guide iphone app that used GPS to help direct us on where to go while also educating us on our surroundings. The apps narrator had the most regal yet soothing voice. Lexie fittingly named the man behind the voice Clemens. While traveling the Highway we made a pit stop to Nahiku, a small community off the eastern coast of Maui where George Harrison once lived.
We crossed closed bridges while in the town and were bitten by the first mosquitoes of the trip. We went on to swim in waterfalls that lined the road, saw our first black sand beach at Waianapanapa State Park and eventually made our way to Haleakalā National Park where we visited the lush Kīpahulu area.
seven sacred pools
We made our way over incredibly slippery mossy rocks to the famous seven sacred pools and took in the surreal views that surrounded us. We went on to hike the Pīpīwai trail; a 4 mile round trip hike that took us through bamboo forests with views of fresh water streams that eventually lead us to the breath taking 400 foot Waimoku falls. I stood still in amazement. The sheer power of nature’s way to alter and define a moment in time was awe-inspiring.
Hawaiian proverb: He wai makamaka ‘ole. Water that recognizes no friend.
Waimoku- meaning water that cuts, severs, amputates or breaks into two.
one lane. one car. one cliff.
We continued through a very dangerous one-lane road down the back of the island. Shhhh don’t tell, but according to our rental car company we weren’t allowed to drive that stretch of land, but being the rule breakers we are we did it anyways. We saw some of the most serene and untouched areas Maui has to offer but it came with a price. As the sun was setting we were visited by some rather annoying drivers that nearly ran us off the cliffs and took their road rage out on us. With no cell phone service we had no way of getting help if we needed it.
serious case of road rage
I’m so proud of Lexie’s courageous decision to pass them up when confronted with the reckless guys following us. She pushed the gas pedal as hard as she could to escape and we drove as fast as we could. Our eyes locked on the rear view mirrors fearful their headlights would appear. We finally made it back home safely around 10 pm and later found out that the local police never went to that side of the island, which was known for its abandoned houses that meth addicts would escape to. Tourist love to buy shirts that say “I survived the road to Hana” but I personally don’t think those shirts would do our road trip justice. It was an amazing adventure to say the least.
.:.We took the most amazing helicopter ride with Sunshine Helicopters and our pilot Steve who gave us on an unreal areial experience through the islands of Maui, Lanai and Molokai. We saw the waterfalls that were filmed in Jurassic Park and learned the background history of the islands. The colors we saw were so vivid and the mountains were enhanced to another level. I felt like I was living in a dream as we flew above the clouds; one with the birds.
.:.We went on multiple snorkel tours and were fortunate enough to swim with green sea turtles and see Hawaiian spinner dolphins. Snorkeling confirmed what we had always known; that we’re basically mermaids!
put on your fins and get ready to swim!
.:.On our last night in Maui we set sail on one of the Pacific Whale Foundations luxury catamarans. Lexie and I sat on nets suspended over the clear blue water, enjoying Mai Tai’s and taking in the pink cotton candy sunset sky. We spoke to one of the boats deckhands and she told us that the island had a way of telling people where they needed to be. I’ve always had a strong connection with the ocean and in that moment I felt like I was home. She said “the island has a way of giving us signs” then winked and walked away. I smiled and turned to look at the horizon and just then a pod of pacific bottlenose dolphins appeared at the bow of the ship. “Ashley!” I heard my name call out behind me, “if that’s not a sign I don’t know what is.” I turned and saw the deckhand grinning. Lexie and I looked at each other in awe. I still get chills thinking about the moment.
Mahalo Maui for opening my eyes and reminding me of something I really needed to hear again: the world is too big to stay in one place & life is too short to do just one thing.
A hui kaua!
PS: Penny get up! It’s double overhead. It’s perfect pipe! The waves are calling, they’re going off. Can’t wait to jump in and see where the sea takes us. Thanks for being my tour guide partner. Remember “no leakies!” Haha– Brenan thanks for being our local guide to the island!