Maui: Island Paradise

The coast just past Hana

Our last stop was Hawaii. We arrived in Kona, on the big Island, and we had a flight booked on Pacific Wings to Kahului in Maui. We started looking for the Pacific Wings sign, and we made it all the way to the end of the airport without seeing it, so we asked a baggage handler where it was. He pointed down the road and said, about a quarter mile that way.

OK, unusual, but at least we only had backpacks for the walk. We made it over to the commuter terminal, which is more of an indoor-outdoor porch with a few desks, and tried to arrange for an earlier flight — we were only able to book one about 4 hours or so after our flight got in because the earlier one was supposed to be full.

There was no desk agent, and we were told to just use their courtesy phone to check in. We picked it up and told the woman we were at the airport, then asked about the earlier flight. She told us to just check with the pilot. Never been told that before. So we started chatting with the other people waiting on the little deck and found out that we’d be taking a 9-passenger plane known as the “Dramamine flight.”

Our teeny tiny Pacific Wings prop plane

There wasn’t any room on the earlier flight, so we waited around, hungry and tired, until the single-engine prop plane got back. We didn’t have to go through a security screening, but we did have to tell the pilot how much we weighed. We then dropped our bags off by the wheel of the plane and hopped in just behind the wing.

Evan and I grabbed the only two-person bench seat — the rest were onesies — and settled in right behind the pilot. Evan watched his instruments while I ogled at the beautiful scenery throughout the flight. People pay good money to take small-plane sightseeing flights! Thankfully, the flight wasn’t anywhere near as bumpy as I expected, and it was really only the last 5 or 10 minutes that we moved around a bit, since it got windy going over the island.

When we hopped off the plane, we got our luggage and directed my mom and dad to the commuter terminal where they came to meet us with leis. When we got back to the Marriott Maui Ocean Club in Ka’anapali, my sisters had baked cookies and had made a “Welcome back to America” sign.

The coast just past Hana

We spent the next few days lounging on the beach, sleeping and playing Catchphrase with my family. My parents and my sister Michelle left 3 days after we arrived, though — they had already been there for a week — and Evan and I, along with Suzie and her boyfriend Danny, moved just a few miles away to Lahaina to stay at Lahaina Shores.

We took a snorkeling expedition early one morning. We left on kayaks from a small black sand beach just a few minutes out of Lahaina, and went out to the reef. We put on our snorkel gear and hopped off the boat, and we were greeted by at least four sea turtles! Most of the were hanging out at the bottom, though some were coming up for air right near us. The were really beautiful. Then we went on to the reef, where we saw more turtles swimming around, and plenty of fish. Most of the fish were black and yellow, and I was amazed at how calm they were. We didn’t bug them, and they didn’t bug us. It was the first time I’d been snorkeling that I wasn’t afraid of the fish. The coral and fish were so clear and picturesque, I felt like I was swimming in an aquarium. The coral seemed to go on forever.

Evan and Danny in the banyan tree — and this wasn’t anywhere near the biggest one we saw!

The day after our snorkeling excursion, we took the Road to Hana, an incredibly windy and treacherously narrow “highway” that has incredible ocean and rain forest views. We stopped in Hana for lunch, then went on to the state park, where we swam in a freshwater pool underneath a waterfall and looking out on the ocean. Then we took an easy hike up to another, much bigger waterfall, passing a big banyan tree, which Evan and Danny climbed, and going through the eerie bamboo forest. From the outside, it looked like a Dr. Seuss green toilet-brush top mountain; inside, it was dark and quiet and kind of eerie. The whole setting, from the coast line into the rain forest, was one of the most beautiful places I’d ever seen.

The entrance to the bamboo forest

The next day, we went out for breakfast, relaxed on the beach and had a sunset dinner before heading to the airport. Our trip was over — time to go back to LA.

The waterfall at the end of our hike

Check out more photos in Evan’s Facebook Gallery.

3 Responses to “Maui: Island Paradise”

  1. Hey I like your blog. It seems you do a lot of traveling. I like to travel too. I’m going to Senegal in less than a month to volunteer.

  2. tikichris says:

    Nice pics! It’s hard to leave Hawaii, huh? Hope all is well for you back in LA.

    – Chris

  3. Francine says:

    Thanks, Chris! It was so tough to leave… such a ridiculously beautiful and relaxing place. I can’t wait to go back someday.

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