Carolina: Cruising Past 70: Our Lifestyle Adventures: Life on Maui's Head

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Our Lifestyle Adventures: Life on Maui's Head

Nakahuloa Head
The island of Maui is the second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands at 727.2 square miles and third most populous at 144,444, behind O Ľahu and the Big Island. It is called a "volcanic doublet," formed from two volcanoes that overlapped one another, creating an isthmus between them. Locals fondly call that isthmus the neck. The older Pu’u Kukui is the extinct volcano that created Maui’s Head and had been eroded considerably and cut by numerous drainages, forming the peaks of the West Maui Mountains.
Although we landed in the east below the isthmus, at the Airport in Kahului, we crossed the neck to get to Valley Isle Resort, our Diamond Resorts time-share, north of the Kaanapali Beach on Maui’s Head. The high-rise resort is designed so that each unit faces the ocean. Our unit had a spacious living, dining and kitchen area complete with all facilities, including a large balcony with a fabulous view of the Lanai Island owned by Larry Ellison of Oracle, about 8 miles from the beach. The bedroom area is equally spacious with a Queen bed, walk-in closet, and a bathroom with a tub. Valley Isle has a pool area but what we were drawn to most was the piece of the coveted beach at the back.

On the way to the Blowhole
The next day we decided to see first what was nearest us and drove north on Maui's Head until we reached one of the best beaches on the island, D. T. Fleming Beach. A little further north we chanced upon a family having their pictures taken from atop rocks looking out to the rocky beach below. They gladly took our pictures too. The same lucky thing happened a few turns later. There was supposed to be a Lipaa Lighthouse after this, but we just could not find it! We were frustrated, but soon we were rewarded at Nakalele Point. It is the large area of black rocks featuring Maui’s counterpart to Kauai’s Spouting Horn, the Blow Hole. Oh, what an interesting area for taking photos and videos! But the climb back up was a bit difficult!

The Blowhole
We then traced the coastal road going south on the Head’s eastern shore. It was tricky for it was mostly one-lane. But we were sufficiently distracted because a geological formation that looked like Yosemite’s Half Dome slowly appeared beyond the mountain ridges. We stopped at a few lookouts to take photos, but we could not quite capture the entire Head. Finally, just as soon as thirst was taking over, a food truck miraculously appeared! And behind it was the best view of what we later found out was called Nakahuloa Head. We finally got our beautiful photos and gladly took others’ photos. Just after the truck, we found a tiny settlement, with a pink coffee shop.

Sacred Iao Needle
We had more of this scenic drive on this one=lane road but soon civilization reappeared. We were almost down to the neck again until we saw an arrow pointing to Iao Valley. Hungry, we first stopped at a nearby Mall for locals and split a huge Ramen lunch. Then we resumed our visit to the Valley. It turned out to be a State Park and one of the most sacred spots in Maui. A famous rock formation called The Iao Needle towered over the eastern ridge that surrounded the valley. A raging stream flowed through the middle of the valley floor amid lush native flora. But soon it drizzled, and we had to run to the car, cutting short our discovery walk on such a great find of a Sacred State Park.

Driving west, we noticed the vast undulating plantations of sugar cane. We understand the pineapple plantations and ranches are there, too, in central Maui. Finally, we reached Lahaina, just south of Kaanapali Beach. The town was Hawaii’s capital until 1845 when Honolulu became the capital.  At The Harbor, there was a multitude of stalls for different water sports. We booked our ticket for the Atlantis Submarine excursion. It was such a thrill as the sign climbed to 150 feet. Then when corals, fish, and even a sunken ship appeared, I was glad I gave it a try. I don't swim, snorkel or scuba so this was the only way for me to see life in the sea.
The heart of the Banyan Tree
Right in front of that Harbor is the Banyan Tree Park where an old Banyan Tree at the center has extended with branches and root systems throughout the park. We had fun taking our pictures in and around those intricate growths. And across the street stood the Baldwin House, the home of Dwight Baldwin (1798–1886), an American Christian missionary and physician during the Kingdom of Hawaii when King Kamehameha ruled. Baldwin founded some of the largest businesses in Hawaii.
Kino's by the sea
The center of activity in Lahaina is Front Street, parallel to the coast and lined on both sides with restaurants and shops. After rejecting many t-shirts in countless shops, I finally found the tank top that declared “I Left My Heart in Paradise” with a map of the Hawaiian Islands in a pink heart! Then we turned to look for where we could dine by the sea. Although there were no tables available in the main dining area of Kimo’s, we found one at the Bar Area. The Steak and Wedge dish was great, but the Hawaiian music from a guitarist and a saxophonist was better, especially since I “almost sang” with them. But it was the glorious Maui sunset glowing from our table that was best!
Hawaiian Medley
We went back to our Resort completely satisfied with the Life we found on Maui’s Head. We hoped that our week would go by ever so slowly here in Paradise!

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