Volcanoes, Beaches, Lush Valleys, Historic 19th-Century Whaling Towns & Death-Defying, Record-Breaking Drives
Surfing action in Honolua Bay, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 4, 2013
I‘ve commented a few times over the past few days how life is good. That’s the kind of vibe being here in Hawaii promotes. Today is my third day on Maui, the second-largest of the 8 Hawaiian Islands. It’s the third island I’ve visited on this my second trip to Hawaii, but the only one of the three – Oahu, the Big Island & now Maui – that I hadn’t visited before.
— davidMbyrne.com (@ByrneDavidM) March 5, 2013
I’ve based myself in a small rental studio on the outskirts of Haiku () near the island’s north shore, an area popular with windsurfers. It’s a quiet & secluded part of a quiet island. Just perfect. From there I toured the island in my Dodge Caliber rental – the girl at the car rental desk seemed shocked that I didn’t want a soft top Ford Mustang like everyone else. It – Maui – is green. It’s very lush. And it’s amazingly diverse, especially with regard to its topography – within its 1,800 km² area you’ll find desolate mountains, vast open spaces, sandy beaches & lush green valleys; it’s from the latter that the island gets its nickname The Valley Isle. Here’s a selection of pictures from the last three days of living the good life on Maui.
Lahaina & West Maui
On day one in Maui I headed to the west of the island, an area formed by a dormant and much eroded shield volcano known to geologists as Mauna Kahalawai but commonly known to everyone else as the West Maui Volcano. A largely inaccessible region mostly now given over to a forest reserve, the West Maui Forest Reserve, the only road out in these parts skirts the coast. First port of call, & after stopping off to view humpback whales breaching the shallow waters offshore, was Lahaina, a small picturesque harbourside town, the historic first capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii (between 1820 and 1845) & a major port for the pacific whaling fleet of the 1840s.
The Challenging Roads Of Maui
Despite its compact size, the topography of Maui offers up more than a few driving challenges, namely the serpentine & barely-fit-for-purpose road of extreme western Maui, the record road accent to the island’s highest point, & the bridges & bends of the famed and spectacular Road To Hana. Yes, Maui really is quite the road-tripping destination, something I never thought I’d say about a remote island in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The first Maui challenge I was to rise to was western Maui’s Kahekili Highway.
Honoapi’ilani & Kahekili Highways
Beyond western Maui’s Honolua Bay, and continuing to circumvent the West Maui Volcano, the precarious State Route 30, a.k.a. the the Honoapi’ilani Highway, gives way to the even more precarious State Route 340, a.k.a. the Kahekili Highway, a euphemism for a ‘highway’ if ever there was one.
A cliff-hugging drive of some 34 kilometres via a hair-raisingly narrow, one-lane, steep and twisty road, some parts of which are barely fit for purpose, means the going is slow, or at least it should be. This is a road that demands your attention, a road Dangerourroads.org claims has ‘humbled many egos’, is not for ‘sissies’, and ‘shouldn’t be attempted by novice drivers.’ Take from that what you will.
– Dangerousroads.org commenting on Maui’s Kahekili Highway
It wasn’t until yesterday, day 8 in Hawaii overall, that some time was put aside for beach lounging with this beach, Big Beach in south Maui being the beach of choice.
Haleakala National Park
After circumventing the other Maui volcano, Mauna Kahalawai, a.k.a. West Maui Volcano, on day 1, by (very) early today, day 3, it was time to drive to the summit of the island’s dominant feature and the centrepiece of the island’s Haleakala National Park, the mighty Haleakala, a.k.a. the East Maui Volcano, a massive shield volcano that accounts for the bulk of Maui’s landmass (75%) – the island of Maui is a so-called volcanic doublet, formed from two shield volcanoes that overlapped one another to form an isthmus between them.
– Dangerousroads.org commenting on Maui’s Haleakala Highway
The above picture of cars parked near the summit of Haleakala, meaning House of the Sun, was taken at 7:30 a.m., an hour after sunrise proper which itself didn’t impress much on this particular day. But I have it on good authority that a Haleakala sunrise is indeed a sight to behold.
– Mark Twain commenting on sunrise from the summit of Haleakala
– Information on display at the Haleakala Visitors Centre, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii.
The Road To Hana
I’ve one more day here on the Valley Isle before I take my final interisland flight back to Oahu & I’ll be spending it as a guest of Valley Isle Excursions on their Road To Hana tour, another must-do here in Maui. Being chauffeured along Hawaii’s most famous road will be a nice way to bid adieu to the island.
— davidMbyrne.com (@ByrneDavidM) March 7, 2013
– Dangerousroads.org commenting on Maui’s Hana Highway