Hawaii: Maui – surf, turtles and crazy plants

So, Kim and I left Kauai not knowing what to expect of Maui, afraid it would not be as good as Kauai. It definitely has a different vibe… An old guy told us “You’re going to Maui? Well, you’ll see, it’s like New York!”. We laughed thinking of Times Square on a tropical island, but coming from slow paced Kauai, it actually made sense from the second we landed. It’s much busier, bigger, more populated and… there are rich Americans everywhere.

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It’s on Maui that we started to wonder how Hawaiians could so gracefully accept those strangers who buy properties they cannot afford on their own land. It feels like everyone in Hawaii is really sweet and tolerant. We did see an historic explanation in a park that referred to Hawaii as “still occupied by today”. Around a hundred years ago, Hawaii was an independent kingdom, and Americans eventually took control of the archipelago with a coup d’état. It was the 51st and last state added to the USA. Until recently, the army was doing bomb testing on an island off Maui. Locals had to move out. They stopped the testings when protests from locals began, after they mistakenly dropped a bomb 7 miles from the coast of Maui.

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A black sand beach

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We went straight from the airport on the road to Hana, a 2 hours amazing single lane for 2 ways road taking us through an unreal jungle with a diverse vegetation, flowers everywhere, tree growing parallel to the road just high enough to let the cars pass underneath, crossing huge waterfalls at every other u turn… All of that with a view on the dramatic Maui cliffs and the ocean.

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The typical landscape of the road to Hana.

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On the road to Hana, on the cost side.

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The next day we embarked on a journey to Haleakala national park, a sleeping volcano, to camp and watch the sunrise. It was so foggy that we did not see anything, but the day before we hiked the Pipiwai trail in the park, making by itself the trip to Maui worth it. We saw one of the biggest tree ever, walked through a bamboo forest and had lunch near a huge waterfall. All of this with mongooses crossing our way and guavas, transported by the river and being opened on the side of the trail by birds. Even I (with my terrible nose) could smell the guavas all along. This was one of the most peaceful experience I ever lived, I rarely felt as immersed in nature as that day. The bamboo forest especially was unreel, it was miles of giant green bamboos everywhere, with the sound of the river and a soft noise when the wind would make the bamboos touch.

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One of the first stop on the Pipiwai trail.

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Huge tree on the Pipiwai trail, I couldn’t help to climb it!

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In the bamboo forest

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The guavas on the trail.

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The sunset over the clouds on the Haleakala.

The next day we had no plan, we them decided to visit a small city on our way and go to the beach. The small city turned out to be a mall of expensive shops for tourists and estate agencies specifying the neighbors nationalities. We went to one of the most famous beaches of the island, but they’re apparently all packed with tourists in very expensive parking areas and are all a little plain. We decided to hit smaller beaches then, much wilder and prettier. We explored the northern area of the island, much more wild than the South.

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After a long day fishing in the sea, turtles come and rest on that beach. At first we thought they were rocks.

fruit stand

Those are everywhere! The owner puts fresh fruits and veggies and empties the money box every day. You pick what you want and leave the money in the box.

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The North side of West Maui.

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Kim celebrated her 31st birthday in Maui!

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We surfed too, people were saying it was “easy” on Maui, so we tried and have been able to ride waves! It felt crazy when surfing, but the waves were actually slow and small, perfect for beginners.

We left not being sure of loving the vibe, but some places  of that island are very unique and mesmerizing.

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