‘Aloha’ they say. Whether one is searching for an oasis of calm or an adrenaline rush, Hawaii’s Maui offers a plethora of both. From the drive through majestic, luscious valleys of little-known Kahekili Highway – a one-lane strip at the northwest – with jagged blind turns at every pulse, yards away from cliff drops, to the tranquil southeast at Haleakala Crater climbing at over 10,000 feet above sea level, methinks we’ve seen it all. The minute we set out in a new direction, we experienced a cultural shift from indigenous neighborhoods, Amish in lifestyle, to the buzz of urbanites populating the beaches along the West coast of Maui.
After merely keeping afloat on the Kahekili Highway one day and then the Hana Highway on another, a re-entry into the rhythmic calm was in order. Finally reaching the easternmost part of the island, a slither of path branching off from the road to Hana revealed the rejuvenating, hidden cove of Waianapanapa State Park. The waves became refreshing mist through blowholes, polished black-lava pebbles paved cave floors, and vibrant unruly vegetation grew over rocks.
A view of the life in the sea through a visit to Maui Ocean Center aquarium and a swim on Lahaina Beach triggered fascination with the world beneath, including the idea of standing over a volcanic hot spot amidst the vastness of the Pacific. Like my swim in the Great Barrier Reef years ago, this was also surreal. Being so close to the coral reefs of West Maui with colorful fish and giant turtles, rekindled childhood fantasies. Under water, the subtleties in new sounds and the increased intensity of the inner voice made for an even more sublime experience.
We sang ‘Aloha’ upon departure, fanned by totemic palm trees and quieted by rows of bamboo groves.