Headed for clear waters in the Pacific
For those of us on the West Coast, Hawaii is the closest trip to visit paradise. 5.5 Hour plane ride to Maui, and you are paddling some of the most beautiful waters in the world. Packing two iSUP boards for this trip was an absolute must along side the flip flops and a few pairs of board shorts included. From the west side near Lahaina, to the winding roads traveling to Hana, it was easy packing the boards and sweeping beaches along the coast. Some beaches more sketchy than others due to wind and lava rock, but its all part of the excitement when seeking new grounds to explore. A week in Maui left us wanting more!
Our 3:30 AM wake-up call came early on Friday morning. We spent the majority of the evening before departing packing up the necessary gear. We got one of the first flights out of San Diego while the marine layer was still heavy over the city. It was about 7:45 AM when the first drink service rolled through the plane and we decided it wasn’t too early for a beer(s). We lifted the window shade every 30 minutes or so for a land-check. None yet. The movies we loaded into the iPad were obviously doing a bad job at keeping our excitement in check. Shortly after the last drink service (and one last beer), land was in sight. We hit the ground just before 10:00 AM – perfect timing for a Costco run to supply the week!
West Maui living
Staying at The Westin on Kaanapali Beach defined “beach front” property. Waking up before sunrise every morning to catch first light on the water made it truly feel like vacation. Being able to walk 100 yards from our balcony to the waters edge was a beautiful thing. In or out of the water, you could spot the turtles coming up for air in the wee hours before the snorkelers and wind woke up.
This area of the island is where many travelers unpack for weeks at a time at one of the nearby resorts. You could imagine how popular we became paddling while everyone was out enjoying a morning stroll with a fresh cup of joe. We got looks from the shore as we paddled parallel to the coast and questioned when we retreated back to the resort from the waters for happy hour. Onlookers were awe-struck when we were able to inflate and deflate the boards in a matter of minutes. If people were fast enough, they were able to catch us coming out of the water and we let them take a test run out over the reefs. The iSUP was certainly more popular than the resort-rented boards!
Haleakala, Big Beach, and a cruise to get boozed
Being on the island for only a week made us want to get out and see as much as possible. The big item on this trip was watching sunrise from Haleakala, one of the two volcanoes that form Maui. Us, along with a bunch of other visitors to the island, made it up to the 10,000 foot summit and waited out the day’s first light in 40 degree temperatures. Being that we didnt travel with sweaters, we couldn’t wait to get back down to the shores of Wailea and Makena to warm up.
Towards the south of the island is Makena Beach (Big Beach). Known for its heavy shorebreak and crystal clear waters, it was a must we jumped in and feel the powerful waters crashing on the sand. Four hours hanging at Makena Beach after waking up for sunrise called for an immediate nap before our sunset (booze) cruise. If you have never experienced a booze cruise, it is highly reccomended you do! Open bar, good vibes, and amazing skies as the sun sets is an experience of its own!
Tribute to those who serve
The second to last day on the island was a call for some relaxation. The plan, to lay on the beach, paddle, and do absolutely nothing; in no specific order. It was September 11th, and a huge tribute was in order to thank all current military as well as veterans who have served. Anyone staying at the nearby hotels were invited to give thanks and remember the events of 9/11 by showing up to the water front and gathering together. Four outriggers including members from all military paddled out on the water to have a special memorial for all to watch from shore. Paddling amongst the memorial on the iSUP was such a humbling experience to watch and see.
Until next time, paradise
A week in Maui was too short for us all. Days were filled with new adventures and excitements to leave a lasting memory forever. Although some of us felt a little queazy after traveling the Road to Hana, or a little tired waking up to catch sunrise atop a mountain, it was all apart of experiencing new things! Visiting Hawaii more often will be at the top of the list!!!