Although Maui was the most disappointing of the Hawaiian islands we visited, there were certainly some things to like. Here are our personal highlights.1. Snorkeling with vonu (sea turtle) that was as big as me, and she let me hang out with her. This was a SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE. Don’t put it past me to start a turtle-worshipping cult.
2. The canopy of stars from 10K feet up on Haleakala. Temps up there were in the 40s, but it felt like the 30s with the wind chill. Which is itself remarkable given it’s 80 degrees down the hill. From the summit, you see as many stars as space between the stars! There is a giant military-run observatory center right there, so if stargazing gets better, it’s not from Earth.
3. I was disappointed in Maui’s overall vibe and culture. Then I went “upcountry” (inland) and was pleased to see the serious alt-Maui. Spotted several people who never came down off their acid/peyote/ayahuasca trips, and never will. Saw scores of cyclists riding up Haleakala (riding bike from sea level to 10K feet), as well as a rodeo and a polo grounds. No palm trees, no beaches, no strip malls.
4. My favorite part about hiking on Haleakala’s lava sands was seeing the silversword (ahinahina), a plant that grows here and nowhere else. It’s a really awesome, special plant. I swear, it has secrets to tell.
5. The many faces of Maui. The island is named after a trickster god, and it is easy to see why. There are more faces to this island than a piece of land this size normally has.
6. Our kick-ass bungalow on the cliff with its hot tub on the deck is better than staying at a resort, big time. The owner needs to do some reno here, but you’d be hard pressed to find a better spot on the island.