I am posting about our trip to Maui, even though we returned over four months ago, because I am already starting to forget parts of it and I would like to record it here for the future. We spent a beautiful two weeks (ish) on the island of Maui, with one day on Oahu.
Maui was absolutely incredible and unlike any place I have ever been before. There is something surreal about the landscape, with high mountains at the interior and a vast ocean off the coast. The weather was perfect, with a few minutes of warm rain each day to keep us cool in the heat. The ocean water was much warmer and saltier than the more familiar Atlantic, and there were many sheltered bays for us to explore. The cove where we rented paddle boards was so calm that we were able to figure out how to use them in no time, although we admittedly fell into the water a few times. We rented snorkeling equipment at the same beach, and swam with many tropical fish and a few sea turtles that were bigger than me. Maui’s beaches were incredible, and alone made the island worth the 11 hours we spent in flight to get there.
Speaking of aquatic life, the only disappointing part of our trip was our visit to the “largest aquarium in North America,” which was clearly false advertising. As general animal lovers, we thought this might be a fun day trip, but it turned out to be a bunch of buildings with pictures and videos of aquatic life. We did get to see some cool frogs, though.
We spent one day on Oahu visiting Honolulu, Waikiki Beach and Pearl Harbor. Honolulu and Waikiki Beach were beautiful but crowded, and paled in comparison to Pearl Harbor. Visiting the naval base and memorial was an incredible experience, especially for a history lover like myself, and I hope I will never forget it. My grandfather served in the US Navy during World War II and I took an embarrassing amount of photos to bring home to him. I had them printed for him and I don’t think I have ever seen him so moved by anything in my life. While we were able to walk the USS Missouri where WWII ended, the most unforgettable part of Pearl Harbor was the USS Arizona memorial. We took a boat out to the white stone memorial, which sits atop the sunken Arizona. Inside is a list of casualties on a large wall, and great holes in the floor which you can look through to see the ship beneath you. The memorial was very moving and inspired a silence in all of us that did not disperse until we returned to shore. Pearl Harbor is a hugely significant part of American history and I hope that others will continue to visit it for years to come.
After Oahu, two memories stand out as the highlights of our trip. The first was the night that we walked down the Northwestern shore of Maui from our condo to a beautiful restaurant called Pulehu. Although we joked about getting Italian food on a tropical island, the meal was incredible and the walk down the beach even more so. We watched the sunset over the water, and took a few photographs that turned out to be some of the best of our trip. The restaurant seated us at a high table just steps away from a Japanese style garden and fish pond. We were so close to the pond that we considered what would happen if one of us actually fell in, and avoided moving our chairs around too much. The blue crab dip was delicious and the server recommended a great bottle of wine to pair with it. We had such a good time that I actually posted a Yelp! review of the restaurant after we left – It was that great.
The second memory that stands out to me was our nighttime walk through Lahaina the night before we headed back to New York. Lahaina is a beautiful little town on the water with a fantastic view and many ways to pass the time. Although it is somewhat touristy, we had a really nice time perusing the shops and galleries along the sidewalk. This is also where I picked out my favorite souvenir, a black coral necklace that we purchased from the wife of a diver. Black coral is Hawaii’s state gemstone and incidentally makes really nice jewelry. We closed out the night with dinner and drinks, after which we stayed up late in the condo enjoying our last night on the island.
The trip to Maui was a great experience, and I would consider returning in a heartbeat. For now, I am planning the ever-growing list of places next to visit, as close as New England and as far away as the Philippines. After I finish grad school I hope to take another trip through Europe and many more throughout the US – Keep your fingers crossed for me that we can make it happen!