Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Maui day 2: Jumping in

With my body still on California time, I was ready to get up at 5 am. However, since at 5 am it was still dark and I wouldn’t have been able to do any exploring, I forced myself to stay in bed until 7.

Even after a leisurely breakfast, it didn’t take us long to head out. We decided to spend the morning at Wailea Beach, considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Maui (I’m sure there’s a great deal of debate on that issue since there are so many stunning beaches). It’s only a few miles from our condo so we didn’t have far to go.

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The sand at Wailea Beach is the finest I’ve ever experienced. It felt like walking through granulated sugar. The sand also has a slight pink cast, which is really nice.

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And the water! Oh my, was it nice to be swimming and floating in the ocean again. I find the Pacific Ocean in California much too cold to be comfortable, so I never go in the water. How different the Pacific feels here on Maui! Not quite bathwater-warm, but close. The whole family had a blast playing the water.

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One of South Maui’s fanciest resorts, the 780-room Grand Wailea, is right on Wailea Beach. Guest staying there ($350/night for the cheapest room, $600+ for ocean-view rooms) get lounge chairs, umbrellas and towels whereas us schmucks have to haul everything ourselves.

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I strolled through the resort to see what their landscaping was like, and it is pristine. They must employ a whole army of gardeners to keep the resort free of dead vegetation. To my great surprise I even spotted a few plaques with botanical plant names! Here are just a few of the plants that caught my attention:

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Red ginger (Alpinia purpurata)
There are plantings of red ginger at Kahului Airport, and it was the first tropical plant I spotted when we arrived yesterday.

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Red ginger (Alpinia purpurata)

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Red ginger (Alpinia purpurata)

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LEFT: Unknown fern (the brown dots are the spores)
RIGHT: Monstera deliciosa

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Lobster claw (Heliconia caribaea)

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Lobster claw (Heliconia caribaea) next to traveler’s palms (Ravenala madagascariensis)

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Spicy jathropha (Jatropha integerrima)

But you need to stay at a super expensive resort to enjoy lush landscaping. The next four photos were taken right outside our condo (Palms at Wailea):

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If I wanted to buy these at home, I’d have to look in the houseplant section!

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Plumeria blossoms my youngest daughter collected this morning

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One of many giant albitzias (Albitzia chinensis) in this area. I love the intricate branch structure!

For sunset, we headed further down the coast to Big Beach aka Mākena Beach, also considered to be one of the nicest beaches in Maui (I told you there was a lot of arguing in this respect). On our way, we stopped at Keawala‘i Congregational Church, a small country church established in 1832.

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Behind the stone church is a small cemetery. It is bordered by a low lava rock wall and behind that is the ocean. I can’t think of a more peaceful setting for a final resting place.

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We were the only people there so the place felt particularly quiet and deserted.

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Many of the graves are topped with black lava rocks, and the rocks were adorned with flowers from the plumeria trees growing between the graves.

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As for Big Beach, it was as far removed from the hustle and bustle of Wailea Beach as you can imagine. It is located near the southern tip of Maui, past all the resorts. In fact, I couldn’t see any signs of civilization from the beach.

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Judging from the ample parking it must get a lot of traffic, but for sunset it fairly quiet—and at least half of the beachgoers appeared to be locals. It was an undeveloped piece of paradise that I had not expected to find here. Yes, I liked Wailea Beach and I can’t deny that the big resorts have their attractions, but Big Beach is where I left a little piece of my heart.

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12 comments:

  1. Despite the popularity of Waikiki and Hawaii in general, there still seems plenty of space around to feel intimate with the place. So gorgeous, we want to go on a summer holiday now...

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    1. I think many visitors don't stray far from the popular beaches. If you go just a little farther, you can escape 2/3rds of the tourists.

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  2. Oh my, those beaches... they are like a dream come true. And all that vegetation is so lush and pretty. Thanks for showing these pictures!

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  3. How can you not love an almost-deserted beach? You're making me long for the sound of the waves now...

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    1. The waves, the smell of the ocean, the breeze. Sunset at Big Beach truly was magical.

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  4. Those last few pictures are stunning, Gerhard, you really know how to work a camera! I'm curious, what do you do with it when you're in the water, lock it in the car and hope for the best?

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    1. Thank you, Sue!!

      When we're in the water, one of us stays by our bags, towels, etc. I try not to leave valuables in the car although I'm an eternal optimist.

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  5. We had lunch at the Grand Wailea and I think it was the most expensive meal we had on the island. I can't imagine shelling out the money to stay there. There are treasures all over Maui--I'm so excited to see what else you do.

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    1. The prices of meals (and groceries) are sticker shock-inducing. What we pay at home for a really nice meal out doesn't get you much around here, that's for sure. Paradise has its price, LOL.

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  6. We're heading to the Oregon coast in August to celebrate my parents 50th wedding anniversary...oh how I wish it were Hawaii instead!

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  7. Ok Dude! You are having way too much fun and making me jealous! You need to snorkel for me! Or at least have the kids do it. You can rent snorkle gear really cheap. About 5 or 15 dollars for the week!

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