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Maui: North Shore Redux, Part 2


Blowholle Continuing my journey along the north shore of Maui, I came upon the blowhole at Nakalele Point (the northernmost point on Maui). It is a short walk from the off-road parking area but worthy of great respect. First of all, the wind tends to be quite strong here — I suspect the gusts were up to 50 mph. I had to brace my camera with my hand on a rock in order to get a decent photo.

Secondly, the rocks are quite rough and jagged. Combined with the wind, a trip could be quite painful. Third, the wind tends to rise and fall in intensity which can give you a false sense of security during a lull.

Most of you will recall my previous description of a blowhole (on Kaua`i) — but for anyone who missed it, here goes. When Hawaiian volcanoes erupt, the molten lava tends to flown downhill and will form a channel like a riverbed. As it does, the lava on the sides may lose some heat and begin to solidify, forming a wall — and perhaps eventually creating a dome over the lava bed — resulting in a lava tube. The solid walls and roof of the tube act like insulation facilitating the movement of the molten lava.

After the eruption, the lava will continue to drain to the ocean — leaving an empty lava tube behind. If the lava tube is situated at ocean level, the waves can flow in, compressing the remaining air in the tube. This wave action may create a hole in the tube if one was not there originally. Once a hole is formed, you have a blowhole through which compressed air and water will escape with each new wave that enters the lava tube.

The result is spectacular sprays as you see here. By the way, do take care when approaching a blowhole — you might get an unexpected shower or even be dragged into the ocean with a surprise wave.


Blowhole But from a safe distance, hopefully somewhat sheltered from the wind, it is an incredible sight to just sit and watch spout after spout.

Eroded Rocks Above, I mentioned the rough and jagged rocks. Here are some for your enjoyment. My guess is that they were formed by gases in the lava followed by wear on the outer rock surfaces.

Rocky BeachThere are many rocky beaches along the north shore of Maui. They don't look very inviting for swimming but the contrast between the foamy waves and the black rocks is spectacular.

Abandoned Corral And then I encountered this little cove which shows obvious imprints of human activity. My guess was that this was a corral for the cattle ranching that has been a staple of the north shore lifestyle for many years beginning with the arrival of the haoles from the mainland. This was probably a place where they would hold the cattle until a boat approached the shoreline to take them to market.

North Shore VistaThen look in the other direction to see an incredible north shore vista — including Moloka`i across the Pailolo Channel. I could sit here all day enjoying this view.

Sheer Cliffs Pressing on, I encountered this sheer cliff and rough ocean crashing at its base.

Rocky Beach Looking down, I spotted another rocky beach. Notice there are no resorts here — yet. Let's hope it remains unspoiled.

Desert Landscape Wow, an unexpected surprise — desert vegetation, which I believe to be yucca. As I understand it, yucca was introduced to Hawai`i by the paniolos (cowboys — originally vaqueros of California and Mexico but now referring to any Hawaiian cowboy) for use in making rope.

Big Rock Another spectacular sight, a huge rock known as Kahukuloa Head (some 636 feet high) just sitting out there in the Pacific Ocean. Maybe some of my rock-climbing friends may want to take on the challenge. I'll be happy to take their pictures from down below.

Kahukuloa Village As I mentioned last week, the road narrows to one lane — and eventually approaches a small community called Old Kahukuloa Village, with about 100 residents. If you look carefully, you can see that the road through town is only one lane wide. As I drove through the town, all I could think of was the challenge to live here so far from grocery stores, gas stations and the other "necessities" of modern life. Of course, perhaps that is why these folks choose to live here.


Church ast Kahakuloa No Hawaiian village is complete without a church — I love this one because it is painted in the old plantation colors with green walls, white trim and tin roof.

From this spot on, the road continues to be one lane wide with few turnouts — which makes taking photos nearly impossible. I suppose I could have stuck my left arm out the car window and pointed my camera straight down to catch the shoreline — but I was too busy trying to keep that rented SUV on the narrow roadway. Eventually the road widens as you approach Waiehu and on to Wailuku. A tiring but exhilarating drive — glad I had the opportunity to do it again after so many years.

Life is good.

Aloha,
B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc.