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South Maui, Part 3

At the very end of the paved road is La Perouse Bay. A few years ago I was fortunate to encounter perfect weather and unfettered access resulting in the photo below. On this trip, the weather was not quite as nice — but the big barrier was fencing and signs prohibiting the public from accessing this same spot. I like this image so much it is on my website.

I mentioned the difference in the weather — well, the surf was definitely up. The wind was blowing and huge waves were pounding the volcanic coastline here.

This area is the site of the last lava flow from Haleakala from the mid- to late-eighteenth century. Much of the area looks like this, covered with volcanic rock. This particular "hole" was probably hollowed out by Hawai`ians to form a shelter from the elements.

As I was wondering around, I ran into a local kid who was looking off into the distance where some brave, adventurous surfers were tackling the gigantic waves at the far end of La Perouse Bay. He said that the path was in good shape and it is easy to walk all the way down there — but that there is no road. I asked him how the surfers got all the way down there and he told me they either walked the path or paddled.

I decided to give it a go (walking the path, not surfing) since I have never been down there — nor have I ever seen anyone surfing such large waves on Maui.

So off I went, camera in hand, and was rewarded with sights like this.

I did not encounter many adventurers on the trail but I did see this couple (she, obviously pregnant) watching the waves as they died out on the rocky coast.

I was able to capture the sight of these magnificent waves but the images do not capture the sound and the feel of the impact of the waves when they deplete their energy against rocks standing in their path — even a blind person would know that the surf is up.

As I approached the far end of La Perouse Bay, I was rewarded with sights like this.

And this.

As I watched the surfers and captured them photographically, I actually began to fear for their safety — the waves were that intense.

And with good reason. I encountered a couple of markers which I assume were for surfers who had lost their lives in these waters.

There were only a small handful of surfers and I am sure they were delighted to have this great surf to themselves. I was delighted to be able to share it from the safety of the shore.

As I stood there watching, something caught my eye behind me. A goat! This area was used for farming and ranching at one time. I read that the climate changed significantly and the area began to suffer from a lack of rainfall, making farming impossible. I suspect this goat is now feral and able to eke out a living without humans around.

All in all, quite a serendipitous day — when I set out in the morning, I had no idea what a wonderful experience was in store for me. This guy may have said the same thing.


Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com