Hello Friends and Family,

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Maui, Makena & Wailea

I continued on my venture to listen to my friend, Larry, entertain at the Wailea Shops but left early enough to take a few side trips. I stopped at Makena, one of the favorite beaches for locals. Back in 1984-85 when I lived on Maui, the access to this beach was mainly for the adventurous. To get there the old King's Highway was a dirt road and there was no paved parking — just pull off the road and park among the Keawe trees. No facilities other than a couple trash barrels. Most days there were people camped on the beach and definitely no lifeguards.

Now there are two lifeguard stations and with good reason — I have always felt that this beach had the roughest surf of any swimming beach I have seen on Maui. I overheard the lifeguards telling a tourist that this beach has more surf injuries than any other beach in Hawai‘i — and not just minor stuff but broken limbs, backs and even necks. They recommend (and I agree) that if you don't know what your doing, don't go in the water here.

This beach at Makena is actually called "Big Beach" because is so long. Just on the other side of that lava outcropping is a tiny beach known locally as "Little Beach". It is the only "clothing optional" beach on Maui — or at least the only one that is tolerated by the police (public nudity is officially illegal) probably because it is a bit of a challenge to get to. You have to climb over that outcropping and down the other side. And nope, I've never been there.

That "island" to the left of the photo is Molokini. It is a crescent moon shape and a fantastic dive location — both for snorkeling and SCUBA. There are lots of tour operators to take you there should you wish to enjoy its splendors.

Happily, there are plenty of photo opportunities on Big Beach — so no need to risk life and limb to visit Little Beach.

Turning around and looking in the other direction down the beach, you can see its size and a bit of the ferocity of the waves.

Next I decided to visit Wailea Beach since I still had plenty of time before Larry's performance. This beach has also changed considerably since I lived on Maui. The parking lot is a lot bigger and resorts have been built which implicitly take over part of the beach for their own guests. Locals don't like the change and I don't blame them. Legally, the beaches are fully open to the public but since the resorts have put out lounges and umbrellas for exclusive use of their guests, de facto, locals are pushed to this side of the beach.

One thing that hasn't changed is the relatively calm waves — they wouldn't even hurt a tourist. A second thing that hasn't changed is the sand — Wailea has the finest, whitest sand I've seen anywhere in Hawai‘i. It is like granulated sugar. Most beaches have more shells (both whole and broken) but not so much here.

Back in the mid-1980s, the Maui Intercontinental Hotel stood at far end of the beach and that was the limit of development. Ownership has changed and it has a different name and it now is in the middle of many fine resorts — no longer the last one.

And Wailea Beach has photo opportunities just like Makena.

Finally, time came for Larry to perform so I drove over to the Wailea Shops and watched him set up. There are a few tables and chairs in this part of the mall so I grabbed a front-row seat.

After singing a few songs, Larry asked for requests. Since most tourists don't know the names of Hawaiian songs (perhaps except for the late Don Ho's Tiny Bubbles), I called out my choice Rainbow Connection. It's a song made famous by Kermit the Frog but altered with a Hawaiian twist. Larry did a great job.

Here I captured Larry's beautiful guitar. Twelve strings, body and sounding board made of curly koa wood providing beauty to the eyes as well as to the ears. Larry is a master of this fine instrument.

One of the shoppers who stopped by was just too cute for words. She obviously enjoyed Larry's music and was not ready to go when her parents told her it was time.

I originally met Larry and his wife, Darlene, when I lived on Maui — and we have remained good friends ever since. On every return trip to Maui, I would always try to visit them even when they were living on Lana‘i (Larry's original island home and a 40-minute ferry ride from Maui). I even created a website for Larry to help publicize his CDs and live performances — feel free to click here to visit the site.

Not only is Larry a very accomplished vocalist and musician, he is one of the nicest, friendliest people you will ever meet. He always has a smile and a friendly word no matter the situation or the people around. I am proud to call him my friend.

By the way, if you are traveling to Maui, drop me a line if you would like to know when Larry is performing. I'll check with him and provide you his schedule.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

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