Hello Friends and Family,

1981 - Maui, the Valley Isle, Part 3

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

After last week's brief visit to my personal Hawaiian Art Museum, it is time to return to Maui, specifically Napili Bay. For many years, my favorite spot on Maui has been the Kapalua & Napili area. This shot captures Napili Bay, on a calm day, with Napili Kai Beach Resort overlooking the far side of the bay. Also, this is a bit of a historic shot because bits of the Kapalua Bay Hotel are just beyond. I say "historic" because the hotel was demolished and replaced with what is now called the Montage Kapalua Bay.

Panning to the right, the camera captures Napili Beach, a lovely place to dip your toes in the water. On the far side, where the surface of the water appears darker is a wonderful snorkeling area. As I mentioned above, the water is quite calm but note that it is not that way every day. I quite enjoy bobbing up in down on the larger waves then riding them onto the beach.

The next beach over is Kapalua Beach, which is actually my favorite beach in Hawai‘i. The name means "arms embracing the sea" because the volcanic rock outcropping on both sides stretch out into the ocean. That also reduces the size of the waves that make it into the beach area — making this a prime snorkeling area and a great place to take the little ones.

The building in the background is now Merriman's Kapalua — my favorite restaurant on the island. I recommend it highly but also suggest that you make your reservations well in advance because of its popularity. I also suggest requesting a reservation time close to sundown — the view is spectacular.

Kapalua Beach has a parking lot but it fills up fast. Since I always stay within walking distance, I generally don't have to worry about that. There is also some on-street parking but late-comers may have to hunt for a place to park.

Hopping in the car and continuing up Honoapiilani Road, one can see some of the rugged coast on this side of Maui.

From this vantage point, you can see the road we just drove on but also what appears to be a pole house. In case you are not familiar, pole houses are built with vertical poles supporting the main structure of the house. When done correctly, the structure allows the tradewinds to cool the home without air conditioning. When I win the Lottery, this is the type of house I will be living in.

I love this shot because it shows so much of Maui's geographic and cultural history. Note the layers of volcanic rock laid down by Madame Pele, goddess of the volcano — it is quite distinctive here. And, if you look carefully, you can also see caves that have been dug into the cliffs, making access difficult. I suspect that these may be some of the caves that were used for hiding the remains of ali‘i, the nobility of the Hawaiian islands who were believed to have descended from the gods. Further, it was believed that the ali‘i possessed great mana (spiritual energy of power and strength), even after death. It was important that the individual's remains not be violated by his or her enemies and thus their remains were placed in inaccessible caves to protect their mana.

Continuing on the same road, one finds magnificent beaches with no one on the beach or in the water. It's hard to believe that you can be the only person on a beach at a popular destination like Maui — but it's true.

If you continue on state road 30, you will eventually end up in Wailuku, where one can find the ‘Iao Needle. It is interesting to note that this "needle" is actually a slab of rock but from the path in the surrounding park, the vantage point makes it look like a needle.

My first visit to ‘Iao Needle was from the air. I was attending the Maui County Fair some years ago and found that one of the helicopter companies was offering rides to ‘Iao Needle for $15. I did it. It was great. And I assure you that the "needle" is, in fact, a slab.

A paved walking trail provides a scenic viewpoint of Kuka’emoku (‘Iao Needle), an erosional feature that rises 1200 feet from the valley floor. A short paved loop trail meanders through an ethnobotanical garden adjacent to ‘Iao stream. This park is a favorite destination for tourists. Enjoy.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

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