Maui Notes

It’s like a thing with me, a complete collapse at the end of the first day - tired, travel weary, synapses frayed, just wanting to get to where we need to be and collapse. Flight goes well, though I worried about getting sick on the flight from Salt Lake - it was filled with children. Coughing, sneezing, no mouth covering children. We pick up the rental, grab a bite to eat, and make our way through the dark to our condo.

What we don’t realize is we came in the back entrance of the compound, which was disorientating per the rental instructions. What we do realize is that our host has not given us the condo number. Partial meltdown ensues where I’m imagining us stuck in the Volkswagen all night due to the host not answering us. Finally, getting a partial grip, I talk to a small group of people sitting out and smoking, and they fill me in on where to go.

Now it all blurs into a beautiful stretch of relaxing days…for the most part.

The beach is a five minute walk from our condo, and we spend our first morning grabbing some sun while Juniper takes to the waves. She seems happy, laughing as the waves engulf her, knocking her over. When she runs up to us a short time later, seeking the warmth of her beach towel, she looks like a grown woman. Time really does go by fast.

There are groceries to buy, meals to get. We hit a vegan restaurant for lunch. So many choices on the menu. We get a fairly basic lunch - sandwiches, fries, a salad. Our first sticker shock - a 100 dollar lunch. We knew it would be expensive, bu it’s still shocking. I’m surprised though, gas is only 4.75 a gallon. I thought it’d be 10 dollars or more.

It’s so clean here. You see very little trash littering the road sides. The water is clear. Unlike the Oregon coast I’ve visited, which seemed to have washed up a forest worth of driftwood, or the California coast of my Marine Corps years, the beach littered with trash, dead sea lions, old tires, and plastic bottles of every shape and size. Not here. This, at least on the surface, is clean.

The weather is perfect, hovering around 80 degrees, plus or minus a few degrees, for the majority of our ten days on the island. We get word from Boise of torrential rain, low temps, and snow. We relish the fact we are here.

There is a hike on the Waikee’e Ridge Trail. This is a strenuous hike up the ridge of a mountain, and it eventually takes you into the clouds. It is jungle, and lush with growth, and rich with green, and a fog hovers above us, waiting for our ascent. We don’t make it the whole way. Erin breaks down in fear because of the heights, but she was already hating the hike. She told me to continue on, and I do, catching up with Juniper who had tired of waiting for us. But we go back and find her crying, yet she says to continue on, she’ll head back down herself. Juniper and I continue on for a bit, but I feel bad and wonder if I should have left her. We message her we’re coming back.

I’ll always wonder what the end of the hike was like. I like the strenuousness of hiking, I like the challenge and I like the payoff. There will be other hikes. We finally establish that Erin does not like hiking. She enjoys walking. It’ll be me soloing or hiking with Juniper in the future.

There are wild chickens all over the island. The roosters call out every morning around 420 am. I’ve tried to sleep through it the whole trip, but it wakes me every time. Ear plugs do not work. It’s almost maddening. I haven’t had one morning that I’ve been able to sleep in until my body is ready to wake. And I won’t get that when we get home - there are dogs that start whining to go out early in the morning.

The birds are different, their calls exotic, interesting, so strange to the ear. And they look more colorful. I could stay here for longer than the 10 days we have allotted.

We catch sunsets along the beach. The sun sets early here - 6:41 pm. I’m surprised by this. The sunset is nice, warm orange fading to lavenders, purples, dark blue, the color splashed across the waves.

There are meals at the condo, and meals out. We order vegan Thai - the best drunken noodles I’ve ever had. Juniper raves about the fried rice she has. Erin says her Pad Thai is okay - too salty. We eat out from a vegan food truck - I get a French dip, and it is incredibly good. The way they prepare the mushrooms it literally tastes like thin cut roast beef. It comes with a side of jus, and I dip my sandwich in greedily. Incredible fries, salty, skin on, crispy, just right.

More beach time - I go early to get us a spot. I’m out in the water, enjoying the waves when Erin and Juniper arrive. Juniper brings the boogie board but heads back to eat breakfast. I take the boogie board with me into the water and attempt to catch waves. They’re pretty damn big this morning. A guy politely tells me I’m too far out, and I should move back about 7 to 10 feet. I thank him, I do, and I catch the next wave, riding the crest all the way back to the shore. I’m laughing like a little kid, and having a blast. I catch some more. One big ass wave comes in, and I fall off the board, and the wave twirls me under the water and slams me into the ocean floor.

That fucking hurt. I’m a bit stunned by the force and this small taste of the power these waves can pack. I can appreciate the danger of a large wave. I get slammed a couple more times while out, and will take home some bruises and scrapes. Juniper shows up and I get her out into the water, show her the way to use the board, and she starts catching some waves. Later, lounging on the beach, I also catch a sun burn.

Somewhere in here is a used book store, and a handful of books for Juniper, and a couple for myself. And there are hours lounging around the condo, each of us staring into our phones, curating pictures, posting to Instagram and Facebook. I try to get a screencast going with the tv’s but it is unsuccessful. I watch some television with copious amounts of commercials. Erin gets Netflix working and we laugh at having been here for days before figuring it out. We all stretch out on the hideaway bed and start watching the “Ripley” series.

There is an attempt to see Haiku but Google Maps sends me to some off-road destination on private property so we settle on Paia, a tourist trap stretch of shops and eateries. We get coffee, and I purchase a muffin and vegan donut - 14 dollars. The donut is stale and crumbly. We peruse the shops and Erin and Juniper get some souvenirs. We head back, and I’m privately a little disappointed we didn’t see Haiku, but the drive out there was nice, everything so rich, and lush, and overgrown, and so many strange flowers and trees and plants filling the scenery unfolding before us.

We’ll head back this same way a few days later and do the Twin Falls hike. It’s a leisurely hike with trails leading to a set of two waterfalls, and further up, a single waterfall that drops about 30 feet. The scenery is beautiful, the falls something to behold. We have to cross a stream to get to the upper trail fall, but soaked shoes are well worth the view. On our way back we stop in Paia once more for coffee.

Juniper and I are signed up for a snorkel and snuba trip. We venture out in the early morning, making our way to the harbor to rendezvous with our boat, the Four Winds II. Making our way out to the Molokini Crater we get a surprise view of humpback whales, their large humps rising from the ocean, blasts of spray from their blow holes, and the splash of their tails slapping the water. I’m amazed, having thought whale season over, but these are a couple of stragglers. The boat undulates on the waves, and soon I’m feeling a bit off. At one point I think I’m going to vomit, so I make my way to the back of the boat, finding a group of people who have either already emptied the contents of their stomachs, or are holding on like myself. I begin to feel better. There are more whales, and dolphins, and eventually we make it to the crater.

We snorkel for a time, and then we do snuba. I’ve never done anything like this - we get hooked up to an oxygen tank and are basically scuba diving. It’s incredible to be under the water for so long, the schools of fish moving about us, fish of various types and colors moving through the coral. Juniper has an underwater camera and takes pictures. They’re so cool. This is one experience I’ll never forget and I feel so happy to have been able to share it with Juniper.

The trip is starting to wind down, we only have two days left. I’ve started to get the blues, already dreading heading back to our life, to work, to the grind, to the dogs, and all the things I don’t want to do. It always feels like you have to kill a part of yourself when you come back after a break. You have to smother this part of your spirit, drown it, until you’ve fit back into the groove. I hate it. It feels inhuman.

I’m trying to stay optimistic, to keep an open mind. There are two days left. Erin and Juniper are going to a yoga class tomorrow, and Erin is following that up with a tattoo session. I don’t know what I’m going to do…maybe the beach? I won’t have the car so I’m not going anywhere I can’t get to on foot. So…probably the beach.

I walk to the beach the next morning, and find a trail whose hike moves adjacent to the ocean. I take it for a mile or so, ending up at a resort that has a swimming pool set 200 yds from the ocean. Everything is blocked off, so I turn around and make my way back. There are good spots for snorkeling, and in various spots the beach head is covered in black lava rock. There are birds perching and diving among the rocks, and crabs skittering about.

This is the wind down. We have to check out tomorrow at 11 and then occupy ourselves until our flight leaves - 9:45pm. So I guess there is time, but I’m not sure what we’ll do. I don’t think anyone has it in them to go on a major hike or other adventure.

The break has been great, a truly fabulous and relaxing time. I’m not looking forward to going home and back to the routine. I don’t miss anything there.

Author: Jason Jacobs

Jason Jacobs is an artist, project manager, and frontend web designer living and working in Boise, Idaho. Beyond work he spends his time with family, as well as reading, writing articles for Uhmm, and working on his art. All words and opinions, etc., are his and do not reflect the positions or beliefs of anyone other than himself.