WATER

By , June 19, 2010 2:47 am
A windsurfer with modern gear tilts the rig an...
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Walk Along A Beach

Power walk, stroll or dilly dally, whatever your walking speed is, Maui has a beach that is just right for you. If you are looking for a long stretch of beach that you can call your own, you can’t beat the white sand beaches of South Maui for early morning walks. All of Hawaii’s beaches, including the beaches in front of Maui’s luxury hotels, are public property and available to all who wish to enjoy them. In heavily populated areas, look for blue and white shoreline access markers along the roadway that mark public access roads or trails to the ocean. If you like to people watch while you’re walking, Kaanapali’s beaches are the best, especially “Dig Me” Beach. No, “dig me” does not refer to its sand! Watch surfers as you walk along Awalua Beach, parasailers at Hanaka’o'o Beach, or windsurfers at Hookipa and Kanaha Beaches. While the morning is best for exercise walking, at sunset the beaches are spectacular! Instead of walking though, by that time of the day, most people are content to sit on the sand and watch the sun dip below the horizon, ending another perfect day.

Swim In The Buff

Over in Hana, Kaihalulu or “Red Sand Beach,” is used by total sun worshipers although the local community has struggled in vain to keep them away from it. The trail to the beach is unmarked and perilous, but if you must see it, here is how to find it. Take Uakea Road past Hana Bay to the old Hana School and ball park. Park wherever you can along the roadside, but not in Hotel Hana Maui’s Sea Ranch Cottage complex. The start of the trail is between the old school buildings and the hotel’s parking area for the cottages. If you can’t find it, walk toward the ocean, keeping on the hillside. Once you get past the tall grass, you should be able to spot the trail on the side of the hill. The hill is Kauiki Hill; it was the site of many battles during the reign of Kamehameha the Great. Kauiki Hill is composed of red cinders and as the cinders eroded, it formed a beach at the foot of the hillside. Rocky pillars stand guard offshore, creating a sheltered cove to swim in. The contrast between the ocean and the sand is beautiful, it’s worth the hike in to swim there, even if you have to keep your bathing suits on, which you should do if there are local fishermen or families there. Although there are numerous other beaches that look as if they’d be great for nude bathing, don’t chance it. While not exactly puritanical, most residents object to nudity in public places. Little Beach and Red Sand Beach are sort of okay…everybody knows about it and if you’re uncomfortable about it, don’t go there.

Venture To Ahihi Marine Preserve

Private, secluded, a scuba, snorkeler’s paradise. These are the words you will use to describe your visit to the Ahihi Marine preserve. Ahihi Bay is about 1 1/2 miles south of the Maui Prince Hotel and La Perouse Bay is about 2 miles south of that. Both are well south of Makena and worth the drive. Your trek is rewarded with some of the clearest water around Maui and an unspoiled underwater preserve. The land facilities are nonexistent but the clear water and the mixture of coral and lava make for memorable underwater vistas. There is very little sand to cloud the water. Lava abounds. Be Careful…The lava is very sharp! Also watch out for sea urchins, their spines are painful, but vinegar can help with the sting.

Swim In A Mountain Pool

Is it true that giant mo’o, lizards, live in mountain pools? An old legend says it’s so. To protect yourself from the mo’o, the legend suggests, you must make an offering to it and ask for its permission to swim there. Drop a flower or leaf into the water; if it floats, you may swim safely. If the flower is swept away and disappears, the mo’o is at home and doesn’t want to be disturbed. Although no one has seen a mo’o recently, watching the water for a while before entering a mountain stream or pool is a good idea. Do as the legend says and test the water’s swiftness before entering it. During rainy or stormy weather, be extra careful when swimming in mountain pools or hiking near streams. A sudden downpour on the mountain’s upper slopes can bring a flash flood down into the pool you are in, so always be extra careful. At Oheo Gulch, the eastern section of Haleakala National Park, the Palikea Stream travels 7.8 miles from the mountains to the sea, creating numerous pools that you can swim in. The popular name of the pools is “Seven Pools,” or “Seven Sacred Pools.” The National Park rangers hate it when tourists call it “Seven Pools” so if you stop to chat to any of them, show them how akamai (smart) you are by referring to it by its proper name, Oheo. How did the pools get its nickname? Way back in the early ’50′s, when Hana was very much off the beaten track for Maui’s visitors, a social director at Hotel Hana Maui enhanced the pools by giving them the name, “Seven Sacred Pools.” According to her story, the pools are the seven virtues, the virtues that will take you to Heaven. Starting in the pool at the ocean’s edge, if you worked your way upstream, swimming in all of the sacred pools, you would attain Heaven. The only problem is, she did not say which of the dozens of small pools are the sacred ones! Oheo literally means “a gathering of pools.” Another theory as to why the pools were considered sacred is that in the Hawaiian culture, menstruating women were not allowed to swim there, it was taboo, sacred, or off limits to them. Regardless of where you swim in Maui’s mountain pools, remember the mo’o.

Go Bodysurfing

No equipment needed except a pair of fins and common sense. Body surfing can be a blast any where. All we need are the right waves, conditions and a sandy ocean bottom. Sometimes, we get big waves that look like good bodysurfing waves only to realize that they are dangerous shorebreaks. To the bodysurfer¬† these can be very dangerous and lead to serious injury. “Look before you leap,” applies here. Check out the surf BEFORE you jump in. Popular body surfing beaches are: Ulua, Wailea, Polo or Makena (“Big Beach”), Kamaole Beaches in Kihei, Napili Bay and Baldwin Park. Remember check it out before you jump in!

Windsurf Maui’s Waters

Maui is also one of the best places in the world to learn how to windsurf. Kanaha Beach Park, near the Kahului Airport, is world-renowned as a windsurfing park. Kanaha is the ideal learning area because of sideshore winds, a sandy beach and warm water. Local windsurfing shops have excellent schools that will have you sailing in no time. Lessons, however, must be booked in advance. Maui has long been regarded as the “Windsurfing Capital of the World” because of its unique combination of strong tradewinds and consistent surf. In fact that combination of wind and waves makes Ho’okipa Beach Park the¬† most photographed windsurfing site on the planet. If you are traveling to Hana, just past old Paia town, you will see some of the best windsurfers in the world playing in the surf at Ho’okipa. Mornings tend to be the best times for the novice windsurfer since the winds are lighter. The more advanced riders hit the waves in the afternoon, when the wind picks up. Windsurf enthusiasts from all corners of the world come to Kahului to purchase equipment because of the huge selection of windsurfing equipment at the local shops. In addition, to the large retail stores, Maui is home to over 20 sailmakers and sailboard-builders, making windsurfing a major industry on the Valley Isle.

Sail The Ocean Blue

Sailing, sailing, over the bountiful sea… If you search the world, it would be difficult to locate anywhere with better year-round sailing conditions than Maui. Whatever your sailing preference, you can find it here. Single hull, double hull and tri-hull yachts of all sizes offer sailing adventures that boggle the mind. You can go on breakfast sails, lunch sails, sunset cocktail sails and dinner cruises. Want to go snorkeling or diving? A few choices are to Molokini, a volcanic tuff cone sheltering a marine life conservation zone; to Lanai to swim and dive in the same waters Kamehameha the Great, Hawaii’s first monarch, enjoyed; or around the tip of Maui’s north shore to Honolua Bay where the water in the bay can be so calm, it looks like a sheet of glass. Sail boats leave daily from Maalaea Harbor in South Maui, Lahaina Harbor in West Maui, and from the beach at Kaanapali, carrying anywhere from six to more than 100 passengers! Some boats are available to sail your self or to at least help the crew. Although winds are usually light in the morning, by mid-afternoon, the trades pick up, giving sailors a faster trip back to port. By evening, it’s gentle again, calm enough to enjoy your cocktails as you watch the sunset. Sample homemade breakfast buns as you sail to Lanai. It’s difficult to single out any yacht in particular because they are all so good. From a performance sail that can skim over the water at more than 15 knots to taking the helm for a short time on a 12 meter class contender that challenged Dennis Connors Stars & Stripes in 1987, sailing on Maui is almost perfect. It’s perfect when whales, undisturbed by engine noises, breach next to you, almost splashing you with water before they disappear beneath the surface of the sea again!

Hook A Big One From The Deep

“Hanapaa, hook-up!” There’s a certain zing, a sound that fishing reels make, when a fish strikes a lure and takes off with line. It’s music to a fisherman’s ear! Charter fishing boats set out from Lahaina, Maalaea Harbors and Mala wharf daily in pursuit of the excitement of hearing that sound; and hooking up to mahimahi (dolphin), ono (wahoo), ahi (yellow-fin tuna), ulua (Jack Crevalle), kawa kawa (bonito) and the sports fisher’s dream, Pacific Blue Marlin. If you’re conservation-minded, you’ll be pleased to know that many of the boats participate in tag and release programs for marlin. The islands that form Maui County, Maui, Kahoolawe, Lanai and Molokai, were all part of one land mass, thus the waters between them are fairly shallow. Although boats do catch fish between the islands, many captains prefer to work the deep shelves located beyond Lanai and Kahoolawe. For the novice as well as the experienced fisherman, sports fishing boats troll; which means to drag a food chain array of lures or live bait behind a slow moving boat. A boat will usually troll with at least four lines out. While waiting for a hook-up, the fishers on board can enjoy the scenery, exchange fishing stories with each other and the crew, sunbathe, eat and drink or catnap. When a fish takes a lure, everyone springs into action. The crew gets the angler set up, the extra lines are reeled in to get them out of the way, if need be, and everyone waits to see just what is at the end of the line! Even if you’re only a spectator on board, just cruising along on board a fishing boat is fun as for the most part, seas off shore are calm. If a captain has a charter with experienced rough water boaters, he may elect to fish the waters on the northern and eastern coast of Maui instead or even off Molokai. Most boats may be chartered on a private or share basis. On a private charter, non-fishers in the angler’s party are welcome to come along for the ride. On a share boat, non-anglers usually pay a lesser charge for tagging along for the ride. Bring along your own food and drinks; the boats provide all the gear and ice. Most of the boats do not have the facilities necessary to filet and store your catch for shipping to the mainland. If you want to keep part of your catch for your own use while on Maui, be sure to discuss it when booking the charter. Charters can be arranged for bottom fishing and light line tackle fishing too. Dry ice is available, and check with your airline to find out regulations for shipping. Most charter companies will fillet your catch, so check with them when booking for details.

10 Learn To Scuba

Beginners can try scuba under the supervision of a scuba instructor to learn the basic skills…and you will be ready to take a Reef Tour on one of Maui’s Ocean Beach Dives. By first starting out in the pool, you will soon see just how safe, easy and fun scuba really is! Classes are available several times daily. OCEAN BEACH DIVES Hyatt Reef and Black Rock are known among local dive operators as one of the premier dive sites on the West Maui Coast. BOAT DIVES The best of Hawaiian diving for the Certified Diver is accessible by boat. Trips leave daily and go interisland to Molokini Crater or the island of Lanai, aboard Custom Dive Boats. There is plenty of wide open deck space, room for gear and personal belongings, onboard bathroom facilities and a freshwater shower*. Morning charters going interisland depart from Lahaina, Maalaea, or Kihei boat ramp. Departures leave early morning to avoid trade wind activity and return early to mid-afternoon. Lanai’s diving destinations include such favorites as Cathedrals I and II, Sergeant Major, Shark Fin Rock and Turtle Haven, among the many dive sites offering coral gardens and such unique volcanic rock bottom composition as lava tubes, pinnacles and archways. Molokini Crater with dive sites such as Reef’s End and The Back Wall, was once an air vent or cinder cone off the dormant volcano that is now the island of Maui. It forms a small crescent shaped island that shoots abruptly up from the depths of the clear blue Pacific Ocean, offering superb visibility and numerous tropical fish! * ON MOST BOATS. See Recommended Advertisers on Ad Index page 70.

Experience Glass Bottom Boats, Submersibles & Submarines

Don’t want to get wet? A little worried about some reef inhabitants? But you still want to experience some of Maui’s extraordinary under water adventures? Many unusual watercraft are waiting to show you Maui under the sea in complete, dry comfort. You can be eyeball to eyeball with a humuhumunukunukuapuaa in the blink of an eyelash. One of Maui’s most colorful glass bottom boats is a replica of a Chinese junk that looks as if it just floated across the ocean from Hong Kong. Extra wide viewing windows in the boat’s hull give passengers front row seats on life underwater, with a visibility of over 100 ft. See the ship’s diver feed many different species of tropical reef dwellers. Best of both worlds for everyone in the family. Enjoy the ultimate reef viewing adventure in a semi-submersible vessel. You will delight in the excellent view of reef areas with their high concentration of marine life. The glass sided vessels offer dry viewing, or, jump in and experience the reef first hand. You are underwater in a spacious air-conditioned viewing area. The ships’ divers will virtually “bring” reef life to you! When you’re ready to get wet and become part of the underwater world, you can go topside to don snorkeling gear and jump in. For enthusiasts of aquaculture at deeper depths, try a submarine tour. If you think it’s a make-believe submarine, don’t! The reality is you will be descending 20 fathoms beneath the sea in a small, but highly technical, submarine! It’s a 20-minute shuttle out to the submarine for a 50-minute tour of two living coral reefs, giving its passengers an unsurpassed view of Maui’s abundant marine life and underwater world.

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