Caspar Institute logoitinerary   < 9 April Honaunau, Hawaii   11 April to Kipahulu, Maui >

Makawao, Maui 10 April 2013

627 : 2353

Hawaii to Maui

After a small (by request) breakfast, we packed up and drove through the horror of Kailua -- eight lanes where the highways come together, new shopping centers, and a snarl of traffic (therefore good preparation for Maui) -- we arrived at the Kona airport. Our car-rental van driver had nothing but good words for Pacific Wings, our carrier, that he saved until after the other passengers had alighted. "Best of all, no TSA!" 

628 : 2352

The flight was as bumpy as small planes are expected to be, and flying low over Hawaii's northwest shoulder and in over the channel between Koho'olawe and Maui gave me views of the dry side of Maui I'd only imagined. This desert shoulder was once home to thousands of Hawaiians, who understood how to make the synergy of ocean and mountain work. Their key organizational unit, the ahupua'a, can be imagined ass a slice of siland from peak to shoreline encompassing (usually) the watershed between two ridges. We are bound for one of the few ahupua'a still functioning, Kipahulu.

629 : 2350

Koho'olawe was used for most of the 20th Century by the US Navy as a target. Now back in the hands of the State of Hawaii, it's still dangerous with unexploded ordnance. Molokini, the remnant of a little volcanic cone, is a favored destination for snorkelers and divers.

630 : 2347

On the south side of Maui and again on the sourthern spur of the West Maui Mountains, strange flowers grow: first and second generation wind spinners languidly harvest the trade winds. Kahului airport is an unfavorite landing for pilots, because the trades buffet unpredictably between Haleakala. Predictably, the buffeting increased as we turned in between the two mountains and into the teeth of the trades. To the south, the obscene exema of Kihei, Maui's latest resort disaster, infects what was once an unspoiled, productive coast with golf courses, hotels, condos, and the whitest ghetto on the Islands. 

Properly understood, Kihei is a planning triumph, despite its disastrous effect on surviving life forms on land and in the nearby ocean. After settlement, Kihei was the undeveloped, unwanted part of Maui. Every other part had, and retains, historical and agricultural significance. When jet travel brought the onslaught of bargain travel to Maui, Kihei was chosen as the sacrifice zone. The result is that Upcountry, Hana, and the gentle seaside towns of Paia and Haiku have kept much of their character, as has Hawi on the Big Island ...the pressure having been relieved by the concentration of budget tourists and emighrant service workers in Kihei.

631 : 2346

We bounced to a landing and deplaned into a gale. "Welcome to the Windy Isle," said our co-pilot, who unloaded our baggage onto the tarmac. "Follow me." And we did, to another happily pre-TSA terminal, just a short luggage drag to the rental car vans. We were hoping all would go speedily, so we could get upcountry to a favorite lunch spot, the Hailemaile General Store. After the Big Island, Maui's LA-style traffic is a shocker, but our itinerary skated along the ragged edge and before too long we were blasting up the Haleakala Highway between the last of Hawaii's sugar fields. 

632 : 2341

Two nights at the start and end of our Kipahulu time in a little slice of upcountry heaven, Cherie Attix's Hale Ho'okipa, to allow visits with an old friend, Imani Thomas, who is teaching technology in a charter high school in Kihei. We got to meet Imani's new keiki, Irie, aka "Toes", and heard some great stories about the recalibration needed to move from a student in Ukiah to a father/teacher in Pukalani.

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