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Beaches, Volcanoes and Whales

View Round-the-world-trip on samandmarta's travel map.

The island of Maui was the third Hawaiian island we visited. It is close to the lesser known and harder to reach islands of Moloka’i, Lana’i (owned almost entirely by Oracle founder Larry Ellison) and Kaho’olawe. Once all these islands were one, which is the reason why the waters between them are relatively shallow compared to the waters around the other Hawaiian islands. This warm, shallow water attracts around eleven thousand humpback whales each winter, who migrate here from Alaska to mate and give birth. While one can see humpback whales around all the Hawaiian islands in winter, Maui has by far the most and is therefore the best location for whale watching. Indeed, we were not disapointed on our whale watching tour and saw many of them. Most just showed their back, but some were more active and splashed the water with their flukes. Sam even saw one of the 25 ton giants breach, which is the act of the whale jumping almost entirely out of the water to make a huge splash. These whale sightings were always very quick, so if you happened to look in the wrong direction, you would miss it. On the way back, one whale waved goodbye to us with his dorsal fin.


Another day, we drove the scenic Road to Hana, a narrow highway leading through countless switchbacks and one-lane-bridges to the small town of Hana on the East Coast. Along the road, there were many beautiful waterfalls and small beaches. One of our favorite stops was at a tropical flower farm, where we got a free tour of the exotic and colorful flowers of Hawaii. We even got a free bouquet of flowers that were deemed not perfect enough to sell, but were still very beautiful.


On December 22nd we planned to do a hike in Haleakala National Park and visit the highest point of the island. We were a bit scared when we read that the US government shutdown would start exactly on that day. Although visitor center operations and park maintenance was halted that day, the park gates luckily remained open to visitors. We did our first longer hike since leaving Bhutan, which lead us from the summit of Haleakala down through the strange volcanic landscape. This landscape is home to a special plant, called silversword, that grows exclusively on this volcano.


We spent the Christmas holidays relaxing at a resort in West Maui, enjoying our time at the beach or in the pool. This part of Maui was by far the most touristic area we have seen on Hawaii so far. Luckily, we returned our rental car when we got there, since the parking situation around Lahaina was a nightmare.


On our 26 days in Hawaii so far, we have probably seen at least one rainbow per day. Maybe it is because it always rains somewhere on the Hawaiian Islands and the sun always shines somewhere else. The rainbows also seem larger and more pronounced than we have seen anywhere else. Every morning in our resort in West Maui, there was a large rainbow in front of our window, plunging into the ocean.


Posted by samandmarta 13:57 Archived in USA

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