By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 6/15/2019
Occurred: 3/2/2009
Topics/Keywords: #Camping #Hawaii #Maui #Photography #Travel Page Views: 1075
I reluctantly spend my last day on Maui.

I awoke in my camper on the beach, to the first blush of sky and the soft rush of waves lapping the shore…and a young man just outside the camper window. He wasn't looking in, but seem to be tugging something. I lifted myself up on one elbow and saw that he was pulling a sea kayak out of a trailer loaded up with them.

I slipped on my bathing suit and got out to see what was going on. A sea kayak company was preparing for a busload of tourists to arrive for a morning of paddling and snorkeling.

It was hard to pay too much attention to the kayakers though, when the dawn was bringing the first site of the beach at which I'd spent the night, having arrived after dark.

Beach dawn.

Although there was the ubiquitous lava to the sides, the beach itself was sandy—gray sand, mostly. It was a narrow beach, lined with trees, under one of which I'd parked.

The beach beyond the trees.

As the sun rose, the kayak guys completed their work, lining the craft up for the soon-to-arrive tourists.

Kayaks lined up at sunrise. Me in the Pacific.

I had about three hours to go before I had to return the camper and be driven to the airport for my return to the mainland. I decided that, if I had to pack my gear anyway, I might as well do it now, at the beach, instead of later, at the camper rental place. And before I could do that, I would have to bathe. After all, I was going to be sitting next to someone for a five-hour stretch. I didn't want that person to be sniffing accusingly in my direction for the whole trip. So, on my fourth day in Maui, I finally got to immerse myself in the Pacific.

The water was cool but not cold. It was, in fact, warmer than the air, which was also not cold, and the sun was surprisingly warm considering how low in the sky it was.

I shaved and cleaned my teeth, but didn't bother trying to shampoo. I knew from my years of lifeguarding experience in Florida that salt water is an effective (and inherently biodegradable) cleanser. Especially when that water is as crystal clear as this.

Soon the tourist bus arrived and the paddlers set off into the bay. I made a note that, next trip, I would definitely be among them. The tour organizer, who remained behind, told me that this was a particularly good place for snorkeling, that the water was, in fact, like glass and there were lots of fish to see on a reef just a short distance out.

Soon I was clean, dressed for flying, packed, and had disposed of my accumulated trash. I took one last photo, of the mountain behind the beach, part of the West Maui Mountains and the beautiful but hidden Iao Valley that I have to visit next time.

West Maui Mountains.

Then I left the pretty little beach. But it was still too early to return the camper. (I probably could have, but then I'd have to sit and wait a couple of hours for the airport shuttle.) So I stopped for breakfast, then made a little side trip to check out another Kihei beach.

This one was a bright, white-sand beach that looked like it, too, might be fun. It was scenic and, if it had been in Florida, would have been lined with condos. But here, since it wasn't located in one of the resort towns, it was just an uncrowded stunning beach with just a few beach-goers to enjoy it.

Beach near Kihei.

By now it was time and I drove the last few miles to Aloha Campers. Ariel was there, working on a truck engine, but happily wiped off his hand to shake mine, and asked how I had enjoyed the camper and Maui (to which the answer to both was, very much). He allowed me to wait in the camper for the shuttle, since he has no "waiting room". It was scheduled to arrive about 11 am, and got there maybe five minutes early. I boarded, and Ariel and his brother, who works there as a vehicle detailer, both waved goodbye as the shuttle pulled away.

The driver, a surfer dude in his late fifties, was named Rob. He and his brother had moved to Maui from Chicago in the '70s for the surf and had never left. He had made enough money to buy a house there, and lived in it; but he still lived for surfing even though, he admitted, he didn't get out on the waves as much as he used to…or would like.

At the airport I was surprised to find that the Hawaiian Department of Agriculture is as fussy about plants being taken out of the state, as into it. When I arrived, I had to declare—similarly to going through customs in a foreign country—any live plants or fruits or animals I might have with me. They even forbade the importation of apples one might have brought with one as a snack (though my trail mix was okay). I understood that; the Hawaiian Islands are so isolated that the unique species that have evolved there would be threatened by any new variety brought in now. But going out? I didn't get a good explanation for that one.

I had a bit of a scare when I discovered that my outgoing flight, unlike my flight in, was crowded. I has assumed not many people would be returning to the mainland on a Monday. When they finally boarded me, I got the last seat. But at least I got a seat.

Four-and-a-half hours later, I was in Los Angeles. That flight was running an hour late, but it had plenty of open seats. So I got home about 2 am. My trip to Maui was over, and I had enjoyed it very much, but I was also glad to be back.

However, that said…I can't wait to return to see the parts of Maui I missed!