Initial Impressions of Maui Island, Hawaii

Initial Impressions of Maui Island, Hawaii

As with any place I move to, I always enjoy researching and understanding the geography and local culture.

Maui Island is no stranger to its abundance of spectacular natural scenery and local history.

Where and What Makes Up Maui?

What you may know already is that Maui is one of the four major islands that make up the Hawaiian Islands, along with Big Island, Oahu, and Kauai.

Although Maui is its own island, the total of Maui County (or also known as Maui Nui) also comprises of three other smaller islands, which include Molokai, Lanai, and Kahoolawe.

There is even a smaller, moon-crescent shaped island named Molokini. Of all the islands that make up Maui County, only Kahoolawe and Molokini don’t have people living on them.

Quick Maui Geological History:

The history nerd that I am, I wanted to share some quick facts:

- When Maui Nui was first formed, all 4 of those islands were actually coalesced together.

- Around 350,000 years ago, two islands then existed (Molokai and Lanai as one island, and Kahoolawe, Molokini, and Maui as the other).

- Then sometime after 300,000 years ago, those two islands further separated into what we presently have as Maui island chains. Apparently in 15,000 years into future, the Maui Island itself will separate into two islands.

Check out the below graphical depiction of the Maui Nui island chain. Each of the islands represent something in Hawaiian:

Maui Nui Molokai Lanai Kahoolawe Molokini Maui

Maui Nui islands (Maui County) – Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe, and Molokini.

What’s Awesome About Maui?

There is a local saying that some people say here: Maui no ka oi.

It means: Maui is the best.

Again, Maui speak for itself … with its varied natural surroundings and local flavor and character.

- You’ve got the West Maui Mountains to the tall Haleakala Crater to the east. Beaches hug all around the island, with notable beaches to the north and south on the island. And there is the famed “Road to Hana” that both locals and renowned travel magazines all rave about.

- There are many beach towns with their own local character including Paia (surf beach town) to the north and Lahaina to the south. For those looking for more luxury, Wailea near Kihei in the south middle section of Maui is the up-scale area of the island.

- If you love water sports, you can find any of it here on Maui. Windy conditions allow for great wind surfing and kite surfing, while during the winter months, surfing is possible along the north shore of Maui. Many of the beaches have natural reefs great for snorkeling. In the interior mountains, you can go hiking, or zip-lining.

Aside from all the physical surroundings and concrete activities to see and do, interacting with the long-term residence of Maui has taught me and given me a lot of insight into the attitude of the people on Maui.

- People here are more likely to state their proud Hawaiian heritage, more so than being proud Americans. This makes sense since the island is far away geographically and politically from the Lower 48 states in the US.

- Hawaiian language has evolved to Hawaiian Pidgin, which is still spoken today. I find that language quite fascinating, because one word in Hawaiian can mean so many different things.

- And lastly, so much Hawaiian folklore and symbolism abound. For example, the makau, or fish hook, holds significance to Hawaiians symbolizing strength and power. This was the same hook used by the demi-god Maui in Hawaiian legend, to pull the islands out of the sea.

Some Photos of Maui

Back-story to the fate of my digital camera:

When I started my All You Can Jet with JetBlue journey back in September 2010, I accidently dropped my camera in San Francisco’s Fisherman Wharf’s pier and it broke for several days. Luckily, it worked again later.

And just several days into moving to Maui, I accidently walked into the ocean with my camera in my boardshorts (so stupid of me!). This time, it broke for sure.

But luckily, my friend Mike Bird has a wonderful camera, and he’ll be the kind person who’ll photograph this beautiful island for me to share to you all!

Iao Valley State Park in West Maui Mountains

Iao Needle Maui Island Hawaii

Iao Needle at West Maui Mountains in Hawaii. (Photo courtesy of Mike Bird)

Iao Valley State Park on Maui Island

Iao Valley State Park on Maui Island. Simply beautiful! (Photo courtesy of Mike Bird)

Big (Oneloa) Beach, Maui Island

Big Beach Oneloa Beach Maui Island

Sunrise at Big Beach, Maui Island. (Photo courtesy of Mike Bird)

Molokini Kahoolawe BigBeach Maui

Big Beach, Maui Island. You can see Molokini island in center, and Kahoolawe island to the left side. (Photo courtesy of Mike Bird)

Stars Night Sky Maui

With little light pollution, the night sky is full of stars on Maui. This shot was taken while camping overnight at Big Beach. You can see the moon at the bottom, followed by Venus, and Jupiter towards the top at sunrise. (Photo courtesy of Mike Bird)

Kahului Area

Kahului Harbor

The view of Kahului Harbor from where I’m living. Kahului is more of a working class town, and not known for being a tourist destination. But a great place to live and focus on getting work done! (Photo courtesy of Hustle to Paradise)

Kitesurfers Kanaha Beach

Kahului has windy conditions year round, ideal for windsurfers and kitesurfers. Here, some kitesurfers at Kanaha Beach. (Photo courtesy of Mike Bird)

Your Turn:

  • Have you been to Maui Island? If so, what do you love most about Maui?

  • What do you suggest people check out on Maui?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Erin August 24, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Oh my goodness, this looks absolutely stunning! Like a fantasy land :) I’m so jealous!!

So cool that you’re living the dream :)
Erin recently posted..Comment on How to Make Language Your Secret Remakeability Weapon by WriteToBeYouMy Profile


A Maui Blog January 3, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Great post Harrison! I’d have to come back here to leave a longer comment but for now I just want to let you that I really enjoyed this post and tweeted and G+’d it :)

Aloha from Maui,


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