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After a few days in Oahu, getting our body clocks adjusted and seeing the main highlights of the island, we got up on Sunday morning and flew into Maui. Our first hotel was at Kaanapali Beach, along the western shore of the island. From there, we did a number of tours and adventures.

Kaanapali, Maui

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On Tuesday, we took a biking tour on Haleakala, or “House of the Sun”. From the summit one looks down into a massive depression some 7 miles across, 2 miles wide, and nearly 2,600 feet deep. The surrounding walls are steep and the interior mostly barren-looking with a scattering of volcanic cones.


The volcano is about 10,000 feet above the ocean and it looks like the moon at the peak. Many people come to Maui to see the sunrise over the volcano, but that involved getting up at about 2am and we did not want any part of that.

We donned our bikes and helmets and began the journey, traveling up to 35 mph on the bikes going down snaking turns next to cliffs. Biking down this mountain at these speeds is something that truly ranks as one of the most exciting adventures I have ever done. We ended at the ocean and encountered multiple climates along the way. It was about 40° at the top and 85° at sea level. Halfway down, we stopped and checked out some tropical plants, like a bird of paradise and protea.

On Wednesday, we took a plane ride out of Maui and around the Big Island. Lava flows there from Kilauea to form the newest earth in the world, pouring into the Pacific and then hardening to create the land. Kīlauea means "spewing" or "much spreading" in the Hawaiian language, referring to its frequent outpouring of lava. The Pu’u O’ō cone has been continuously erupting in the eastern rift-zone since 1983, making it the longest rift-zone eruption of the last 200 years.

When we landed on Sunday morning, we got our car and went to Īao Needle, and saw the bust of JFK in Kepaniwai Park. This famous mountain formation lies on the northwest side of Maui. The Īao Needle (Kūkaemoku) is a famous landmark in the state park, a vegetation-covered lava remnant rising 1,200 feet from the valley floor or 2,250 feet when measured from sea level.

We drove on the “forbidden” road for rental cars, around the northern side of the western end of the peanut of Maui, seeing some beautiful shorelines along the very narrow roadway.

On Monday, we snorkeled off Molokini, a tiny crater-like island north of Maui. The fish population was amazing, their colors shimmering in the Hawaii sun. Molokini is a crescent-shaped, partially submerged volcanic crater which forms a small islet located in Alalakeiki Channel between the islands of Maui and Kahoolawe. It has a diameter of about 0.4 miles. It is a popular tourist destination for scuba diving, snuba and snorkeling. The islet is a Hawaiʻi State Seabird Sanctuary. We took a boat out to the islet. Along the way we saw humpback whales. On the way back, we saw a sea turtle.

Our hotel, the Kaanapali Embassy Suites