Magical Maui

11 days 12 nights in paradise (And 2 Hell-flights)

I had a number of preconceived notions about what to expect, but in the end there were a few surprises. I had heard that everything was expensive,  that the locals could be hostile.. Neither were true (Maybe on some of the other islands, but not Maui).  In the end, Maui exceeded all my hopes for the vacation.

What follows is a day by day account of my trip to Maui from April 22 to May 4, 1998. The quest was the same as always, warm blue water with  lots of wind.

Day 0.5 (.5 because it sucked)

4/22 Head from Tallahassee to Atlanta 10:am


12:30pm Head Atlanta to Honolulu. 9.25 hours non-stop. Hell. They were showing Mrs. Doughty on the flight. Even trapped on the airplane for 9 hours, I can't bring myself to pony up the dough. Before getting on the plane the stewardess was explaining to the person in front of me that the flight time was 9.25 hours. I joked with her "What movie are they showing?..Ghandi?" She looked at me and said "I don't know, is that what they said they're showing ?" Thank god that wasn't the pilot. Did I mention that the flight was fun ? No ? Good.

Get to HNL at 4:30pm Meet Scott (Cleared hurdle #1) Take flight HNL -> OGG.

Our bags arrive (Cleared Hurdle #2).

We're renting a car from a fellow recommended by the people that we're staying with. The contact point was "I'll be at baggage claim holding a red balloon" Since I have no contact info other than this, I'm relieved to see him standing at baggage (Cleared hurdle #3'.sort of). I was told that the car was a beater, but at $129/week(Tax included), I figure that it's worth it. That belief held until we saw the car. The car was a ~1980 tercel that appeared a bit worn. Ok even after Hugh showed us where the extra oil and water were, Scott and I were willing to give it a go. The name "Chick-repellant" came to mind, but the car did have solid surf racks.

Drove at night to find the b&b where we were staying. The car was a terror to drive. Makes grinding and clacking noises when you make even the slightest turn. No acceleration, no handling. There was so much play in the steering that the car would change directions radically when a gust of wind caught the car, and the wheel would stay straight. The car felt out of control at 35mph. Cars were stacking up behind us like mad on the freeway.

Got the to b&b without incident. Decide to head to Makawao for dinner. It's raining in the upcountry portion of the trip, and the rental car is dumping serious water in my lap as we head to dinner. This is in addition to not being able to really go the speed limit at most times. Take wrong Haiku road (There were 2 of them, 1 block a part, both Haiku rd). Took 25 minute detour made all the more fun by the bucket of a car that we're driving.

Headed to Pollis Mexican restaurant in Makawao. Got an $8 burrito, a $3.50 fish taco and was still hungry when we left. Oh yeah, that's not to mention the $4 beer. (Beer was $3.75 at the airport).

Head home at about 9pm(3am EST) and pass out.

Quick impressions of upcountry. I'm cold dammit. Got to Maui and I'm chilly standing outside the place. (~64 degrees) It's raining all the time. It's rural, beautiful and uncrowded.

 Amazing how the climate and temperature change with a 20 minute drive.

Quick note about directions and distance on Maui. It's about 11 miles from the airport to the place where I'm staying. The first 8 miles take about 12 minutes, the last 3 take about 15. Once you start to head up the mountains, it's narrow, sometimes 1 lane switchbacks.

Day 1 - 4/23

 6am Wake up after sleeping in. It's noon EST.

 Decide to trade car of doom in for real rental. Call Hugh and make arrangements to return car(Used phrases such as: "Dumped water on us when it rained and I got that Careening to Our Death feel anytime we get over about 30 mph" (We left it unlocked at the airport with the keys in it.)

9am Get breakfast at Sam Choys restaurant. Expensive, but great food, huge portions, and great service. We didn't get that taken for a ride feeling that we got the night before.

10:00 am Get dodge neon from thrifty car rental. Never thought that I'd view driving a neon as a luxury ride. "Look, it can do the speed limit, and when I turn the wheel, the car turns??."

10:30am Return car to airport, leave keys in it, bid it good riddance .

Forgot that we left our HOUSE keys attached to the key ring. Head to Haiku to get our harnesses and head to the beach. Find out that we don't have keys. Whoops. Make the 30 minute drive back to the airport. From the airport we make the 30 minute drive back to our place, get gear, head 45 minutes to Kahului. Ouch.

Head to just about all the windsurfing shops in Kahului. They all have about the same grear rate, $290 for a week's rental. Decided to rent from small shop Windrigger. Mark gives 7 days for the price of 4. The owner is a card and seems pretty cool. The gear is mistral boards and hot sails.

Got a Mistral Screamer II and a 5.5 and 5.0. Scott got an explosion and a 4.5 and 4.0. With our weight difference, we pretty much have a wide range of wind covered by this. I'm 211 and he's about 155.

At Kanaha, it's blowing about 5.5, but really fluky. Got wiped out by an interesting set. I was heading into shore really powered, about to jump a wave backside, when the wind died and I got broadsided by a wave heading 90 degrees to the first one. Whoops, pay attention to that reef formation. Stay out of the triangle break.

Ate dinner at Margaritas in Kihei. Although Kihei is on the south shore, it's only about 8 miles and 12 minutes south of Kahului. Much better food, still pricey, but I was at least full when we left.

Day 2 - 4/24

Decide to sleep in. Wake up at 6:15 am. Check out volcano. Pretty cool at the top, no make that COLD. Damn forgot a jacket. Really scenic, although I'm not much use over 5000 feet and the summit was at 10,000+. Breathing like a 400 lb fat man just walking around. This leads to an unending supply of jokes from Scott in the vein of "Yeah, you really suck...." Head for lunch at Sam Choys. Again great food, not cheap.

Head to Kanaha. Not enough wind for me. Scott takes a waterstart lesson. Take nap, head to Cassonovas in Makawao for some late night partying. The only thing that we saw in the way of females was a few freaks with armpit hair tufting out of their tank tops. I'm not much into body piercing, so we moved back to the B&B.

Day 3 - 4/25

Wake up early. Scott and I head to Charleys in Paia for breakfast. Huge portions of great food.

Head to Kanaha. Wind appears light so I get an explosion XR and a 6.9. Head to beach and rig 6.9 and 6.0 for Scott. Wind picks up a bunch. Alternate between giving Scott a waterstart lesson and sailing the 6.0 overpowered. Had a blast jumping the explosion. It was big in the air, but could really get up there(Lots of hang-time, not much control) .

Scott almost has his waterstarts wired and is now getting about 20-25%. He has all the pieces in place, but the current and other sailors are a bit of a distraction. He was also fighting fatigue. By the time he was really getting things wired, he was getting tired. One more day of practice for him should do it.

Got dinner at Milagro's in Paia. Scott got a burrito that was good, I got a chicken Caesar salad that was pretty much hurting. Beautiful waitress made the meal tolerable for me, but given the $4 beers, it didn't really clear the low bar. However Milagros is supposed to have a kicking happy hour 3-6pm, but we haven't made it on time yet.

Head to Lahaina. Went to Moose McGillicuddys(sp). Looked like a fun place, but we left early(10pm) The hour drive back to Haiku cut short any late night partying.

Lahaina looks like an upscale Duval street. Lots of touristy things to do, but a lot of fun. It's the hot spot on the island for night life, but it's a bit far away.

Day 4 - 4/26

Went diving with Donavon Domingo at Makena. We went to 5 caves, did the toilet bowl and the bubble cave. The toilet bowl is a circular current that takes you around a cave and flushes you out. Hang in there and enjoy the ride.

The bubble cave is a place where you can surface inside a cave that has air in it. However, when a wave crashes above, it raises the pressure on the air about 15 feet worth of depth. I wouldn't recommend spending too much time in the cave, as it will destroy your ears. I spent about 6 minutes in the cave until the instructor retrieved everyone else. It was too long for me and I started to have problems with my ears. When the waves would hit, you could see fog in the cave from the condensation. When the waves passed over the fog would clear immediately. This was from the pressure change in the cave causing condensation. Saw a few sea turtles and a few white tip sharks, along with some colorful fish, sea urchins and some interesting coral. All in all, a great time. I would highly recommend Donavon Domingo for people wanting to dive on Maui.

After lunch in Kihei, we headed to Big Beach in Makena. Big beach was interesting, but if you climb the cliff you cross over to Little Beach. It's a nude beach, and while there were a few women that were pretty, by and large, Seinfeld's "Good nude and Bad Nude" came to mind. Nothing like hairy euro-women to ruin the image. Little Beach may have been appropriate, as the cold surf didn't seem to help the males any. If Little beach had any appeal, after five minutes it lost it and we went back to Haiku.

Headed to check out Jaws. Not much surf on the North Shore right now, but the drive through the pineapple fields was interesting in the neon. Although all rental cars by their very nature are four wheel drive, the neon didn't seem to appreciate the rough terrain.
"Getting Raviolied"

Went to Cassanova's for dinner in Makawao. We were looking for a place to get pizza. After looking at the menu and having a choice between a $14 12" pizza and $14 spinach ravaoli, upon the waitresses advice, I got the ravaoli. It was quite  a tasty appetizer. I got seven ravioli and I was finished with them by the time Scott finished his first piece of pizza.  Thus the phrase "Getting Raviolied" is born.

We're 0 for 2 in Makawao for dinner and 0 for 3 if you consider that we went there for night life. The only decent deal in Makawao for food appears to be the general store. Got beer and breakfast stuff and it was reasonable.

Paia was good for dinner almost everywhere we went. Makawao is so small, that they appear to have you over a barrel. Not going back.

Day 5 - 4/27

No wind so we took the drive to Hana. 53 one lane bridges and a snailss pace the entire way(Over 600 turns). The ~35 miles took just under 3 hours. Saw a few waterfalls (They all start to look the same after the first two or so.) Went to Hamoa and saw the black sand beaches. They weren't too impressive. The red sand beaches were ok. All in all the trip sucked. Six hours in the cramped car when after about the first 30 minutes, it all looked the same.

Went to dinner at Happa's in Kihei. Pretty good food, and Willie-K was playing later, so we went in search of a few drinks before the show started. Ended up at Life's a Beach bar. $1 Mai Thai's and Kareoke. Life's a Beach is a small bar with style. Ran into a bunch of people celebrating a birthday, and ended up hanging with them for the rest of the night. At about 11pm, the party moved back to Happa's and Willie-K rocked. A special thanks to Shauna, Shannon, Anela , Colleen, and Julie for making the night memorable.

If I had it to do over again, I would have booked my hotel in Kihei for at least a few days of the trip. It's easier to drive the 20 minutes to the north shore in the morning to sail, than it is to drive the 40 minutes back to Haiku after spending the night on the town. Sleep near where you want to party.

Highly recommend both Life's a Beach and Happa's for south side entertainment.

Day 6 - 4/28

The trade winds are coming back. The North Shore is still light, but Kihei is pretty windy. Rig a 6.0 and take the explosion XR out. I was going to take a smaller board, but Mark at Windrigger advised against it. It turns out that he made the right call. The wind was cooking when you got out past the reef. The reef is about 150 yards out and the inside is really fluky. Most of the guys who were on really short boards were playing Captain Nemo coming back in. Water conditions at Kihei were flat, with some chop far out into the bay. Great place for slalom or speed sailing. No shore-break, no waves. Be careful of the reef. At high tide, it's not a problem, at low tide you can lose a fin on the rock columns underwater.

Made the run across Maalaea bay. It's about seven miles. I was getting really worried as I approached the other side as the wind was really picking up. The Hot Sail Slalom that I was using was handling it well, but the footstraps on the Explosion were too far forward (didn't have a screwdriver) and it made for some white knuckled sailing through the chop. Turned around about 200 yards from the other side and sucked in hard. I was so far from anyone else that I could only really see the few people that were about 3 miles from the other side. The spray from the water was obscuring the other shore.

Had to take off the Specs sunglasses that I was wearing to try to pick out the blue building that was my landmark on the other side. A few miles from the other side I was able to see a bunch of other sailors in the distance and I began to relax. You know you have your harness lines set right when your legs become fatigued and your arms aren't.

Made the rest of the trip without incident. Saw something at the surface of the water as I approached shore. I thought that it was a rock column, but turned out to be a sea turtle that was about 4 feet across.

Scott is started to get his waterstarts wired. Unlike Kanaha, there isn't really any current here, so he practiced in the shallows without being pulled into other sailors. He's progressed from the 'random success' to a medium percentage waterstarter on both tacks.

At the end of the day I as sailed from shore at Kihei, the sun was low over the ocean. The water shimmered an iridescent gold in spectacular wind-whipped patterns. It was awe-inspiring.

At dinner at Khono's in Kahului . Pretty good place for dinner. Not too expensive.

Day 7 - 4/29

Sailed Kihei with a 5.5 twin cam sail and an explosion. Wind was super-fluky at the eastern launch so I get brilliant idea to do a downwinder to Maui Sunset. Hint, it's a lot farther than it looks when you're over-boarded on a 5.5 heading downwind praying not to spear any chop or hit a hidden reef.

Scott took the wise approach and packed his gear up and drove down the beach.

Scott is now pegging his waterstarts regularly, and is progressing well in his sailing.

Day 8 - 4/30

Wake up and get breakfast at Picnics. Food isn't bad, and the waitress was striking. After food head for ½ off a flight on Sunset helicopter tours (Thanks Julie). Take a 45 minute flight around the island. It was awesome. This is the way to see Hana. I'm feeling mediocre and I'm wondering if it's the spider-bite on my leg that seems to be spreading. Take a bunch of pills, swill coffee and head out.

Decide to trade my explosion in for something smaller. Get an electron and head to Kanaha. The 5.5 twin cam has a broken batten, so I swap the sail out with Mark at Windrigger. I can't say enough nice stuff about Windrigger. They are less-expensive and extremely helpful. I now have a 5.5 wave sail and the electron. There are a few logo to mast high sets and Kanaha. I was sweating bullets just looking at it. Make a mental note to stay out of the triangle break. I rig up and get promptly wiped out by the triangle break. TWICE.

I'm slightly underpowered for the first hour or so and suck wind heavily when there's a lull in the impact zone. Something sickening when you see an 8-10 foot waveface heading toward you and your schlogging.

After fixing some rigging problems, I head downwind to the more consistent break. The wind picked up and I got more dialed in.

The rest of the day was pure bliss and sore hands. A few rocket-air jumps.(Actually cleared the mast height-wise of someone sailing next to me.) Getting better at bottom turns and off the lips. My major problem is picking when to do the bottom turn to hit the wave while it's peaking. Scott is getting just about all of his waterstarts and is working on his footstrap/harness work. When Scott got tired I got to see the Wilson-Mullet. This entails starting a waterstart too far downwind and getting thrown over the board like a skipping-stone.

There are over 200 sailors at Kanaha during the peak times. It makes for some interesting sailing. Haven't quite figured out who has right of way as I head out on a starboard tack and run into someone trimming upwind on a port.

Ate dinner at the Bangkok house in Paia. It was good and inexpensive.

Head to Life's a Beach and Happas. Have a blast, but stay out WAY too late. On the plus side, if I was sober when we got in, I could have called people on the east coast?


 Day 9 - 5/1

HELP! The party has left the building. The fun and activities have taken their toll. Scott bows out of sailing. I figured I'd drag myself to sail if the conditions were great. Mark at Wind-Rigger seems to think that it won't be windy. I briefly thank god as I return my equipment.

Head to Kihei to see some friends on the beach. It's blowing 38 with gusts to 50 and one small problem. The reef. It's low-tide all day, and I don't feel like paying for a fin. There are only about 5 guys sailing, so we decide to check out Kanaha after missing our friends at the wind-torn beach.

My vacation almost ended early and badly while walking around the Maalaea Harbor. I slipped and landed back-first on four 6" bolt-heads sticking out of the ground. Luckily, they missed my spine and only hit beef. Feel like I've got some problems with my ribs for the rest of the day.

Turns out the only real damage was to my foot. I sliced open a few toes while falling. No Bactine, but I've got beer.

Stop by Hookipa at the end of the day while heading back to the house. Notice one sailor out of the eight or so that really stands out. He turns out to be Robby Naish. He's the MAN! Even in the under-powered conditions, the guy just smokes.

Decide to go to the No Doubt concert at the Maui Arts Center. They are playing with the "Cherry Poppin' Daddies" and "The Vandals". The MAC was an awesome place to see a concert and it rocked. Got to love the Vandals with songs like "Live Fast Diarrhea"'

Day 10 - 5/2

Get breakfast at the Cannery in Haiku. It was great, and not too expensive.

Head to Maui Windsurfing Company and Hi-Tech to check prices on a 2 day rental.

Both come up with $90 for 2 days. I go to Wind-Rigger and he hooks me up for $55 for 2 days. Take a GEM board and a 6.0 Hot Sails Maui to Kanaha. The GEM board is excellent, but doesn't have enough fin, and Wind-Rigger doesn't have any larger ones. I swap out the GEM for a Screamer and head back to Kanaha. Sail the rest of the day in somewhat fluky winds.

Had lunch at a newly opened Local Boys Drive In (Between Wind-Rigger and Extreme-Sports). It was AWESOME. For $7 I got mahi, shrimp, steak teriyaki, some chicken, rice and a coke. It rates as my best deal on Maui for cheap good eats.

I now know why the vast majority of sailors on Maui use waist or chest harnesses. Not only are they easier to get into and out of, but you can swim much better than with a seat-harness. I found this out after bailing on some rocket-air and swimming for my board that was about 20 yards downwind (Damn, you hit the water HARD from about 20!).

Decide to pack up and black-out early.

Day 11- 5/3 Last day.

Wind doesn't appear strong on the North shore, so I head to Maalaea to try to sail the offshore winds. Can't get out to the windline, so I pack up and head around to Kihei. It was blowing about 30-35, but it's died off and no one else is sailing. Head to Kanaha, and it's blowing about 5.0. I rig a 6.0 not wanting to schlogg my last day. Had a ripping time until I was maximum over-boarded, over-finned, and over-sailed. The wind increased until I would have been well powered on a 4.7, and my 6.0 was just too much. I'm exhausted and decide to call it quits rather than rig-down.

Return the gear to Wind-Rigger. Head back to the house shower and pack up the car. My flight isn't until 9:30pm so I enjoyed a beer with Shephane and Martin. Return the car, get to the airport and get depressed. Usually I look forward to getting back home, but this time I simply don't want to leave. If it wasn't so far away from my family, I'd work at Taco Bell to live out there.

Can't really sleep on the flight, and half-watch "Sub-Down". A pretty-cool shred-head next to me dumps his Jack and Coke on me. No sweat, I figure that I've got 16 hours in planes and airports, and won't be smelling good by the time I get home anyway. A 125mph tail-wind gets us to LAX at 4:30am rather than 5:30. My flight is at 8:45am. Charming, I'm exhausted and nothing is open. Catch about an hours sleep in the airport, the board flight to Atlanta.

Other than boredom, things are pretty good.

I can't wait to return.

Physical Cost of trip:

Spider bite on leg.

Bruises: both thighs from harness, right bicep, right knee, left hip. My back and arms are no longer responding well to user-input. Hands are shredded (Many jokes between me and Scott over our deteriorating social life corresponding to our trashed hands). I've gotten so run-down from everything, that I'm feeling weak and flu-like. Pumping myself up with the best that medical science has to offer (Thanks Karen), combined with beer and massive quantities of coffee.

 I can't wait to do it again ! 






Gear 4 stars,

Price and service 5 stars. They are about %60 the cost of other shops. If you don't need the latest styro-board, this is the place to go.



Food 3 stars

Price Average, $7 for sandwich.

Value 2 stars


Sam Choy?s:

Food 5 stars

Price Expensive, $9-$14 for breakfast entree

Value 5 stars. You get what you pay for.



Food 3 stars

Price $9-14 for dinner entree

Value 2 stars(Except for happy-hour)


Local Boys Drive in

Food 5 stars ( Huge quantities)

Price $3-$7 for lunch

Value 5 stars



Food 4.5 stars

Price $7-14 for dinner, $5-$8 for breakfast

Value 4.5 stars. Kind of like a Maui based Bennigens



Food 5 stars

Price $8-10 for breakfast

Value 4.5 stars. Huge quantities of great food, but pricey.


Bangkok House in Paia

Food 4.5 stars

Price Great, dinner for $7-10

Value 5 stars










Dog of choice for Maui: Pit Bull


Bowling Ball Tree

Haiku Weather, and weather on Maui


 Donovan Domingo 875-1887