Maui Different Style
Maui - Hookipa - known as the center of the world of windsurfing. Whenever you get the change in life to go, it is definately one of the places to be. But once you are there – probably with nothing else but wind and waves on your mind – you should be aware of the fact that there is so much more to see then just Hookipa, Sprecks, Kanaha or any of the other windsurf beaches. Going to a strange place for windsurfing, to me, always means a great opportunity to experience and learn something from another country at the same time as well. Not just out of magazines, books or from television, but in real life. Especially in a place like Maui, it’s guarantied more than worthwhile to have a closer look around than just the beach.
Staying there for the first time, next to sailing every day, I also went on a couple of trips together with Karin Jaggi where she showed me a completely different Maui away from the windsurf scene. An incredible experience I won’t forget for a long time… Name any color and you will probably find it somewhere on Maui. From the green of the tries to the red of the flowers. From the steel blue of the ocean to the yellow of the sunset.
Cornelia and Karin on top of Haleakala Cornelia snorkeling
One of the popular tourist attractions is to get up early and go watch sunrise at Haleakala National Park. The contrast between temperatures Maui “downhill” and those on top of Haleakala is enormous. Taking trousers and sweatshirt or jacket up, is therefore highly recommendable. Once you’re there, it is wise to keep one eye focused on the horizon. Sun comes up so fast that if you forget to watch for a short while, you could well have missed the whole sunrise and coming all the way up so early was all for nothing. The sunset on this picture however, we spotted accidentally after a late afternoon surf & swim session in Lahaina.
bamboo-Cornelia waterfall
With West Maui Mountains situated on one part of the island and Haleakala National Park on the other, Maui has lots of valleys all over the place. Every single valley has it’s own little surprises. Hiking trails, waterfalls, rock formations… you never know what to expect. One minute you will find yourself between nothing but earth, dust and dirt. Simply turn around a corner and you will be standing in a tropical forest the next. During one hike we ended up in a huge bamboo forest. Listening to the clicking sound of the wind blowing through, we followed a path built in the middle of the bamboo, which brought us deeper and deeper into the forest. Starting out in daylight, the further we got the darker and wetter it became. Curious what to find at the end we kept on walking. Then suddenly light started shining through again just seconds before the road stopped into nowhere. Continuing was definitely no option. We had to turn back. Before doing so, we took a peak over the edge and viewed a  waterfall dropping straight down from the mountains.
The ocean is one big playground. And we are not the only one using it. While sailing & surfing we saw turtles, flying fish and a school of dolphins passing by. Another great way of playing around in the water is snorkeling. Organized boat trips leave Maalaee harbour early in the morning every day. All heading for the same destination: Molokini island. Snorkeling is also one of the popular things to do amongst tourists, so the chance of finding an overcrowded spot is pretty big. But once you exchange the deck from your boat for a completely silent underwater world, finding yourself swimming between all those living colors, it makes you forget the rest of the world around you immediately. Another way of learning more about the ocean and its inhabitants -but staying completely dry this time- is paying a visit to the Maui Ocean Center. Most impressive is the walk through a glass tunnel with sharks and rays swimming all around you.
Crossing the island from North to South, from East to West or visa versa. It doesn’t really matter where you go. There are so many nice places on Maui. Definitely one of the most impressive trips we made, was driving around the eastside of the island. We followed a bumpy road with lots of curves – the only road – alongside the coastline, which brought us to far-off places like Hana and back. Although in distance it doesn’t seem to be that far – about 100 miles all way round – in reality it takes at least 5 hours just driving around this part of the island without making any stops. This drive probably gives you the best idea how many different faces Maui has got. Seeing the landscape changing time after time, from white beaches and palm tries, lava fields, green hills, black beaches where rivers meet the ocean to cliffs and all sorts of flowers, makes it sometimes hard to believe you’re still on one and the same island. What an amazing place!
As always, having the time of your life minutes, hours and even days seem to pass by in a tick. After three weeks it was time to say goodbye. I left Maui with lots of treasures and special moments in my heart. But also with one promise to myself: I’LL BE DEFINITELY BACK!
Top of the Page Trips HOME text: Cornelia van der Schilden; photos: Schilden, Jaggi;  windgirls 2000