About the Islands of Maui
Maui is a collection of four major islands created when the earth’s hot spot moved generally from the north west to south east. That hot spot is now at the southern end of the Big Island of Hawaii and is responsible for the lava flows there making new beach front real estate.
Maui, often called “The Best” (that means “Maui No Ka Oi” in Hawaiian) has the Islands of Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and Kahoolawe.
The Island of Maui consists primarily of two volcanoes: West Maui and Haleakala. Between them is a beautiful valley thus, giving the island the name: The Valley Isle. Most vacation accommodations are in West Maui and South Maui.
West Maui is the touristy area anchored by the old whaling village of Lahaina at the south and the expensive resort at Kapalua in the north. It is also wetter than south Maui.
South Maui stretches along the bay from Kihei in the north to the resorts of Wailea and Makena in the south. It is the dry part of the island receiving only about 4 inches of rain on average per year.
Molokai lies north west of Maui and is about 40 miles long and just a few miles wide. It can be reached by air from Oahu or Maui. There is also a ferry from Lahaina available. It is called the most Hawaiian of the Hawaiian Islands. I went there a few years ago in search of a nice, quiet sand beach to sit and drink beer on. My friend, is not into beer, beaches or sitting said that is OK, I’ll take the car and explore the Island. I said, “fine, you’ll be back in 30 minutes”. The south west part of Molokai has the most in accommodation’s and a very narrow beach — about 4 feet. But lots of fish ponds which feed the native Hawaiians lots of protein.
The north, central part is where the Hansen’s disease or Leaper Colony is located. You can visit it with a permit and by taking a donkey ride down the 1,800 foot cliff. Or just walking the 7 miles. Very interesting. Just don’t slip on the donkey drippings on your way! The western part of Molokai has some condos you can rent and a large, empty beach. What’s left of it. Some of it has been barged away to create the beach at Waikiki.
Lanai was a major producer of pineapples until government price supports were taken away. Now it is the site of two wonderful but expensive resorts. One, by the beach, is where Bill and Melinda Gates got married. The other is upcountry and resembles an English retreat. You can take the ferry there from Lahina and a bus upcountry. Have lunch, Play golf. Or just enjoy the vistas and the ride through Lanai City. The island is owned by Murdock of Australia. No relation to the guy of the same name that owns Fox News.
Kahoolawe is a very spiritual place and dedicated to the native Hawaiians. During World War II and up until the early ’90s it was used by the Navy for bombing practice. Then, I suspect, after the expensive resorts opened in Wailea and Makena, the rich clientel didn’t enjoy sitting on the beach seeing and hearing the island in from of them being blown up. Today after millions of dollars of cleanup, the US government is giving the Island back to the native Hawaiians and you can’t go there without special arrangements. You can see the island in the background (with Molokini, in the foreground) at my web cam at http://www.mauimanakai.com/webcam.htm