Friday, 20 March 2009


I knew what to expect from Hawaii. Golden sandy beaches, bronzed bikini babes, muscly hunks showing off their comedy-sized junk in speedos on surf boards and all the dudes, beers, gnarley waves and coconut scented suntan lotion you could shake your long, blonde hair at. After a hard slog across the pacific's remoter islands, I was looking forward to some sunbathing time, a bit of beach chilling and more than a few chilled beers.

If I was disappointed in every single one of these expectations (except for the surfers, who were everywhere), missing out on another beach holiday was made up for by an island which offers some of the most astounding natural beauty I've ever come across. Away from Oahu which, with the exception of the view from the Diamond Head Crater, offers mainly tacky tourist beaches and chilled out surfer towns highly reminiscent (in every sense except for location and climate) of Cornwall, there's a rich variety to see.

Take Maui, one of those destinations - like Bora Bora, Bali or Tahiti - preprogrammed into our cultural consciousness to be associated with words like 'luxury', 'celebrity' and 'wedding'. Yet in a forgotten corner of the island, accessible only via a terrifying narrow winding road that veers round steep cliff faces, followed by a two mile hike through a dense and claustrophobic bamboo forest, stands something truly remarkable, a towering 400ft waterfall that gushes out of the cliff face and into a tiny pool below, where you can shower off in its chill waters and warm back up in the midday sun as you admire the view.

Or the Big Island, from which Hawai'i takes its name, which currently sits over the volcanic hot spot that created the rest of the islands in their turn, before they were dragged away by the Pacific plate and eroded by wind and sea. Here you can view the still smoking crater of the Volcano goddess Pele, or view the red glow of a lava river hitting the sea. Or you can take a car and drive up above the clouds, to the heights of the Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea mountains, until the landscape changes beyond recognition and you find yourself driving among the craters of the surface of the moon, or past Mars' red hills, or further until you see something you'd never expect from the beach vacation destination of Hawaii, thick blankets of snow, marked here and there by the faint tracks of skis.

This may not be the Hawaii I was expecting, but Christ, is it worth seeing.


Bluegreen Kirk said...

Never been to Hawaii but have plans to visit this year. Nice post.

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