When we saw the images of Maui and the devastating fire, that was impounded by the winds from Hurricane Dora, we were heartbroken for the people and this beautiful island. Maui welcomed us and we felt so enveloped in love by the place and its people, we had previously written this love letter to Maui which has even more meaning now, you are forever in our hearts.
We had been traveling for over 12 hours and finally Maui was in sight. How beautiful it looked upon our approach. The incredible blue Pacific Ocean, lapping up on the white sand beaches, to the contrast of the luscious green mountains. We couldn't wait to discover the beauty of this magical place! As soon as we stepped off the plane we immediately felt the essence of love and peace envelop us.
This trip to Maui was to celebrate our wedding anniversary and not only was that special under normal circumstances, but for us, it was even more so. As a bi-national lesbian couple, we had to justify our right to love and be married, this was far more than a vacation, it was an achievement in acceptance.
When we started planning our trip, we had looked long and hard at many possible destinations. We knew we had to go somewhere where LGBT are accepted. There are many countries, and still certain US states, that oppose same sex couples. There was no way we wanted to be somewhere where we couldn’t feel relaxed being ourselves, a loving married couple, in public.
After much investigation we finally decided on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Upon our arrival at the airport we were greeted with leis and directed to our waiting transport, as we drove to our destination the driver, a local, pointed out various sights along the way and we took in the wondrous views. We immediately felt so warmly welcomed by everyone at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, situated on Kaanapali Beach, from the reception desk to housekeeping staff, everyone gave us the “aloha” feeling.
Eager to explore the beach we didn’t waste a minute and headed down to enjoy our first sunset and watch the famous cliff dive at Kaanapali beach, before heading to the Whalers Village. At Leilani’s we found the most delicious hula pie, which we went back for many times. Strolling back to our hotel, along the golden sand beach, we stopped to take in the romance in the air.
The first morning waking up in Maui was so wonderful, we had left the curtains fully open and we had an uninterrupted view, except for some waving palm trees, of the dazzling Pacific Ocean. It felt like it was our honeymoon, but this time we didn’t have all the worry of a green card and fighting for our civil rights. As we sipped mimosas on our balcony, watching the boats and paddle boarders go by, we were serenaded by the partridge family, literally a family of partridges singing their hearts out.
We visited Lahaina, known for its rich culture, we strolled along colorful Front Street, which has been ranked as one of the top 10 streets in America. The street has wonderful views of other nearby islands and is the hub of Lahaina. Taking shade under the incredible banyan tree, which is a natural landmark, we sipped cool drinks, before taking in more local art, shops and sightseeing. Wherever we went, we were wholeheartedly welcomed. There are a wide variety of restaurants and bars with waterfront views, make the most of the catch of the day, they are delicious. Don’t forget to stop and pick up some coffee beans from Bad Ass Coffee.
* Now, looking back in retrospect Lahaina left an indelible mark on our hearts, these photographs capture just some of its beauty and we are incredibly saddened by the loss of this beautiful place.
On the morning of our wedding anniversary, we woke up early and headed down to the beach for a romantic sunrise and exchange of gifts. Sitting on the shore, the waves lapped the sand and we toasted our happiness with mimosas. It felt wonderful being in the moment, reading each other’s cards, we shed a few happy tears. Our love had transcended so many difficulties, but it had never wavered, not once! While we were in Lahaina we had bought each other anniversary rings, made from local koa wood, handcrafted in Hawaii. The rings were not expensive, but they mean more to us than any diamond ever could, every time we look at them, it brings back that magic of Maui.
* We did not know in that memorable moment just how much these bands would come to mean.
Having enjoyed the beach and local towns, we wanted an adventure. After much investigating, we decided upon taking the road to Hana. The road to Hana is 52 miles; it has 620 curves and hairpin bends along with 59 narrow bridges, 46 of those being single lane.
We hired a Jeep and set off early. With so many places to stop along the way, we chose to download a travel guide app “Gypsy”.
Our first stop was the Rainbow Eucalyptus Park. As we walked through the rainforest, the rain poured down, soaking us to the skin, which only made it feel even more enchanting. As we kissed under the stunning Rainbow Eucalyptus trees, it felt symbolic. We walked back to the Jeep, splashing along through muddy puddles, loving every single minute.
We took turns driving the 52 miles, giving us both the chance to take in the magnificent views, from waterfalls to shere drops to the coastline below.
Next, we stopped at Kaumahina State Wayside Park, climbing to the top of the waterfall. Then it was the last stretch before we finally arrived in Hana; we made it round every twist and turn, narrow bridge and heavy downpours, it felt like such a great achievement.
Having driven back down the long and winding road, we decided to stop at Mama’s Fish House. We thought it was going to be a rough and ready kind of place, and as we looked like a couple of drowned rats, we thought it would be perfect. As we drove up to the front entrance, we realized it was much fancier than our first impressions. The valet parking attendant happily confirmed we could have the last table. We jumped out of the car, our legs splashed with mud and hair a mess, we walked into this elegant establishment, set on the most stunning shoreline. Sitting at our table, with crisp, cloth napkins draped over our dirty legs, we laughed as we tucked into the most heavenly Mahi-Mahi.
We did not want to leave. Maui was magical, the people were all so welcoming, the beauty of the place was outstanding and our hearts were full of that Aloha feeling.
Please consider donating to The American Red Cross in aid of Maui
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