Elaine Masters a RoamRight Blog Author

The Four Unexpected “Songs” of Maui

Haleakala is a massive shield volcano that forms more than 75% of the Hawaiian Island of Maui. CT

Connecting with the spirit of Hawaii begins and ends in song. Your headset may be full of hula songs on the plane ride to Maui, but once your feet are on the ground, the musical rhythm of the island seeps into your heart and Hawaii has you.


The singer, Don Ho, first brought the Ukulele to celebrity attention in the 1950’s. His songs, the sway of hula dances and Tiki statues became a national obsession. That fame faded until the 70’s when the TV series, Hawaii 5-0, brought the islands back into focus and more recently with the re-creation of the series. A fancy for Ukulele never faded out of earshot completely. Easy to carry, play and pack, the four strings are relatively simple to tune and master. The late, beloved singer, Israel “Iz” Kamakawiwo'ole, and his sweetly enduring rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, is a favorite across the globe attesting to the power of the little instrument.

Hula and Heritage

Cherishing hula and heritage has been the focus of the Napili Kai Foundation for decades on the island of Maui. Created as a non-profit over 46 years ago, it began as a way to enrich the lives of the children of employees at the Napili Kai Resort. The original resort was built on a perfect, half moon bay at the end of a long gravel road, making it an isolated livelihood for the staff. Today the bay shelters a trio of small resorts, narrow roads lined with hide-away homes and some of the most inviting waters on the island. The Foundation has been continuously connecting local kids with their heritage and giving them opportunities for higher education. The songs enrich lives, not only of the Keiki, West Maui’s children, but of visitors coming to the Resort from around the world as every Tuesday evening there’s a hula performance in the Napili Kai Aloha Pavilion.

Pele at Dawn

The melodies make the perfect companion for the drive up to the crater of Haleakala, which translates to “The House of the Rising Sun.” It’s a dark and slow ride to reach the crater before dawn. The prevailing wisdom is to leave no later than 3 am, depending on where you’re staying on the island. The steep road up to the rim winds through groves until switchbacks take you above the tree line. Once you pull into the summit parking lot, bundle up and find a place amongst the crowds who gather daily, weather permitting, to watch the first rays of the sun crest above the far rim and creep slowly across the dark crater below. If you’re lucky, Park Ranger Nan will burst into a Hawaiian chant about the power of Pele, the volatile goddess of volcanoes, as the sun’s light pushes higher and to the west where you may see the shadow of Haleakala outlined on the clouds.

Watery Calls

There’s one more powerful song that you won’t find on the radio, at the crater or in performances – whale song and Maui’s waters are full of them for a good part of the year. Divers and snorkelers hear them often as they explore the half submerged crater of Molokini, two miles offshore. Pele may have had a hand in the volcanic rise, a ‘tuff’, that is a morning magnet for water lovers when the trade winds are calm. The inner crater is shallow and a haven for huge parrot fish, schools of tiny, darting patterns and friendly feeding angel fish. The outer rim is a steep drop off to depths beyond any tank dive and slipper lobster hide amidst undulating corals while sharks doze in crevices. Often a call will softly creep into consciousness. If you’re very fortunate, its source will glide into view and you will witness one of the largest creatures on the planet, a Humpback Whale. Each year from late December through mid-April, they migrate from Alaska’s arctic to the warm waters of Hawaii, to calve, mate and rear their young. The spectacle of them breaching and splashing is unforgettable and while their whale song is inspiring, the one they instill in your heart will last forever.

Which one of Maui’s songs speaks to you?

Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.


About the Author

Elaine Masters

Elaine Masters, a RoamRight Blog Author Elaine is constantly in motion. She's called most of the major cities along the U.S. west coast home and travels or scuba dives as often as possible (Her latest passport is almost out ofpages.) The one constant has been writing and she's contributedto numerous publications and blogs as well as her own,TripWellness.com. Flytime Yoga was founded through her yoga practice, including a session at 30,000 feet on a dive trip flight to Fiji. Her Indie Excellence award-winning Drivetime Yoga techniques have helped RV and bus drivers, police officers andother travelers get where they're going feeling great atDrivetimeYoga.com. She podcastsThe Gathering Roadweekly and brings authors and experts together with travelers at monthlyTravel Well meetupsin San Diego. Follow Elaine onLinkedIn,Pinterest,Facebook,TwitterandGoogle Plus.

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