Maui, Hawaï

Who can contradict me? Hawaii is exactly the kind of destination that is at the top of the list of things to do in your life. Paradise archipelago lost in the middle of the Pacific, its huge beaches surrounded by lush vegetation have indeed enough to leave dreamers … As a teenager, Hawaii already aroused in me all the fantasies even if it existed in my mind only one island, Maui, only one beach, Hookipa, and only one thing, a funboard. Passionate about windsurfing, Hawaii was not “heavenly” but mythical, and Maui evoked Björn Dunkerbeck, Robert Teriitehau, Robby Naish, waves of 20 meters and spectacular loops. Some 22 years later, I no longer sail and the world of funboard has evolved, but it does not matter! I am about to realize a teenager’s dream and from the plane, the landscapes suggest an exceptional stay. Roadmap of a journey like no other.

Walking on the moon in Haleakala National Park

Located east of Maui, the 3055 meters high and 30 km circumference of Haleakala gives this volcano giant airs watching over the entire island. Locals call it House of Sun and from its caldera, many visitors come every day to contemplate spectacular sunrises and sunsets with views of the ocean and the Hawaiian Islands. Asleep, the volcano that last erupted in 1750 is a vast field of exploration for hikers and several routes are possible within the confines of Haleakala National Park (plan warm clothes and for the rain, the weather changes very quickly ). For a few hours or a whole day, they allow to go around its crater (which in fact brings together a dozen, result of repeated eruptions) or to go down in the valleys of Koolau or Kaupo that cut the flanks of the caldera to throw themselves in the Pacific and especially, they offer the great sensation of walking on the moon!

Whispering whales

Once in Maui, any self-respecting European will only dream of one thing: to swim in the Pacific Ocean. From a beach or a sea trip aboard a catamaran for snorkeling, the warm waters of the Pacific with colorful fish and other turtles are well worth the detour. But it is a trip to sea quite unforgettable to eclipse all others. Before the winter cold, some 7,000 humpback whales leave the waters of Alaska to breed off Mexico, Japan or Maui. From mid-December to mid-April, they offer an exceptional spectacle to visitors who can observe them during outings of about 2 or 3 hours from a catamaran equipped with a sonar to identify their presence and increase the chances of seeing them.

Hana Road, the Hawaiian road trip

The road to Hana has been a succession of bends following the sinuous contour of a lush coastline and after some 82 km, a small town that I will never visit. Why ? Because this lost town in the far East of Maui is just a pretext for escape! Hana Road is the Hawaiian version of the road trip, so understand that it is not a question of starting from one point to join another, but rather to take the time to admire the landscapes that parade and above all, to stop as often and as long as you want to walk in a botanical garden or swim on a black sand beach. Another good reason to take a break on the way, the many stands sell fresh fruit, smoothies and especially, banana cakes.

Hawaiian gastronomy

The waterfront of Maui do not miss restaurants with terraces and ocean views where one can enjoy delicious pupu, assortment of several traditional dishes that will give you a varied sample of Hawaiian flavors. But if you only had to remember one address, it would be The Restaurant in the Wailea Hotel, a Relais & Châteaux located west of the island near Kihei. The young chef Zach Sato offers a cuisine inspired by the traditions of his island and only based on local and seasonal products.

The mythical beach of Ho’okipa

I’m booking the best for the end, this mythical beach of Ho’okipa without which my visit to Maui would have been incomplete. Luckily I wanted to go there during a World Cup competition but unfortunately, the weather was not there. First very disappointed to see the best riders sailing on waves of just two meters, I let myself quickly carried away by the magic of this place that is strangely familiar to me so much I could see in the magazines or on TV. After this whole day spent at the water’s edge watching sometimes the competition sometimes behind the scenes, my trip ends in the small historic town of Paia for a fish burger at the Fishmarket, where I could have met at the big time Robby Naish and other windsurf legends. There are, of course, only tourists, but I could not finish this pilgrimage better in this blessed period than my adolescence. Aloha!