to give some perspective to this story, this is the view of north Kohala (where we live- the land mass in the distance on the right side of the picture) from Mauna Lani. Everything clearly visible here is Hawaii
"On a clear day you can see Maui"
This is what I was told by people and guidebooks alike. For the first week here I kept talking about the moment when I would see Maui - if the day were clear enough since typically it is "covered in the clouds". I asked Clayton in the car, with great anticipation, "so can I see Maui today?!" and his answer would seem casual - almost too casual for speaking about such a great and rare occurrence - "its back over there, cant see it from here."
Keep in mind here that I am envisioning Maui as this speck in the distance. Im thinking that on the clearest of clear days, with no clouds covering the horizon, I would look off into the ocean and see something, perhaps a wave, but alas it is an island! From the windward side of Oahu you can see Molokai on the clearest of days. But its just a blob in the distance and if someone didnt point it out to you, you would likely never notice it. This is what I am thinking of my Maui-sighting experience.
So imagine my embarrassment when we are driving and lo 'n behold THERE IS MAUI!
Yep, that thing covering the entire lower skyline is the island of Maui. Its so freaking close to Hawaii I thought it WAS Hawaii! I had to double check that I was looking out across the shore and not inland! Yesterday in fact was so clear that I saw both Maui AND Lanai! I heard that you can just barely see four islands (Im assuming Kahoolawe and Molokai in addition to the two aforementioned islands) on super clear days, but that wasnt yesterday.
I heard that even though the islands are close together, the channels between them are so rough and dangerous that its not safe to take anything much smaller than a barge. Which would explain why theres no genuine ferry service. In fact, I was told that the channel between Maui and Big Island is one of the most dangerous channels in the world and that barges have to navigate north and then sail down the coast line to Kawaihae instead of just heading over in a straight shot.
The legendary Eddie Aikau used to sail his canoe between the islands and died during one of these famous adventures (I think he was heading to Kahoolawe). Theres a saying here - "Eddie would go" - I suppose telling people to be brave.
This is a view down Hawi Street, the street we live on. That is ocean in the distance, but Maui would be to your left behind all those trees.