Communing With Nature In Paia: Pit Bulls, A Baby Beach & Waterfalls (Maui)
Sept 20, 2012 - I know, I know. By the look of my Facebook images and content of my blog, you'd think we were a couple of gluttons and lushes. Not true, as you'll read in this blog.
We're now in the small, laidback, plantation town of Paia. It's kinda an organic, hippie, stay-happy-man place where everyone loves each other and cars actually stop and give way when you ask for it. It's refreshing when you've come from a big city like Sydney (Australia), where impatience rules and giving the finger while driving is the national salute. So, in keeping with the natural order of Paia, we're doing what the locals do by getting down to earth and communing with nature.
The next thing on our "to do" list, after O'o Farm which we visited yesterday, was to find ourselves a beach we could swim in. Hmmm... Maui, beaches, water ... what's so hard about finding a beach to swim in in Maui? Well, this was going to be a tough call. We had just come from Ka'anapali Beach in Lahaina, which had the most perfect swimming conditions - warm, tranquil, crystal clear waters. The waters of Maui's north shore, however, are know for being treacherous. Take world-famous Ho'okipa Beach, only a few yards from our accommodation at Mama's Fish House. Prime windsurfing and surfing territory, we'd be crazy to wander into those waters. As the lifeguard told Peter yesterday, "Buddy, if you go out there, we'd just have to go and pull you back in again."
"So where can may wife and I have a swim around here?", Peter asked.
"There's a place to your right called Baldwin Park just past Paia. Pull over to the parking lot and you'll see Baldwin Beach. But don't swim there - it's too rough. Turn left when you get to the beach and walk along the shore for 700 yards. You'll come to a place called 'Baby Beach'. That's safe for swimming."
Unhhh? Baby Beach? We live in the home of Bondi, Bronte and Coogee Beaches and we'll have to swim in Baby Beach?? This was too much to bear. However, he was a local and one must always follow the locals.
15 minutes later we were pulling into Baldwin Park. Getting down, we saw magnificent Baldwin Beach stretching out to our left, and miles of ocean in front of us. Seeing a honed and toned 60-something year old local drying herself off, we asked her where was good to swim.
"These waters are pretty rough. Turn left and walk about 700 yeards to Baby Beach."
Our humiliation was complete as we made the trekk towards Baby Beach. We soon forgot our walk of shame, however, as the beach was absolutely stunning. Refreshingly deserted except for the occasional local sunbaking or walking their dogs, in fact, this was a serious place for meeting-and-greeting pooches. Meeting a magnificent specimen called "Steel", a Blue-Nosed Pit Bull, we were relieved to see that he looked happy and well fed. His owner, a golden-haired bikini-clad 20-something year old, she was clearly devoted to him and him to her.
"What's that huge chain around his neck.", Peter asked, referring to the links around the dog the size of my wrist.
"Oh, that's so he gets worn out and tired when we take a walk so that he's not bouncing around my house when we get back home."
Lovely, I thought, as I kept a respectable distance from Steel.
"Oh, you can pat him! He's real friendly!"
Yeah, right, so was Kujo at the start of the movie.... Extending my hand over his neck and shoulderblades, this dog felt like a tank. Nudging me affectionately with all the grace of a rhinosceros, he nearly knocked me off my feet. That was enough of Steel for me.
Finding our way to Baby Beach, it confirmed our worst nightmares... nothing more than a protected lagoon which becomes a safe wading pool for toddlers and their yummy-mummies, it's impossible to get a proper swim here for fear your feet will scrape the top of the corals. Nevertheless ideal for families with children, this wasn't what we were after. Giving myself a refreshing dunk, Peter thought he'd wait and brave the rougher waters where we'd just come from.
Off To Twin Falls:
After a pointless attempt at some laps - the locals were right, it was a tad rough - Peter gave up and we called it a day at Baldwin Beach. Plan B was to have some lunch at Paia at the Paia Fish Market and head over to Twin Falls.
Just a 15 - 20 minute drive along the Hana H'way from the town of Paia, Twin Falls is the first waterfall on the Road to Hana. While not as spectacular as some of the other falls along the Road to Hana, it is still well worth the stop. The trek to the falls, along a tropical rainforest, is spectacular and not too difficult to negotiate, for all you novice hikers. The first and closest set of Twin Falls has a natural pool below the fall (our favorite). The second Twin Falls is about another mile up Ho'olawanui Stream. While rains can make the stream and waterfalls unpredictable and unsafe and the trek slippery and dangerous, the weather conditions were ideal for us today; sunny, hot, and clear. By the time we hit the first Twin Fall, I couldn't wait to cool myself off in the natural pool. Too cold to swim in for most, this was bath-water-warm for us Aussies. Swimming out and positioning myself directly underneath the falls, and feeling the fresh clear water cascading down my head, neck and shoulders, this was bliss.
By the time I dried off in the sun and we trekked back to our car, we were exhausted but content. It was a day well spent, communing with nature: pit bulls, a Baby Beach & waterfalls. After a shower, clean change of clothes and a short nap, we were ready for what we do best - EAT!