Makena Beach and I in the 60’s
Growing up on Maui in the 60’s was amazing. We would take a yearly camping trip way into the keawe tree-filled beaches of Makena and camp for a week. Some of my fondest memories and nightmares (my first stingray sighting caused many sleepless nights) were had there. Things have changed but, actually, not so much.
Makena is bordered on the North by posh Wailea Resorts and to the South by the Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve. It offers visitors a glimpse into the nature of Hawaii as it once was. This is the place where the road ends, an area largely covered in volcanic rock fields formed in the last eruption on Maui in 1790. In ancient times, Hawaiians settled in small villages along the Makena shore. These villages were populated by fisherman and by highlanders who migrated to Makena to stay warm in the winter.
La Perouse Bay
The snorkeling destination known as La Perouse Bay was named after Francois de Galaup, captain of La Perouse.Â He was the first person that was not of Polynesian descent to set foot on the island. Waves here can be dangerous to even the most seasoned surfers.
In the late 1800’s, Makena Landing served as the dock for what is now known as the Ulapalakua Ranch. As late as 1948, cattle were still driven down the slopes of Haleakala into the surf, and herded onto barges for the market…. Free range beef, I suppose! Today, the shoreline is rocky (but picturesque), and little of the beach remains.
Founded in 1832 and built in 1855, the Keawalai Church sits on a sandy cove overlooking the ocean. The walls are 3′ thick and constructed of lava rock and coral mortar. The church’s cemetery features headstones with ceramic photo portraits of the deceased. To ward off the evil spirits, the Hawaiians surrounded the church with ti plants. The website MyJewelryBox.com has listed the Keawalai Church in Makena as one of the top 5 romantic places in the world to have a wedding.
South of the only hotel in Makena (The Makena Beach and Golf Resort) is the most famous beach of the area, Oneloa Beach, or more commonly known as “Big Beach.” It runs more than 3000 ft long and 100 ft wide and is the longest beach on Maui. It has the most perfect white sand ever. The North end is bordered by Puu Olai, a large domed cinder cone. On the other side of this is Little Beach with a smaller, yet equally magnificent beach. If you are brave enough to conquer Puu Olai, you will notice the many nude sunbathers. It is against the law, but who’s checking! The Sunday afternoon sunset is an event not to miss. Drummers come out to beat at a frenzied pace as the sun sets.
If you are considering buying a new home in Maui, Makena is an area you’ll want to be sure to check out.Â Contact me for more information.