Saturday, March 5, 2016

Hawaiian Islands Travel Series: Northern Maui: Hana and the Red Sand Beach

Day 7: Hana and the Red Sand Beach

TUCKED AWAY in the corner of Northern Maui is the small town of Hana. Drivers rejoice; there is a gas station here but gas was $5.00 - $6.00/gallon, and there were two grocery stores, but milk was $10.19/gallon. 

A gas station in Hana

We stayed nearby in the cabins at Waiʻānapanapa State Park and drove into town to pick up a few supplies—not milk. Due to the prices, buy as much as you can in Kahului at Costco or Walmart before heading over to this side. There aren't too many grocery stores in Hana, but we stopped at Hasegawa General Store. Hasegawa’s has been around since 1910 and has the most character. There was a fun “ice cream” machine that offered tasty frozen treats, and the store’s interior was decorated with all sorts of interesting knickknacks. We bought some beef to throw on the grill, but unfortunately the packaging did leak— I’m sure it was just our bad luck, but look carefully. We did most of our shopping there. Hasegawa’s is located at 5165 Hana Hwy.

For a town so small, there was a lot going on. One street was roped off for the filming of a German documentary. This was a problem, because down that street was where the beautiful red sand beach was. It’s a difficult beach to get to, because it is quite secluded amongst the ironwoods. We parked farther away down from Hauoli Road and then successfully dodged the security guards watching the film set to find the Sea Ranch Cottages. You can find a great map on Hawaii Guide’s website located here.

A chain link fence separated the cottages for rent from the trail leading down to the hidden Red Sand Beach. You have to look carefully for the entrance to the trail along this fence, or come during a time when the beach is accessible from the cottages’ entrance; the Red Sand Beach starts right below them.

 We made our way down along the chain link fence and touched down on a rust-colored beach with rocks and driftwood just a couple hundred feet down. This was the first thing we saw:


And sure enough:

Stay at a distance whenever viewing monk seals. They look like nothing could make them move from their sunbathing, but get too close, and you’ll see the red in their eyes and jump at their bark. How do we know? Because we got to witness this tourist stunt: 

That seal whipped about fast. It barked once, and the lady jumped to her feet. It barked again with an accompanying lunge, and the lady fell over. Seriously, that thing had a set of lungs. Luckily, she was able to get far enough away. But that seal’s eyes were red, like zombie-crazed red. Thankfully, none of the other tourist groups attempted a buddy-buddy photo shoot with the grumpy monk seal.

We didn’t have time to investigate the trail that ran down alongside the Red Sand Beach. We did, however, have time to snorkel briefly at Hamoa Beach. The snorkeling was cloudy that day, but we did catch fish darting here and there, particularly by the rocky coves. There wasn’t much coral growing in the vast majority of the bay, which was filled with white sand. The moon came out, and we relaxed back on yet another beautiful beach on Maui.

The sights at Hamoa Beach

Upcoming Final Day 8: Northeast Maui: Waimoku Falls and Ohe'o Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools)

Read more in the Hawaiian Travel Series:
(0) Intro: Welcome to Maui
(1) Day 1: Northwest Maui: Lahaina
(3)Day 3: Central Maui: Paia and Makawao

Disclaimer: the above is presented as fiction, not fact. *Names have been changed for the sake of privacy.

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