Maui — Two Month Update

Trey Whitaker
4 min readSep 18, 2022
Sea turtle at Kalepolepo Park

We’re now two months into our Maui residence and have found that the morning walk often includes spotting sea turtles resting on shore. Earlier this week, the season’s first humpback whale sighting was made off this same southern shoreline. A couple weeks back, a vacationer from France suffered a shark attack on the north shore. She survived to return home, but the shark kept one of her arms. It’s proving to always be interesting here on this small island.

Sand: There’s a street sweeper that makes regular trips along the oceanside road. The trade winds blow sand onto the road making it hazardous for all types of vehicles and especially motorcycles, scooters and bikes. Due to the sandy film that quickly coats everything on the island, car washes do a brisk business. Emptying the sand out of your shoes is a daily part of life.

Haleakala at sunset

Trail Steward: This past week, I started training for a gig as a trail steward at Haleakala National Park. This part-time role involves hiking around the park to ensure that visitors are safe and that the plants and animals remain protected. I’m looking forward to sharing photos from the trail and adjusting to hiking in the thinner air at 10,000 feet.

VO2 Max

Fitness: A main goal of making this big move was to improve my personal well-being. While I miss my friends and family immensely, it appears that, from a physical standpoint, the move is working. I do five CrossFit classes a week, take Abbey for two beach walks a day, bike every couple days, work as a volunteer and get eight hours of sleep each night. All the fitness metrics are trending in the right direction. The number one focus was improving my cardio and the numbers show that’s happening. Even getting another COVID booster and flu shot on the same day didn’t slow me down for long.

Waihee Ridge Trail

Mainland Friend: It was awesome to have Tiffany visit with us and share in our new island home. She had a chance to eat some tasty food, listen to some authentic Hawaiian music, visit some scenic locations, swim near the turtles, sun on the beach and hike a ridge trail with Abbey. For us, it was great to spend time with one of our favorite people.

Missing people: I’d noticed that the local news seemed to include numerous reports of missing persons. When I dug into this a bit, it turns out that Hawaii ranks 8th highest among U.S. states for missing persons at 7.5 per 100,000 residents. The suggested reason is that Hawaii is a ‘destination location’ for suicide. That said, this result pales in comparison to Alaska which reports 41.8 missing people per 100,000. The reason suggested for this? The Alaska Triangle. I didn’t even know that was a thing.

Flags: Traveling around the island, you will see United States flags flying, but you’ll notice far more of two others: the state flag of Hawaii and the Kanaka Maoli flag.

During the War of 1812 between Great Britain and the United States, King Kamehameha tried to appease the warring countries by creating a mashed-up version that combined elements of each of their flags. This is now the official state flag of Hawaii.

The Kanaka Maoli flag is a modern rendering of King Kamehameha’s (1782–1819) personal flag. It is meant to represent Hawaii’s pre-colonial identity and island heritage.

Grumpy Facebook People: They are everywhere including here in ‘paradise’. As with elsewhere, the comment sections are heavy on snark and criticism, but light on reasoned ideas and action. From what I’ve read, the biggest concerns are the environment, tourism, traffic and crime. The island’s residents are concerned about the impact tourism is having on Maui. Most of all, they would like tourists to be respectful to the land, wildlife, citizens and customs of the island they’re visiting. Seems fair enough.

Ku Mai Ka Hula

Adventures: A couple weeks ago, we had a chance to watch an old favorite, The Stylistics, perform at the local arts center. Last week, we took in a hula competition and today we made our regular trek to the farmer’s market in up country. Next weekend, we’re planning on visiting a pineapple plantation. There are no professional or major college sports teams here. There’s no stadium large enough to attract major acts. That said, the pineapple is sweet, the sunsets are epic and, since arriving, I haven’t worn anything but shorts and a t-shirt.

Be well, take care and we’ll hope to see you sometime soon.

P.S. — Ahulili



Trey Whitaker

Former CrossFit gym owner, corporate manager, paratrooper, youth sports coach and jujitsu black belt. Now a trail steward at Haleakala National Park on Maui.