Maui ~ The Valley Isle

Maui ~ The Valley Isle

Maui is the second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands at 727 square miles. Native Hawaiian tradition gives the origin of the island’s name in the legend of Hawai‘iloa, the Polynesian navigator attributed with discovery of the Hawaiian Islands. The story relates how he named the island of Maui after his son who in turn was named for the demi-god Maui. According to legend, the demi-god Maui raised all the Hawaiian Islands from the sea. The Island of Maui is also called the “Valley Isle” for the large fertile isthmus between its two volcanoes.

Maui is part of the State of Hawai‘i and is the largest island in Maui County. The population is diverse, with many ethnic groups having originally arrived in the islands to work sugar cane and pineapple plantations from countries of the Western Pacific rim. Maui is part of Maui County, the other islands comprising the county being Lana‘i,Kaho‘olawe, and Moloka‘i. The larger towns on Maui Island include KahuluiWailuku,Lahaina, and Kîhei.

Maui is a volcanic doublet: an island formed from two volcanic mountains that abut one another to form the isthmus between them. The older volcano, Mauna Kahalawai, is much older and has been eroded considerably; it is now called the West Maui Mountain. The larger volcano in the East, East Maui Volcano (more commonly calledHaleakalā after its famous summit depression) – rises above 10,023 feet (3,050 m). The last eruption occurred around 1790, and the lava flow can be viewed between ‘Āhihi Bay and La Perouse Bay on the southwest shore of East Maui. Both volcanoes are shield volcanoes and the low viscosity of the Hawaiian lava makes the likelihood of large explosive eruptions negligible.

Maui is a leading whale-watching center in the Hawaiian Islands due to the fact that many Humpback whales winter in the sheltered ‘Au‘au Channel between the islands of Maui county. The whales migrate approximately 3,500 miles (5,600 km) from Alaskan waters each autumn and spend the northern hemisphere winter months mating and birthing in the warm waters off Maui. The whales are typically sighted in pods: small groups of several adults and one or more calves. Humpbacks are an endangered species protected by U.S. federal and Hawai‘i state law. There are estimated to be about 3000 humpbacks in the North Pacific.

Among the many features on Maui popular with tourists are the “Road to Hāna” (the drive from the central valley to Hāna and beyond), the drive up to Haleakalā crater, Makawao (and Maui’s Upcountry region), the Iao Valley, and Lindbergh’s grave (near Kaupō on East Maui).


At sea level Maui has a remarkably stable tropical climate with highs in the region of 29 °C (80 to 85 °F) and lows around 20 °C (65 to 70 °F); rainfall is greater in the northern hemisphere winter (wet season is November through April). However, because of the two volcanic mountains that dominate the topography, Maui has a very wide range of climatic conditions depending on elevation and whether an area faces toward or away from the prevailing Tradewinds (blowing from the northeast). For example the top of the West Maui mountain receives over 400 inches (10 m) of rainfall per year, whereas Kîhei receives less than 10 inches (250 mm), being in the rain shadow of East Maui Volcano; Kahului airport (the main airport on Maui) has average rainfall of about 19 inches (480 mm), whereas Olinda (upslope from the airport) receives about 73 inches (1.8 m).

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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