‘Ulalena is a theatrical show featuring storytelling, music, dance, and acrobatics in a compelling setting depicting the story of Hawaii, its people, and its culture. The show utilizes Japanese Butoh-style theatre, with elements of modern dance and traditional Hawaiian Hula – it is also reminiscent of a Cirque du Soleil style performance. It is widely hailed as the best theatrical experience in Hawaii.
The name ‘Ulalena refers to a kind of wind in upcountry Maui. The production traces the history of Hawaii, from the arrival of the first Native Hawaiians, the growth of Hawaii’s unique culture and customs, the arrival of explorers from Europe, through the Hawaiian monarchy.
The show features 20 professional performers and live musicians, and the show’s venue is a multi-million dollar facility that was specially constructed for ‘Ulalena, with a seating capacity of 684.
‘Ulalena performances are held at the Maui Myth & Magic Theatre at 878 Front Street in Lahaina, Maui. The show runs about 75 minutes long and adult tickets run from $49.50-$69.50. Children’s tickets run $29.50 – but you can get one child in free per paying adult (except with Producer’s Package). Advance reservations are essential.
Humpback Whales are beautiful creatures and can be seen in the waters of Hawaii between the months of November and May. They travel thousands of miles south and west to the warmer waters of Hawaii, where they breed, give birth, and nurse their newborns. Newborns, or calves are about 10-15 feet in length and can weigh up to 3000 pounds.
The Humpbacks got their names due to their arching backs as they go partially airborne, just before taking on a deep dive into the ocean. Here’s a photo of a whale breaching the water just before diving:
If you are in Hawaii during their migratory period, chances are you will encounter more than one. The Humpback whale is currently an endangered species – from a population high of between 750,000 to 2 million, only 30- to 40,000 are now believed to exist.
Humpback whales produce a song that can last between fifteen to thrity minutes in length. No one really knows exactly why they sing this song, but that it is a sign of their social community and might be part of their navigation mechanism.
Whale watching boat tours are available on the islands of Kauai, Maui, Oahu, and the Big Island of Hawaii. The whales are visible from shore, but if you want a sigificantly closer experience, choose a boating tour. In either case, see them if you can while you are visiting Hawaii. You’ll be amazed with their sheer magnificence and grace!
One of the most popular spots for big-wave surfers in Hawaii is a surf spot called Jaws on the island Maui in Hawaii. Jaws is located in Peahi, which is about 3 miles north of Paia off the Hana highway. The spot is called Jaws because of the massive waves it can generate during the winter months, between November and February.
Some of the wave faces can go as high as fifty feet, travelling up to thirty-five miles per hour! The waves at Jaws are not only large, they are also of high quality. Many other surf spots boast fifty foot high waves, but at Jaws, the rocks and reefs are shaped so that incoming swell energy is magnified, and clean right and left waves are produced. Here’s a photo:
If you look carefully, the tiny speck near the wave crest in the photo above is a surfer – that gives you an idea of the wave’s scale.
During a big wave event, surfers must utilize a technique called “tow-in surfing”, whereby the surfer is towed into the area by jetski, or is dropped in above via helicopter. Needless to say, only the highest caliber professional surfers can even attempt to brave the high waves here.
Jaws actually became so popular at one point that the roads were blocked with debris. Many pro surfers complained that tourists, incompetent surfers, and others that were showing up were crowding the beach. Thus the area is easy to get to.
However, if you are a big wave spectator, and are in the right place at the right time, there may be no better big wave viewing than at Jaws on Maui.
Haleakala is one of the most visited destinations in East Maui and rightfully so. It is an enormous, spectacular crater that stretches as far as the eye can see. “House of the Sun” in Hawaiian, the crater sits 10,023 feet above sea level (3055 meters) and has an area of 570 square miles!
According to the U.S. Geological survey, Haleakala has experienced at least 10 eruptions in the past 1,000 years (that’s quite a lot, in volcano/geological time). In fact, this pattern indicates that the East Maui volcano will once again erupt in the future!
Sunrise is spectacular at the crater (many love sunsets there too), but it requires that you get up incredibly early in the morning to make the long trek up to the crater summit in your car (biking expeditions are also available).