Rebooting Into Nature

The group in the river at Iao Valley.

Written By Caroline and Max

A group of twelve, Reggie the rooster (with the addition of Lil Peep and many cats), and the continually infamous cooler that goes by Uncle George have been romping around the natural playgrounds of Maui for a second week, with much to share.

On Thursday, we returned to Kipuka Olowalu where we tie-dyed our own kiheis out of a dirt/water solution, found our inner little kid while playing with various natural dyes from leaves, flowers, berries, and even nuts, and harvested sweet potatoes that we incorporated in dinner, experiencing our very own farm to table later that night (and if you were wondering, yes, the food was as good as what you would find in one of those kinds of restaurants. We have some seriously bouji chefs). That afternoon we went on a short walk along the rocky shoreline of Lahaina, and waded into the water at a small beach just before sunset. We watched a pod of whales practice their acrobatic routine from afar and witnessed a truly Hawaiian sunset before heading back to camp.

On Friday, our friends from Kipuka Olowalu joined us on our shore here at the campsite, and the group journeyed out into open water to find some colorful fish hiding within the coral reef, and go under water to listen to whale songs. After spending our fair share of time in the water, we returned to have a talk about coral, the reef system, whales, and micro plastics. We then spent some time around camp before heading to Big Beach, where many of us sang songs to Lana’s guitar playing.

We had an early morning on Saturday, waking up at 6:00 am to be on time for our surfing lessons in Lahaina! We discovered that Max is practically a pro surfer, and that everyone was actually very good at surfing. We hit up the food trucks for lunch and then went on a scavenger hunt throughout the town with our partner Leaders of the Week. Omer and Delia discovered a house filled with parrots, Mikayla and Lana were questioned about their note-taking in a poster store, Luke and Wynn made it to the Banyan Tree, and Emily and Andrew tried on lots of clothes.

By Sunday, the group needed some rest from all the rushing around. Mara and Cahill were kind enough to make us a pancake breakfast while the group slept in. We then hung out around the campsite and checked out the General Store until our kayaking tour started in the afternoon. The turquoise water looked especially pretty when Lana and Mara’s kayak flipped! We went around the deeper channel near our site and spotted whales, turtles, and even white-tip reef sharks.

Sunday’s rest helped prep us for the hike through the Iao valley, where, with the guidance of Ua, Duane, and co (Kipuka Olowalu staff) we gathered and processed Ti leaves in the river and practiced our Hula with Joi (the farm dog). Lunch was on the go, in that we stopped in a park on the way back down the valley. Max, Emily, and Delia went shopping with Cahill to grab our next several meals, while others worked on top secret projects.

On Tuesday we returned to Kipuka Olowalu to continue helping out. We pulled weeds, stamped our kiheis, and made strong improvements in our Hula dancing. Afterwards, we drove to see Ua play one of his Ukulele gigs on the beach.

Sunset over Big Beach.
The group preparing Ti leaves for lei making.
Ua, Kipuka Olowalu’s cultural practitioner preparing a gift to leave for the gods.
The group’s last day at Kipuka Olowalu with Kipuka staff.