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We put together a Facebook contest giving away Island-style iPhone casesto the best of those that submitted their favorite Maui memories.  It was VERY difficult to choose our top 2 favorite stories.  So we chose 4, and we wish we could've given away 1 to each person.  Excellent, funny, beautiful and touching stories.  Below are the 4 winners plus some other favorite entries.

 

Please feel free to join our Maui Facebook page for the next giveaway.  For those of you visiting this page for the 1st time, you can also join Hawaii Photography and share your photos and experiences for FREE!  ALOHA!

 
(WINNER!)
  My parents brought my brother and I to Maui for the first time when we were kids, 15 and 16. All the way from Winnipeg, Canada, the coldest place on earth! Every year, for many years, we returned as a family for the month of march. Until my brother got married.

He passed away when his wife was 3 months pregnant. 17 years later we returned to the island with my brothers son to pick up the Maui Island tradition again. We, as a family, miss him everyday. But Maui is the one place on earth that we feel like a whole family again. The day we watched my brother's boy walk down the beach just like he used to is without a doubt my fondest Maui memory.We can feel his spirit in the breeze, in the soft air, in the gorgeous sunsets off Kam 3. We continue to return to Maui to this day and always will for as long as we can.
by Kimberly of Winnipeg, Canada

 

(WINNER!)
There are many wonderful memories from Hawaii, but my favorite is the trip we took in 2010. My husband had recently found his birth Mother and so we flew her over for a few days with our family, my husband, two daughters and myself. At first things were a little awkward, she didn't know us well and vice versa. That evening we went down to the beach to watch the sunset and as we sat there suddenly, it was as if we had always been family. She was a part of us and we were a part of her! So Maui, thank you for beautiful sunsets and helping to reunite a family!
by Angela of Austin, TX



(WINNER!)
My favorite Maui memory was from last time I was there w/my husband Ray (R.I.P.)  He was a local but moved to Alaska.  I took him to Maui for his birthday and he was sick the whole 2 weeks (whole body swollen bad) but he tried as much as he could to show me his Island.  He loved Hana so we did that beautiful trip 3 times.  The people were wonderful everywhere we went.  And these are the some of my most precious memories of him and Maui...he didn't last much longer and i miss him and my Maui.
by Colleen of Fairbanks, AK

(WINNER!) My Favorite Maui Memories:
    I had the privilege of spending 6 months living in Hana last year and really loved taking the time to find new waterfalls. One of my favorite hikes to do was go out to Oheo Gulch and hike up through the Bamboo forest to the large waterfall but ended up falling in love with a small one to the right of the trail, just past the cattle gate further north in Hana. I spent many days looking at the waterfall from up above and continued to try and find a way to get down to it as the ledge was too steep to climb down and if i had the courage to just jump into it's pool...there would be no way back out. So i always assumed that this waterfall would be nothing more than a nice thing to look at. But one day a friend i had made in town who had heard me speak about this 1 waterfall many times passed me a note which read "At the gate, head to the river. Cross it and leave your pack beneath the banyan tree. Then swim". It took me many days to figure out what this note was for and it wasn't until i was hiking one day did i understand what it meant. I reached the cattle gate and instead of continuing forward, i took a right at the gate. I came to the river and sure enough directly across it was a large banyan tree which provided a hidden place to leave my belongings. I then continued with my instructions and began to swim up river which lead me under colorful rocks ceilings where the river had cut out the land from higher flows over the years, it was really beautiful. It brought me to a small 5 ft waterfall which i began to climb up and as soon as my head reached the top, i was located at the edge of the pool that was filled by the waterfall i had stared at for so many days. I spent many hours there sitting in the mist and admiring how beautiful it was glowing in the sunlight from a new angle. The day i reached my waterfall was one of my favorite days/memories.
by Michael of Bellingham, WA

 

 

I spent three summers on Maui when I was in college learning archaeology. I have so many good memories it is hard to pick one, but this one was pretty memorable.

My class, a group of about 13 students and our professor were excavating a Heiau on Mike Love of the Beach Boys' property. We wold drive there every morning and clear brush and dig all day collecting artifacts that would help determine what type of activities had happened there. During lunch we would take a break and eat and swim at an amazing fresh water pool that ran out of the rain forest and down to the ocean at the beach, it was breathtaking.

One day, a monk seal lumbered up over the rocks at the beach and decided to come check us out. Since they are endangered, we couldn't interact with him. He had us pinned up on the rocks around the pool while he swam about and checking us out. He was very curious. After about 10 minutes he clambered out of the pool and actually worked his way over to my beach towel and proceeded to lay on it like a sunbather sticking his nose in my work boots I had left with the towel. He got a boot stuck on his snout and threw his head around for a bit before it dropped off. He then laid there for about 20 minutes sunning himself before finally leaving us behind back to the sea. It was one of the most incredible encounters I've had with a wild animal.
by Jeanne

 
I visited Maui in 2005. My scheduled travel companion cancelled on me a few weeks before due to unforeseen circumstances. I invited my grandmother to take her place. My grandmother, who turned 74 a few months later, and who hadn't traveled in over 15 years, came along and we had the TRIP OF A LIFETIME!

She was such a trooper and had so much fun -- she rode in the van and thus was able to be there when I did the sunrise at Haleakala and rode a bike down, she RODE IN AN INFLATABLE boat while I went on a snorkel tour and even put her face in the water with a mask on to admire the underwater view and some honu, she went on a whale watch every day with me, and she co-piloted our drives on the Road to Hana and the Road around the North side of the island. She even danced and drank mai tais at a luau. It was the happiest I have seen her ever, and I am so grateful for that memory!!!

by Jennifer



My most memorable/best day on Maui is hard to narrow down to just one but I will try now. I moved to Maui in 2004 and ended up in Kihei a month later.  A few months later I met this girl, her name was Akina. I really liked her, and there was something special about her that I couldn't figure out. Anyways I gathered up the courage to ask her out and I believe our first date was my best day on Maui.

I picked her up in my truck with a handful of orchids then we proceeded to the west side while we had a nice chat. We ended up in Napili swimming and laughing and enjoying a few drinks at the beach. After we went to lunch at Hula Grill in Kaanapali and talked some more, laughed a lot, the weather was perfect. Then we made our way back to the southside stopping at Maalaea Harbor to watch the sunset... Soon after the sun went down we ended up back at my pad where we watched some T.V. and kissed a little on my couch.

Almost 6 years later I remember this day like it was yesterday. I am now married to Akina and we are expecting our first child any day now. Needless to say Maui is a very special place for us and we are considering moving back in the near future. I apologize for the very long message but I am thankful for your post on facebook because it gave me the opportunity to relive this very special day!
by Jamie

I have always held a special place in my heart for Maui. My parents would save up their money every couple of years and take my brother and I over as kids and teenagers. My first trip to Maui was when I was 1 yrs old. It is my favorite place on earth and if you know me then you know that bit of info about me- I am a Maui lover. At one point I had my room as a teenager decorated with Maui/tropical island things.

My special Maui memory: In 2007 my boyfriend who I have known since grade school surprised me with a trip to Maui for a week, I had just finished my Masters and I was so excited to show him Maui because he had never been to Hawaii. On the third day we were there I noticed he was acting a little weird but I didn't say anything. We went driving up in upcountry Maui to the winery and through Kula. He stopped at a historic Catholic church called Holy Ghost Catholic Church. I was surprised because he is not Catholic ( I was raised Catholic)but then I thought...hmmm, he does love history, so I didn't think it too weird that he chose this stop. There we stood inside this great old church just him and I, a church my parents and I had always visited on Maui as a little girl. He got down on one knee in the middle of the vacant church while the Maui air blew sweetly in and pulled out a ring that he had custom made and said, " Will you marry me Ann?"- I was so surprised and of course said "yes!". The rest of the trip was so amazing as we went on many hikes, snorkeling and had a lovely dinner on a dinner cruise. he fell head over heels for Maui while we were there and I think realized how I could love it so much.

Sooooo.....6 months later we knew we wanted to come back and get married in the small old sweet church in Kula. We debated about doing it at home with a lot of people but Maui called to us. We returned on February 16, 2008 to the the Holy Ghost Church in Kula in an intimate ceremony with close family and our 2 best friends. It was a beautiful Maui day. I had a starfish intertwined in my hair and looked at the beautiful ocean view from the church one last time before I walked down the isle to my husband. After the ceremony we went on a dinner cruise and danced the night away under the killer Maui stars.

I still have my dress with sand on it and I refuse to get it cleaned because it has the sweet sand of Maui on it. We went back with our little son and daughter to show them the special church and beautiful upcountry Maui. We hope to keep returning and will renew our vows there someday [:-)]

I have the sweetest memories of Maui from the time I was a babe, a child, a teen to a mother myself - when my mind wanders off to day dream it is always and forever will be to sweet Maui.
Thanks for considering me [:-)]
by Anna



Let me start by saying that in 2005, I was married to the love of my life on Maui. And although that was hands down the best memory I have of Hawaii, what stands out in my mind as of late is the final, few hours we had before our flight back to the mainland in 2010.

It was two years ago this month that I was last in Hawaii. My husband and I wanted to sneak away for a few days to unwind and Maui was our destination. After a fabulous five days and nights, we were gearing up to go home, but decided to try and find the section of beach that we were married on five years earlier. We must have drove around for two hours before we finally found the spot (which was now sectioned off and was much more difficult to get to). We were the only people on the beach and as we sat on lava rocks to watch the waves, we noticed turtles enjoying the surf (Just like on our wedding day). The clouds started to roll over and it began to rain.

Since we had all our bags with us, we thought we should take advantage of the rain and ocean for one last swim in one of my favorite spots. We headed to Big Beach, and once there, we quickly ushered ourselves into the water. The sky was grey (which I love) and the rain just kept coming down. Both the ocean and rain were warm. Again, we were the only ones on the beach. It was surreal. It was unbelievably calm and quiet. My husband and I didn't say a word to each other. We just swam out about 30 feet and watched the waves hit the shoreline.

Last March I found out I was pregnant. I took a couple classes to prepare myself, and was told to 'visualize' the most tranquil and peaceful place I'd ever been to. Well, guess what I selected? he he! So, I suppose I can thank Big Beach for helping me get through labor & delivery. Ha!

Anyway, those last few hours in Maui were precious and I think about them often. I know it will be a while before I can get back there, so thank goodness for homemade Lava Flows and a giant photo album of Maui memories.

by Callie

 

My whole life I have lived in Seattle,WA. Near the water, but always murky and the thought of "surfing" was out of the question. Pictures of surfboards and Hawaii cover the walls of my room, and Seashells take up the space on my desk. Life on an island was always my life long dream. I am 21, and my best friend invited to go to Hawaii with her family. I was ecstatic. Finally, I get to see what Maui was all about. I walked off the plane and felt like I had walked in to a dream. The wind was calm and the heat surrounded me like a warm blanket. I immediately fell in love with the cars that carried surfboards on them and the slow pace of everyone. I come from a stressful, fast-paced work environment at college and the busy streets of Seattle where no one stops to enjoy the small things in life. On this trip, I stopped to enjoy waves and how they pushed me to shore on my boogie board, the funky taste of drinking out of a coconut and lastly, being in the presence of a waterfall. I met the Twin Falls after hiking about 15 mins. I dipped my feet in to the water, swam out and let the power of the water drizzle on me. Right then and there Maui taught me a life long lesson, to take a step back from everything, look at whats been handed to you and enjoy life.
by Kayleigh

My favorite day on Maui was Feb 24, 2012. I boarded a 60 ft sailboat from Oahu and sailed to Molokai and then to Maui where I got off the boat but never left the island!! I met the man of my dreams and the love of my life on this day! We now joke and say Yeah...that i washed up on a beach on Maui fell in love and never left!!
by Stephanie


The best Maui memory was watching the sunrise at Haleakala. Waking up at 2:30 am and driving 3 hrs to see an amazing sunrise was priceless. I felt so above the clouds and it was just so peaceful, but very cold being 10,000 feet high. I however, had tons of great memories in Maui!!
by Caryn


My favorite memory of Maui was getting to watch the sunrise on Haleakalā with a bunch of my family last March.  I live in Alaska and my family lives in California, so we never have a chance to all be in one place at once (let alone on vacation).  Not only did we get a chance to watch the sunrise, but we were lucky enough to see Reverend Laki perform a ceremony in native tongue for a family who lost a loved one.   The last wish of the person who passed away was to have his ashes spread on Haleakalā.  So, the reverend blessed the family and taught us all the meaning of A.L.O.H.A.    Something I will never forget.
by Jake


Wow, seven days in paradise and so so many memories and stories to share.  But, this is my favorite and have shared it several times since coming back to the mainland.
March 2nd was my first trip to Maui and we had a must see list that included a quiet sunset.
We headed to Makena to watch the sunset, but the sun wasn't going to set for an hour and a half.  So we drove to the end of the road and I looked out to the right and I said, wow they must be digging up all this dirt and doing some major construction.  My husband laughed and he said, that's not dirt it's volcanic rock from the last eruption of  Mt Haleakala.   Boy was I naive.  I was amazed at the beauty of volcanic rock.  This was just the beginning of my adventure to the end of the road to La Peruse Bay. Our rental car took in all the humps and bumps but the ride and walk was out of this world.
Pristine water and a bay filled with volcanic rock and sea life.  Who would have thought?!
Many tourists never get off the beaten path, this one was well worth it!   I was in awe that mother earth created such natural raw beauty.  Maui is an island that has a hidden treasure around every cove.  Take a minute to stop and feel it's beauty.
by Susan



My fav memory of Maui is the smell of plumeria when I got off the airplane on the first day of my honeymoon!!!! I think about it every day....
by Amanda

While snorkeling off Ka'anapali several turtles joined us. Later that same day off Big Beach while snorkeling a monk seal decided to swim with me...best snorkeling ever!
by Jim


so, I love this giveaway...but I still don't have a favorite Maui moment, as I am going in August...BUT, I could take kick ass pictures of my favorite moment taken with my newly won cover!!!! Now that's an idea!!!!
by Amelie


Aloha,
If I were lucky enough to win I would love the pink honu design because it would always remind me of my fondest memory on Maui. My most cherished memory is my wedding definitely but my fondest was while watching the honu from the lanai I saw a monk seal which I know is VERY rare.
by Dena

Bonjour from Quebec, Canada!
The best memory about Maui for me is so simple: Its super friendly people!
I decided to land there for President's day weekend hoping to find a hostel but everything was booked!
This ended up being the best ever! I met 3 true ALOHA locals who not only hosted me but befriended me as one of their gang!
Oh the good memories! A day doing the whole loop of the road to Hana and up country Maui, a snorkeling adventure at Molokini Crater, fine dinning in Lahaina, all the gorgeous beaches in South Maui. even some skinny dipping in Little beach! Too difficult to pick just one!
I'm already counting my days to go back to Maui Paradise!
Aloha!
by Claudia


Simple Story.... While driving south on Honoapiilani Highway in February, I, along with my wife, our daughter and her friend simply pulled over, just north of the viewing spot and sat and watched a pod of whales play in the water a few hundred yards in front of us. Magical and a moment, a True Maui Memory. It does not get any better than that!
by Rev. Christopher


My favorite Maui memory is my fiance proposing to me at a Luau. It was written in the sand and under the bright moon reflecting off of the beautiful water. Also, because I have two or many I should say....is when I was paddle boarding and 3 huge sea turtle's were swimming under me. It was very peaceful and an amazing sight!
by Kathy


 Hello, I loved my entire experience on Maui, but one that stands out is when we took the Road to Hana tour, we stopped along the way, talking to one of the islanders, we learned about his tattoo, and how it was done using a sharks tooth and local berries, and I think he said he traded a pig for it too! We are coming back this fall or winter, cant wait to show my daughter "Paradise"!
by Jeryl



So many wonderful memories of Maui but I think the one that has had the most impact on my life was the moment I finally figured out how to correctly use snorkel equipment. I will never forget that moment out at Molokini and it has opened up so many more dreams I have for future vacation fun. Sounds simple; but, WOW so exciting to me.
by Marilyn



My all time favorite Maui memory would have to be getting engaged at Mama's Fish House last July. [:)] My fiance proposed on my birthday during a sunset dinner at Mama's with both of our families present. It was perfect and of course I said yes! We are getting married at the Olowalu Plantation House on August 7th 2012! Maui will always be a huge part of our lives and we can't wait to celebrate our big day there and stay for our honeymoon too!
by Lauren

 

We have been there in Feb 2011 and 2012. I have so many great memories our kids first visit last year, watching my 6 month old eat the sand is always fun. This year my daughter went snorkeling for the first time and she got to see a bunch of turtles it made her so happy and wanting to continue snorkeling. We have also taken surfing lessons both year with Maui wave riders that is so fun! We also went up the Hana Hwy to find waterfalls this year, took all kinds of pictures of falls. I can't wait for next year!!
by Tracy


Snorkeling around black rock while holding hands with my husband and looking at the turtles.
by Nancy
Jon Cruz singing Island Style and Henry Kapono's CD party at Dukes!
by Michelle

We were able to make our second trip to Maui when our son was 5. We loved Hana so much the first time we visited that we decided to take him there too. So we left very early in the morning to make the entire drive in 1 day. We stopped at Garden of Eden and had a nice walk , fed the peacocks, posed with the parrots, and left with sweet little bananas. When we stopped for lunch in Hana we discovered that our son had eaten all 6 of the bananas!!! My husband and I got some sandwiches, had a quick picnic and decided to get back on the road. After about 30 minutes of curvy road driving our son starts yelling from the backseat that he's "gonna go BLECH"!!! So we spent the last half of the drive around the island pulling over every so often for him to "get rid" of the 6 little sweet bananas. When we got back home after our 2 weeks on the island, THAT was the first story he told everyone when they asked him how he liked Maui!!!!
    Forget the snorkeling, parasailing, submarine ride, helicopter tour, hiking, waterfalls, and beaches.......he remembers a curvy drive & eating too many bananas!!!
by Megan


    Two roughly equal stories:
    Last year I went with my family to Aloha Mixed Plate a couple times during our vacation. I noticed the new red shirts that employees were wearing and asked if I could purchase one because they looked just that awesome. I ended up wearing it the last night we were on the island because we went back to eat there for dinner. Turns out everyone thought I worked there and were trying to have me do different tasks. I ended up working it all out and, to be funny, asked if I really could work there so that I'd be able to live on the island! Needless to say we can't all have what we want. [:(]   

Also last year there was an intense, and crazy, lightning storm that lit up the ocean for several hours. I believe it was in the direction of Oahu, looking out from Lahaina/Napili Bay. It was scary and fantastic at the same time because for several hours, I was able to eat, drive back home, swim in the pool, and just watch it all happening (albeit wondering if I was safe outside!). Quite the entertaining experience and not one I'm likely to have again.
by Josh


Favorite Maui Island moment... Visiting the Sacred Garden in Makawao for a labyrinth walk.... Amazing
So many to choose from that it for sure!!!
by Karie




My favorite memory of Maui is: sitting in the front row at Feast at Lele, enjoying the show, seeing whales in the water, having ceviche served to me and nearly vomiting. At that moment, I realized I was pregnant with our first son!!
by Shawnna



My wife and I (like a lot of others) got married on Maui out at the Olawalu Plantation. Without a doubt, that memory, of standing on the the Pacific with her in my arms, as we dedicated ourselves to each other inside a circle of flowers will always be one of my very best days..Since that day, every anniversary is the traditional anniversary gift with an Hawaiian theme.
by Eric

My favorite Maui Memory is our family trip this past summer. It was my parents, sister, brother in law, my niece and me. We had a wonderful time as a family. My niece (10) and I were roommates and we had a BLAST! So ANYTHING about Maui is my favorite because I was there with my family!
by Gina

 
My favorite Maui moment was went my husband and I were on our honeymoon almost 29 years ago. My husband and I met and married after knowing each other only six weeks and I told him we had to to to Maui for the honeymoon. We spent the most magical week walking on the beach. The best part was the luau. I had never been to one. My husband passed away last year, but the trip to Maui will always be very special to me because it was with a very special person.
by Nancy


On January 8, 2006, my now husband and I got engaged in Maui.
    We were on the Gemini Whale Watching excursion, and just finished watching the whales. It was a gorgeous day; we went scuba diving that morning. We were running late, so we drove from the Westin Villas to the Whaler’s Village very fast, ran down the beach, just as they were finishing checking everyone in. Of course, we were both irritated for being late.
    We had been dating for over two years, and my son and I had just moved in with Ryan in November of 2005. We were still trying to get in some sort of routing living together, and dealing with eachother’s little nuisances.
    We made it on the Gemini, and had a wonderful afternoon. We saw whales breaching, the gorgeous Maui hills, and the crew was amazing.
    We were on our way back, and the Captain let me steer the boat for a few minutes. It was at that time that Ryan, came up and said to me, “don’t hit the island”. I was annoyed, and said “funny”.
    He then said, I love you – which totally caught me off guard, and then pulled out a little red box, opened it and said, “so you want to get married”. I was shocked, All I said was, “are you serious” about a 100 times. Finally I said, “yes”!
    He and I went into Lahaina that night and celebrated at Ruth’s Chris. Ever since that trip, (it was both of our first trip to Maui) it has become our favorite vacation destination. We bought a timeshare there, and come every year during whale season and book our trip on the Gemini.
    Great memories for us!
by Rebecca

    One of my favorite memories is driving to Lahaina for work. I used to work in Whalers village and lived in Wailuku. I would commute everyday and not once did I get tired of the drive. I would look for the turtle in the mountain, and check for whale spouts. It was kind of a reward to me when I actually got to see them. Beautiful creatures in a beautiful setting. I think I told myself daily that I was not only lucky, but blessed to have been born and raised in Hawaii.
by Jeana



I have been going to Maui since I was a little girl. My family and I would always go twice a yes. When I turned 18 I wanted to go without my family. I had me and my 2 other girlfriends pack up (one from Germany and me and my other friend from California) and fly to maui. We stayed in kihei at my family's condo for the next 15 days. We wanted the Maui experience. We had no car as we were too young to rent a car so we took the Maui bus around and met lots of people and hitched rides off them. Went to little beach and went to all the hotels. My favorite is the Grand Wailea so we would always take the bus to chill on the beach there. Working on the beach was a super cute guy. My friend and I were both eying him and he came over to talk to us. Anyway we dated long distance and he even moved to California for a few months. He's back on Maui soil but never know what the future will hold!!!
pink iphone case [:)]
by Breanna

 

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