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First stop: Malu’aka Beach near Makena

SUNDAY, FINALLY, WAS BEACH DAY. My daughter Zoë and I drove down to Maui’s famous south shore beaches and I saw what, for most people, Hawaii is all about. Not adorable little cottages, or even botanical gardens, but sun, sand, surf. And it is fabulous. The best. No ka oi, as they say.

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First we stopped at a supermarket for picnic supplies. The poke was a revelation (chunks of raw fish with various flavorings: spicy, with avocado, shoyu, wasabi, Hawaiian-style, etc.)

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Women fishing at Malu’aka

We drove past the condos at Kihei and manicured resorts of Wailea to the end of the highway, where there’s a state park at Makena with spectacular white-sand beaches.

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Big Beach toward sunset

We spent the afternoon snorkeling at Malu-aka — I saw a big sea turtle, among other things, but everything was a bit blurry without my contacts. Then we drove on a ways to watch the sun set over Big Beach.

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Late in the day, swarms of people began congregating for a hippie-style drum circle and naked surfing bacchanal at adjoining Little Beach, reached by scrambling up and over a towering pile of rock.

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Sunday hippies at Little Beach, above

I thought surely it was just my good luck, but Zoë tells me magnificent sunsets like these are typical.

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