Another beautiful day in Maui, and we are heading to the beach. Problem is, we all like different beaches. My son likes a Beach called Kam 3 because he likes the waves there for boogie boarding. My daughter doesn’t really like the beach but she went with her friends to a beach she hadn’t been before a few days ago, and she wanted to go back there. My son didn’t. I prefer Baldwin Beach, few people and great for walking, but it’s windy and the kids don’t like it at all. I wanted to see the beach my daughter was talking about, so after a lot of “discussion” we ended up heading that way.
They weren’t really sure exactly where it was, but they knew it was past the beaches we normally went to on our weekend expeditions. So we drove past the beaches, past the upscale Shops at Wailea and followed the road along fancy resorts until we came to a small sign that said shoreline access. I had been by that sign hundreds of times, and assumed it was a path down to the water between the resorts and condo’s built there. We turned and followed a very nice road about a quarter mile long, right next to the service side of a resort, where the employees park, and they get the tons of supplies needed to run them every day. At the end was a shaded parking area, looked like hotel parking to me, and a small park with toilet, showers, and two grilling areas. A small path led us to the beach, about 2 football fields long, with a bunch of beachgoers sitting under hotel umbrellas and chairs on the north half, and barely a person on the south half. Welcome to Polo Beach.
We set up camp on the wide beautiful white sand southern non occupied end, don’t like crowds. Go figure. The water was crystal clear, and a nice easy flat slope going into warm water. No rocks, shells or anything else you could step on. The waves were average (about a foot), and my son immediately grabbed his new boogie board and ran in. My daughter settled with me under my big beach umbrella, which I always sit under. Grabbed some water and a snack out of the cooler bag, and put myself in day off mode.
After a bit, I thought it might be a good beach to write about in my blog. Took a few pictures.
North toward the hotel.
Sometime a memory hits you so hard it almost knocks you down. I just got knocked down.
In 1993, I was the General Sales Manager of a small dealership in Northern Minnesota doing impressive numbers, I had been there five years, three as a salesperson, and two as a manager. One of the new car franchises we had was Chevrolet, and they decided to have a contest for dealership managers that year. A five day, four night all expense paid trip to Hawaii. Contests are always good to boost numbers, both for the dealer and the manufacturer. I was one of maybe a hundred who won the trip.
I had never been to Hawaii, and always wanted to go having caught Island Fever years before living in Key West, Florida. I imagined everyone lived on the beach in grass huts, the ladies wore grass skirts, and the men fished all day. Then the brochure of the hotel came. It was a Moroccan style resort, multiple swimming pools, massage cabanas, open bars to the ocean, and the most beautiful beach. I knew five days wasn’t enough so extended the trip another five on my own money. When the day came, I traveled with my girlfriend at the time, rented a convertible at the airport, drove the 15 miles to the resort, checked in, walked down to the beach, and fell in love. With Maui that is.
That picture of the hotel people on the beach, that is the beach. The resort, The Kea Lani. I had come full circle. In the 24 years since I set my toes in that sandy beach, I had never been back. In fact, I thought that it was only accessible to resort guests. And it was my children who never knew the story who brought me here.
The details of that trip are like many. Sightseeing, eating well, relaxing on the beach. But a few things were memorable. One night Carlos Santana picked up a spare guitar in the resort lobby bar, and played a while with the house band. Another time at breakfast there were only four people dining. The two of us at one table, and next to us Helen Hunt and a guest. Alongside the beach was a paved path that went to the other big resorts. I used to get up early and walk. One day I happened upon a huge rat eating grass on the path. There was no one else around, and I stopped to decide whether I should walk around him, scare him away, or turn around and go back. I walked around him. He never stopped eating and didn’t even bother to look at me. Even the rats were special here, I thought. One day I walked up to the biggest resort on the island, The Grand Wailea, stopped to use their very fancy pool restroom (On my top 5 for sure), and ran into a young guy I had just sold a car to a few months before. He was there for a convention. A small world, meant to be, kind of feeling came over me.
If you look at the picture of the hotel end of the beach, you will see some condos. The path went very close to them, and you could see occupants, and there weren’t many, living there. Every day in a ground floor condo, the one closest to the ocean, there was an old man in a wheelchair looking out towards the water. Behind him sat a nurse. I never said a word, nor did they, but I conjured up his story in my mind. I also made a decision based on him. I was someday going to move to Maui before I was old, before I was in a wheelchair, before I needed a nurse and could enjoy life unencumbered by pain. That thought had never left me in 24 years.
Now maybe I’m not living in a ten million dollar condo on the beach, but every day I wake up and give blessing that I can walk a beautiful beach, breathe fresh ocean air, enjoy my kids, and feel the sun on my face. We all have our dreams. Mine came true.
I made it………….
We stayed there about 3 hours, the wind and waves picked up about half way through and my kids had a blast in the water. My son even got to swim alongside a big Sea Turtle with his mask on. On the ride home we all agreed on one thing. Polo beach was now all of our favorite beach. You don’t know how happy that makes me.