To say that water defines Maui is obvious, but it's not just the ocean that surrounds it. The rain, or lack thereof, creates unique and beautiful landscapes across the island. The central plain gets around 6 inches of rain a year, contrasted with the rainforest (only a mile apart in some places) which gets over 300 inches. We stayed at the Sheraton Maui on the southwest part of the island and we would watch it rain in the mountains and not feel a drop where we were. From sea level on the central plain you could look straight up to the 10,000+' peak of Haleakala. Water must be brought through an impressive array of gravity powered channels and pipes from the east side of Maui to the central plain to support farming there.
Some of the most amazing water features of the island remain hidden to most. Although there are some beautiful waterfalls to be seen on the Road to Hana, such as this one,
the vast majority of them can only be seen from helicopter. We booked a helicopter tour with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters and toured Molokai (to the west of Maui), and west and central Maui. If you want to take a helicopter tour, these guys are the ones to use. Their staff and pilots are amazing, and their Eco Star helicopters are simply the best sightseeing helicopters available.
I actually had such an amazing time on our first tour that I booked a different one for the next day! Seeing the island from the air gives you a unique perspective on the geography and interaction between land and water. Here are some images from the air.
It's really difficult to get the scale from some of these images, but to give you some perspective, that last waterfall drops 1000'.
Check back tomorrow for pictures from ground level!