By Vanessa Wolf
Despite owning a copy of Maui Revealed and looking forward to posting dramatic “leaping from atop a cliff” photos, recent Maui visitor Staci Simpson suddenly found herself besieged by a wave of good judgment, turning away from the edge of the Ohe’o Gulch in Kipahulu and returning to the safety of her rental car.
“I don’t know how to describe it,” she explained, visibly shaken, “but I suddenly realized: jumping off this thing is incredibly stupid. I mean, we’re talking a 75-foot leap of faith here. I could cripple myself. Heck, I could DIE.”
Her travel companion, Jake Huebner of Loyola, Maryland, was equally stunned, but later composed himself enough to speak about the experience. “I’d been pumped for the challenge all day, but then suddenly my mother’s voice was in my head. It was like she took control of my body and was reading me the riot act at the same time.
“All I could hear were her warnings about me breaking my neck and ‘I raised you better than this.’ I had no choice but to walk away and hit up a food truck instead.”
Munching on some poultry, he continued to recount his traumatic experience, the shock of it all still apparent on his face. “If you’d asked me yesterday, I would have sworn that this trip was all about doing my first big tombstone. I thought I wanted to face my deepest fears and touch the void, but it turned out I was just hungry for some huli-huli chicken.”
Simpson chimed in. “Food trucks are definitely the way to go. Sure, there’s always the chance you could get sick, but the odds are in your favor.
“Our original plan, however? Well, I researched it, and it turns out cliff diving puts tremendous stress on a body. Even a jump of just 20 feet causes you to impact the water at 25 miles per hour. That’s a collision strong enough to cause a person to suffer a concussion, compress the spine or even break bones. Ouch!”
Similar incidents of sudden, irrepressible survival instincts were reported at Big Beach in Makena where newbie body boarders realized the powerful surf grossly outweighed their skill set and opted to lounge on the beach instead.
“I got kicked around pretty hard out there,” said Josh Nall, a visitor from San Diego. “At first I interpreted it like a challenge, but then I suddenly realized: ‘Hey, you suck at this. And you probably won’t get any love from the ladies wearing a neck brace.’
“I don’t know how to explain it, but I knew I had to get out of the water… immediately.” Lathering on some sun block and shaking his head in confusion, he continued. “Then, just as suddenly, working on my tan and catching up on some reading took on new importance.”
Vacationing visitors do not seem to be the only ones impacted.
In an unprecedented move that stunned friends and family alike, Jason Asuncion of Wailuku backed out of the Commando Hike on Sunday, citing heavy rains, poor conditions and a general will to live.
“I’ve done it before, but I realized: this is a numbers game. Eventually somebody is gonna get hurt, and there is no guarantee it won’t be me. Plus, I’m low on funds these days. I definitely don’t have whatever it costs to pay for an airlift home. Besides, the new season of Breaking Bad started that night. I’d hate to die before I saw how it all ends.”
Have an idea for a fun, funny or thought-provoking story or topic? Get in touch: we want to hear from you. – Vanessa (@mauinow.com)