Gaaaaaaaaaah EMAIL ME!
Was only born and raised there and lived there until I was like 23 ish…..I still consider myself a resident when I'm home as it is so familiar to me, so many memories there, too many to count. I actually just got back on New Years Eve, I was there for 8 days.
I would be happy to help you out with planning your trip. Hana is WAY up on my list when I go home. Sounds like you've tuned into that best kept secret with your plans to hike/camp the SE part of the island.
Whale watching! I went while I was home but it was only a week and a half into whale season so they will be more active later in the year. The most incredible whale watch I ever went on was in February a couple years ago right before I studied abroad.
Another thing I really enjoy and have done a handful of times is staying at one of the cabins inside Haleakala Crater (don't worry, it's dormant). It's a very outdoorsy rustic adventure.
The cabins are reserved via a lottery system but the last couple times I have gotten one I've called and snatched up a cancellation...you might try to actually reserve one first, because you have time. The best cabin by far is Paliku. It's the farthest in, about a full days hike, but it's the lushest part of the crater. The crater has two gaps in the wall...named Kaupo Gap and Ko'olau Gap. Paliku is next to Kaupo Gap and it's greener because clouds drift into the crater through the gap. If you hike out via Halemau'u (much preferable to Sliding Sands for the trip out) you will get to see Koolau Gap. If you don't end up staying in the crater, you can always do a days hike in the crater....down Sliding Sands and out Halemauu. I think it's 11 miles. The crater is the #1 tourist destination on Maui but many more people drive up and view the crater from the visitor's center than actually hike very far in.
Seriously tho....this is going to turn into a novel in no time.....can you get my e-mail address from Alex?