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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Kayaking keeps life interesting

The sun was out, the water was calm, and today was the day Patti and MG decided to check kayaking off of their list.  Wayne took us down to the rental facility, we were given the "rules" of ocean kayaking.  Now those that know me, know I do better with suggestions, than rules, but I listened, and the more I heard, the more I thought I didn't want to do this.  The man was scaring me!  If you do this, this will happen, and so on and so forth..

Long story short, I handed over the credit card, got our paddles, shoes, and life jackets and proceeded to the water.  The entry was rocks..slippery, large rocks.  Not exactly the nice sandy spot I had dreamed of, but non the less, we were going to go in.

Patti climbed in the front, I gave the boat a push, and low and behold, I managed to get in the back without incident.  We paddled nicely for a short while when we saw a large sea turtle.  We sat quietly and just observed him for awhile, and then he turned his head as if noticing us for the first time, and dove under the water, and we paddled on.

So we paddled, laughed, ooohhh'd and awww'd, at the great weather, the coral, and just how great we were maneuvering the kayak.  We went up to Lahaina, down to Mala's and felt very brave crossing the reef and venturing into deeper water.  All was well.  I noted the time was close to 10:30 and today was the day that Mark was flying home.  I mentioned if we hurried, we could catch him at the house and say good-bye.  We were approaching the end of baby beach, we had a few waves to cross, we remembered the rules of taking waves straight on....with paddles going wildly, we hit the first wave.  Words that can't be published, we had the second wave hit me in the back...I mentioned something about water in orifices, that water shouldn't be, when WHAM!!  A sneaker wave hit us from the side, and over we went!

I had a bungy cord attached to my paddle, which was now wrapped around my right leg, Pattie was face down in the water, my thought was, uh oh, a floater....Patti sprung up yelled to see if I was OK, I said, yes, I'm OK, a little scratched up, but fine...we scurried around trying to get the things that had fallen from the kayak, although I was still tethered to the cord.  Patti eventually got in the kayak, I got out of the cording, and off we went, leaving a trail that any shark could have found easily. 

By the time we reached the house, we were informed we missed Mark by one minute.  Well, he missed our owies, so here they are.

Some soap and water, vigorous scrubbing, Susie came to the rescue with a MERSA ointment, and we assume all will be well..
We were told to return the kayak by 3:00.  At 1:30 we'd had enough.  The wind was blowing pretty hard, the white caps were getting bigger and bigger, and we didn't want to, but it was time to get back in and paddle back.
OH MY!  The current was so strong, and two foot white caps had us rocking and rolling.  When we approached the waves that had sent us sprawling, we were as cautious as could be.  We made it!  White caps had us up and down, and going was slow.  We set small goals, just make it to the pier, then the boat, etc. etc.  We could see Wayne waiting for us on the rocks where we were supposed to take the kayak in.  We judged the waves, and made our break.  YEAH!!!  No capsizing for us. The shop keeper was so excited to see us, he said he was very nervous when the weather changed, and that he never rents kayaks when the conditions are what they were when we returned.  He said, I'd buy you a beer if I had one, I'm so proud you made it in.
  Hmmmm hear us roar! Now that's it's over, we will be laughing and talking about this for many years to come...crazy? Brave? Stupid? You decide.  It's over.

We went up the road to Mala's for drinks and pupus. Everyone was very happy with this restaurant.  Lovely view, ocean breeze, and delicious food. 

Home for the Oscars, and tomorrow will be another day..

Yellow submarine

Several times a day we see the "yellow submarine" come out and stop just beyond the reef of baby beach.  We have noticed divers going in, and our curiosity got to us.  We booked a trip to ride out in the yellow submarine and see what was just beyond our reach.  Originally all six people wanted to go, but when it came time to go, it was just Gary, Mark and MG.

Wayne, Susie and Patti were wanting to go to Kannapali to check out the shopping and to revisit swan court at the Hyatt.

We left in plenty of time to check in, and as luck would have it, the banyon tree was having their local artists sell their wares.  I needed nothing, but was drawn to the young children who are learning the art of Hawaiian dance.  They were wonderfully entertaining, and so sweet I just had to take a few photos.  Mark and Gary were getting impatient with me, I warned them that I wouldn't stop for shopping, but that photo opportunities always will slow me down.
This little lovely must have been five or six years old.  So beautiful to watch, but you could tell she was new to the group and was looking to the older girls for confirmation that she was doing the right thing.

We boarded the yellow submarine on time at 2:15, and went below to choose our seats.  This vessel isn't really a submarine, but a partially submerged boat.  There are seats and windows down below.  When we reached baby beach, the divers went in and brought interesting things to our windows.  We learned a great deal that we didn't know about the fish that live here, and saw some very interesting things.  Our favorite trumpet fish was viewed not only changing colors, but he changed his pattern as we approached.  That now explains why we thought we were seeing different species of fish, when indeed they were doing their camouflage routine!
The divers showed us spiny black urchins warning us to be careful and not step on them.  Gary knew this first hand from a trip last year to Kona where he was unfortunate to step on one, and he testified to the pain involved.

One diver came up with a little octopus.  He was seriously upset about being ripped from his hiding spot.  Black ink was going everywhere, and he changed colors right before our eyes.  When the diver finally let him go, we watched him swim down, saw exactly where he landed, and then we couldn't see him anymore.  They are seriously excellent about blending in with their environment.

Mr. Octopus swimming away to hide in the coral. The minute he hit the coral, he became invisible to us..truly the master of disguise.

One of the divers brought up the oddest looking fish.  This was a first for me.  A frog fish.  So comical looking, and an interesting shade of green.

Gary and I thought now was a good time to go above and see what our home for the time in Maui looked like from the water.  It's certainly hidden, and private.  We could see Patti and Susie standing at the hedge, and we waved and waved, but with the sunlight on the sub, they couldn't tell it was us.  Here's what our house looks like from the water.

Riding on top, taking in the sunshine, have a snack served by the boat, we had a chance to watch the whales, and observe a few turtles who were out snacking on sea lettuce.

Mark out on whale and turtle watch, once again without his sunscreen.  He had a glow about him last night.

The Lahaina harbor was so lovely as we came into our slip.  What a picturesque place.  Oh the lucky owners of these boats!

When we returned to the house, we made Lucy's recipe for shrimp papaya salad.  So fabulous!
Served with the Maui Blanc pineapple wine from our trip to the winery last week, it was a very fabulous dinner with such dear friends.
After dinner we gathered around the table and had a rousing game of Texas hold 'em.  The laughter was out of control!  This was my first time at this game, I had no clue and was having very good luck.  Once they wrote down what was what and I had a cheat sheet, I started losing.  I guess ignorance is bliss.  It came down to Gary vs Susie, and Gary won in the end.  By eleven o'clock with our cheeks aching from laughing so much, we headed to our respective rooms to read and get some shut eye.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ahihi-Kinau refuge

This was our snorkel destination.  About an hour's drive south, quarter of a mile hike in on rocks, and we set up on the rocky edge, and proceeded to have one of the most amazing snorkels we can remember.  The coral, the different species of fish, and the sparkling sunshine streaming through the water, were most memorable. Mark stayed at home as he had a "project" to work on.
Hmmmm trying to get him to vacation is a challenge.

It was nice and warm, and Patti and I were the first to hit the water, we got so excited and were paddling our hearts out, pointing and stopping each other showing each other the different exciting things we saw underneath.  When we finally stopped to clear our masks and get our bearings, I said, "oh maybe we should get back closer to our people" and Patti said, "I don't think this is our planet, we've gone too far"  Giggling that we were halfway to Molokini, we started our way back weaving in and out of beautiful coral pathways.  Susie of course was on shore, noting that we'd once again gone too far!  Poor Susie, we tend to stress her out.

Please note below, that Gary and Wayne are walking on water.  The water was such a beautiful blue, if you forgot where you were, you would almost think you were in the Caribbean with such pretty shades of blue.
By round two of snorkeling, Susie got her sea legs and decided to join the group.  She has new equipment and found it to be quite the VIP treatment for snorkeling.  Some of us kept emptying our masks that were leaking, but she stayed nice and dry and enjoyed her first outing.
We were so close to Molokini!  This is a sunken crater where boats take you for snorkel trips..very nice indeed.

Making the trek back to the car with chairs on our backs, wet towels in our bags, the sun was beating down on us.  It was time to try Big Beach which would be a first for me.  The sand is wonderfully fine, and the ocean was the most brilliant shades of blue and green.  Waves were crashing onto the shore and we were unsure how we would go about getting in the water without being sent sprawling on the sand.

A quick visit with the handsome lifeguard, got the do's and don'ts of the area and proceeded with caution. We were thinking of the babes of Baywatch, and strutting our stuff, when suddenly we saw our reflection and were shocked back into reality..yes, the lifeguard is handsome, but Pamela Anderson we are NOT! Watching the waves break and timing our entry into the ocean took some time, but we eventually made our way out to just "bob" in the ocean.  Sandy bottom, no worries about cutting our feet on the coral or rocks, we just enjoyed the water.  Getting out was another thing.  A little harder to judge when the waves were coming.  We could see the water getting closer and closer to our towels, and we didn't want our shoes and towels to be carried away by the water. One by one we made our way out with a sigh of relief that we hadn't embarassed ourselves and forced the handsome lifeguard out of his post,we took some time to dry off before starting back to the house.
How cute is this little guy?  Beach bird who kept us company.

We have been using the book Maui Revealed, and looked up good places to eat on the south side of Maui.  We agreed on one, that was on Kihei Road, and proceeded in that direction.  None of us have ever stayed in Kihei, and although the restaurant wasn't far from where we were, the traveling was slow.  So many cars.  It was as crazy crowded as when we went to the Whale Festival!  Bit by bit we creeped up the road and finally found the restaurant, Pupuu Lounge and Grill. 

Gary expressed his concern that we were the only people in the restaurant, and several other places nearby had diners in it.  Still we worked our way in to find someone to seat us.  The menu looked good, and the waiter was very friendly.  Within fifteen minutes, the place was full, we were feeling pretty smart that we timed it like we did. 

Susie and I chose a pupuu punch to start with, the waiter assured us it was really delicious, and after consuming a quarter of it, we were both PUNCHED!  Wow, the bartender really didn't skimp on the liquor in this drink!  Finally our meal arrived,  the ladies all ordered a fish we had never heard of or tried Walu, which has risen to the top as our new favorite fish.  Very white, very buttery tasting and was grilled to perfection.  Gary tried the ceviche which was fabulous as well. Wayne reported his hamburger was good, but he's happy with a burger wherever he goes.

We made it back to the house, so tired, but happy. Cleaning our gear, rinsing our suits and shirts then collapsing in a chair.  Most of us were reading on the deck, watching whales, a couple of blenders, too full for dinner, and we were all in bed by nine o'clock.  The sun and swimming really took it out of us!

We had another cruise ship in the harbor yesterday.  Holland America.  Today looks quiet, no big ships, just the normal sailboats rocking in the harbor.  Looks to be another beautiful day in Lahaina, and we will wait and see what comes our way today.


Friday, February 25, 2011

The calm after the storm

This group was anything but rested after the storm that kept us awake for an hour or more during the night.  The weather report was for flash floods, and things didn't look good to the south, so staying close was on the docket.

The ladies took a nice beach walk, collecting small shells, sea glass, and tiny little pieces of coral.  Also we took it upon ourselves to do a beach clean up picking up broken glass and garbage that we found.

The weather was gorgeous..so hard to believe that it had been so ugly a few hours before.
There was a Princess Cruise ship sitting in the water in front of Lahaina.  Not too sure how this would impact the little town of Lahaina, we still decided to do a day in town. Being so close to town, it's an easy stroll to the shops.  In and out, visiting all the places and mostly just shopping, but not really buying.  We all met up at the Cool Cat, an upstairs establishment that overlooks the south end of Front Street.  Fresh Ahi tacos, a couple of mud slides, and the day was shaping up beautifully!

Strolling back to the house, watching our whales, reading, and seeing the cruise ship leave town were all the excitement this house could handle. 

After a week, we finally got a gorgeous sunset.  Well worth the wait.  Tomorrow we will try our big snorkel trip again, and hope that the weather cooperates.

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