Sunday, March 29, 2009

Maui and Whale Watching

To finally continue the saga of our trip to Hawaii. The last entry ended with us having lunch at "Cool Cat's" in Lahaina. After lunch we went for a drive up the coast (what I considered north of the hotel, but I have no idea what direction we were going in). There were rugged beaches, and once in awhile we saw a bay where people were snorkeling. After awhile the road started making a lot of sharp turns, and we decided that maybe it would be good to turn around and head back to civilization. On the way back we stopped at several overlooks.

There was also a turn out at the bottom of a ravine that looked like a rain forest, so we stopped to take a look. The pictures don't show how dense it was.

We kept hearing the sound of a strange bird while we were there, calling to another bird a ways off. We finally spotted it--thinking it would be some kind of exotic parrot--and it was a rooster! I don't know if they have chickens and roosters living in the wild, but we often saw them along the road when there weren't homes near by.

We found a petty little public beach call D. T. Fleming Beach Park, where we stopped for a little while.

Close to our hotel was a place called "Whaler's Village," an outdoor shopping center. We went to a place called "Hula Grill" for dinner. The tables were in the sand, with thatch covered umbrellas overhead. Once again, we sat there looking at the ocean and the boats sailing by.

We had another great meal and terrific desert! While we were waiting for our bill, (they were incredibly slow with everything--but how could you complain because you were sitting there, in Maui, looking at the ocean!--although it was very windy that afternoon), I took some pictures looking up the beach at our hotel.

After dinner we were so full that we walked around the"Village," window shopping, and came across this "whale."

Sunday morning we got up early to be ready for Church at 9 am, and actually got to the breadfast buffet before the crowds, and got to eat at a table, outside. The Ward we went to was the Lahaina 1st Ward, and the people were wonderful. The Elder's Quorum Pres. greeted us and gave me a kiss on the cheek. Every meeting was started with "A-looo-ha," which the congregation answered back, "A-looo-ha." There were a lot of visitors, and everyone was so nice. After Church we found a Chinese restaurant not far from our hotel, and took the food back to eat on our balcony. After a Sunday nap, we decided to drive down the coast, going the other direction. There wasn't much to see--pretty much middle class town and homes, until you got near the end of the island. Then it became very posh and exclusive and expensive.

We saw this funny sign on one of the side roads--I guess the water can come inland when it storms.

We stopped at one beach, and there were signs about leaving the turtles alone, but we didn't see any.

Sunday night we were in a quandary as to where to eat dinner. Most of the restaurants have quite a "party" feel to them, with a bar and entertainment, and we just felt like that was not what we wanted. We ended up going back to "Whaler's Village" and got fast food at their food court. It was pretty lousy, but that's OK. When we got back to the hotel we went for a walk around the pools and beautiful grounds lit by tiki torches, then went to our room and started to get a head start on packing.

Monday morning we brought our breakfast back to the patio, and this time they gave us large glasses of orange juice--in coffee cups!

We took more pictures of the hotel, with Dad standing on our balcony,

and then we checked out at 10 am. We drove to Lahaina, and got in line to board the boat for our 2 hour whale watching cruise. We put patches behind our ear the night before, and we didn't have any problems with sea sickness, but several kids and a few adults were throwing up. It was relatively calm, but there were swells that made for a lot of ups and downs. We did see a lot of whales, but it's extremely difficult to get a picture of one, because you don't know where exactly one is going to surface, and by the time you get your camera aimed, it's usally gone! We saw lots of blows, lots of rolls, some tails up in the air, and a couple of breaches.

We saw a couple of whales, probably females, doing a dorsal fin slap over and over. They think it's a way for the females to draw the attention of the males.

But best of all was a mom and her baby, along with a large male escort. The person doing the tour said that she had never seen a baby that small, so it must not have been very old. The baby kept jumping out of the water. It was so cool! It was a great experience! Here are two postcard pictures that I scanned so you can see what it really looked like when a whale breached,

and when they would make a deep dive, their tail would come up in the air like this.

We never saw it from this close, but even farther away, it was spectacular!

After the cruise was over, we went back to "Cool Cat" for lunch, and then headed for the other side of the island, to where the airport is. On the way we stopped at a beautiful place called Iao Needle.

After we got to the other side of the island, we drove up the coast, but didn't see much. Back in the harbor we say this cruise ship.

We went back to town, and found a place to eat, "Ruby's Diner," which was OK. I spent most of the time on the cell phone with Delta, trying to change our flight to the non-stop flight that left an hour earlier than the one we were booked on. Finally, we got that acomplished, returned our rental car, and then went to the airport to wait for our flight home. We were not able to sit together, but we were close enough to look at each other! The flight left at 9 pm, and got into Salt Lake at 6 am our time. Neither one of us could sleep, so we were extremely tired when we got home. Daniel came to pick us up, and because it was snowing, he had left home at 4:30 am. It was not a fun drive home in the snow, expecially trying to get up our hill with the cars in front of us spinning wheels and going sideways. But thanks to Dan's excellent driving skills, we made it home! That day, Tuesday, February 17, we had about 18 inches of snow by the time the storm ended.

What a welcome home! Where was Hawaii and the 80 degree beautiful weather that we had gotten so used to??? Back to reality! Aloha!

Sunday, March 15, 2009


We kept hearing on the news about high wind warnings starting Friday, especially in the afternoon. We had tickets to fly to Maui at 3:30 pm, and were worried that we wouldn't be able to go, since we were traveling in a small jet. For a considerable price we were able to change our flight to the morning, which was really better that getting there at 4:30pm (or not at all) because it would give us more time in Maui. Interestingly, they said that if they had to cancel our afternoon flight because of high wind, there would be no refund, and we would be able to get a flight the next day only if there were seats available and also at a much higher price. So we thought we better not take a chance of not getting to Maui at all, paid the increase, and headed for the airport. As we were walking out to the plane, we saw a rainbow in the distance.

This is the plane that we flew on. It was a surprisingly smooth flight, but it was definitely windy when we got to Maui.

We got a car, and started exploring. We stopped in Lahaina at a place called Aloha Mixed Plate, which was outside and close to the beach.

After lunch we set off to find our hotel, the Sheraton Maui in Kaanapali. We were given the opportunity, for a price, to upgrade to an ocean view on the 4th floor, and we decided to do it. This is looking out at the beach from the office area when we first arrived.

The beach there at the Sheraton was famous for the Black Rock where people loved to dive.

This is the view from our room. It was absolutely the most gorgeous view I could ever imagine!

We had our own balcony with table and chairs, and it was like looking out at our own little paradise!

I walked around and took pictures of the grounds. They had waterfalls, and several pools that were like a lagoon meandering through the palm trees.

We never got a chance to go swimming in these beautiful pools!!! There just wasn't enough time with only 3 nights in Maui! After we got settled in our room, we went down to the beach and rented a cabana for 2 1/2 hours. It was great fun to lounge under the awning, listen to the waves, watch people diving off the rock, and just "hang out!" The bay right there is a famous place for snorkeling, and we both said if we had been able to stay one more day, we would have tried it!

Back in our room, Tom saw these guys go by.

Late in the afternoon we went back to Lahaina to look for a place to eat dinner. We picked a place called "Kimos." We had to wait about 35 minutes, but it was well worth it.

We went upstairs, and sat in an open dining room that looked out over the ocean (of course!).
This is the view from our table.

I had a Parmesan crusted fish (kind of like swordfish), and Tom had a steak. He said it was the best steak he has ever had. The entire meal was delicious! They served fresh rolls and muffins--the muffins sort of tasted like carrot cake.

For desert we ordered their famous Hula Pie. It had a crust of crushed Oreo cookies, macadamia nut ice cream, and fudge on the top. It was huge--and wonderful!

After dinner, we drove past our hotel to a town called Kahana to find a Laundromat. While we were at the Marriott, we didn't have time to do our laundry, even though they had a very nice, large laundry facility. At the Sheraton, they did not have any laundry facility, so we had to drive about 10 minutes to find one. So we spent Friday evening in Maui doing laundry! It reminded us of when we were dating--we used to spend Friday evenings at the laundromat doing Tom's laundry.

When we got back to the hotel, and stood out on our balcony, we saw the grounds all aglow with tiki torches! So ended our first day in paradise!

Saturday morning we were anxious to take advantage of the buffet breakfast that was included in our upgrade, which was priced at $26 a person. When we got there we discovered that there was a long line waiting for a table--about an hour wait. I wanted to go do thing--not wait in line! So we asked if we could just take our food back to our room, and they were very happy to accommodate us. They gave each of us 2 containers--one for cold food and one for hot. It was delicious! And so we sat out on our balcony, eating breakfast, enjoying the view of the beach before the sun came over the mountains, and looking for whales. Can you imagine?

After breakfast we went looking for a store that was famous for Hawaiian clothing: Hilo Hattie. After spending about an hour there looking for a shirt for Tom and Daniel, we went into Lahaina.

It has quaint-looking building, and a harbor. It used to be a whaling harbor and village. Now it's a tourist village and harbor! But it's a lot of fun to walk around.

In the center of town is a Banyan tree that is really incredible. It sends out roots that hang down from its branches. Those take root and become another trunk. This one tree took up the entire block.

In the park, in and around and under this tree, they were having a craft fair. So we walked around and looked at everything,

and then went across the street to a restaurant called "Cool Cat." It's famous for its haburgers, and is located on the 2nd floor, with an open eating area where you can look out over the harbor or down the street.

We had a great lunch--we sure had fun being toether!