Blue Hawaii

We had an actual plan today. A schedule! We were taking a boat for a snorkeling tour at 1, and we had to drive back to the harbor at Ma’alaea – so we had to leave at 12:30. A schedule was so novel! It also meant we couldn’t do a lot in the morning so we just basically rested until it was time to leave. Of course it’s vacation so that means we are supposed to be doing not a lot – but that isn’t how it actually works out, is it?

Yulia and I did decide to get up and have coffee or breakfast or a walk over in Kaanapali. Or something. We were leaving it up to fate pretty much. It was early and we didn’t expect a lot of people to be up yet. Boy were we wrong. Kaanapali is the big resort area, and right now it is full. like overflowing full. we were there before anything had opened and the boardwalk along the beach was full of groups jogging, doing yoga, getting spots on the beach, whatever. We walked from the central shopping area – Whaler’s Village – towards the Hyatt. We have stayed there several times so it was good to see how things have changed.

After working through the morning crowds we walked into the Hyatt. It also had some beach damage like our condo – but not nearly as severe. Last time we were here a lot of it was under remodeling, so the place looked really nice, but the pool and beach area was already filling up. It’s crazy how many people are here right now. We did a loop of the lobby, restaurants, and gardens around the pool. It’s a nice setup – they have several terraces going up from the beach. A restaurant is in one, a big tanning area in another. There’s a group of penguins in the lobby – right across from their giant Koi pond. Quite convenient just in case you need a penguin on short notice.

The garden opposite the restaurant leads back to the pool – and was a home to all kinds of birds. one area had several families of ducks, there were Flamingos down by the pond, all kinds of small birds perched in the trees and plants, and two big swans.

Swans are mean motherfuckers.

Yulia was able to walk past, but every time I tried one or both of them came at me. I tried to slip behind them and they spread out and came at me with their freakishly prehensile necks and beady eyes. Yulia was waving at me to catch up and a family was behind me laughing. I finally waved my cell phone in front of me as a shield and shouted “The Power of Christ Compels You!” and they let me past. Damn evil birds. I left the family to fend for themselves. Turn back now – here be dragons.

I was pleased to find some cats further back up the beach. We were walking back looking for some coffee and I found a few napping in the sand under some plants. There were a few plates of cat food out – so these were probably hotel cats kept around to kill rats and mice. Disney does the same thing. So I walked up and they let me scratch their heads for a bit before getting up and moving to another bush. Hopefully they got my message and will gang up on those swans for revenge later. (shakes fist) After some coffee and breakfast at a beach cafe we headed back to the condo.

We drove towards the Ma’alea Harbor just before 12:30. It was hot out – around 93 degrees in Lahaina. We weren’t sure what it would be like on the water but from our own boating knowledge it is always hotter or colder than you expect. so we were sunscreened up and had some towels and shirts to cover as well. I didn’t want to freeze or burn. It was a hot drive down – fortunately traffic was pretty good, and we made good time. Once at the Harbor i really needed to get a baseball hat – the winds were strong still and straw hats don’t mix. I grabbed one at a tourist shop and we headed to the docks.

The boat was on the last slip in the dock, so it was a bit of a walk but we made it in time and found a place inside the boat. It was a big Catamaran all decked out for scuba. This was one of the nicer tourist boats that we’ve been on, and I was impressed. It had all the gear laid out in back, two stairs off the back and one in front, and a bar inside. What else do you need? But the wind and waves were nasty. Not Small Craft Advisory level – but not pleasant either.

We got under way and the crew announced that the winds would be better at the swim site. This was Coral Gardens, just below the tunnel on the Maui Highway. (there is only one tunnel on the island, we drove through it on the way from Lahaina.) The waves were maybe 2-3 feet, and the Catamaran cut through them easily.

The water was so blue, a deep transparent cobalt. I’ve been boating as long as I can remember and I’ve never seen water this color of blue. It’s like the ocean got oversaturated and we need to go fix it in Settings. I couldn’t stop staring at it.

We rounded the point of western Maui and things got a bit calmer. By the time we made it to our destination it was far better – still waves but nothing serious. A crewmember dove off the front to hook us up to a mooring block under water. They don’t want to anchor here as that runs the risk of dragging and damaging the coral. Once secured we were ready to Snorkel.

Yulia was eager to get out – and she was the first in the water. I tried to go right after her – but the ramp got crowded with a family who didn’t know how to snorkel, so they blocked the space while getting instructions. I walked over to another ramp and geared up and stepped in.

The water was really nice, no cold shock for a change. Yulia was already ahead of me, so I kicked up my speed and swam out to meet here. The boat was up in a sandy area, so we had to go towards shore to see anything. But not too far across I was met with a huge school of black Triggerfish. The swam about – ignoring me. I kept going and started to find the coral – there were many colors out here. It was really impressive and very different from the volcanic rock snorkeling that we did at Black Rock. There was lots of color in the fish here and more schools than I saw before. the schools were feeding right on the coral, before the waves would shuffle the school around. The waves were still going, but were better than I expected. This was easily the best snorkeling so far in this or the last several trips.

We headed back to the boat before most of the other groups – mostly because we got in first. The BBQ was already going so we grabbed pork and chicken sandwiches for lunch. The bar was open as well, so beer and wine followed. Yulia was having a good time talking to the bartender about which fish she saw, so her pours of wine were not small. A typical bottle of wine is four glasses, and here they were pouring from Magnums of wine – and still getting four glasses. My kind of bartending.

The groups started coming back, and we found that the schools of triggerfish were now coming up to the boat and we could see them from the surface. at the back, that was because the drippings from the BBQ were getting snacked on b the fish. We had another school scrambling around our side as well. That turned out to be because one of the families had never been on a boat before and were getting seasick over the side. Whatever brings the fish works for me.

Once everyone returned we headed back. The wind returned once we went the west point and were heading towards the marina. It was pretty heavy again. This is apparently the second windiest harbor in the world – I hate docking in the wind. The captain has been on this particular boat for a few years – so se was a pro and guided the boat in like it was still waters.

The drive back was easy – with traffic in the opposite direction. Not sure when it was so bad, but it’s good to know when the rush hour is. I honked our horn coming back through the tunnel. Nerd.

On the balcony later – we were watching the sunset. It was really different tonight – more red in the sky, meaning something in the air? Smoke from the 4th? Volcanic Dust? No idea but it looked great.