Wave at the Tourists

Sleeping worked. There’s a real upside to taking a down day during vacation. Resting is hard work, and you really need to have enough energy for it. You can get seriously exhausted from relaxing all the time, so sometimes you need to take a break from resting and just relax so you can really finish off a vacation.

Yeah, That didn’t make sense to me either, but it worked.

We had one major thing planned for the day – that was a sunset cruise. That meant we needed to be in Ma’alea on time in the evening. So we planned backwards from that. We figured we would go all the way down to the shops at Wailea. We cold do that right after lunch, so we had the morning to enjoy the beach at the condo.

This started with walking to get coffee again. I still had some Kona left for the Mr. Coffee, but Yulia and I wanted to go over to the local place since they made it so much better. and they had pastries – very healthy. It’s a short walk and we were there and back pretty quickly. I made a even more coffee once back so we enjoyed the shop coffee, then refilled with Kona from the pot. It could be that we are a bit coffee crazy. But it works. We cut up the pastries – a danish and an almond croissant as well and enjoyed everything on the balcony.

The tide was still mostly out so Yulia and I took a walk. South of our condo is a public beach that’s pretty nice, so we went down our sandbags and hit the beach. All of the places here a have a shitload of sandbags right now – and these are Volkswagen sized things, not the grocery bags you see usually. The erosion damage going on right now is massive. But we also saw a few areas where the sand was getting washed back as well. bags were getting covered – I can’t say that the beach was healing, but it was sure bleeding a lot less.

The low tide left other rocks up and out of the surf. We walked over and saw a million little scuttling crabs take off down the rocks and into the sand where we couldn’t find them. Everywhere we looked there were these giant sandbags holding back erosion – or old bits of damaged seawall. It wasn’t just our condo, and it looked like a few of the buildings had erosion that was much closer than ours. I don’t know what the permanent fix will be for this area, but these sandbags have been going a couple of years at least. They are working so far. We walked past that area into some natural volcanic rock, and saw scores of crabs scuttle from the top of the rock into hiding. There were limpets (not sure if they were Opihi or not – those are apparently tasty but overpicked) All over the rocks here. We got a few photos and left them alone. It was great up until a random wave smashed into the rocks and soaked Yulia from head to toe. Never turn your back on the ocean. We headed back so Yulia could swim a bit and wash the salt off.

Sasha woke up eventually and we went walking north with her. I hadn’t checked out this shoreline before but there was a lot less damage. The sea walls here were pretty intact, and there was a fair amount of natural rocky shore that was healthy, with the natural dunes still there protecting the condos further up. Amazing how different the areas are despite being walking distance from each other. We went back to the condo and relaxed for a bit before heading out to lunch.

We knew of a great plate lunch place down the road, and we were dying for some good local food. Unfortunately when we got there it had gone out of business. Another casualty here. Our second choice was Mala, a more upscale tavern near Lahaina, but we knew they were working. We were lucky to get an open table right as we walked up – the line here can be long. In fact, right behind us three more groups came just a bit too late and had to wait. We were seated inside, which was good since it was hot out. The waves were pretty rough here, and waves were crashing on the rock wall and splashing on the diners in the outside tables. They were shifting around to avoid this – and it wasn’t bad until a huge wave crashed and soaked the waitress delivering someone’s food. The plates were now full of saltwater and floating bruschetta. The waitress stood for a second, said “Shit!” and walked back to the kitchen. Never turn your back on the ocean.

After lunch we continued heading south. We went past the Ma’alea Harbor and continued around the south end of Maui past Kihei to Wailea. Wailea is a big hotel district on the south side of the island. It’s pretty popular but in general we’ve liked the less busy areas more. Walking around i noticed right away that is was not so crowded. I think too many people have the same idea so now the busy areas are less crowded and vice versa. We walked through the big outdoor shopping mall and there were no crowds, lots of seating areas outside, and it was much nicer than I remember from our last trip. But frankly it felt exactly the same as being in California or anywhere else hot and sunny. It was nice, but didn’t feel like Hawaii.

It was a fairly quick drive up to the marina. We got there a little early so we could get a better table on the Dinner/Sunset cruise. This boat left from the slip right next to the one we had our snorkeling cruise at, so this time we parked out on the marina breakwater itself so we didn’t have to walk so far. The wind wasn’t that bad right now, but there were some pretty big waves crashing into – and over the breakwater. some areas had water running down the parking areas and off the other side to where the boats were. I parked up out toward the far end where it was drier – the middle section seemed to have a lower wall and got more water there. I didn’t want the Jeep to wash away or anything.

I waited in line while the others walked around. Sasha got a video of two Manta rays swimming in the waves, and we saw a sea turtle get flipped over as a big wave broke before the shore. He poked his head back up and swam off. It was a real Finding Nemo moment. More people were lining up and a family pulled in and parked over in the wet section. I watched as the got out and opened the tailgate of their minivan, right as a big wave crashed over, spraying them, their things, and the inside of their car.

Complete this sentence: Never turn your back on the _________.

I laughed inwardly to myself – and by that I mean out loud. The boat was loading now so I waved the others over and we found a really nice table towards the aft on the second deck. Everyone loaded up pretty rapidly – the crew were well organized on this, and we were heading out. The captain was up on our level, he had three control stations to use so he walked between them chatting with the passengers as he navigated us out of the harbor and through the waves that were breaking nearby. Once we were out a bit things got calmer, and the wind died out. The boat took a slow cruise out between all the islands to give us an unobstructed view of the sunset.

The crew started bringing food and drinks around. The cocktails were pretty bad. Pretty much random juices and booze. I couldn’t get a buzz from anything but I think I got all my Vitamin C. The beer and wine were fine however, so we stuck to that. The food was not bad – our only real issue there was that we had pre-ordered fish, and we have had so much fantastic fish that this really paled in comparison. The fish on this trip has been amazing, but the boat couldn’t compete.

We stopped at a point that the captain jokingly referred to as “Lake Maui”. We were right between the islands, and it was super calm. We enjoyed the view – you could see the rain falling on the far side of Maui – right were we drove on our Hana trip. We had little wind, but the windmills on the top of West Maui were spinning away – powering blenders for cocktails somewhere on the island. It was also a good time for us to make fun on some of our fellow travelers.

We had a group of three teenagers next to us – or at least one of them was turning 18, since the crew wished her a happy birthday. She was there with a guy who was maybe 21 – tops, and her friend. The girls were pretty tipsy already, and started singing along with the music playing on the boat. That guy was going to get lucky tonight – if “lucky” means two girls throwing up in your car.

Up a little further was some kind of family unit. We noticed them as they fairly loudly were asking the waitstaff if this was the “best” section available on the boat. There’s always someone like that. The kids were in their 20’s, and Mom was in her 60’s – with a lot of work done. She had kind of a Cruella De’vil vibe but without the fashion sense. But Dad/Boyfriend was maybe 40 or so. He was super fit with a very tasteful Billy Ray Cyrus beard that totally didn’t go out of style 20 years ago. We concluded that “Weathy Real Dad” had passed away recently in an “accident” and the grieving widow and her personal trainer were taking a relaxing trip for emotional support.

We were going to pass judgement on more people but the sunset was starting and I hate people anyways, so we went to the upper deck for a better view with less humans. The captain did a great job picking a spot. The sun went down right over the tip of Lanai. There was just the right amount of cloud cover so the sky lit up with bands of fire, and you could see the green flash/glow right at the moment of sunset. Bad cocktails aside, it was a great evening.

We drove back to our condo through the dark. This was a great day, and probably the best sunset we’ve seen while we were here.