Hawaii 2007:
Day 4 - Kahului, Maui


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Hawaii 2007: [Day 1 - Honolulu, Oahu] [Day 2 - Hilo, Big Island] [Day 3 - Kahului, Maui] [Day 4 - Kahului, Maui] [Day 5 - Kona, Big Island] [Day 6 - Nawiliwili, Kauai] [Day 7 - Nawiliwili, Kauai] [Day 8 - Honolulu] [Day 9 - Honolulu]

Tuesday, July 31: It was our second day on Maui and we had a full day of sightseeing to fit in before the ship set sail that evening. We had our rental car overnight, which was an ordeal to avoid if you can. There was no parking at the pier, only a handful of parking spots at the waterfront a block away, and all parking is forbidden in the industrial area of the port for many blocks around. If you must have your car overnight, do what we did and park at the airport. You'll pay parking fees and cab fare both ways, but that's the price you'll pay.
So, at 6:00 AM, we found a lone cab waiting at the pier, and he had us at the airport parking lot in no time. He was not at all surprised at our destination, as our solution to the overnight parking headache was a common one.
Since we didn't take the time to eat breakfast onboard, we visited McDonald's, where Debbie had to try the local specialty of Portuguese sausage, eggs, and rice. It was quite delicious.
Jill slept the whole way, since she tended to be out with the other teens until midnight or 1:00 AM every night, but Debbie and Tom snuck out of the car at this scenic overlook on West Maui looking back toward Kihei and Mount Haleakala, which was still enshrouded in clouds.
Off to the west are our old friends Molokini crater and the island of Kahoolawe again.
We arrived in Lahaina with plenty of time to purchase a picnic lunch at the local Safeway (sandwiches, chocolate chip cookies, apples, Pringles, and a bag of frozen peas to keep it all cold). Of course, we had chilled Hawaiian Sun juice cans with us as well. We parked in a lot behind the Burger King and crossed the street to the Banyan Tree (capitalized here because it is THE Banyan Tree, complete with its own dot on most tourist maps). This thing is the size of the entire block on which it stands.
Tendrils dropping from the tree eventually become roots and then supports for the heavy tree branches. It's quite prehistoric-looking.
We got to the pier and checked in for our Expeditions Lahaina-Lanai Ferry trip. We had booked our tickets in advance both ways and were there for the 9:15 AM departure.
We had some time to kill before the ferry departed, so we checked out the black crabs crawling on the rocks. The more you looked, the more you'd see. They're funny little creatures, constantly defending their currently selected rock against invaders.
Ahhhh, the flowers of Hawaii.
We boarded the ferry, which wasn't full. The bottom level is fully covered with lots of seating. The top level is half covered seating (shown here) and half outdoors. We knew full well that we'd have plenty of time in the sun, so we chose to enjoy the air conditioning. There are no vending services on the ferry, but there is ample room to store luggage and there is a very small restroom.
The trip to Lanai takes 45 minutes. It goes by quickly in the comfortable seats with the great views.
As we approached Lanai, Debbie was particularly excited, having enjoyed a trip there in 1988.
It turns out that a few things have changed in 19 years. The sleepy dock of 19 years ago has been replaced with a lot of new construction, including this new welcome center (or something like it) that was being built.
Our destination was Hulopoe Bay, which is a 10-minute walk from the ferry dock. Go straight up the hill, then turn left and walk to the end of this road.
You'll know you're in the right place when you see signs for Hulopoe Beach Park.
Hulopoe Bay is spectacular. In addition to taking the ferry on your own, numerous tours will take you here, as Debbie had done years ago. However, the ferry is easy and we had our own snorkeling gear, so this was the way to go for us. Jill immediately laid down to get some sun, so we decided to relax first before snorkeling.
Here's the bay looking to the right. That's the Four Seasons Resort perched on the hill. It had its own little section of beach to the far right, but there was plenty of beach for everyone.
The grounds are wonderful, with numerous outdoor showers, picnic tables, shade trees, and a restroom.
We selected a picnic table under a tree near the restroom and the middle of the beach, and we called it home for the next three hours. We played in the warm surf for a good long while, then headed back to dry off and rest, with intentions of snorkeling a little later.
Our plans changed suddenly when someone spotted dolphin fins in the bay -- lots of them.
We threw on our snorkeling gear and swam out to see them up close. In this quick shot from our underwater camera, a dolpin fin is visible beyond Jill (center).
We were out of breath when we reached the dolphins, and breathless once again when we saw them underwater. There were several dozen, including several families with babies. It was a magical experience we'll never forget.
When the dolphins tired of us and moved farther out, we headed back toward shore to snorkel in the reef. Hulopoe Bay is a marine preserve filled with fish. Here is a nice big school of our yellow tangs.
Another big school of convict tangs.
This attractive guy didn't mind us getting close to him.
Here he is again. He's an orangespine unicornfish.
After we finished snorkeling, we dried off again and had a little more of our picnic lunch before setting out to explore the fantastic tidepools on the left (southwest) side of the bay.
The tidepools stretch along the shore and around the corner. You could easily spend all afternoon here.
We spotted this guy (snake? eel?) gliding out from under a rock in one of the tidepools.
We had seen this bizarre thing's brother on our first day of snorkeling in Hilo. We have no idea what it is, but it had long cellophane noodles for arms snaking out in all directions and we saw several of them.
Of course, the water is very clear and the pools are filled with tiny fish and interesting coral and plant life, including these white swirly things. (Looking for more accurate descriptions? This is not the website for you.)
It's easier to spot the fish in this photo if you view the larger version.
This black anemone found a nice little home in this tiny crater.
This beauty was about two inches in diameter.
Here are two tiny hermit crabs, one in a somber dark grey shell and one wearing a flirty white shell with polka dots.
There are three crabs in this photo. Can you find them?
We took one last shot of the beautiful bay before showering, changing, and heading back to the ferry.
The ferry departed Lanai right on time ...
... and we were back in Lahaina in no time.
This evening, we had a towel animal and chocolate-covered strawberries waiting for us in our room. It was the only time this happened, so we're not sure what the occasion was, but it was nice.
As was our tradition, Jill went off to be with her friends, and Tom and Debbie tried to figure out where to eat. Free Style Dining is a great concept on paper, but we learned that you need to make most of your restaurant reservations in advance. Looking at this electronic up-to-the-minute availability guide, you might guess that most of the restaurants have room for two people. You'd be wrong, because most of them are fully booked with reservations already, but you won't find that out until you go to that restaurant.
Fortunately, the two main dining rooms have seating if you get there early enough. Closer to 7:00 or so, you'll find yourself in a long line to get seated. Along with the Aloha Cafe and the Cadillac Diner, these dining rooms are free, but all of the others have a surcharge of $10 - $20 per person. We hated Free Style Dining and it is the main reason we won't ever cruise NCL again.
Enough complaining already. There is one main advantage to Free Style Dining and that is if you get the system figured out and plan well enough, you can arrange to have a table for two every night.
Here's Tom at our window table for two in the Skyline Restaurant, where the food and service were both good.

After dinner, we rushed back to our cabin, which was once again the place to be after leaving port, because the ship headed north around Maui toward Molokai. The sun was setting into the clouds over Molokai. At first, we thought that we'd go around the back side of Molokai, but then the ship turned and headed through the channel between Maui and Molokai as it got dark out.

Day 5 >


Hawaii 2007: [Day 1 - Honolulu, Oahu] [Day 2 - Hilo, Big Island] [Day 3 - Kahului, Maui] [Day 4 - Kahului, Maui] [Day 5 - Kona, Big Island] [Day 6 - Nawiliwili, Kauai] [Day 7 - Nawiliwili, Kauai] [Day 8 - Honolulu] [Day 9 - Honolulu]

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