Saturday, November 28, 2015

More Maui and a Celebration

Our time on Maui is ending soon.  We have one more full day to go before we fly back home.  

Yesterday had us taking a half-sub, glass bottom boat ride to see the coral reefs and look at some sea life in these parts.
A cruise ship anchored overnight.
Our destination was only two blocks from our condo.  The wharf was busy.  Not only were the cruise ship tenders dropping passengers on shore, tourists were booking tours of all types, including; fishing, whale watching,  scuba diving, snorkeling, a submarine and a glass bottom boat.  We had pre-booked the Reef Dancer glass bottom boat.
The Reef Dancer glass bottom boat is scouting the shoreline early in the morning.
 We arrived at our assigned time of 9:30 am for pre-board.  When the Reef Dancer returned from its scouting and testing mission, we boarded and headed out for the reefs.

Our glass bottom boat.
Before taking on the passengers for the first morning cruise, Reef Dancer crew members take the boat out to scout the best locations and to ensure that silting does not become an issue.  The divers also clean the glass and check that the boat is safe.
Our view from the glass bottom.  Impressive.
The photos do not do justice to the views that we had during our reef cruise.  The reefs were teaming with a variety of sea life.
Two divers bring sea life to the viewing areas.
A very short video taken from the glass bottom boat tour.

We chose the one hour glass bottom cruise.  On the return back to the dock, it was nice to step up to the deck and grab a few photos from the seas side vantage.

One of the numerous resorts west from the town of Lahaina
One of the divers is showing Deb ad Bob a conch that he retrieved from the ocean floor.  Inside was a very small octopus.

Back on shore, we completed a bit of required shopping before returning to our condo for some pool time.

This fella was at work every day carving these beautiful wood pieces.
A few hours in the shade of one pool was relaxing.
Awesome colours on this Gecko.
By mid-afternoon, we readied for a nice dinner and to celebrate Jeanette's birthday.  The seafood choices were terrific, the ambiance spectacular.  The sunset was stunning too.
Two sisters
Very nice dinner

Birthday cake for the birthday girl.
The view from our table
And that concludes the blogs from Maui.  We have all day today to meander.  I'll write about that upon our return back home. 

We're heading for the beaches near Kaanapali this morning.  And it is a typically beautiful, sunny and warm day out here again today.

Mahalo for dropping in.

Friday, November 27, 2015

On Top of The World...on US Thanksgiving

....and we were certainly there on Maui.

At 10,000 feet +
Our choice for a Thursday excursion called for a wake up at 2:45 am, and leaving our Lahaina condo by 3:30 am.  We needed to be on top of the Haleakala crater by 6:00 am to catch the rising sun that was set to appear at or about 6:30 am.
Very early daylight
The temperature leaving our condo was at 72 degrees.  The temperature on arrival at Haleakala, at 10,000 feet, was 40 degrees.  It was windy, dark and cold.  We were dressed for the cold but we were still cold.
The sun burst over the high clouds at 6:35 am.
We stood at one of the highest points, at the observation site when the sun made its magical appearance.  And several hundred other tourists had the same idea.  It mas really magical to be so high up, on top of a volcanic crater to witness the sunrise.
The burst.....
Most tourists, feeling extremely cold (and not dressed for the cold weather) left for the beaches in a hurry.  We meandered about to read many historical sign boards, look in the tourist information building and spend some time looking at the huge crater that was created when Maui was born.
This huge crater is believed to be 5,000 feet shorter than the original height, following its final lava flows.
Posing on top of Maui, Deb and Bob made it look as though they were warm....but they too were cold.
10,000 feet below us (in the photo) is the famous surfer's beach, Hookipa Park.
We walked around for some time, taking different photos and simply enjoying the majestic setting.  But the cold did do us in, after a while, and back to the car - with heater full blast - was what we longed for.
The observatory on top of Haleakala Volcano
It's amazing to see plant growth at 10,000 feet.
Jeanette's parting photo.....on top of the world in Maui.
By late morning, we had completed the 2.5 hour drive back to sea level where the on board temperature gauge in our car show 82 degrees; 40 degrees warmer than at the crater.

On the drive back to Lahaina, our co-pilots had the idea to stop and have lunch at the Iao Valley State Park just east from the city of Kahului.
Interesting Iao Valley State Park is dedicated to Japanese, Portuguese, African Americans and other nationalities that gave life to this lovely island.
Many families were enjoying outdoor activities here.
While enjoying our lunch, there were so many flavours wafting from the many barbecues preparing Thanksgiving meals for resident families  It was nice.
The hillsides with misting rain at the top.
One sign board in the park reflects the African American history here.
Having to get up as early as we did to witness the sunrise on top of Haleakala negated the writing of a blog from the day before.  I simply did not have the time.

Our Wednesday was more relaxing.  We chose to drive out to Big Beach, south of  Kihei and Wailea.  The rain seemed to be threatening but it held off long enough for us to enjoy a few hours of beach time.
At Big Beach
Others had the same idea.
Once the rain started, we had already returned to the car.  Driving back towards Wailea, the rain was not following us.  We found a popular diving beach, sat there and we're pleasantly surprised when several turtles came towards shore to feed off the algae on the rocks.
A most popular diving and snorkeling area.
One or the many turtles we saw frolicking and feeding
Bob is capturing some good photos of the turtles from his vantage point.
This turtle was just below Jeanette's vantage point.
That covers our previous two days enjoying beautiful Maui.  Our weather has been most favourable.  And although so many days present with grey skies, the breezes blow away the clouds and we get some sun.  We have not been bothered by the rains that come in spurts.

We have two full days left to enjoy more of this lovely island.  More on that in the days ahead.

Mahalo for looking in.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Hanging Out in Lahaina and Meeting Friends.

The sky was clouded over and the sun would not shine.  It did not rain but it did mist for about 20 minutes or so.  But no matter, yesterday was a chosen shopping, browsing and walking day in Lahaina.  It is a quaint and beautiful town.
Our day started with a nice, leisurely walk along the beach
We could tell that American Thanksgiving is around the corner.  Lahaina was teaming with with families and more tourists than when we arrived.  The shopping district was abuzz.
Approaching the Lahaina Shores Resort.
Lahaina Shores Resort is a nice facility that sits on the beach, east from the harbour.
While walking along the beach, there were a few boarding classes being taught with skim, paddle and surf boards.
Being the early birds, we beat the shopping crowd at the 505 Front Street Shops.

Deb and Jeanette checked out a restaurant that was recommended for a future dinner spot.
This shop was busy.  Boards of all types were being delivered to the beach.
The board rental business is a good one.  The locals were busy renting and delivering all types of boards to clients waiting on the beach.

Sighted as we made our way west along Front Street
I did not focus our photos on the numerous T-shirt and trinket shops.  But there are plenty of them in the downtown shopping district.  One shop looked like another.  Clothing choices and pricing were similar.  Of greater surprise were the numerous jewellery stores and high end art shops.  So there is something to see while browsing along the streets.

Lovely ocean views along the route.
Bob and I settled here for an hour or so while Jeanette and Deb were busy browsing in the stores.

Famous for shrimp and beer, we dropped by for a respite and lunch.  And the food choices were most appealing and tasty.  The beer was good too!
Hanging out at Bubba Gump

Deb found something nice for her son.
And Jeanette managed to find a few things for the grand-kids before we made our way back to our condo and some afternoon pool time.

At 5:00 pm, we met our friends Leslee and Stafford (from White Rock, BC) in the downtown core and found our way to a happy hour spot.  We chose Fleetwood Mac's restaurant.  We enjoyed some libations overlooking the see from the open air, third floor. 
We left there to check out the Cool-Cat Cafe', upstairs at the Wharf Center.  To our surprise, there was a truly great jazz trio entertaining and we enjoyed great food and chat in a nice seaside atmosphere.
L-R  Bob, Jeanette, Leslee, Stafford and Deb.
Following our meal during a pleasing jazz set, Leslee and Stafford headed back to their condo.  Following our bye byes, we walked around the Wharf Center briefly before returning to sit on on the second jazz trio set.  As a jazz lover, it was so pleasing to listen to those three talented musicians.

At the end of the second set, we called it a night, shook hands with the musicians and moseyed back to our condo; only a brief one block walk away.

A quality day for sure,

Mahalo for looking in.