This is 40 - Put on Your Snorkel Gear (Day 3)
Saturday, May 2nd
Hello, Jet lag my old friend...
Today was supposed to start early anyway. I had an excursion to get to by 730a. But jet lag has decided to keep me guessing. And today's wake up time was at 430a!! Awesome.
Yesterday was spent being completely lethargic. Today, I actually had something to do. So instead of sitting on my butt, trying to both invite and keep melanoma away, I was going on an adventure. Today, I was going to snorkel.
You're probably thinking to yourself, "Seriously?? You are going to snorkel??" Yes. In fact, this was the best of both worlds. Not only would I take a boat out to snorkel...somewhere, but I would also get to see dolphins. Granted, I mistakenly thought I would be snorkeling with the dolphins. Oh well.
The morning did start early. I wasn't entirely sure how long it would take to get where I needed to go, so I grabbed a Starbucks at the kiosk (no mug yet, Michelle) and decided on some pineapple. Since I didn't get my fix yesterday.
For those of you staying at the Hyatt and going to Lahaina Harbor, it took maybe five minutes to get a cab at 645a. It also took 10-15 minutes and $16 (without tip) for the cabbie to get to the harbor. So you can plan your travel accordingly.
Maui Adventure Cruises was easy enough to find. At 710a, it was the only place that had people actually milling about. You check in at the desk and wait until it's time to board the vessel. Carl and Eric were our captains today. They were both good guys who know what's what.
We started our cruising adventure with a picture prior to boarding. Because, why wouldn't we?? Whenever you can add a few extra dollars to the bill, do it. Carl asked if I was going solo, so he joined my picture. I learned Carl was from DeKalb, so we bonded over Chicagoland for a few minutes. I never did see the picture. I honestly don't even know how much it cost. At the end of the journey, I hightailed it off the boat to find the bathroom. It was a long cruise and I had no interest in using the boat's bathroom.
Once the pictures were taken, you made your way on the boat. I was very strategic in my choice of seating. I was under cover. If there was a shade, I found it. I am very aware that I burn more spectacularly in a boat. And I'm on a boat in a swimming suit. The seat I chose had storage underneath, which was not entirely unique, but was helpful. I dropped my bag and shoes in the storage, but kept my floppy hat on for as long as I could. Anything to help minimize the damage.
The Maui Adventure Cruises boat held 44 passengers or so. Our excursion only had 33. And it felt like much less. Maybe because I was sitting directly behind the captain while he...uhh...Captained the boat, I could only see half of the passengers. Before we pushed back from the dock, we were fitted with flippers. We made sure to store all of our gear and we were on our way.
Lanai is the least populated of the Hawaiian islands and was once known as Pineapple Island. According to Captain Carl, there used to be tons of pineapple plantations on this island, but now they've all been moved to the Philippines. I'm not sure if that's entirely true, but I will trust our captain.
We pushed back from the dock and we were on our way. And we went fast. I held on to my hat as we sped from Maui to Lanai. The first goal wasn't to find dolphins. The first goal was to snorkel. And that we did.
According to the Captains, there are tons of places we could have gone for our snorkeling. It all depended on weather conditions (perfection) and other boats. It looks like we were one of the first boats to leave this morning, so we had the pick of the litter. The only problem is I don't know entirely where we went. So if there was a name for these locations, I don't have it. But both Captains said the places we went today were the best.
The first stop was an area where the water was more green than blue and you could see all the way to the bottom (30 feet, maybe??). It was also a coral reef. Cool. We were given masks and told to go to town. I did talk to Captain Eric about the basics of snorkeling. I hadn't been snorkeling for a very long time and didn't want to even pretend I knew what I was doing. So he made sure my mask and snorkel fit correctly and I went in.
What I didn't expect was the small panic attack that occurred in the water. I mean, it was a good five minutes before I could even stick my face in the water. I just bobbed in the ocean with flippers, a mask, a snorkel, and a water noodle, trying to breathe normally. I'm not sure if it was a claustrophobia thing or what. But my reaction to it took me off guard.
Once I got my breathing under control, I did finally float face first. And it was pretty damn cool. There was the coral reef!! The Captains didn't lie to us!! I mostly floated around the boat, listening to the sound of the water. I kept seeing fish that I swear were the ones in the fish tank in P. Sherman's dentist's office. Come on. You know the ones.
We had 45 minutes to snorkel in this particular area. Honestly, I don't know how long I was out there. But eventually, I made my way to the back of the boat and hauled myself back in. As I handed my gear over to Captain Eric, I asked if anyone had ever come back to him with a snorkel that had the two nubbins bitten off. Cause I was buying so hard on them, I wasn't sure if that could happen. He chuckled and said, "More often than you'd think"
We had some beverages and a snack of fruit and banana bread, then took off to the next location.
Both of the captains were really excited about the next place for snorkeling. The water was blue and significantly deeper. We were able to go around a big rock that protruded out of the water. But the captains did tell us to make sure to swim with a buddy. Sure, rub it in. Honestly, this snorkel, I was feeling less panicky, but I also didn't want my body to be slammed against a rock because I didn't know how to handle myself in the water. Again, I stayed close to the boat and just took it all in.
I stayed out for less time, and on my climb back into the boat, an old lady said to me, "Oh, honey...you are sunburned." I did the math in my head. I was covered. I wasn't in the water for so long. My god. What have I done?? Then I realized, the burn she saw was the small burn in my chestal region from yesterday. It is barely anything to write home about. So, I stopped worrying and ate lunch.
Lunch consisted of some turkey wraps and chips. It was a nice enough after a swim. But the real adventure was coming up next. We were on our way to find dolphins.
We sailed full speed ahead, to the dismay of the one guy who didn't get in the water at all. He spent most of the trip face over the side of the boat, very ready to hurl at a moment's notice. His poor wife sat next to him, also not enjoying the trip as she didn't go into the water at all.
At first, I didn't think we would see anything. I thought it would be shades of Iceland (complete with a puker), but after a while we started seeing everything. First up, we saw a humpback whale. The captains were thrilled. We are past HBW season (you know, the technical term - HBW), so they were giddy when pointing out the whale.
After the whale sighting, we started seeing bottle nosed dolphins. We saw 3-4 pods of them. Captain Carl told us he just got a call from a dolphin sighting boat ahead that there were five dolphins in the area. Four males "chasing" after one female. (#notalldolphins) This was a mating situation and the female was either trying to decide which male she wanted, or she was stringing them all along for a while. Either way, nicely played, dolphin.
We spent as much time as we could with the dolphins and made our way back to the harbor. I still wish I could have snorkeled with the dolphins, but I probably would have wussed out anyway.
Across the street from the harbor is the Old Banyan Tree in Lahaina Banyan Court Park. I didn't know what a Banyan Tree was or why it was special, but apparently, as the tree grows, branches grow downward and root into the soil, making the tree spread out wide and wider. This particular tree covers almost a quarter of a mile with all of its branches rooting into the ground.
I hit this area during an art festival. So all kinds of artists were there selling their pieces. I gravitated towards the jewelry. I always gravitate towards the jewelry, thinking I should get something, but knowing I won't. I never buy jewelry. Until I do.
I mean, here's the thing. I wanted to come back with something. I didn't get anything in China. I barely got anything in Europe last year. I hardly walked away with anything at Disney World last time. But not only was I in Hawaii, I was celebrating my birthday. I wanted something. I say this all as I ended up buying myself some earrings.
I KNOW!! The last time I bought earrings was on the trip to Lake Geneva when Michael Jackson and Farah Fawcett died (events that were not caused by my trip to Lake Geneva...that I know of). And I've worn those earrings ever since. So we're talking the same earrings for almost six years. I think spending $55 on a new pair of earrings was justified.
I did look around at the art, thinking it would be great to take something home, but ultimately I decided against. In my mind, I will take pictures just as good as the ones I liked (which is a false assumption), but also, I already have two carry on bags going home. I don't want to figure out how to check a piece of artwork. And did I mention, I will have a camera full of pictures??
While paying for my new piece of jewelry, I asked about how long it would take to walk to a place for lunch. I'd heard about Aloha Mixed Plate in plenty of different places. And I was ready to try a mixed plate. The ladies I talked to said it was a bit of a walk. Doable (it was on the main drag), but it was a "hot" walk. I had my ridiculous hat on and was pretty well covered, so I was ready. I set off on an adventure.
Front Street in Lahaina is very adorable. It had plenty of shops up and down the stretch. Before I even got too far, I grabbed a shaved ice from Ululani's (the same place that is in my hotel) and sat down in the shade next to a couple from Iowa. They were going home today and were lamenting the trip back home.
Shaved ice consumed, I really started the trek to Aloha Mixed Plate. And those ladies weren't kidding about the walk. Once I got out of the "business district" of Lahaina, the sidewalk stuck around, but the trees vanished. It was a walk that most people wouldn't dare. Maybe about a mile walk. It was easy, but it really was hot. During that walk, I made an executive decision that I was going to Uber it back to the hotel. Yep. That would happen.
But before I called a car to take my lazy self away (not lazy...it was another mile or two back to the hotel), I was ready to eat. That's why I went to Aloha Mixed Plate. A mixed plate is a traditional Hawaiian meal, starting in the late 1800's with the plantation workers. Sandwiches were not a thing, and the guys needed to be fed, so they would eat meat scraps left over from the previous day, with rice. Macaroni salad became a part of the meal at a certain point, which brings us to today. Traditional mixed plate has two scoops of rice, a scoop of macaroni salad, and at least two meats. Mine had three.
I ended up with the Aloha Mixed Plate. This one had shoyu chicken, fresh island fish and teriyaki beef. I could have done something a bit more Hawaiian, but the dishes I was looking at were the ones I would be eating in a few days at the luau next door. And this particular dish was recommended. So I ordered it.
The mixed plate was pretty darn good. I didn't eat much of the fish, because I just don't like cooked fish as much as other things. But the chicken and beef were excellent. I also really dug the macaroni salad. Which is something I don't normally say.
During lunch, I kept checking Uber. I am not an Uber customer, so I'm not entirely sure what I'm supposed to do with this, but I was excited to see you can use Apple Pay. Score!! As I paid my bill, I set my pickup location. The car was five minutes away. Ok. Let's do this.
Uber just arrived in Maui, and as Nicholas, my driver, mentioned, he is one of five Uber drivers on the island. He said, "I signed up a few months ago, but never did anything. Yesterday, I decided to go out and I was busy until 2a." He was a bit unsure how to get to all of the places, but he was hooked and ready to learn.
The whole process of getting home was much easier than I'd expected. But with five Uber cars in the area, me trying to get a car at 2p shouldn't have been too hard. Getting a car at 11p...probably a different story. Happily, I'm too tired to be out at 11p. I mean, I am almost 40...
Now, in case you didn't know, snorkeling and dolphin searching does wear you out. I went back to the hotel and just lounged for a while. I needed my strength for the next leg of the journey. Danielle arrives tonight!!
The overlapping of our vacations began around 9p, when Danielle made it to the hotel. I showed her to the room, she dropped her bags and we hightailed it to 'Umalu for a quick bite. This is the casual dining/pool bar restaurant on the property. It was a perfect enough spot to grab a bite, get a drink, and lounge for a bit before falling into a heap in a fit of jet lag exhaustion. Which occurred for both of us. Tomorrow would be an early start (again). Sleeping now would be advised.