By the time we got back to the hostel in Paia from the Haleakala sunrise it was already 8 am on Friday, and we were all exhausted from the 3:30 am waking up. I wanted to take a nice nap in my low bunk bed, but we were hungry and Shanna prepared some chocolate chip pancakes; courtesy of the Aloha Surf Hostel. The food and the light started to wake me up. We had breakfast in the patio downstairs at the hostel.
It would be nice to have some blueberries or bananas in the pancakes we thought. Shanna convinced me we should walk down the street and check out what all the fuss about the largest health food store in Maui was about. So we headed to Mana foods to get some fruits and veggies.
By the time we headed back, it was already almost 10 am! I was scheduled to go on the free tour to Kaanapali beach and Lahaina at 11 am, and I wanted to squeeze in a nap before that. Also, I had to leave my luggage with them since they were moving me over to a private room for the next 3 nights (was so excited just to have an AC/Cooler!). I rushed in for a nap, overslept and came running out of my room at 10:45, and I found Shanna waiting for me near the door 🙂 That was my second ‘Aloha’ moment, to feel like I had a friend, for she could have easily have gotten herself a nice seat in the van and forgotten all about me. For my first ‘Aloha’ moment, read this blog.
We stopped at a shop that rented cheap snorkeling gear ($2, yes, really!), stopped at Foodland to pickup some food and drinks, and then headed to Kaanapali beach. Jared, our tour guide/volunteer was from Oakland, California, and stayed at the hostel in exchange for volunteering to run the free tours and take us around. When we got to Kaanapali I remembered that I can barely swim and I should have perhaps gotten a life vest at the snorkel store 🙂 I got lucky and there was a little rental booth by the Sheraton at the end of Kaanapali where I could buy a yellow floatation device that goes around your waist. We were in the ‘black rock‘ side of Kaanapali which is known to be a great place to snorkel, and good swimmers can jump of the rock for thrills.
Jared helped me put on the snorkel gear, got the flippers on, and I was ready! Just as I started to go into the water, I saw a huge turtle swim by me, so close to shore. Jared had told us that if the turtles are coming out of the water, that means sharks are coming in, or close, phew! I didn’t see any sharks so I kept going. As I snorkeled further towards the black rock from where people were jumping into the ocean, I saw a world beneath me of colorful, vibrant fish, and as I got closer to the rocks, I could see lots of coral.
I could see all the way down to the sea-bed, it was so beautiful and a little scary at the same time, given my swimming skills are barely beginner and despite the floatation device the idea of being in the ocean by myself gave me the nerves. At one point, I started to get salt water in my mouth, and panicked a bit; luckily I was able to tap on to someone and ask if I could hold on to them till I re-adjusted the mouthpiece and put my face back in the water. I vowed in my head to learn to swim well, so the next time I came to Hawaii I could enjoy this experience more. Nevertheless, I was so glad I snorkeled, and saw that wonderful world beneath the ocean. I will never forget this experience. I wish I had a waterproof camera to show you what I saw while snorkeling, but since I didn’t here are some photos from the web that come pretty close:
After snorkeling, it was time for some R & R by the tree, where we ate the snacks and drinks we had worked hard to carry all the way to black rock (a long walk from where we got dropped off. Shanna had got a poke bowl with rice from the store, and I tried a bite from that which was delicious. Well, just like that, I started eating raw fish again from the next day onwards! I had my pepper-jack cheese and crackers and juice, and chatted with the people in my group.
After we were all dry and/or changed, and we cleaned our gear, we were ready to head out to Lahaina. After a short drive we reached Lahaina. It was a quaint, charming little area with shops and restaurants, close to the bay. There was also a landmark, 100+ year old banyan tree which looked like multiple trees or tree trunks, but really, it was all one tree – the last photo I took was of the Banyan tree before my phone battery died.
I wandered around looking for a toy for my son; bought some really nice necklaces and bracelets along the way. A short walk, and some shaved ice later, I found the toy store in Lahaina. I got him a sea turtle story book (which he now loves!), and a submarine toy that turns around and moves really fast underwater (we play with this in the bath tub!). I walked around some of the art galleries and photography stores which was a lot of fun. I headed to this restaurant which had a nice view of the ocean, and got a Mahi-Mahi wrap with pineapple pico to go, which was delicious 🙂 I headed to the lawn by the bay where Jared had asked us to meet up and see the sunset as a group before we left. We had seen the sunrise and the sunset, all in one wonderful Friday in Maui. “Mahalo”, was all I could say to life.
Please leave me a comment below if you enjoyed reading this or want to share something from your experience, I would love to hear other perspectives of people who have been to Maui.
Until Day # 2 in Maui,