Our first glimpse of Maui came at the exact time the captain forecast - quite a feat after a 2,600 mile sail. Our feet longed to be on dry land once again, but this was not readily accomplished. Although the old fishing village of Lahaina is a cruise ship favorite, it has no docking facilities, which means we had to tender taking our life boats which hold about 100 people, over and back about 22 times to get everyone off the ship. While our crew was ready, willing and able to use four life boats at a time, the Lahaina dock is not big enough for more than two. It also is not big enough to accommodate anything larger than a life boat. It took about two hours from the time we received our tender ticket until our feet really were on solid ground. We were greeted by a charming, but extremely geriatric local band playing hula music, proudly danced to by two petite grannies. I write something sarcastic about this elderly welcoming committee, but they really were a heart warning sight.
We traveled by bus about 15 miles to an unpronounceable harbor (the name had a multitude of A's in it) and boarded a snorkel boat. It took us to Molokini, a favorite diving spot for Maui tourists. It is a half moon shaped island remnant of some long ago volcanic activity and serves as a fish and bird refuge. Those fish must know they are safe there. The water teemed with a colorful multitude, rivaling the hues and variety of a tropical flower garden. Every time I thought I had seen an example of all the fish there, a new one swam by. Screams from fellow passengers in the distance alerted us to a shark passing by, but we missed it. Ken had a great time with the newest incarnation of his underwater camera. Hope you enjoy the little movie of your humble reporter splashing around and a few samples of his fish photos.
Lahaina is on the dry side of Maui and our guide said it is officially classified as a desert. This was easy to believe; the hillsides were covered with dry, yellow brush and in many spots it looked like fires had run wild. Our guide said that folks on a tour just like ours had been stranded when the fires caused the road to be closed and there was no way to return to Lahaina. This road was also the only route to the airport and other tourists on their way there missed their flights and had to sleep in their cars until the fire had run its course.