My 2014 Retirement Trip Hawaii travel blog

Sunday Lunch - Hula Cookie Company - caramel swirl ice cream between...

Paragon - Our sailing ship for the day

Our captain

Snorkelling in a protected bay

The water was completely clear - lots of beautiful coral attracted beautiful...

Our picnic spot by a very nice beach - this is all...

Hulopo'e Beach on the south end of Lana'i

Hulopo'e Beach the left side of the beach (south east) is great...

Bringing down the sail

One of the deck hands serving brownies for our dessert which were...

Coming into Lahaina

coming into Lahaina

Lahaina ferry landing

Lahina boat dock

I want to go again tomorrow!!!!

On Sunday I couldn't decide what I wanted to eat for lunch. When I had been at the aquarium I saw a store named "Hula Cookie Company" but I had just had lunch at the aquarium so I wasn't hungry then but I kept craving it so that is what I ended up having for lunch - after all - I am on vacation. Hula Cookie Company's specialty is ice cream cookies. They have about 2 dozen ice cream options and maybe 8 different kind of cookies. Most of the cookies are what you would expect - chocolate with white chocolate and macadamia nut, chocolate chip with macadamia nut, snickerdoodle but also more exotic cookies like sugar cookie with dried papaya and pineapple pieces and something with ginger. So there are a lot of options to build your own cookie sandwich. Too many choices actually! I'll have to go back and see if I can better my first choice! (But the bar is set pretty high!)


On Monday Feb. 10 I went on a day-long sail, snorkel and picnic adventure to Lanai. The Paragon, a 47' sailing catamaran left Lahaina for its 7 hour tour at 8:30 am. I have to admit I was too busy having fun to take all the pictures I had hoped to get.

First some background of the island of Lanai:

Lanai is the only island that is reasonably accessible to outsiders that I did not visit on the Road Scholar Tour. It was known as the "Pineapple Island" when owned by Dole. Lanai is 98% owned by a single person (it was purchased by Larry Ellison in 2012)and 2% owned by the State of Hawaii. There are two Four Season Resorts on the island and the ten room Hotel Lanai (with no TV, AC, phones or radios). A ferry runs from Maui a couple times a day and there is an airport for private jets and a few regularly scheduled flights daily. Approximately 3,200 people live on the island, most working for the resorts.

There are two other islands in the Hawaii chain that are completely inaccessible.

Kahoolawe was used as a military bombing test site and still may have live ordnance scattered across the island.

Niihau or the "Forbidden Island" has been owned by the same family since it was bought from King Kamehameha V for $10,000. The majority of the Hawaiian monk seals living in the world today live on the beaches of Niihau. Full blooded Hawaiians live on the island.

As soon as we got on the boat we were offered a continental breakfast of fruit, bagels, yogurt, granola and coffee. Shortly after we got under way (after they went over all the safety precautions) they offered mimosas and or/beer.

It took about 1.5 hours to get over to the snorkeling area. We did not go under sail but instead used the boat's motor. Mornings tend to be pretty calm but the winds kick up in the afternoons. On the way we stopped to look at many pods of whales. (note: the boats are not allowed to chase the whales and cannot get within 100' of them unless the whales themselves approach closer). At one time four whales raced past us about 100' from the boat paralleling us. The captain said it was three males chasing one female. The males were lunging or head slapping each other (where a humpback thrusts forward while raised above the water, often landing on another mail). Another time two whales came up maybe within 50' of the boat. They very leisurely rounded out and then fluked (exposing the top of the back and followed by exposing the tail fluke) several times as they moved past us. We saw spouting off in a distance many times. We had pods cross our paths several hundred foot of us several times.

With the boat moving and the whales popping up unpredictably I decided not to try to take pictures and miss the spontaneity of seeing them so I don't have any pictures posted of the whales. Just make sure at least once in your life you get a chance to see these huge mammals move elegantly through the water up close. It was amazing!!

The snorkeling area was in a protected bay just outside the rock surge protection in front the ferry landing at Lanai. There was a lot of coral growing on the lava under the approximately 15' of very clear water. There were lots of yellow coral and what I think was brain coral. I also saw some florescent blue something growing on the lava rock. I saw about 20 different kinds of fish. Again - I didn't fool around with an underwater camera. From past snorkeling trips I know I'd spend too much time with the camera and not enough time in awe of the moment. I recognized several of the types of fish from my visit to the aquarium.

The weather was absolutely beautiful. Clear skies, about 80 degrees and a nice breeze. The water was cool but felt good after the sunny trip over to the island. The boat company provided the snorkels and flippers and either a boogie board or a noodle. These were good quality sets - better than I've used in Mexico. I had no trouble with the fit of the googles and they didn't fog up. We had about an hour and 15 minutes at the snorkeling site. After awhile I turned in my snorkel and flippers and just floated around on the noodle.

Then we went on into the ferry landing and got off for lunch (sandwiches, salad, chips, cookies and water provided by the boat company). We ate at Hulopo'e Beach which is supposed to be one of the top 10 beaches in Hawaii and one of the best snorkeling sites in the world. This beach is within easy walking distance of the ferry landing. There were plenty of picnic tables, some in the shade, others in the sun. The bathrooms were beautiful (remember this is one of the beaches used by the Four Seasons patrons - shuttle buses were continuously coming and going apparently from the resort). The beach was beautiful. I did not go snorkeling here but there were several people that did and seemed to enjoy it. We had a little over and hour for lunch so it was nice and relaxing.

We got back on the boat and were served very good mai tais (or wine or beer or whatever). On the return trip the crew did put up the sail. I had hoped we could get up a lot of speed but there wasn't very much wind. It was nice to have the quiet of no engine for awhile. As we were returning we did again see many whales and again several came up close to the boat.

As we were nearing port the crew served brownies and champagne. When we were within sight of the Lahaina landing the crew stopped the boat and let us get back in the water again for a few minutes to cool off before going in to port.

This trip was pricy (about $145 p/p with tax) but it was an entire day and plenty of food was included. Another boat company (Trilogy) offered a similar trip for a little more money. They boasted mom's cinnamon rolls for breakfast and they serve a bar-b-que on the island - they have been allowed to build a pavilion there. The reason I chose Paragon over Trilogy was Paragon limits their trips to 24 people on the ship built for 45. Paragon was at full capacity but did not feel crowded. They did a very good job with the food and the drink service. I would strongly recommend Paragon for adults. There is a reduced price for teens and a further reduced price for children. I'm not sure how well children would do on a catamaran. There isn't a lot of room to run around.

So what are the chances of TWO retired female civil engineers being on the same boat trip of only 24 people????? The only other single woman on the trip was a retiree from San Francisco that had worked as a project manager for utility companies on the west coast. She is currently living in San Francisco. One daughter is going to college next year majoring in an as yet undetermined engineering discipline and the other just started high school. Once they graduate she has a retirement place in SONOMA VALLEY she is currently renting out. We spent most of the trip talking about how stupid employers are putting unqualified supervisors (read: non-engineers) over engineers and are using unqualified (read: non-engineers) people as project managers for engineering related projects and then turn back to engineers to fix things when the project unravels. Sound familiar??!!

She has been to Hawaii three times since she retired in February 2013. Prior to that she came here every year with her husband (now deceased) and her girls so she knows Maui. We are meeting up on Wednesday. She is staying at Kapalua. I needed to stop by the Kapalua Golf Course to pick up a divet fixer/ball mark for a friend so that is convenient. She and her husband played that course several years ago.

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