|Lahaina, Maui, HI Our goal was to go to the bottom end of the island today. We never made it. Instead we poked along, spending a little time at the Kealia National Wildlife Refuge, a serene 700-acre home for 30 species of birds, including the endangered ae'o (Hawaiian stilt) and 'alae ke'oke'o (Hawaiian coot). We walked the 2,200-foot-long wooden boardwalk and then strolled along Sugar Beach. The sand was very soft and it was a very attractive beach. Unlike most beaches in Hawaii, it was not rocky at all. Then it was time for the big event of the day – a jaunt out onto the ocean to find whales up close and personal. The whale watching boat was 65’ long and held 149 passengers. Luckily, we only had 63 passengers so we had plenty of room to move around. We were barely out of our berth, when the captain spotted a cow and calf whale. We began following them as they moved just a little ways off shore and followed the highway toward Lahaina. At first they just did some spouting but then they began doing some flipper rolls and some tail dives. Two different times one of them did a full breach – quite difficult to photograph. In all we saw 10 whales up reasonably close and a few more spouts out on the horizon. It was a whale of a day!