Monday, August 07, 2006

Land ahoy!

WOW! We're having a great time!

We had a lovely time on Kaanapali beach, which is about a 10 minute drive away from our condo. This beach is billed as the #1 beach in the US, and we can see why. The view is gorgeous, the winds gentle, and the slope of the sand is wide and even. The whole area is bordered by luxury hotels (Sheraton, Marriott, etc) and (for a fee, of course) handsome men will obligingly set you up with umbrellas and lounge chairs.

Being the inexperienced first-time Kaanapali visitors that we were, it took us a while to catch on to the protocol. They pile all the umbrellas and lounge chairs next to a big sign that says "Public Beach" so we thought, "How nice! They provide these for free!" We started to carry off an umbrella and were waylaid by a polite hunky Sheraton employee who explained the rules -- and fees. We rummaged through our beach bag and came up with enough cash for the umbrella, and THEN had a lovely time enjoying the shade.

You can see part of the Sheraton hotel there on the right, with some surely expensive lodgings on the cliff above.

Caroline got more instruction on the finer points of body surfing (ie, how NOT to get half of the beach's sand in your bathing suit).

Here's a typical shot of Caroline, representative of what she has been doing all week. (Usually I'm right in there with them, but it's hard to take pictures while rolling in the surf.)

On Saturday night, we cleaned the sand out of our hair and nether parts to go to the Old Lahaina Luau, which everyone assured us was a not-to-be-missed event. Caroline cleaned up rather nicely, I thought.

These shots show the setting of the luau, on the shore in Lahaina. It was lovely, warm and gently breezy.


We got to watch as they took the roast pig out from it's dirt oven... Caroline says she'll remember this for the rest of her life.

It was really scrumptious. There was a free, open bar for the entire evening. I enjoyed my hawaiian vacation drink of choice, the Blue Hawaiian (which mainly amuses me because it is such a bright color of blue and usually comes with lavish decoration of pineapple slice, cherry, umbrella, etc.) while Roger enjoyed Mai Tais. The food was yummy...pork, pineapple glazed chicken, a stunning deep purple sort of sweet potato, various salads, and of course Poi, which we all ate in small amounts. (Caroline announced that it was like a very plain babyfood pear-sauce.) Since then, when hungry, she announces, "I'm so hungry I could even eat Poi!"

Anyway. After dinner, we gathered more drinks and the show started. I discovered that it is impossible (with my camera, anyway) to get a clear shot of hula dancers DURING the hula.

So, here's a still shot. You can get the hula effect if you picture 10 of these women, wiggling their hips very fast. (Or go back to that link and watch the video on the website).

It was definitely a fun evening.

Yesterday morning, we rose at 5am and headed out for a morning snorkeling cruise to Molokini on a large catamaran called the Four Winds II. We booked the trip despite the advice of our travel agent Leslie that, in her view, we'd get better snorkeling in Napili bay and right off of Kaanapali. Still, we thought the boat ride would be fun, and it'd be nice to see Molokini, and I remembered a really fun snorkeling cruise when I was here before.

The good news? The boat was comfortable, and it was pleasant chatting with other passengers. The views of Molokini and Molokai were pretty, and we saw sea turtles bobbing around the boat. Barbecue lunch was served on the boat, too.

The bad news? It was SO windy that the trip was really, really ROUGH. Despite having been dosed with dramamine beforehand, Caroline was miserable for the hour-long boat ride and we spent the time hovering at the back so if she lost her breakfast she'd do so into the water. That chatting with the other passengers? It was all about how queasy everyone was feeling. Caroline adds that, for her, the highlight of the excursion was when, just when the boat docked within the cove at Molokini, she threw up into the water...and about 30 fish appeared instantly and the evidence of her sickness totally disappeared. Gross, but interesting. This brought other passengers to the side to watch all the fish, unaware that the fish were excitedly swarming because they were being "fed" by Caroline.

We plunged into the rough water for 90 minutes of snorkeling. From a mom perspective, it was scary-- that water was ROUGH. Caroline is an excellent swimmer, thank goodness, and she wore a flotation device as well, but she and I snorkeled holding hands the whole time because I was freaked at how strong and rough the water was and I kept imagining her being washed away from me. Roger swam nearby, playing with the cheap underwater camera we'd bought at the drug store. And truthfully, in snorkeling position with head in the water, the water didn't feel TOO bad, although large waves would swamp the snorkel from time to time so you'd get salt water in your breathing apparatus.

Caroline felt much better in the water, so she really started having fun, then. Roger, who'd also taken dramamine, did okay, but that rough water was tiring. Me? I've never gotten motion-sick before and usually really like the feel of riding in a boat over active water. Still, after 90 minutes of being bobbed wildly about in the ocean, I was feeling queasy myself. We hauled ourselves up to the boat, where the crew remembered how ill Caroline had been and stationed us at what they claimed was the least rocking part of the boat. She slept all the way back, while Roger and I just sat and, along with everyone else, clung to parts of the boat to keep from being thrown about. It felt like a VERY long ride back, and by the time we docked I think half of the people were kissing the ground and thanking the heavens to be off of the danged boat.

Ah, well. One of those memorable vacation experiences. We will now faithfully believe whatever Leslie the travel agent tells us, because she was right. We were glad that we'd introduced Caroline to snorkeling first in the bay near us, where it was much calmer and more fun. That trip would have been a miserable introduction to snorkeling.

We are told that cruises in the summer are often rougher because of the constant trade winds. Maybe it was the fact that I last came here in early October that explains why that Maui snorkeling cruise was so much more pleasant.

Anyway, we are recovering today with a day on land. I am off to explore a fabric store in Lahaina. Dianna, our AQ blog member here in Maui, recommended a shop in Kihei but I don't think I want to drive that far today. Roger and Caroline will play on the nearest beach, and tonight we are planning to explore Whaler's Village, a nice looking mall at Kaanapali, and then we'll have dinner overlooking the water.

No more boats for us, today. (Is this keyboard rocking, or is it just me?)


  1. Anonymous7:15 PM

    Diane, it looks like you are having a dream vacation! What beautiful photos of your family and of Hawaii. Kudos on the snorkeling - I would have been afraid to go in the water. Enjoy!

  2. Anonymous8:20 PM

    Could Roger take a picture of Mom and Daughter for the blog?

    Thanks for letting us vacation vicariously through you!

    SAFE travels, and godspeed.

    Can I have a seaturtle?