Aloha! Part 4 - Riding the Waves...and Returning to the Mainland

Mr. T in Lahaina Harbor - Day 6 - Ready to Sail!
Can it be? A whole month has passed since we boarded American flight #14 for our return trip from Maui. Unbelievable. I guess I'd better try to finish my posts about our vacation, hadn't I? [Talk about "old news"...:)]

Let's see. In the last post about Day Five, we were rippin' and flippin' on the Road to Hana and back, weren't we? [Ahem. That's from a saying about the towns connected by old Highway 51 in Lauderdale County, Tennessee, where I grew up.  "Rippin' (for Ripley, TN) and flippin' (for Flippin, TN) around the Curve (for Curve, TN), through the Gates (for Gates, TN) down the Halls (for Halls, TN), to visit the people in Dyersburg."  The things we remember...:)]


Honu - The Hawaiian Sea Turtle
 Our story is up to Day Six...Thursday...and it's time to recount our catamaran sailing trip from Lahaina to the island of Lana'i on the Trilogy I.  We left our hotel after morning coffee on our lanai, allowing plenty of time to drive to Lahaina, park, and board our beautiful boat (in photo with Mr. T, above/right).  The crew served us breakfast of hot cinnamon rolls (fabulous!), fresh fruits, cold juices, and coffee, as we enjoyed the wind and sun on our faces.  That sun, reflecting off the water, was exceptionally hot, and several of us joked about the SPF of our suntan lotions:  if you put another layer of SPF 50 on top of the original layer of SPF 50, do you get SPF 100?!  During the trip "out," we spotted one of the giant sea turtles (or, honu, in Hawaiian)...a first for many of us.  My photo (left) doesn't do the experience justice...but it all happened so fast!

Got all the equipment?  Check!  Let's snuba!!
After about an hour, we were mooring on Lana'i and being welcomed with shell leis (nice touch).  A short walk to Hulopoe Beach...and then Mr. T and I were receiving instructions from Trilogy crew member Denver for our next adventure:  snuba diving!

Snuba is a cross between snorkeling (where you wear a mask for viewing underwater, with a short breathing tube, which means you have to stay close to the surface to get air) and scuba diving (where you have to obtain certification to use air tanks underwater).  With snuba, you are "tethered" to a floating air tank by 20 feet of air tubing, meaning you can do shallow diving without worrying about the tank...or without going through the certification process.

Now, I always loved Sea Hunt when I was younger (much, much younger...:)...the original series starring Lloyd Bridges as diver Mike Nelson.  Always thought I'd like to scuba dive, but have never taken the time to take any classes or obtain certification.  This seemed like an easy compromise.  And, we "knew" it was meant to be since Lloyd's son Jeff was actually a fellow passenger on the Chicago to LA leg of our trip to Maui!  A sign!!

Is that Mike Nelson?

Ooh!  I see lots of fishes!!
In theory, snuba is an easy process, even for beginners, especially if you have snorkelled before (which we have) and are reasonably good/confident swimmers (which we are).  In practice...not so much.  I loved getting to see the beautiful fish and underwater reefs "up close and personal," but I really struggled with two things:  getting my mask to "hold suction" without filling with water, and wearing the weight belt, especially on the surface.  I dealt with the first thing as best I could, according to the instructions that Denver had given us; the second thing was much harder for me to deal with.  Even though I had the air line regulator firmly clamped between my teeth...and it was working just fine...I couldn't turn off my rising feeling of panic when the weight belt kept pulling me underwater...just like it was designed to do...when I was "on the surface" trying to get my fins/flippers on.  And neither Mr. T nor I liked having the snorkle tube attached to the mask...we didn't use it, didn't need it, and it just got in the way.  Still, I wouldn't give anything for the once-in-my-lifetime experience.  We had underwater cameras so we could document that we really, really did it...and there's the evidence up there in those photos!

Mr. T chills out to some tunes on Lana'i
  At the end of the 45 minutes, we were thoroughly and absolutely exhausted.  Unlike some of the other passengers who headed off to the Four Seasons for shopping or drinks, we relaxed on the beach (photo, left) until time to return to the pavilion near the dock for our BBQ chicken dinner and fixings, cooked by our captain and crew.  Delish!  
Patricia on the Trilogy I return voyage

Then, back on the Trilogy I for the sunset cruise back to Lahaina.  Even though we had little wind, the crew hoisted the beautiful spinaker for our sailing pleasure (photo, right).  And, we were thrilled to see a couple of the flying dolphins as we neared the harbor.  A lovely afternoon and evening.

Red skies on return cruise at sunset

Wheeee!  Let's do that again!

Such an exciting and exhausting day on Thursday meant we had earned a Play Day on Friday.  We spent most of the day lounging around the pool and playing in the Raging River.  Just a couple of kids are we, as you can see from our splish-splash photos!   

Mr. T makes a big splash

Body by Botero

I also enjoyed the special Art Tour of the grounds of our lovely resort, conducted by one of the Artists in Residence.  The Grand Wailea is home to the largest corporate art collection in Hawaii, featuring the works of legendary artists including Botero (photo, right), Leger, and Chihuly...whose glass sculptures we'd seen at the St. Louis Botanical Gardens a couple of years ago.

Our last sunset on Maui...taken from Humu

On our last evening, we enjoyed our final sunset in paradise from our perfectly-placed table in Humuhumunukunukuapua'a.  This restaurant, named for Hawaii's state fish, appears to be floating on a lagoon, with fantastic ocean and sunset views (see photo, left).  A perfect ending for a perfect vacation.

On Saturday, it was time to say goodbye to the Grand Wailea at noon (check out time).  Still, we had a few more hours to spend on Maui before our 9:00 p.m. flight, so we headed toward Maalaea Harbor where we enjoyed a yummy "last meal" at Buzz's Wharf (where we got some of the best Shrimp 'n Fish 'n Chips I've ever had!) before spending the afternoon at the Hawaiian Aquarium at the Maui Ocean Center.  Colorful and exotic fish (see photo, right)...without fiddling with masks, air tubes, or fins!  Woo hoo!!
I wouldn't want to meet this guy in the ocean!

Our flights home were l-o-n-g, and thankfully uneventful.  Still, neither of us could manage more than a cat-nap on any of the 3 flights (Maui to LAX to DFW to RDU).  I knitted most of the way and listened to two audio-books.  Mr. T. finished up one book he was reading and got a good start on another he'd purchased at Border's just as we were leaving Kahului for the airport.  By the time our heads touched our own pillows in our own bed in HPNC, we had been awake nearly 30 hours straight...and coherent thought was becoming a challenge for both of us.  The toughest part?  That last 90 minute drive from Raleigh to High Point!  Excruciating.

Would we do it all over again?  You betcha!  Would we do anything differently? Possibly add another day or two in order to see the North Shore (Kaanapali and Napili), which we missed.  But, we can always say we were saving something for our next trip to Maui!



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