Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hawaii Days 7 & 8: Molikini Snorkel and Lucy Learns a New Trick. Then we go home.

Because of the storm five days earlier, the waters on the South Maui beaches were still cloudy, so we booked a commercial snorkel trip to the mini-island of Molokini, a partially submerged rim of a volcanic crater.

Once on board a large powered catamaran from Ma’alaea Bay, the funny crew fed us breakfast as we motored a 10 miles across the channel where the whales hang out to go snorkeling in the much clearer water.   While the water was clear, it was also cold-ish, so we forked over the extra $10 for wetsuits.  Former dive master Drew was comfortable in this get up, but it was another new experience for this land-locked North Dakota girl.  Into the water we went with at least a two hundred other people from 6 or 7 different boats.  It was like viewing the Christmas lights at Temple Square but underwater.

But the fish were pretty good and the coral was nice. I counted about 20 different kinds of tropical fish, and had a good time in the underwater world.

After lunch on the boat, we were supposed to go back to somewhere on Maui called “Turtle Town” where we could snorkel with sea turtles, but, of course, it was too murky.  That seemed to be the theme of water activities on this trip.  Oh well, we did stop for a few minutes on the way back to Ma’alaea Bay to watch a mother humpback and her less-than-a-month-old calf.  There were a couple of bottlenose dolphins swimming near them too.  That was pretty cool.

It was about then that I realized that during our six days of Maui and with only one afternoon left, we had only spent a few hours doing the beach thing.  So after a frozen yogurt treat, we loaded up the car with beach chairs, beach towels, beer cooler, and boogie boards and headed to Kama’ole III beach.

The sun was threatening to turn Drew into all shades of pink during his nap if he was not vigilant against the dangerous rays.

While Drew napped, I carefully studied all forms of boogie boarding.  This was a new activity and I needed some examples.  I mostly figured out that if you jump up and out just as the wave is breaking, you will have the best ride.  Not daring to go in the warm and gentle but still very scary water, I drug Drew out with me for Boogie Boarding 101.  Soon I was getting along just as well as the other un-tanned and out of shape tourists. Here I am (center) about to launch myself onto this monster wave.

 Look, I'm boogie boarding!
 Like a beached whale.

And if that wasn't proof enough that Lucy J. can officially boogie board, here is an action video of me boogie boarding.
Drew went back to his nap, but I stayed out for at least an hour riding wave after little wave.  I would be sore for two days after that, so I guess boogie boarding doesn’t use the same muscles as hiking or biking. :)

After returning our snorkel gear and picking up some lettuce at the expensive grocery store for our last and this time technically complete Asian chicken salad dinner at the condo, our last day came to an end as we kissed Maui goodbye with sunset on Wailea Beach.

Hawaii Day 8 – going home
The next day we simply packed up and headed to the airport, stopping for one last sip of good coffee before we departed.

The Alaskan Airlines flight was oversold, but somehow Drew managed to snag a free seat right behind me.  After a very delayed departure due to crew error, the flight itself wasn’t all that bad.  The two screaming children and spineless parents in the row in front of me got pretty old after the first hour though. Five more hours to go and we landed in Oakland, a few minutes after the SWA flight we were trying to get home on departed.  A night at the down-scale (is that the opposite of upscale?) Days Inn and back at the airport at 6 AM to try to catch SWA flight to SLC, but what we didn’t realize was that the Sundance Film Festival and the huge Outdoor Retailers Trade Show were starting in SLC today, so the flight was oversold.  Plan C was to go to Seattle and then on to Salt Lake, but when we got to Seattle, the Salt Lake flight was 2 hours delayed.  Finally, after almost two full days of travel, we came home to our cold, smoggy hometown.  Was it worth it? You bet. That was a great vacation!

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