Monday, April 26, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Mom and baby were playing, fin slapping the water. You can see two fins raised up if you look closely enough.Then we saw a huge chunk of tail push out of the water, and slap the surface. The guide says that tail weighs 70 tons. It was over too quickly for a photo, but you can see the splash.
The whales travel in packs of two or three, and we were so close we could hear them breathe, big exhales that spurted mist high into the air.
We even saw one whale point its face above the surface, the guide says the whale was looking around, seeing what was above water.
The guide also put a hydrophone in the water, and we got to hear the whale song. It was a melodic tune, sung in recognizable refrains. The naturalist says all whales sing the same song, depending on the time of year, no matter where they are in the world. These are such amazing, gentle creatures, and I felt blessed got to see them up close. It's hard to believe there used to only be 1,000 of them left in the world because of whaling, now there are close to 30,000.
I'm so glad people love whales now, and are only armed with cameras, not guns or spears.
I can't wait to go whale watching again!
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
David had a little work to do, so I left him at a Starbucks in Kihei and went to explore the beaches in South Maui. I passed the Grand Wailea, Four Seasons, and countless gated communities with pristine palm trees, and short, manicured grass. I'd guess South Maui is where the celebrities vacation, with its rugged hills and hidden, curving roads.
I kept driving past the resorts in Wailea, and the road became narrow, the foliage like desert. I saw cacti with big paddleboard arms, and wiry, black trees. I drove until I saw a sign for "Makena State Park," and turned right onto a dusty road that ended in a huge parking lot. I got out, put on my water shoes, and walked down a trail that was part sand/part rock. When I saw Big Beach, it took my breath away.
A beautiful crescent with thick, golden sand, and turquoise water.I walked in the warm water, feeling my feet sink into the sand. Lifeguards sat at their posts, and warning signs talked of undertows an shallow, breaking waves. I could feel it, even as the water rushed around my calves. It was strong, and I could easily fall victim to its grasp.The beach was pretty empty, so I continued walking, talking photos with my small, waterproof camera. Mist hugged the distant hills.
The far end of Big Beach in Makena is punctuated by thick, sharp lava rocks, and I imagined the steaming lava hitting the water thousands of years ago.
For some reason, I was really amazed by this lava rock. It's texture, its shape, the way it dried exactly how it landed on the beach.
It was a beautiful beach, and a calming, peaceful experience. I saw islands in the distance, and the beach didn't have many people. I'd definately come back here with a cooler of beer and food, and just watch the waves roll in and out. I might even take a dip, if I was right in front of the lifeguard stand.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
At first, the water felt cold, but our bodies adjusted quickly, and it was like being in a bathtub. I had no goosebumps, and marveled at the tropical fish, and pink coral that looked like brains. The heavy salt water held my body, and I felt myself rising and falling with the waves, one with the breath of the ocean. It was a relaxing, soothing experience. When we finished with our underwater sightseeing, we crawled back on the beach, tired but happy, and let the sun bake the salt into our skin.
Then it was on to the Old Lahaina Luau that evening, which is rated as one of the best, most authentic luau's in Hawaii. We were greeted with a fresh lei and a mai tai, and led to our table with a perfect view of the stage.The space was large, with palm trees, thatched huts, and the ocean just a few feet away.
Then it was time for dinner, and our server, a buff Hawaiian surfer wearing a yellow and orange sarang, led us to the buffet, where we had kalua pork, mahi mahi, teriyaki chicken, fresh mango and papaya, rice, bread, and all sorts of things I can't even describe. It was delicious, and the mahi mahi's flowed as the hula dancing presentation began!
This was a traditional luau that included the history of Hawaii. The men wore loincloths, and little else.
The dancing was incredible, with the women moving their hips so fast, and it time to the music. It was like belly dancing on crack. I don't know how they do it, but it was amazing to watch.
Then it was time for a couple's slow dance, with the sound of the waves, and a Hawaiian love song.
After the whole thing was through, I got a photo with the performers, a Hawaiian God and Goddess. Amazing dancers, these two!
It was the birthday of my dreams. How am I going to beat this when I turn 30 next year?
Sunday, January 31, 2010
We had breakfast at Betty's in Lahaina with views of the ocean, then drove up to Ka'anapali and went for a long walk along Maui's tourist trap. Hyatt, Marriott, Westin, you name it, all with sparkling outdoor pools and tiki bars. People sat on chaise lounges and romped on white sand, palm trees grew out of impossibly short grass. Not really my scene, but we had a good, long walk. Then we found the type of beach I love, where waves crash wildly against black lava rocks, and surfers are black dots in an ocean that mirrors the sky.
(Yes, I know I'm about as white as it gets. Blame it on my European roots)
Oneloa Bay is much quieter up on the boardwalk, which stretches over 1.5 miles along these beaches near Kapalua. We're going to come back when we have our walking shoes, and explore all this little gems, bays carved by centuries of waves beating the lava rocks into submission.
It's Sunday evening, and the sun is setting, the ocean is silver outside my hotel window. Soft guitar music plays from Cheeseburger in Paradise, and I think at this moment I could very well be there, in paradise.