Friday, February 24, 2012

Maui Wowee

On our way out of Kauai, we stopped at Smith’s Paradise Gardens.  It’s really a big luau joint near the Waimea River, but for a fee you can go in during the day, walk the grounds, see the plants and animals.  It was very pretty and we were the only ones there except some grounds keepers who were laying sod (insert joke here).  They had bags of bird seed for sale, and you all know what I sucker I am for the critters.  Well, there were lots of wild chickens, a type of mourning dove, some geese, a red headed cardinal, a wild turkey, but the best part was PEACOCKS and peahens everywhere.  OMG.  They were so beautiful, their iridescent feathers and crowns on their heads.  A couple of the boys were so tame they ate right out of my hand.  Once the birds saw we had seed, they started following us around, it was like a scene out of a Hitchcock movie .  Our flight to Maui was smooth, a little prop plane and barely an hour in the air.  It was dark when we arrived, we managed to get to the Alamo counter and into a Chrysler Sebring convertible.  We were sitting in the parking lot, trying to figure out how to work the damn lights so we could read the map to get to our hotel.  One of the women who had helped us find our car came back with my wallet.  I had left it on the counter.  My experience here in Hawaii has been that people are so lovely and friendly.  Often they see I’m trying to help my mom with something and they pitch in to make things smooth.  The pace here is much slower that at home, it takes a little getting used to but my Mom moves slow anyhow, so I’m just relaxing and going with the flow.  The drive from the airport on the north side to our hotel in Lahaina on the south side was an adventure.  It was 4 lane road all the way but trying to find the turns made us both a little anxious.  After we got here to the Royal Lahaina, we had such a warm welcome and a couple drinks and all was well.  It is beautiful here, all the bathroom fixtures are shaped like bamboo.  We are much closer to the beach than at our hotel in Kauai and the beach is a lot calmer here.  Maybe because we were on the south side of Kauai and here we’re on the west side of Maui.  From our beach we can see Molokai and Lanai.  We went into Lahaina for some lunch and shopping and saw big boats come in to drop off snorkelers.  I went out into the ocean to look around after we got back but didn’t see Squanto.  No fish, no shells, just sand.  A lady was telling me that there is more to see further down the shore where there is a small promontory.  I’m going to dive on the submerged volcanic crater at Molokini and “Turtle Town” tomorrow so will see plenty then.  We walked just up the street from our hotel to a little Italian place, the food and service were good.  The restaurant is surrounded by golf course and when we came out we saw a golf cart with an OSU sticker on it.  Small world.  

Remember to be kind to strangers, you may be a stranger one day and need a helping hand 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

goodbye Kauai

These are pictures from our trip to Waimea, the spouting hole, and dinner at the Plantation Gardens including my baked Hawaiian.  Also sunset at the Beach House.  I went diving today, just 2 tanks from the shore near the resort but still pretty cool.  They set up at a landing that was used years ago by the whalers, the dive master showed us a picture of a huge winch that they used to bring the whales on shore.  They slaughtered them on the spot then loaded them on a train, the vestiges of the tracks are still here, too.  The dive master was a very laid back guy, there was only one other diver along, a man my age or older.  Our dive master Scott took time to show us previews of some things we might see and go over safety info.  It was definitely different to wade into the surf, the water was cool, even with a wet suit with strong waves and currents, but as soon as we got under and started moving I was quite comfortable.  We stayed just off shore, went up and back one side, came out for a rest and fresh tank and then explored on the other side.  WOW.  We saw several sea turtles, a couple different eels and lots of fish.  The coral is not as prolific or colorful as I have seen in other places but the underwater world is just amazing.  We saw a fish that turns over little rocks and eats the mollusks or whatever he finds.  Scott turned over some bigger rocks for him and he hung around for a while.  We also saw a “cleaning station”.  I don’t remember the name of the fish but it cleans the scales of the others, it hangs out in one spot and the other fish come and wait for their turn to be cleaned.  We only went down about 35 or 40 feet, the current was strong and it took some effort to propel myself in any specific direction.  After I was pooped!!!  Decided to have a massage in a cabana overlooking the water.  The height of decadence, a jasmine oil massage in the sun with the sound of the ocean all around.    My cousin Betsy has picked up my Mom and taken her to the Grand Hyatt where Betsy and Gary were staying for Parrot talk.  They Hyatt has several parrots that live in the lobby.  Unfortunately, their wings are clipped to keep them captive.  But they have lots of human interaction which they seem to enjoy and you can hold one if you want to.  After Parrot talk Betsy and Gary took my Mom to lunch which was nice so I had a little time to myself.  Later we went out and sat by the ocean for a while, then went to the Beach House to see the sunset.  There were some people with a dog that never seemed to tire of chasing sticks thrown into the ocean and bringing them back.     It is gorgeous here.  Betsy and Gary headed home today and we are on our way to Maui tomorrow.
PS, pictures from the dive are on an underwater camera so you’ll have to wait for those until I get them developed and on a disc.