Snorkels and Luaus and Fishing, Oh My!


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North America » United States » Hawaii » Maui » Lahaina
September 14th 2010
Published: February 2nd 2011
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Black Sand BeachBlack Sand BeachBlack Sand Beach

Relaxing with our feet in the sand.
We started the day with a delicious breakfast at 808 Bistro , which is from the same owners as the previously mentioned 808 Deli. Four words: Banana Bread French Toast. Breakfast couldn't have been better, with the exception that Sharmon and Grant were headed back home to Seattle right afterwards. This left Jeremy and me with three and a half days to ourselves to explore the island.

After saying goodbye to our friends, we decided to rent some better snorkeling equipment for a day, and head to a black sand beach. It was at the base of a lava cone, so the black sand was really just small pieces of the lava (another time I was happy to have water shoes!) I tested out the snorkeling first and although it was already getting windy and the first part of my swim was pretty murky, I eventually made it to clear waters to see even more turtles! Since I was swimming all alone this time (Jeremy was watching our things on the beach) I was even more aware of everything around me, and out of the corner of my eye I saw a large object on the surface. A huge turtle was about
Turtle!Turtle!Turtle!

So coy...
4 feet away, watching me swim. I got a little closer to take a picture, although s/he was being coy and turning away from me the whole time. I spent another minute swimming with my new friend, and then headed back to tell Jeremy about it. Jeremy tried his hand at snorkeling, but wasn't a fan, so we packed up and headed back to our condo.

We decided to take a drive to the town of Pa'ia on the north side of Maui. It was a cute little town known for artists and little shops. We walked around shopping, checking out the natural foods store and some surf shops and looking for a Hawaiian shirt for Jeremy (no luck--but to be fair, he's pretty picky!) Next up we decided to get some shave ice since Jeremy had never had it! So good, especially on a hot day.

The drive back to our condo was great, and we decided to relax a bit and plan the next days' activities, including a luau and sport fishing. Although Jeremy wasn't so sure about any more snorkeling, we decided we'd wake up and walk across the street to Kama'ole Beach to try it one last time before we turned the equipment in. It was so nice to be able to take a short walk and be on a sandy beach with places to snorkel! It was a bit too windy (and therefore murky) to see anything snorkeling, but we enjoyed the beach none the less. We decided to continue our beach day by heading up to Ka'anapali Beach near Lahaina, and then head to the Old Lahaina Luau that night.

Ka'anapali Beach looked like a postcard. Blue green water and white sand lined with beach-side bars and restaurants. I can completely understand why so many people love this beach and come back over and over again. Our plan for the day was simple-- relax on the beach, make our way to the Maui Brewery when we'd had enough sun, and then head to the luau. It was so nice to have nothing else to do. Once we peeled ourself off of the beach and paid the bill for a few tropical drinks at a beachside bar, we made our way back to the Jeep for a quick change into dry clothes. We left Ka'anapali (and our great parking spot) and found our way
Yum!Yum!Yum!

Shave ice and sunburn... now that's a vacation!
to Maui Brewing Co. for a few handcrafted beers and a snack to tide us over until the buffet at the luau. Jeremy liked it enough that he bought another pub glass for his collection.

One great Lahaina parking spot, one surf shop browsing session and one happy-hour Mai Tai later and we were standing in line to enter the Old Lahaina Luau. While we waited in line for our orchid leis, we were handed yet another Mai Tai, and I got a flower for my hair. Not even in the door, and we were loving our luau experience so far! The dinner, show and all the fruity concoctions we could drink were included in the price of admission. We were shown to our table, and met a few of our fellow luau-ers. The OLL has the option of sitting on pillows at low tables near the performance stage, or at more standard tables, and I think I was thankful we weren't on pillows by the end of the night. Before the buffet was ready to open, we grabbed the first of many tropical drinks, and explored the cultural demonstrations around the grounds where you could see traditional crafts, learn how
Ka'anapali BeachKa'anapali BeachKa'anapali Beach

So pretty...
to hula and took lots of great opportunities for photos as the sun went down. I learned how to thread a few flowers together to place in my hair, and then we watched the kalua pig being unearthed-- Jeremy was salivating from the start.

Once the buffet was opened, we were ushered by table to the line. There was a little bit of everything from poi to mahi mahi, other fish and meat to salads and fruit. As we chatted with our table-mates and stuffed ourselves, we were treated to a great show by the Old Lahaina Luau performers, which was a very traditional walk through the history of the islands told through dances. It was a really great show, and I would suggest it to anyone who wanted to see a luau, but didn't know if it was worth the money. We got our money's worth in drinks alone. :-)

We made the 40 minute drive back to Kihei in order to sleep for a few hours, and then turned right back around and drive back to Lahaina to meet the Kai Akua sport fishing charter. We were groggy, but we made it to the abandoned streets of
JenJenJen

Plumeria in my hair and drink in my hand...
Lahaina by 3:00am to meet the boat at the marina at 3:30am. The plan was to be at the fishing grounds by first light, so that meant an early start and a few hours of cruising. We met Captain Jeremy Webb and crew of the Kai Akua, and then met the other four people on our boat. One couple were newlyweds, and the other were a brother and sister. We first set out, and the captain encouraged us to just get some more sleep for the few hours it would take to get to the fishing grounds-- buoys where the fish congregate along their usual routes between the islands. We had no problem falling asleep, as it was still pitch black outside.

When I woke up, it was just getting light outside, and the boat was rocking in heavy waves. We were definitely out on the open ocean, and I was getting tossed around inside. I decided to wake up and go sit out on the deck. The sun was up, it was already warm and humid, and we made it to the fishing grounds. We dropped in some live bait, but nothing was biting. In the meantime, I
Luau MoonLuau MoonLuau Moon

A full moon over the luau show.
was starting to feel a little green, and was really cursing myself for forgetting the Dramamine back at the condo. Motion sickness and I are not friends, and I had a feeling I was going to be grateful I'd never see these other people again. Jeremy wasn't feeling great either, but I think he was hiding it way better than I was. After not even a nibble, Captain Jeremy got a call from a friend that there was another spot we should check out, about 30 minutes away. (I plead the fifth on how his friend got the fish to this off-the-map area, as I hear it's frowned upon to drop your own buoys to attract fish...)

A few GPS coordinates later, and we were near the new fishing grounds, well past the island of Lanai and at least 50 miles off shore. It was barely a few minutes before we had lines in, and we were each taking a turn at hauling in fish. Gorgeous Mahi Mahi were jumping out of the water with their blue-green dorsal fins shining. They put up a fight! And as soon as they were tired out enough to get close to the
Reeling one in!Reeling one in!Reeling one in!

Jeremy reels in a Mahi Mahi
boat, the were hooked, dragged aboard and loaded into a huge bag that we had to hold closed while they flopped around. It did not dawn on me before this that we were actually killing things, and there would be blood involved. Some strong thrashing with that bag open and my legs looked like they belonged in a horror movie. The smallest fish we caught was about 15-20 lbs, and it took 5 minutes or so to reel in. At one point, while we were taking turns with the rods being passed down once the fish were on the line, and the smallest girl in our group was really putting up a fight with yet another Mahi. She was criss-crossing the boat, and having to let out a lot of line when it would fight hard. We were all cheering her on, and after about 15 minutes of fighting, she brought in an almost 50 lb Mahi! It was easily as long as she was tall. Jeremy and I even got in on the action-- he brought in three good sized Mahi, and I caught two.

Now, while I was cheering on my fellow fishermen and women, it was
Captain Jeremy & JenCaptain Jeremy & JenCaptain Jeremy & Jen

Helping me hold up the dorsal fin of one of the Mahi we caught!
by no means smooth sailing (pardon the pun) for most of us. First, the newlywed who caught the 50 lb Mahi started to look a little queasy. She scooted closer and closer to the side of the boat before finally feeding the fish. Once I saw that, all the advice to "look at the horizon" or "get fresh air" or "have a beer!" really went out the window, and I was leaning over the starboard side, tossing last night's tropical drinks into the ocean. After reeling in all the fish we could carry (20+ Mahi!), we started to troll back and look for the elusive Marlin, and I decided to make my way back to the cabin for a little nap.

As it turned out, our boat caught the most fish that day, but we missed the Marlin by minutes. We saw it jumping when we were trolling back toward shore, but when we were back at the marina we learned that another boat had landed it. Oh well, it wouldn't be fair to take ALL the fish in one day! Back on land, we took photos with the literal boat load of Mahi we brought in, and then
Final SunsetFinal SunsetFinal Sunset

The last sunset from our lanai
Captain Jeremy cut up a few Mahi fillets for us to take back to the condo. He was explaining that with the cost of the fuel, the price we pay for the trip really just pays for the day's expenses and maintenence of the boat. They then sell the fish to local restaurants to turn a profit. (In Hawaii, the fish belongs to the boat, so the Captain can allow you to take some of the catch, or choose to sell it all!) That day we made the Kai Akua a tidy profit on over 400 lbs of Mahi Mahi!

Jeremy's legs were caked with salt from sitting in the captain's chair being sprayed by saltwater for most of the ride back to the marina, and we were both looking a little worse for the wear. The khaki shorts that I had decided looked "sporty" for our adventure were now stained with fish blood and guts, and despite my best efforts I got a little more sunburned. Even though it was barely 1:00pm, we were exhausted and headed back to our condo for naps. That night, we added a little salt and pepper to the Mahi fillets and had a better dinner than we might have had if we had the energy to go out to a restaurant. We finished off the pineapple wine we bought earlier in the week while enjoying our last sunset from the lanai.

I had one last dip in the ocean the morning we left, picked up sandwiches for the plane from 808 Deli, and then it was time to drop off the rental car and make our way through the airport (where Jeremy found out they are REALLY serious about that no-fruit past security rule. He sat right down and finshed his apple there at security because he was not about to throw it out.) We had a nice flight home, and while we missed Seattle, I really wondered if it was too late in life to move to an island and bartend to pay rent.

Until the next adventure... or the next bet I win!

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2nd February 2011

Jen, Your trip sounded awesome! It makes me miss my honeymoon!! We stayed in Makena and did lots of the same things. I'm ready to move there anytime!!! Hope you're doing well!! Elise :)
28th December 2011
Final Sunset

WOW!!!
that is absoulutley beautiful

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