Mom Likes Boats - Remember?

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November 6th 2017
Published: September 6th 2017
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Again the alarm wakes us at the unbelievable hour of 7:30am. As usual, I give Karen the first opportunity for bathroom privileges while I lay in bed for another 15 minutes. Today is the only port where we will be tendering in. The second-largest of the islands, Maui boasts 32 miles of beaches that are ideal for swimming, snorkeling, sea kayaking and sunning. Most ships call on Kahului, but some dock at Lahaina, which offers splendid views of the island of Lanai. The main attraction here is the Haleakala Crater, the world's largest dormant volcano and helicopter and bicycle tours to the crater are popular. We will be spending two hours aboard a catamaran cruising the open waters offshore. There is no pier to accommodate the Grand Princess in Lahaina so it must anchor offshore and the passengers ferried in, about 100 at a time. On Holland America we are 4 Star Mariners which allows us to board any tender without waiting in line. This is Princess and, while we have no idea how long this process will take with 2600 potential riders aboard or how we will fit in, we do know that we must meet our tour operator on shore at the pier at 10:20am. We can't be late.

We have a light breakfast per usual and, with our excursion tickets in hand, we proceed to the Michelangelo Dining Room, the designated meeting place for all those going ashore, to get our tender tickets. Here they call us by number. In the next call, they get a group that almost but not quite reaches our number. It's just after 9am so we should have plenty of time. About 15 minutes later, it's our turn and about 100 of us make our way down to level 3 where we board the tender. These little boats are nicer than usual with a small outside deck topside for about 20 people. We're too late for that so we sit below inside.

The journey from our ship anchored in the bay to the Lahaina harbor takes about 20 minutes and it's a pleasant one. Once onshore, we wander over to the large banyan tree in the center of the park. Mom remembers this tree from our visit here in 2015. Planted in 1873 and providing over an acre of shade that covers the entire town square, you can imagine that it must be a very large tree. In fact, it's the largest Banyan tree in the United States. We have to wait about 30 minutes before our scheduled rendezvous with the tour operator. I take a few pictures and Karen checks her phone. We have had normal telephone service for the last four days in the islands so she looks through her texts and scans Facebook. No one ever calls or texts me so I don't even turn my phone on. I only carry it for use as a backup camera. Come to think about it, that's probably why no one ever calls or texts me.

We meet under the tree at the wharf and at precisely 9:30. Our catamaran, Trilogy I, arrives and we board. Karen's concerns over a difficult boarding or rough seas are soon quelled as we head out into open water. Settling on a good seat astern, she soon ventures out and about the boat as she finds many stays and handrails to comfort her balance fears. After serving ice water to all aboard, a crew member gives us a little history of the area, referring to the islands of Maui, Lanai and Molokai. Then they break out the finger food. First some wraps with meats and vegetables followed by spicy chicken skewers. Did I mention the Mai Tai and pineapple mimosa? Mmmm. The captain apologizes for his inability to unfurl the sails but sadly, he explains, the wind today is less than 1 mph. so he must motor us about. About midway through our two hour voyage, he makes a futile attempt to open the sails when a few gusts inspire him but it's short lived. That's OK with Mom. The water is like glass, making for a very smooth ride and she experiences no motion sickness like that in St. Thomas earlier this year and as I'm sure you read about in our earlier post.

We arrive back in Lahaina at 12:30pm, exactly two hours later. Mom loved it. Nothing too exciting, no snorkel or scuba opportunities, no shark/ray swimming, nothing that I would partake in, just relaxing topside with a nice drink and listening to the boat cutting through the ocean glass. After monetarily thanking our crew for a delightful experience, we meander about the downtown area. Well, not exactly. Mom makes a beeline for the shops. This is her last opportunity for shopping here in the Islands. She finds a nice Hawaiian dress, one t-shirt for me, a dress for Kaylyn and a couple of gag gifts for our Cruise Critic gift exchange scheduled a few days from now. At 2:00 we make the non-eventful return to the ship. Karen drops off her booty and we retire to the Atrium for her black forest tea and one of my free Cokes. I write the first part of this account until 5pm when we return to our room, change our clothes and make our way to the dining room for dinner.

Tonight, it’s Surf & Turf. No, not steak and lobster but close, filet and shrimp. Add leek soup and Hawaiian pudding and my meal is complete and Karen has the same. We sit at a table for 6, a single man from Pleasanton named Lee, an elderly lady from Michigan, a mother and daughter team from Norman, OK and ourselves. It's a pleasant evening and we chat with Lee for some time after the others excuse themselves, anxious to get a good seat at the show. He's a retired Pleasanton city worker cruising alone, having just turned 65. One observation of note is that while our departure time from Lahaina was to be 5pm, it's now 8pm and we haven't raised anchor. Outside the dining room window at our table, a tender hoist hangs loosely, it's large shackles swaying to and fro with the ship, indicating that a tender is still in the water. That's odd.

We find nothing of interest from the list of activities and with the threat of losing an hour tonight with a clock change eminent, we reluctantly join the herd of elderly travelers, some walking, others riding but all slowly returning to their staterooms. Did I mention slowly? I fear that by the conclusion of this cruise, our new bedtime will be 7pm. Oh, the humanity!

By the way, our ship is now underway at 8:30pm. Goodnight.

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