Yesterday: started off with a kayak/snorkel tour with Joy of Makena Kayak Tours. We left from Makena Landing and boated out just a little ways to a coral reef. I saw my First Sea Turtle ever, which was VERY cute, but it turned out we were in a place where they liked to hang out, so we saw lots of them (well, maybe 5 or 6) on the bottom just basically chilling. I also saw my first ever Pillow Starfish and also a Collector Urchin, both of which were just cool as snot. Then we pulled up and headed to a second spot where sea turtles gather to have cleaner fish work them over. Sadly, shadowdaddy and I were both kind of worn out by this time - the water was actually on the cool side and being in it sucked the energy out of us. I used this second dive time to do some much more energetic work - practice free diving! This involved a quick inversion, then a nose-squeeze to push the air out of my ears when I got to about 5 feet under. Unfortunately I kept working too hard when I was under water, so I probably only managed to get along for about a minute or two, but I was very excited about swimming along UNDER the water with my mask on and not sucking water in through my pipe. I was less excited to get above water and see shadowdaddy had basically turned blue; I sent him back to the boat to bask in the, er, under the overcast skies. We rejoined him in about 10 minutes and then headed back in. Verdict: Joy the guide awesome, but water too cool and not enough kayaking. Also, the reef looked kind of beat up. I suspect it's over-loved.
The afternoon was spent goofing off in Kihei and napping (I've now got presents for wechsler, splendid_geryon, and my sister) while we waited for shadowdaddy's aunt and uncle to come back from work. They returned and we headed to Lahaina, where the Festival of Wooden Boats and the beach house awaited us. Verdict: traffic was CRAP, thus we missed the launching of the wooden boats but still caught all of the freaking people going to eat after the big event was over. The place we went to, Kimo's, had, um, "fine" food (though Christ, the prices!), but after waiting for an hour for our table I was just too damned tired and wanted only to go to sleep. Hey, I'd had my Wicked Wahine and Pina Colada on a beach-side patio; I had all the dinner I needed. The beach house itself was quite swank, with all sorts of custom tile mosaics on the walls and a most-short walk to the beach. Unfortunately it was something like 85 degrees inside, which replaced luxury ambience with the desire to sweat myself to death, but with the ceiling fan cranked on high we managed to get things cooled enough to sleep.
Today shadowdaddy, his uncle, and I went out while J's aunt worked. We had a brunch at a very fancy resort ($25 is too damned much even if they do cook fresh fish on order with the brunch), then drove the west side of the island to Honolua bay for some snorkeling. It was cold and visibility wasn't so good, so we didn't stay as long as we might have; even with his new shirt, I could see shadowdaddy losing color in the water. After this the road got more wild. We headed to a place called "The Olivine Pools" that got a nice writeup in the Maui Revealed (link later), where the ocean crashed over these low lava plateaus that had little scooped out areas with fish in them. There was a blowhole and places to swim and I came up with a new phrase to live by: Never turn your back on the ocean!
This done, we were worn out and ready to sight-see quietly as we continued down what became a one lane road on the side of some pretty impressive cliffs. We stopped for shaved ice in the tiny hamlet of Kahakuloa, then buckled down (and in) until we made it to Wailuku and a damned fine "mixed barbeque" plate lunch: ginger teri beef, chicken, and ribs. Yum! We walked it off in the Io valley, which was very close by and thankfully didn't have any major elevation gains.
We're back in Kihei now, getting ready for a fine dinner of mungo. Tomorrow will be the road to Hana; limited connectivity of any sort. Talk to you later.