Hawaiian Vacation
February, 2009
Garden Gate Breakfast Area

We started the day with another breakfast at Garden Gate. It's really a continental breakfast with sweet rolls and coffee cake from a local bakery, coffee, fruit juice and milk. Also provided were fruit including, of course, fresh pineapple. We rarely eat much more for breakfast so this was just right.

Our tour was scheduled for 11:00. We had reserved online - 10% discount - and our tickets were waiting when we arrived at the Lahaina waterfront. The whales are Humpbacks. They winter here around the islands.

Pacific Whale Foundation Booth
Whale Watching Instructions

One of the boat's crew, a naturalist, gave us instructions and tips on how to get the best view. There are many tours offered, but we felt the Pacific Whale Foundation would be the best.

And we weren't disappointed. The cruise stayed in the Maui/Lanai channel. So did the whales. This whale, surfacing, was just the beginning. The boat got within 150 yards of the whales.

Whale Surfacing
Humpback Whale Snout

At first I thought this was just a flipper, but it's the snout of a whale. I guess I was a little to quick with the shutter. Our camera has a slight delay from pushing the button to actually taking the picture.

Finally! I got the timing right. This humpback is almost completely out of the water. We were about 125 yards away. The Foundation crew tries to stay at least that far away from the whales.

Humpback Whale Breach
Pacific Whale Foundation Cruise Boat

It was a great cruise. Those are just a sample of what we saw. This is the boat, a catamaran, which was very stable. Most of our viewing was from that front deck.

The waterfront is at the city square, which is dominated by this giant banyon tree. It covers the whole block and is hundreds of years old. We walked around, taking in the sights and 'people watching'.

Lahaina Banyon Tree
Taco Bell on Maui

After the cruise we had a small lunch at Taco Bell. They're everywhere, but few are surrounded by palm trees. Dinner that night would be a luau so we didn't want to over-eat.

The cruise was two hours and after lunch we checked out more of Lahaia, mainly where the luau would be and where we could park. We then headed back to our room at the Bed and Breakfast for a rest and to freshen up.

Luau Table

I don't think this was a traditional luau. It was called "The Feast at Le Le". The owner of the bed and breakfast had made our reservation and got us a front row table. No sitting on the sand or a long group table here. When we entered we were given an orchid lei along with the drink of our choice. Food for the feast was from four south Pacific islands.

While I describe the feast, you can look at the traditional dancers who performed after each part of the feast. This is the traditional hula dance of Hawai`i.

The food from Hawai`i was Pohole Fern, Asparagus and Heart of Palm Salad, Seared fish with Mango Sauce, Kalu`a Pork and Poi.

Hawaiian Hula Dancers
Maori War Dancer

The second island was Aotearoa - New Zealand. The dancer performed a Maori War Dance.

Food was Country Green Duck Salad with Poha Berry dressing, Harore Kumara (roasted mushrooms with sweet potato) and Kuku Patties (fishcake with scallops and shrimp and the fish of the day).

We continued on to Tahiti and the creation chant, the islands' official dance and traditional `ori(chant).

The food was E`iota (poisson cru), Scallops on the Shell, and Fafa (steamed chicken and taro leaf in coconut milk.

Tahiti Creation Chant
Samoan Fire Knife Dance

The final course was from Samoa, with many different cultural dances climaxed by Ni Fa`oti, the fire knife dance of Samoa. Being in the front row, we could feel the heat.

Food was Shrimp and Avocado with Passion Fruit, Palusami (yaro leaf and coconut milk with breadfruit and squash) and Supasui (grilled steak). Desserts included Caramel Macadamia Nut Tart with Haupia, Hawaiian Vintage Chocolate Truffles and Tropical Fruit.

The next morning we finished packing, had breakfast and were ready to leave for our trip to Hilo on the Big Island. As I took one final look around I saw this rainbow. It ended right at the new large complex of condos north of Lahaina. Maybe they are a pot of gold.

Rainbow over Maui

The flight, actually flights, to Hilo took some time. First we had to fly back to Honolulu, change planes and then fly to Hilo. There is direct service, but the planes have propellers and cost a lot more. The jet commuter flights are quite reasonable.

Oahu, Page 1
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