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The Ooh Tour

Hawaii

April 16, 2011: Ka'anapali

We left home and took an early morning flight to Hawaii. It was cold and gray on the drive to the airport. As with all travel, we had to hurry up to wait. However, the five and half-hour flight to Hawaii was made bearable by our new travel toy, the now famous Crapple iPad. Yes, I know it seems unbelievable, but we are traveling for the first time without a PC. I find the words almost choking to say, but Apple has finally invented a device that is worth owning; sort of. We are not only planning to use it to help with our photos (it cannot do video), but we managed to watch a movie on it, to help while away the hours of tedious flying. I guess if you keep trying, long enough even Apple can get it right.

As we drove from the airport on Maui to the hotel, I could not stop thinking about how these young islands had been formed. Hawaii is very fresh in geological time. Their formation really is an amazing story. I could see it in the soil and rocks as the taxi drove on. From deep below the Earth's crust, magma forced its way up through a "hot-spot" and poured out as burning hot larva. Slowly but surely, this larva built up into undersea mountains, tectonic plate movement ensured the hot spot moved forming each of the individual landmasses. They eventually became the Hawaiian Islands of today.

Ka'anapali

April 17, 2011: SCUBA in Lahaina

What a day this turned out to be. Alex and I left Julia and Holly in the luxury of the resort while we got up early and went SCUBA diving. The first dive went well. It was a shore dive so we had to gear-up on the beach and swim out quarter of mile to an old sunken wrecked pier. We saw a white tipped reef shark and several green sea turtles. The dive had us swimming through many caves formed from the wreckage of the old pier. Of course, when we surfaced we had to swim all the way back to shore, which really ran our batteries down. It was a good dive.

On our second dive, we used for the very first time, underwater scooters. This seems like such a great idea until you have to carry your very heavy scooter down to the beach and then manhandle it out through the surf, all while wearing a rubber suit, SCUBA tank, and long diving fins. We were all tired after this ordeal, but the trek had just begun. We had to ride the scooters a mile off shore, through the rough sea, to the dive spot. We eventually began the dive and commenced our search for the elusive manta rays we had come so far to see. They turned out to be very elusive, as we never did find them. To add to the adventure two of our scooters broke down during the dive.

This meant the scooterless divers had to hold on to the ankles of the drivers with scooters so we could continue our fruitless search. Eventually we gave up and returned to the spot we had first descended into our underwater world. At this point Alex got very seasick. When we reached the surface, he was very ill. To make matters worse, as we began to limp-back to shore, Alex's leg cramped up. We eventually made it back to shore where I had to haul Alex from the churning sea to the safety of the sandy beach, what a day.

Diving at Lahaina

April 18-19, 2011: SCUBA at Molokini

Monday was a lazy day spent at the resort, soaking up sunshine, swimming in the ocean, lounging around the pool, reading our books, and sharing travel stories; not much more to say, other than it was a terrific time spent relaxing. Unfortunately, Alex's cramped calf was unimproved since his ill-fated diving accident on Sunday. He soldiered on with barely enough strength to lift his Mai Tai to his parched lips.

On Tuesday, Alex was still unfit for diving so Julia replaced him on our planned dive trip to the famous dive-site Molokini. We both got up at 5:30 to make our 6:30 start at the boat dock. Soon we found ourselves on a boat filled with snorkelers and divers, cruising slowly away from Maui to the tiny atoll of Molokini. Julia enjoyed her snorkeling there and I had a blast on the dive. The visibility under the water was at least 200 feet, which is astounding! The submerged world was strewn with coral, overflowing with fish, and we even encountered a white tip shark once again.

Our next dive site, appropriately called Turtle Ghetto, had us swimming with the big green critters up close and personal. The visibility was not as good as Molokini, but it was a great dive.

Diving at Molokini

April 20-22, 2011: Hana and Haleakala

On Wednesday, we drove to Hana, which is on the wet and tropical side of the island. Actually, Maui is really two islands each with its own volcano and joined by an isthmus. We have been staying on the smaller of the two parts of Maui and today we drove to the larger bit.

Hana receives a lot more rain than the rest of the island and this makes it very lush and tropical. We spent the day touring, walking on frozen lava shores washed by the blue Pacific, and swimming at a wonderful cove enclosed by black lava cliffs. We were on constant lookout for the four Bees: bathrooms, beaches, and banana bread. The banana bread was very good.

We all took it easy on Thursday and spent the day in a private cabana overlooking the beach at the hotel. We took turns swimming in the warm ocean. The highlight of the day was the surf. Huge waves tore into the beach with tremendous force and caused Alex to lose his sunglasses in the bubbling surf, and poor Holly sprained her ankle. I too had my sunnies washed into the angry sea, but Julia, with her eagle eyesight, spotted them on the sandy seafloor. We figure the chances of me losing my glasses and then finding them again was so slim that it could not happen, but it did. This must prove the existence of god.

On Friday Holly was still hobbling about on her injured ankle so she and Alex decided to spend another day at the beach resting. Julia and I, on the other hand, drove to the highest point on Maui, Haleakala. This still active, 10,023-foot volcano created this paradise. We walked down from the edge of the massive crater, 1,700 feet, to wander about the pumice stone, volcanic glass, and basalt world of cinder cones and lava flows. This was a spectacular hike!

Haha
Haleakala

We are off to Australia now, bye, bye Hawaii, Holly and Alex.


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