Our Last Day in Lahaina

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Trip 4 Journal

Trip Journal entry for Friday, February 27th

Our last full day on the island this trip, spending it in Lahaina during the morning and with HAPA at night.

More Whale Watching
We were out the door early on Friday, our last full day on the island. The morning called for an 8:30am whale watch with the Pacific Whale Foundation, so we had to be in town by 7:45am for check-in. It was the first time we had been around Front Street that early in the day, as things were still opening up and the pedestrian and auto traffic were down to a minimum. While it made perfect sense to be so quiet at that hour of the day, we never really pictured the bustling shopping areas as being so vacant.

The 8:30am whale watch was a late addition to our trip plans that we had scheduled earlier in the week. Seeing that it would give us more time in the afternoon over say a 11:30am or a 1:30pm excursion, it was worth the early start. As we were aboard and heading out of the harbor, the 6:30am whale watch was heading back in. Now, that would have been way too early for us.

I referred to our surprise about the lack of crowds on Front Street that morning, so too was the activity around the slips in the harbor. We had some time to spare before boarding and decided to walk along the boardwalk at the pier. As we walked, I snapped a photo or two of the boats docked in their slips, waiting peacefully for the day’s passengers.

Lahaina Harbor

As for the whales, we were fortunate to see a ton more activity that morning than we had seen on past tours. Of course, the golden rule of whale watching applied: “whichever side of the boat me and my camera were on, all the action was on the other side”. It was okay, though, as just being out on the water again and sharing the thrill of these amazing creatures being so close was more rewarding than any photos I could have taken. We were glad we chose to sacrifice a morning of sleeping late for this last whale watch.

Lunch at BJ’s Chicago Pizzeria
We were back on land and walking around Lahaina by around 11am. Seeing that we skipped out on breakfast, both because of the early departure and the fact we haven’t had enough sea experience to adjust to the motion of the ocean, we were seeking out an early lunch. Seeing as I’m always game for some Hawaiian pizza and we’ve been to BJ’s on our previous trips, it seemed like a no-brainer.

From the upstairs dining area, we were able to take our time and enjoy our meal at a slow pace. Down below, foot traffic was starting to pick up in town as well as boats out on the water near the harbor. The trees along Front Street obstruct some of the harbor views from BJ’s, but it’s still a nice lookout spot. After lunch and a little more walking, we headed back to the resort.

A Lazy Afternoon
Back at the resort, it was mostly a lazy afternoon. It’s always tough that last day or two when the feelings start to sink in that you’ll be leaving soon. Even though we had done so many new things and created a huge amount of amazing memories from the last two weeks, it was little consolation to the thought of going back home.

We started packing a little bit, spent some time out on the lanai, and went ahead and did the online check-in for our flights home (via United). As I try to do on our flights to Maui, I check-in online as soon as they let you (24 hours in advance) to upgrade our seats to the better Economy Plus sections. Once most of all that was done, it was time to get ready for our concert out at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center. This year, just as on our last trip, we were going to see HAPA at the Castle Theatre.

A Night at the MACC
Since we had seen HAPA at the MACC last year, we were a little more savvy about the courtyard festivities prior to the show. Rather than trying to find dinner in Kahului before hand, we showed up early to dine there instead. It turns out we were early, but not early enough to avoid a good 30 minute wait in line for food. It was still okay, though, since we were still on Hawaii time (aka in no real hurry) for one more day.

Our seats for this show were almost the same spot as we had the previous year. It was a lovely evening, although there were a few more on-stage antics this year with one of the special guests HAPA had invited. There was still magic in the air and the result was another reminder of why we’re such a big fan of their music and why their popularity on the islands has stayed so strong over the years.

The drive back to the resort at night was stunning as usual. It’s a rather different drive along Hwy 30 at night than it is during the day, since there are no street lights and, this time around, only a sliver of moon hung in the sky. The seemingly constant stream of headlights from oncoming traffic was more than enough to light the way along the turns in the road, but what was more beautiful is looking out over the water in the darkness.

Grant it, my eyes were focused mainly on the road ahead and Cindy was the one enjoying the view, but at certain points near Maalea, you could see lights from Kihei across the water, almost as if the town was floating in the sky. Had we more time to spend and me all my camera gear, it would have been nice to stop at the Papawai Lookout and taken a few keepsake photos of the view that night.

The Final Night’s Sleep
There really wasn’t too much left to do by the time made it back to the resort. Most of everything was packed already, and we knew that no sooner did we fall asleep, it would be daybreak already and time to head home. We were trying out a different travel plan on the way home, taking off at 2:30pm instead of the red-eye back, so that meant even less time to spend making our way back to the airport.

Despite our impending departure, we still slept rather soundly knowing very well that we were already planning are latest return visit to Maui.

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About Kris

Kris and his wife Cindy are avid Maui fans, and have visited the island half a dozen times since '06. Over the years, they have made many friends living on Maui or through social media, which keeps them in touch with the island until they can return again.

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