Tuesday, January 16, 2018

January 14th – A Whale of a Time in Lahaina

From start to finish this was a whale themed day. Just looking out of our window as the ship dropped anchor in the morning, we must have seen at least 4 groups of whales spouting, flapping, and on one occasion breaching, all around the ship. It was quite some welcome to Maui.

If this wasn't enough close encounters of a whale kind, we went on a whale watching boat trip, where we got some amazing glimpses of these awesome creatures, often as little as 50 metres away. Seeing them gracefully flip their tale in the air as they dived down constantly brought a yelp of joy from our boat-load of whale-watchers. Like us, these whales are willing to travel 1,000s of miles to frolic in the warm Hawaiian waters – although unlike us, they hardly eat at all on their Hawaiian holiday, and come here just to mate and give birth.

After this, we caught a bus to Ka'anapali – Maui's major resort – getting off at the "Whaler's Village Shopping Center" in the middle of the resort. To be honest, this rather soulless mall couldn't have felt less like a whaler's village if it had tried, and even if the modern resorts all around it didn't have much more character either, the gorgeous beaches, the blue seas and the foaming waves were the obvious stars of the show here. We had a great time watching the local lads boogie boarding recklessly, getting tossed about in crashing surf.

Actually, coming to Ka'anapali gave me a greater appreciation of the attraction of Lahaina. Our port of call is a genuine "Whaler's Village", dating from a 19th century boom when it was the whaling capital of the world. Lahaina may have become a little over-modernised, with all the T-shirt shops and row of mainstream restaurants; but it still retains lots of its historic character that gives it a fun-loving atmosphere that hasn't quite teetered over into tackiness.

We went for our traditional sundowner at Kimo's Bar on the waterfront – a bank of clouds above the island of Lanai dulled the colours a little, but the music was good, the breezes were warm, and the beer was cold. What more can you ask for?