By Saturday, we were starting to feel fully on vacation. However, the wind and clouds weren’t cooperating and the surf was pretty big. We had a nice, lazy morning while trying to see if the weather was going to shape up. It didn’t, so we headed in Lahaina town to check things out. We made the girls some soaps (that stain the bejezuz out of the tub), shopped for some new bikinis, and grabbed some lunch. Michelle has been training for a 1/2 marathon and is looking great, so she wanted to enjoy that with a bikini that fit better. Ella also got one (I thought I had a few more years), but she looks adorable. We had lunch at Cheeseburger in Paradise, which was actually pretty good – the burgers were better than at Maui Brewing – and the girls scarfed down their lunches. I, as I’ve done many times before, left my credit card in the little bill folder, but didn’t discover it until the next day.
After lunch, we suited up, picked up some flippers from Snorkel Bob’s and the dive shop next door (Hawaiian Rafting Adventures). We asked both places for suggestions of where to go with the girls when the swell was up. Both suggested agains Honeloa bay for now, one recommended Kapaalu, the other suggested further south. The guy at the dive shop also suggested Mala Ramp (more for the adults) because it has lots of life and maybe even some reef sharks. This piqued my interest because I’ve yet to see a shark, after well over a hundred trips in to the water and almost as many turtles (really, they’re just kind of a nuisance anymore). We decided the safest place (which both recommended) was to head back to Keiki beach got get the girls acquianted with their gear.
It was windy at Keiki, but that didn’t keep the crowds away. In fact, there was a raging family bbq just down the beach (it smelled wonderful) and the kids were having a blast in the water. The girls got on their fins and were loving the mobility. All four of us went out for a bit – the girls initially very clingy – but getting more comfortable as time passed. I was able to show the girls a snowflake eel who was foolishly sitting out in the open. I tapped it’s tail so they could see it swim, which it did, and Maddie stood up and scolded me for hurting the eel. I had to defend myself, and tried to make sure she knew I wasn’t hurting them.
MG is still struggling with the mask and with breathing, but she goes for short stints enjoying herself. Her major complaint is that she can’t breath through her nose, which is strange since she has a cold and can’t anyway. But some things just take getting comfortable with. I excused myself to go check out the collapsed wharf and Mala Ramp like the guy at the dive shop recommended. It’s just a couple minutes walk down the beach from Keiki. I entered from the south side of the wharf on the beach, which was admittedly somewhat treacherous with the waves, poor visibility, and spiny urchins everywhere. But the wharf is amazing. The fallen piers and deck sections have been reclaimed by reef, and the fish life and variety are amazing. I saw a few turtles, but no shark. But I was getting beat up by the surf, which occasionally would close my snorkel up on me, so I headed back in.
By the time I got back, the wind had convinced everyone it was time to go, so we returned to the condo to swim and soak up some more rays. I, undeterred by the waves, took another trip across the reef to swim with the turtles (unintentionally) and scour the reef. I found a dead pile of of coral that made a nice perch on which to catch my breath (surf was rough) and stood up to notice I was immediately off-shore from a wedding which was mid-ceremony. Whoops. I got back in the water and continued to explore. I found several turtles who were holding under reef ledges, including one that had a large gauge fishing hook caught in it’s left eye (well, not the eyeball) that could not have been very comfortable. A little ways further, I found a giant Moray eel whose head was easily as large as a 2×8. He was a menacing enough looking fellow that I gave him some distance.
The girls were done at the pool and done exploring, so we put in a pizza and watched a movie, which, as it turns out, is all that Michelle and Maddie had energy for. They both crashed, and Ella and I watched some bravest warriors for a bit before going to bed. MG had another fitful night of sleep, kicking mom, Ella, and the wall throughout much of the night.
Surf was looking better this morning, so we headed to Napili. We were wrong – the surf was still in full effect. We played for a bit, lifting the girls through the big surf, but the water was too strong to do much playing in. Definiltely to much to snorkel. We wandered over to the lava rocks to the south and explored the pools and watched an older couple fishing with long, composite rods with a fixed line at the end. It was kind of cool, but they were only catching tiny little fish. We gave up since the water was no fun and headed north one bay to Kapaalu, which took some searching. We ended up at the parking lot for Andrew’s boardwalk (too far) then backtracked to Bay lane, which had public access and parking. However, it turned out to be roughly a 1/2 mile from the parking to the bay, which Ella and I hiked twice to get the gear.
On the plus side, when we returned, we got in the water and immediately saw turtles. MG came face to face with one, but she was very uncomfortable with the water, the reef, and breathing through her mouth, so we turned around. It seemed like Michelle and Ella had found similar discomfort, so we bailed on that snorkel excursion. MG took a nap on the blanket and I went out to scope the bay. There was decent snorkelling, especially on the north side along the lava rocks, but the surf ruined visibility and made for some seasickness with the constant lifting. Madeline immediately crashed on a towel on the beach. I did get Ella to come out with me for a trip and she was able to see quite a few different types of reef. She quickly spotted the brilliant purple splat-pattern reef, and I brought up an urchin from the bottom for her to look at. She also saw spiny urchins and the urchins with the big, hot-dog like spines. Eventually, we returned to shore where she, Maddie, Michelle and I played a little in the very edge of the water. It had a mini-Napili like beach so the girls enjoyed the mini-crashing waves and how it carried them up and down the beach.
There’s a nice cliff-jumping spot right near the Cliffhouse, which appears to be part of the Montage resort. The spot is a small cove with a ladder in the cliff. The place was hopping, with about 20 younger adults jumping in the water. Note to self…
We retired to the condo for a swim and a shower, then headed to China Boat for dinner. Madeline lost her energy and practically fell asleep at dinner, which was a bummer because the food was so enjoyable. Ella discovered the joy of brilliant pink sweet & sour shrimp, and we all shared a hearty dinner before returning to crash. We picked up some tylenol for MG, and she went to bed with a fever and slept poorly all night. That girl.