Like time always does, the morning came as promised and we were up early. Underwater camera? Check. Windbreakers? Check. Masks and snorkels? Check. Check? No they only take credit cards... sorry.
Off to Kihei and the Kihei boat ramp. Seems like a cute little town. Pulled into the upper parking lot, stuffed our stuff into a backpack and down the ramp to find Kapili, one of our masters for the day and the person checking us into our Blue Water Rafting tour. As he checked us in the Pineapple Express was being backed down the ramp. There were waivers to sign and to listen too. Back of the boat would be calmer; the front up on the pontoon would be a lot bumpier.
18 lucky souls boarded and 36 unlucky soles did not as this is a shoeless vessel. Captain Brad joined us and there were more verbal waivers and I noticed no one seemed to be in the front on the bumpy pontoons. How bad could it be? Heck yeah, I'll ride up there!
We did some circles in the water just off the boat ramp, I'm sure that after the verbal warnings and this bit of maneuvering some people choose not to go...but we all ventured on.
Across the water along the coast to La Perouse Bay. It was Leonardo Dicaprio in Titanic style in the front, sea was fairly calm and the Pineapple Express cut through the sea like a hot knife through butter.
We reached the La Perouse Bay area; actually this was one of the parts I had longed for. But to see the way the lava hit the sea and formed up close and in person was amazing. It was so surreal. If there had not been so much of it you would think that someone had made it. The shafts of lava that went in different directions and the way it is shaped really was awesome to see. We did some, or Captain Brad actually did some tight, fun turns and twists with the boat along the lava. He was well versed in what we were seeing and explained it all well and also the surrounding islands that were visible from our spot.
Ahhh the sea cave, are we going in there with the boat? Oh you betcha ya! Cap'n Brad backed her in like a champ and the colors and lighting laughed at what you see on film, it was once again, spectacular.
We hit a calm spot in the bay and jumped in for our first snorkel spot. My wife did great, better than I expected. Jumping off a boat in the ocean is another thing entirely than easily walking into it from the safety of the beach. We snorkeled a bit and you could see Captain Brad and Kapili helping some of our tour participants who had never snorkeled before this trip. Nothing spectacular here, but some species we hadn't seen so far. My underwater safe camera gave up the ghost here, it had worked perfectly underwater prior...what gives Kodak? Fresh cut fruit and muffins awaited the hungry herd once on board.
Back to the boat and headed toward Molokini. But first Captain Brad felt like conditions were ideal to find and snorkel The Pinnacle. a sphere of rock that juts up in the bay, almost breaking the surface. We found it and I was first in. Fish. Were. Everywhere. Like an army guarding The Pinnacle they clung to it and it was fantastic just floating around in a circle in the middle of the bay looking at all these fish.
Again we all reluctantly climbed back on the boat and off across the channel to Molokini. I noticed that the waves weren't as smooth as before and riding in the front was beginning to get a bit more intense and yet only a harbinger of waves to come later in the day.
We hit the inside of Molokini crater as the last big mega tour boat was leaving and we had the place all to ourselves. Once again Captain Brad was a wealth of information on Molokini and other items of interest. He dropped us off on one end and allowed us to drift snorkel inside the crater.
Call me what you want but don't call me late for snorkeling, off in the water went I. Oh mommy. How crystal clear it was! And the coral! The colors! And the fish! You knew right away why so many people choose this as a snorkeling destination. The sea was a bit choppy by then but without other people or boats in the way we just bobbed along with the ocean with our heads in the water amazed at the beauty below.
At some point I felt so relaxed, so one with the ocean. I raised my head and it was because everyone else was already on the boat. Climbing aboard with a smile a mile wide on my face, we headed for the back side.
You would think that this couldn't get any better but you would be game show wrong! We found a spot along the back side Captain Brad called the plumbers crack. The waves for some reason don't hit the rock here, it gently slides toward it. "You’ll love this spot" Kapili told us. Again (what takes so long?) I was first in the water and the amount of fish here made The Pinnacle look like a kid’s first aquarium. It was stunning. They weren't afraid of me at all.
And then I turned around and looked down. The edge dropped several hundred feet into nothingness. It was so clear and you could see so far. It was like flying over it. This was the second time on Maui I was a bit overcome.
Again last onboard we had lunch and headed toward the coast. Strangely no one else wanted to sit up front...
All the while we snorkeled and played, the waves had a meeting and decided that alas, Marshall needs not his kidneys or the skin on his right knuckles. The ride back towards the coast proved to be what was advertised and we slammed from one wave to another. Up and BAM. Up and BAM. I loved every minute of it.
As we neared the coast we spotted dorsal. Could it be the elusive spinner dolphins? Why yes, it could. They seemed to be waiting for us and they played with our boat. Cruising past and along side us many times, Jumping and putting on quite the show. This seemed to last forever and in fact used up our time and we headed into Kihei.
What an amazing experience! Sitting here typing it I got goose bumps reliving it. Many thanks to Captain Brad and Kapili for a life changing experience that I will always carry.
We drove to Longs Drugs in Lahaina ( thanks Droid) to check my SD card from the camera. Hoping that all my turtle footage etc was ok, as the camera clearly was not. I had a mini heart attack as I put it in the machine but trumpets from heaven and golden light it was ok!
Off to the room, relaxed a bit and got ready for Lahiana. We intended to have dinner at Kimo's but went to see where they hung my license plate at Cheeseburger in Paradise. In a better spot it could not be, and we had such a great table we stayed there and watched the sun go down and drank up a nice tab.
We shopped for awhile along Front Street, and took the shuttle back to the Sheraton.
We listened to the fountains, the sea and the mellow live music at the ocean side bar and as we knew we had not an ounce of mainland stress in our bones.
This was a good thing because the next day was down the fabled road to Hana.
Were we strong enough? Was the convertible Mustang up to the challenge? Would we make all the way and back without an argument?
We will find out in part four...