Maui 2014: A Vacation Delayed, Day 4 (04/09/14)

Wednesday, April 9th

Today is beach day. Today is the day that Judy doesn’t have to cross things off our (my) to-do list. Today will be spent on a tranquil beach; reading, tanning and people-watching. We pack just about every piece of beach and water gear we have and head up to Kapalua Bay. This is another cove beach, shielded on both sides, allowing for small surf and excellent snorkeling. Yes, Judy’s ideal day is above the water, but mine is below. After eating breakfast at The Gazebo restaurant, we loaded our backs like pack mules and headed to the beach.

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We arrived early enough to have our pick of spots on the beach. We claimed one, set up our gear and got started on some serious lounge time. “Hawaii time” is something we’ve heard a lot about. Life happens at a much less frenetic pace here. No one is in a really big hurry. Traffic lights and traffic jams don’t bother the locals as much as they do the visitors. This far into our trip, we are starting to get into that frame of mind, and this day we embrace is whole-heartedly.
Once we’ve lounged for a bit, I start to get the itch to get in the water. With a courteous decline on my offer for Judy to join me, I grab my snorkel gear and camera and head out to see what I could see. Once you’ve managed to fully submerse yourself in the ocean waters here, the water really is pretty warm. It’s just actually getting fully submersed that takes some time. Today, it took me a little longer than usual to make that commitment, but I eventually made it.
The water clarity between Honolua Bay and Kapalua Bay was drastic. It seemed that I could see 100 feet here at Kapalua. There wasn’t a whole lot of sand and debris floating around – only fish and coral as far as I could see. Pink coral, blue coral, yellow coral, green coral.

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And the fish! I almost broke the seal around my snorkel because I was grinning so widely. I couldn’t, and still can’t, name all the different species of fish I saw, but they were all beautiful and colorful! At these shallower depths, fish are much more vibrant in color.

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And, turtles! I saw turtles! They were about 10 to 15 feet straight down, but I got to see them in their natural habitat. I don’t know what it is about these sea turtles, but I love ‘em.

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I think I snorkeled for about 45 minutes and then headed back up to Judy. She was in her own little heaven, too. This is what she wanted to do in Maui, and I’m glad she is getting a chance to do it. We laid on the beach for another hour or so, until Judy was ready to get in the water. We rented a boogie board for her with a viewing window in it, so she could also see the life under the water. Again, it took a few minutes for us to muster the courage to actually get all the way into the ocean, but we were off and floating when we did. I was playing Jacques Cousteau, describing everything I had seen earlier. The window board seemed to work well for Judy, and I was out with just my mask and a boogie board this time.

We were able to see just about everything I saw earlier, but I don’t think we ventured as far from the shore this time. As I was trying to navigate us to the spot where I saw the turtles, a boy from the floating group next to us yelled, “Turtle!” As we looked in his general direction, we saw it. It appeared to be a younger one, as it wasn’t half the size as the one we saw on the beach earlier in our stay. It was bobbing and floating just like the rest of us, but as the gap between us was closing, he decided it prudent to dive and find new waters.
It was beautiful. So beautiful and amazing that I immediately kicked myself for having left the camera on the beach. “Are you kidding me?” The battery was just about dead when I came ashore earlier, so I didn’t give it a second thought. In my heart, however, I know that there had to be enough juice left to capture video of this 30 second encounter. Judy is my witness that we did have a real live encounter with it. That is of some comfort, I guess.

After spending a few hours at Kapalua, we decided to regroup at the condo and think about hitting Aloha Hour somewhere. After freshening up, we headed south to Lahaina.  Aloha Mixed Plate was our selection du jour, and we were greeted with a smile and led to our table. It is an outdoor seating venue; one which had nice views of the ocean. We had planned on grilling steaks at the condo for dinner, but as it was already 4:00, we decided to make this our dinner. Judy got a house salad, with a fresh piece of Mahi and a couple coconut-crusted prawns, while I ordered the dish I had been thinking of for months: the Loco Moco.

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Dinner was delicious and was easily the best we’d had so far. The sun was getting low in the sky and we headed back to the condo for the evening. I had wanted to capture the sunset on video, so we could relive it whenever we needed to, so tonight was the night. Everything was set up and I just let the camera roll for about 50 minutes.

This sunset was beautiful. The sound of the waves crashing on the beach below, the distant laughs of the kids playing, and day coming to a close all made for an enjoyable night.

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