Encounter with Green Sea Turtles!

Trip Start Jul 02, 2013
Trip End Jul 09, 2013

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Where I stayed
VRBO, Pukalani

Flag of United States  , Hawaii
Saturday, July 6, 2013

Had a scenic drive when getting close to Makena Beach.  A few really nice resorts are located here.  Would love to try biking there next time we're here. 

I only booked the trip two days ago while flipping through Fodor book. Reviews were good, less costly than another private tour I was contemplating.  Let's see what's the impulse purchase get us.

Trying to find the exact location of meeting our kayaking guide.  There're a lot of kayaking companies lined up by the road leading to Makena Beach public restroom.  I guess the only way to find out is asking people.  Going down the vans, eventually found our guide Steve.  Looks like we hit the jackpot, as we're the only two people with him.  Private tour with group price, can't be luckier!

7:15am meeting time.  A quick orientation, and only two of us, Curtis and I were in the water by 7:30am, first ones in before the rest of the kayakers hop in.  Love to have the ocean to ourselves!  The water here is warm, so inviting, what a huge difference from our freezing N. CA water, which one always has to have wet suit at all times.  Here in Hawaii, I can dress with my swimsuit and kayak, like the poster girls on the travel magazine.  The only accessory I need to get is a good support bikini :-)

Steve led us to two snorkeling sites.  One is fairly deep, at least in my standard, probably 25-30 feet.  With lots of fish swimming by/under, we saw lots of pencil urchins, purple urchins, bat star, crown of thorn star, many sea turtles (some of them about 3-5 feet long), and an octopus.  After I overcame the initial fear of trying on snorkeling mask/tube, I felt a lot ease maneuvering in the water.  Steve was knowledgeable, he has a long pointer stick which he used to point out creature of interests to us while we're snorkeling.  As in the water, it's hard to communicate via your voice.

It was just a surreal experience that I vow to take more snorkeling trips in the future!  Kayaking & snorkeling trip is the perfect combo for us!  After 4 1/2 hours of snorkeling & kayaking, Steve setup picnic lunch for us by the rocky beach.  I didn't quite remember that lunch/snack was included when booking the tour.  Nice thing about Hawaiian beach, lots of places have public shower (cold water) to rinse off the salt and get changed.  Steve brought out his treasure box and showed us cowry shells, pencil urchin spikes, etc.  He was also able to field some of my questions. 

We've a 1/2 day with no activities scheduled.  Decided to head west to Lahaina to visit Wo Hing Temple (和興會館), Baldwin Home Museum, and Whaler's Village Museum. 

Originally the Temple & Baldwin Home Museum weren't on our agenda, thanks to the "Passport to the Past" program, we visited these places.   Wo Hing Temple has exhibits with Chinese immigrants history, big section is dedicated to Dr. Sun Yat Sen's tie to Maui.  It's really interesting seeing Dr. Sun Yat Sen's statue in Hawaii.  Now I was able to close the gap of the Chinese history I learned in high school. 

Baldwin Home Museum used to be the home & dentist office for Reverend Dr. Dwight Baldwin, one of the very early missionaries assigned to Hawaii.  The house was built with coral & lava rock, with stucco.   The place was restored and a few furniture were acquired from various sources.  One can almost rewind the clock and saw what's the life was like in the Baldwin family.  The interior of the house was cool, with nice shutters.  Outside was different story.  Lahaina in Hawaiian means "cruel sun".  It was HOT out!  I like the Upcountry where we stay much better.

Then we visited Whaler's Village Museum, a true gem for anyone interested in Hawaiian whaling industry.  Lahaina used to be a big whaling town.  In the museum, we read about the sailors' life, the tool/process of killing whale & processing.  Lots of pix, and audio tour one can listen in.  We saw amazing crafts by sailors carved from whale tooth.  As most of the time in the sea, there's no whale in sight, but lots of time to kill.  All those works were done with Indian ink and dull knife (no pointy knife, so to avoid the deadly fight).  There's illustration of what baleen were used for (umbrella frame, women's corset) before plastic and other materials were available.  Everything was fully used from the captured whale.

Wrapped up the day by strolling the banyan tree block.  The tree was so immense that it covers one whole city block (the city isn't too big). 

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