We drove up to the charming former whaling town of Lahaina. Its history consists of equal parts sailor's debauchery and missionaries. Sailors (including Melville of Moby Dick fame) were required to return to their ships every sun-down - the only usage of the town's cannons was to sound the curfew. Today the town consists of restaurants & clubs and churches. Every denomination we could think of seems to have a church in Lahaina. Next to the old courthouse we sat under the United States' biggest banyan tree. Staring at it, we couldn't work out how banyans can possibly stretch their horizontal branches so far without support. Something to look up sometime.
The "Aloha Mixed Plate" restaurant serves what is supposed to be a fine example of the traditional Hawaiian plate-lunch: two large scoops of white rice, big mound of imu pork (roasted in an underground firepit/oven), poke (think salsa, with chunks of salted salmon), poi (pounded taro, God, where do I start, think wallpaper paste) and the ubiquitous macaroni salad (which is apparently considered a vegetable since it contains microscopic shreds of carrot). This place is listed in every guidebook as the
place to eat a traditional meal. The ocean view was amazing though.
Dinner was a different kettle of poi. Celebratory birthday dinner for Sandra with an ocean-side (and it turned out luau-front) table and the 7-course tasting menu at I'O (ee-oh
). As the crab cakes (wonderful) were followed by seared scallops and thai-coconut-curry-asparagus-and-lobster soup (superb) the luau next door, which was clearly visible from our table, was singing and dancing and shaking their coconuts all over the place. The fire-dancer during our chocolate pate and pineapple dessert (performing his first night according to our informative waiter) was quite impressive, and only singed his grass skirt a little.
Next day, just a humdrum monday, we headed out early to snag a prime spot on Maluaka beach, known as turtle beach because of the reliable appearance of green sea turtles every morning. We swam and snorkelled along the coral watching green turtles eating seaweed off the coral surrounded by hundreds of brightly coloured tropical fish.
Over the last few days, we've had a one rainy, lazy, just not going to move today day, and three days of glorious hawaii winter - that means blue skies and fluffy white clouds. In Hawaii, the summer-winter temperature can swing wildly between mid-seventies and low-eighties.