Final full day in Maui...Disappointing whale watching...


The Maalaea Marina as we made our way out of the windy bay.
Boarding the boat that held 146 passengers was a lengthy process.  Not only were we asked to arrive by 12:15 for a 1:00 pm sailing but after we'd checked in, we had to wait with the crowd for another half hour for our guide to "walk us" to the awaiting tri-hulled boat.


The view in front of us while we were seated on the boat.  Our condo building was straight ahead.
VIP members of the Pacific Whale Foundation were allowed to board first which after making their donation, made sense to us.  Luckily, we were next in line after that group able to pick preferred seating on the boat which surprisingly ended up with less than 101 passengers on the long holiday weekend.

We'd read numerous reviews on TripAdvisor.com on the Pacific Whale Foundation stating that passengers were disgruntled when they were "required" to have their photos taken.  Long ago in our travels, we learned that no one can "make us" have our photo taken unless one has signed a contract agreeing to do so.

As our boat was heading out to sea another similar boat was returning.
S
hoo them away!  That's what we've done in all of our travels and again yesterday when pressure was exercised for us to get in line for a photo before getting on the boat.  We passed right by, shaking our heads and saying, "No thank you," as we've done many times in the past.

Its hard to determine the severity of the winds from our photos.  Our eyes were focused on spotting whale blowhole spouts as we were instructed by the marine biologist on board as the easiest way to spot a whale.
The wind was blowing so hard, it almost knocked me over.  We'd both worn our matching BugsAway bill hats, having to hold onto them during the entire period to keep them from flying away. 

We enjoyed sailing past the same road we'd taken to get to Lahaina and Kaanapali Beach.
The crisp white of the boat, the glaring sun and the huge waves made watching the ocean for whales a bit challenging.  Wearing the hat helped block some of the glare.  Holding onto it was annoying.  Even wearing my quality sunglasses, I needed the hat on to allow me to see anything at all.  We sat on the top deck of the boat, adding to the feel of the wind. 

As we took off, the captain explained that Maalaea Bay is the windiest harbor in the US and second windiest in the world and that yesterday was one of the windiest days they'd seen of late.  Had we spotted any whales it would have been challenging to take a photo or a video when it was nearly impossible to stand up and maintain one's balance.

The scenery in Maui is always beautiful.
After the first 30 minutes, I left Tom in the seats we'd originally picked to find a better vantage point, hoping I wouldn't miss a shot.  Although, one whale spouted from its blowhole, I never saw it nor did many others.  We waited in the area for it to reappear, only to move on 30 minutes later when it never surfaced again.

At the end of the event, all the passengers were offered another complimentary outing, good for one year, since we never really had a sighting, also due to the fact the two hour boat ride was so uncomfortable in the high winds. We'll have no way to use it when neither of the upcoming two islands has locations for the Pacific Whale Foundation.

After I'd move to the bow of the boat, I stood for another 30 minutes, holding on with one hand while the other held the camera in ready mode.  On a few occasions, the boat lurched substantially.  Luckily, I held on for dear life, using my left not my bad right arm.

We'd have loved having photos of whale to share today but, the scenery is all we have to offer.
After that, I found a decent spot to sit with a good view of the bow, ready for action.  The only action I saw during the last hour was the lively conversation with a lovely tour guide I met who lives in the islands.  Exchanging business cards, we agreed to get in touch in the near future.

When the boat finally docked at the Maalaea Marina, I walked back to find Tom with a huge smile on his face, cheerful as ever, happy to see me.  He'd stayed in the same seat during the entire two hours, knowing I'd find him at the end.  Based on the fact the captain never announced that anyone had fallen overboard, he never had a worry in the world.

In Maui, one minute the sky is blue and moments later, the clouds roll in.
We weren't as disappointed as we could have been had this been an actual "vacation" in the islands.  Whales will be surrounding us in many of our future locations and we're certain that at sometime in the future our whale watching aspirations will be fulfilled.

Today is packing day.  Now that it takes less than a half hour to pack everything we own, it causes no concern or stress for either of us. 

The reality finally hit us that we're leaving Maui.  Last night, as Tom peered out the open door to the lanai he said, "It's hard to believe we're actually in Hawaii.  Then again, its always hard to believe wherever we may be."  So true, my love.  So true.
Tomorrow on travel day, we'll post our total costs for the entire six weeks we spent in Maui, including a breakdown of rent and expenses.  Please check back for details which will be posted at our usual time.

At the moment, Tom is watching the Minnesota Vikings football game on his computer and is happy as a clam.  That's not to say that they're winning!

Have a happy Sunday!
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Photo from one year ago today, November 30, 2013:
One year ago, it was travel day from Diani Beach, Kenya to Marloth Park, South Africa, a long and laborious journey.  As a result, no photos were posted on that date.  But, soon as we arrived in Marloth Park, the fun began when we had visitors every day during our three months of living in the bush, having the time of our lives.  For details of that travel day, please click here.

Whale watching day...Only hours away...Excitement is palpable...Two days until departure...Classic car hanging from a ceiling...



Tall coconut palms often depict the tropical nature of islands throughout the world.
Last night I dreamed of whales breaching the water and being able to take perfect photos of the experience.  Today may prove to have been "in my dreams only" or, if we're lucky, an exquisite reality.  We shall see.

A fine view from our lanai of another perfect day in paradise.
In only a few hours, three as I write here now, we'll make our way around the corner to the Maui Ocean Center, a mall with a handful of shops, none of which we ever visited in our six weeks here in Maalaea Beach.

Another magnificent view of a shoreline in Maui.
Having walked to the mall a few times, I'm familiar with the location where we'll go to  prepare to board the boat from the Pacific Whale Foundation for the excursion.  Although, we attempted to arrange an outing on a smaller boat, with the holiday weekend, it wasn't possible, although we were willing to pay a premium to do so. 

We stopped in a local shop that used local essential oils in making soaps, balms and bath products.  With no room in our luggage I walked out empty handed.
After all, we're under budget for the stay in Maui by no less than $1500, mainly due to the estimated costs for dining out and grocery shopping. After a few feeble attempts at getting satisfactory meals in restaurants befitting my way of eating, we gave up, deciding cooking our own meals would be our best option during this short period in Maui.

Now, as we've used most of our food supplies and, after we mailed the big box to the Big Island yesterday for a meager cost of $18.55, arriving today to be left at the door for us, we're down to bare bones in the way of food.

With lots of eggs, bacon, cheese, onion and ingredients to make omelets, bacon and coconut flour pancakes, we'll happily have "breakfast" for dinner these next two nights until we depart on Monday morning for the short flight to Hawai'i, aka the Big Island.
A couple of times each week I walked across the lawn of the neighboring condo building to the local grocer, Tradewinds.

Its confusing to call the Big Island, "Hawai'i" when all of the islands collectively are referred to as Hawaii.  In the Hawaiian language with the excessive use of vowels and apostrophes, Hawai'i is spelled as indicated and is pronounced as "ha, vie, ee" as we often hear when speaking to residents and locals.

The owners of this small grocery store we friendly and helpful, ordering special items for me on several occasions.  Their prices were comparable to the most of the prices at the supermarket in Kihei.
This morning after posting here, we'll go to the pool for our usual one hour dose of Vitamin D to return indoors to get our shirts, shoes, two cameras, hats, sunglasses and binoculars and, my phone with a copy of the tickets. 

The printer here in the condo wouldn't work leaving us unable to print boarding passes, car rental confirmation etc. instead using digital copies as an alternative. 

Each day, the owners visited a local farm to pick up fresh produce.
Finally, many business entities are accepting digital copies of documents as opposed to the wasteful and cumbersome nature of using paper, especially for travelers with no access to a printer, such as us, since our printer died months ago.

Their shelves were lined with many popular food items.  The store is always busy.
Today, we're sharing an array of Maui photos we'd yet to share and tomorrow, we'll be back with photos from our whale watching experience.

Recently, in Facebook we'd seen photos of this car, a 1959 Cadillac convertible (woody) hanging from the ceiling at Hard Rock Café in Lahaina.  On our return drive from Kaanapali Beach we stopped to take a few photos of our own as shown.

Alternate view of above photo at Hard Rock Café in Lahaina, Maui.
We hope all of our readers enjoy the remainder of their weekend doing exactly what they find most rewarding and meaningful.  Isn't that what "its" all about after all?
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Photo from one year ago, November 29, 2013:

As we prepared to leave Kenya, we posted a few of our favorite photos on the last few days.  This lion was rested under this tree while mating.  The female was across from him resting under another tree.  We had the glorious opportunity to witness the mating process from less than 30 feet away.  For details of this date, please click here.

Tomorrow's upcoming adventure...Three days until departure...

Out for a drive, we stopped to see this beach.
How excited we were to hear we had a confirmed reservation for a whale watching expedition for tomorrow (Saturday) at a 1:00 pm sailing.  
Maui has one beautiful beach after another.
We secured a reservation with help from our new friends, Marie and Terry at Maui Travel Partners, condo and event booking agents, whom we met last week at the Whalers Village Museum. With the busy holiday weekend, we were thrilled to secure a spot.

Many beaches are left in a natural state with vegetation growing along the shoreline.

If we don't have the glorious opportunity to see whales, we'll consider the fact that we had a pleasant boat ride in Maalaea Beach.  The outing is arranged through the Pacific Whale Foundation, which has a location in this area, an organization devoted to the preservation of marine life as indicated below:

"Pacific Whale Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1980 to save whales from extinction. Our mission is to protect our oceans through science and advocacy. We are an international organization, with ongoing research studies in Hawaii, Australia, and Ecuador, and are active participants in global efforts to address threats to whales and other marine life."

The colors in these hills looks more like a painting than real life.
The foundation states there is a 97% likelihood that we'll see whales.  But, a little skepticism is in play based on the fact that the whales usually arrive in the islands in December which explains why we waited so long to book this event. 

Perhaps, we're a few days off or not.  We shall see if "safari luck" prevails once again tomorrow afternoon.

The top of a mountain peeked through the clouds.

 
In a matter of minutes the clouds began to disperse for a better view of the mountaintop.  Notice the buildings at the top of the mountain.
This morning I'm off to the post office in Kihei to mail the package to the first house in Pahoa containing the excess food and supplies as a result of our zealous purchases at Costco in preparation for Hurricane Ana when we first arrived.
On the road to Kihei, we stopped at this park to walk along this wood walkway.
The walk on the wood walkway.
We decided that even if the cost to mail the package is $50, it will be worth doing so.  In estimating the cost of its contents, I calculated a total of $125, certainly worth the effort. 

Breathtaking shoreline.
Now, I'm rushing to complete today's post including more new photos, drive to the post office with the package and return for another fabulous day.

We stopped to investigate what appears to be a Chinese cemetery.
The weather is perfect, the doors (with screens) are wide open welcoming the cooling breeze, and we're content as we can be knowing that every single day of life matters and is as fulfilling as we choose to make it.

A headstone with two stones left as a token of love, by a visitor.
We hope our family and friends in the US had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Happy day to all.
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Photo from one year ago today, November 28, 2013:
One year ago today, as we wound down the time in Kenya, we anticipated the ferry that was necessary to take in order to get to the airport located on the island of Mombasa.  For details from that day's story, please click here.
 

Happy Thanksgiving to our family and friends in the US...Happy day to our friends all over the world...More new photos...

 
In Maui its not unusual for clouds to suddenly roll in along the mountains.
Every Thanksgiving Day of my adult life except for the past three years of living in the "world" I'd dash out of bed early in the morning, hurriedly shower and dress to begin the day and the process of making the big Thanksgiving Day dinner, having made the eight to ten pumpkin pies the previous day.
Entrance to the beautiful beach in Kaanapali.
The time would quickly pass, as I multi-tasked making one familiar dish after another, enjoying every moment as I jammed our multiple refrigerators with one pan of yet-to-be-cooked dishes in preparation of later in the days' appearance of family members, or not.

In later years, three of four of our grown kids and their families (living in the area) often spent the holidays at the "other side" or had begun to develop their own traditions and Tom and I were alone, a not uncommon scenario for families of divorce and multiple and varying family lifestyles.

A view of the sea and cloud as we walked the boardwalk in Kaanapali Beach.
Those last years in Minnesota, whether we were alone on holidays or together with family and friends, Tom and I made the day festive about the varied dishes, fabulous smells wafting through the air and, thankful for our lives filled with abundance in many ways.

Today, not unlike this third Thanksgiving in a row, I awoke this morning, hurriedly showered and dressed and turned on the hot water for my tea.  There's no food to cook when yesterday I roasted two chickens and vegetables that we'll happily reheat tonight, adding a salad and fresh cooked green beans, prepared in a matter of minutes, not hours.


Along the boardwalk at Kaanapali Beach.
Do I miss the preparations of years past?  Not, at all.  I often ask myself how I seemingly happily spent so much of my time cooking, cleaning and preparing meals in my old life when now, the simplicity of the way we eat takes little time mostly spent in washing, chopping and dicing vegetables for side dishes and salad.

Kiosks appeared every few hundred feet offering various ocean activities.
Of course, we miss the playful and meaningful interactions with family during get gatherings. That fact will never change, soon to be revived in a matter of weeks on the Big Island.  But the work, we don't miss at all. 

Restaurants line the boardwalk at Kaanapali beach.
As time has marched on, we've come more to the realization that it never was about the food, the beautifully decorated house and the endless gifts under the tree, the 18 decorated Easter baskets carefully arranged on the massive dining room table or, the bunny rabbit cake, although each of these aspects and many more added to the traditions and festivities.
Whether its the ocean or the mountains, Maui is breathtaking in every direction.
In time, those traditions will be but a distant memory for all of us, as new traditions are born, each bespeaking this time in life, for us, for them and for generations to come.

Skeleton of a humpback whale at the Whalers Village.
Soon, as we anticipate their arrival, we wrap our brains around simple time spent together, sharing stories, playing games, gazing out at the sea all the while embracing these special moments, that in themselves, become the new traditions of another place and time.
The boardwalk is cluttered with accoutrements appealing to the tourist population.
So, today, we'll happily enjoy our "leftovers" put together in a matter of minutes for another fine meal, on yet another fine day, knowing that what we have today is all we want and what the future soon brings when we're all together again, is all we'll need.

Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate today.  And, happy day to all.
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Photo from one year ago today, November 27, 2013:
In error, yesterday I accidentally posted a photo from this date one year ago.  As a result, there will be no year ago photo for today. 

Remembrances of the ocean awhile ago...The seafarers life awhile ago...One year ago today...We gave away 40% of our clothing and shoes...


Whale ship masthead rings that held the sailors to the mast.
Its funny how as time marches on, many memories flooding our minds have become some of the most treasured experiences in our travels.  Now, into our third year on the move, Belize, our first vacation home outside the US lingers in our minds for our close proximity to the ocean.

Whale blubber pot.
Early this morning I stared out the glass door to the sea feeling that same warm sense of comfort familiar from so long ago with the ocean at our door beaconing thought provoking gazes at the sea at every opportunity.

Blubber hook. 
The sea has held a mysterious attraction for sailors and land lovers alike since the beginning of time.  On Monday, as we wanders through the Whalers Village Museum the passion for the sea was evident in every artifact, painting and representation of sea life. 

Tools used in whaling.
Whaling was big business in centuries passed.  In today's world and particularly in Hawaii, the love and the preservation of the life of whales is a profound aspect for oceanic devotees and the scientific community.

Replica of small whaling boat.
Although the museum depicted the long ago whaling business, it was evident that today's profound sense and love of the whale and other marine life is in the forefront of the hearts and minds of the people of Hawaii.

Pilot whale blubber.
While at the museum we watched an amazing movie learning about the humpback whale, much of which neither of us had any awareness.  Many of these facts are depicted in the following site.

Scrimshaw, which is the use of bones and teeth of whales and other marine mammals, was commonly made into a variety of items the sailors later sold at port for additional income.  Also, there were many boring hours at sea and making scrimshow kept them busy.


Scrimshaw picture frame.
Please click this link to find an audio file of the actual sounds of the humpback whale.

Equipment used in making various artifacts.
The humpback whales come to the Hawaiian Islands and also to Maui in December on their long journey from Alaska.  We're are only weeks away from their arrival, although we've heard a few have been sighted.  We've spent many hours gazing at the sea hoping to spot them.

Sleeping quarters of whaling boat from early 1900's.


In getting close to these bunks, we could see how small they actually were, as short as five feet long and two feet wide, certainly inadequate sleeping space in today's world.

The prevalence of the humpback whale is much greater in Maui than on the Big Island so we're hoping to see them before we leave in five days. At the moment we're awaiting a confirmation on what may prove to be a pointless expedition out to sea in hopes of spotting whales.  We'll certainly post updates here in the next few days.  If "safari luck" prevails, we may have whale photos to share on Sunday.

Ship octant and charting tool.
Today, we share our photos of some of the memorabilia from the much maligned days of whaling in an era when extinction wasn't given a thought.  Sadly, whaling continues in many parts of the world with little regard for the likelihood of extinction of the whale, perhaps in the lifetime of this generation.

Sailors would make this decorative canes from whale bones selling them in port to supplement their income.


A fiddle kept on the ships for entertainment for the sailors
We'll be back tomorrow with more new photos and an update on our possible whale watching outing.

Rigger tools.
Have a lovely pre-Thanksgiving day.  In my old life, today was the day I'd make eight to ten pumpkin pies rolling the made-from-scratch dough for the crust of each pie. 

Actual photo of seamen on a whaling boat.


This interesting chart depicts the income earned for various positions aboard ship after a four year period at sea. 
Each of our families or friends that came for Thanksgiving dinner was given a pie to take home along with containers of leftovers.  I don't miss making the pies but, perhaps, the eating them was worthy of mention.
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Photo from one year ago today, November 26, 2013:

One year ago today, we completed boxing up 40% of our clothing and shoes to give away when we'd accepted the fact that further lightening our load was imperative to avoid continuing excess baggage fees.  More photos of the clothing we gave away are shown in this link.  Please click here.