A great day with a great new friend in Lahaina, Maui…A very scary event on the returning tender…

Yesterday, it was cloudy with a bit of drizzle as Helen and I wandered about Lahaina Maui, but the weather didn’t hamper the quality of the day.

While situated in the Diamond Lounge preparing yesterday’s post, new friend Helen popped in to say hello. We discussed the idea of heading to Lahaina on our own, leaving Tom behind.  

Craftspeople are often seen working with a variety of wood commonly found on the Hawaiian island.

Tom had no interest in shopping nor walking through Lahaina one more time after we’d visited the famous tourist town on five or more previous visits. I was thrilled at the prospect of leisurely strolling through the pretty village, perhaps doing a little shopping along the way.

It had been a long time since I’d gone shopping with a friend and was excited by the idea, especially when there was an “outlet mall” several blocks from the port. The ship was anchored in the bay, requiring tender boat rides to the shore.

Banyan trees in the local park in Lahaina.

Helen stopped by our cabin at 2:00 pm when I was ready to go with a shopping bag, camera, wallet and a few incidentals figuring we’d only be gone until 4:00 pm or so. The line for the tender moved quickly, and by 2:30 pm, we were ashore.

The famous tourist town was rife with cruise passengers shopping, dining, and reveling in the sights.

After browsing many shops looking for trinkets for the grandchildren, Helen and I decided to make the several block hike to the outlet mall, especially when we heard about the GAP store. I hadn’t shopped in a GAP store in almost five years. Tom and I both needed updates to our tee shirt inventory when many had become worn and tattered.

An old hotel in Lahaina.

It was a long walk to the outlet mall, which was very different from other outlet malls I’d visited years ago in Minnesota. But, many of the familiar stores were available, and after so long, it was fun to see them once again.

I purchased 12 items for a total of US $106, mainly tee shirts for each of us and three nightshirts for me. The three nightshirts I had remaining were practically threadbare after years of wear.

The last time we visited Lahaina in 2014, we also took photos of this art store.

As it started to sprinkle, we began the return walk to the port, hoping to get aboard a tender before a downpour. After we arrived at the port and a 20-minute wait, we were aboard the tender. 

Lahaina is often packed with tourists. This was our fifth visit to this Maui town since the onset of our travels four and a half years ago; twice by ship, three times by car when we lived in Maui for six weeks in 2014.

This particular ship uses its lifeboats as tenders to ferry passengers back and forth from the ship to the port of call when the port is inadequate for docking. In most cases, the ride from the ship to the land takes less than 20 minutes but boarding and disembarking can take anywhere from 10 to 20 additional minutes, at most.

It was apparent the seas were rough shortly before 5:00 pm on a cloudy, windy day. We bobbed side to side as the tender headed toward the ship at full throttle. 

An exciting piece of art in a local gallery.

At first, none of the passengers appeared worried or concerned during the rough seas until we reached the boarding and disembarking platform, a section of the ship that drops down to create a flat ramp that usually provides relatively easy access for most passengers.

Historic Hawaiian property under construction in Lahaina.

A few passengers were using canes and walkers, generally not precipitating a problem with staff available to assist. As the boat pulled up to the staging area, the driver was unable to steady the ship sufficiently to pull close enough to tie the boat’s mooring lines to the platform.

As the rough seas escalated, the boat rocked to and fro with such force; it was impossible to gain a firm enough hold with the thick lines to allow a single passenger to disembark. At that point, the conversation stopped as many passengers had worried and frightened looks on their faces.

We’d taken a photo of this tiny theater in Lahaina three years ago.

The boat banged against the metal platform with such force that some exterior lights and accouterments were smashed as we slammed harder and harder against the platform. Suddenly, a woman screamed who’d banged her head against the window, asking if she was bleeding. 

I was seated at the window and felt myself cringing and moving to the left each time the boat fiercely banged against the metal structure. As a boater for most of my adult life, I wasn’t frightened at all, nor was Helen. 

It was fun to go to a Gap outlet store for the first time in almost five years. I purchased several tee shirts for both of us.

Many passengers were terrified and anxious to get off the boat. It took no less than 30 minutes for the boat to become stabilized enough to allow one passenger at a time to disembark. One mentioned her fear of having a heart attack based on her level of sheer terror.

In all, it was about an hour from the time the tender reached the ship’s platform until we were all able to disembark. Throughout the remainder of the evening, several passengers chatted about the incident, shocked by the experience.

Of course, I’d hoped to make a video of the incident but it was impossible, based on where I was seated. I attempted to get the camera out of the shopping bag but could not hold on well enough to do a video or even take a single photo.

View of our ship from the sidewalk in Lahaina.

My paper GAP shopping bag had torn during the upheaval, and the new items began to spill to the floor. Helen and I hurried to gather the things which she placed into her backpack. 

By the time I entered the cabin, it was already close to 6:30 pm. Indeed Tom was at happy hour with our friends on the Promenade deck and waiting for me to arrive. I hurried to get myself changed and ready for the evening, able to get out the door by 6:45 pm.

Busy day in Lahaina.

The evening was pleasant as usual, with my dinner diligently attended to by Belik, the head waiter and my food restriction coordinator, who fusses over me more than any other such staff member on any of our past 17 cruises. 

We made a point of mentioning his exemplary and attentive service to Captain Rick and have already written a glowing review on a mid-cruise survey. When the cruise ends on May 15th, in six days, we’ll rave more about Belik on the online survey that follows each cruise, which Tom diligently prepares in every case.

A man caught a good-sized fish from the shore.

Today, we’re in Honolulu with no intention of getting off the ship.  After many prior visits and tours, we’re content to stay aboard and see the matinee movie in the Palace Theatre at 1:30 pm.

Tonight, we joining another lovely couple for a second “dinner date,” Leann and Chuck, for what indeed will prove to be yet another divine evening. We’re heading back out to sea at 6:00 for the final leg of our cruise to Seattle, Washington. 

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, May 9, 2016:

We miss the fantastic food prepared by two cooks named Ketut in Bali which included Blue Fin tuna made with a tomato, lemongrass sauce, spicy vegetables with a side of coleslaw. For more details, please click here.

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