|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.|
Shoo 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 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 a 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 some time 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, it’s always hard to believe wherever we maybe.” 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!
Photo from one year ago today, November 30, 2013:
One year ago, it was a 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.