Aug 062011

The kids were not enthusiastic about snorkeling, so we split into groups: one to the Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum and the Maui Swap Meet; one to have a leisurely morning at home before going to the beach; and a third to hit one of South Maui’s premier snorkel spots. You know which group I joined.

Po’olenalena Beach extends from a public park South to the upscale Makena Surf condos. At 9:00am, the tiny public access lot maintained by the condos had 6 of 8 spots open, and the beach was largely deserted. Out over the reef, however, we could see groups of snorkelers who had arrived by kayak, and more later would arrive by boat. This area is one of the famed “turtle towns” and turtles were not in short supply today. Common reef fish, however, were much scarcer. A single pair of Raccoon Butterflyfish? Only two Moorish Idols? Perhaps the configuration of the corals here is not to their liking, or perhaps we didn’t get far enough around the corner at the South end of the beach. Either way, we saw as much as we could considering my mask and George’s snorkel were constantly filling with water.

We met up with Maya, Lisa, and Shirley at Big Beach, known in Hawaiian as Oneloa. (There may be more than one Oneloa, so Big Beach probably is the safer name to use.) This beach is famed for its seemingly endless golden sand, and over the hill Little Beach is popular with the clothing optional set. Considering the fierce mid-day sun, covering up seems the far more sensible wardrobe choice. The lifeguard (wow, there’s a lifeguard here now) had posted red flags, so only experienced or foolhardy boogie boarders braved the crashing waves. Under the partial shade of a tree with sparse foliage, a strong but hot breeze created the environment of a convection oven.

Once we were fully baked, we headed back to the house for lunch, with a stop at the local branch of Ba-Le for imperial rolls, grilled chicken over chilled rice vermicelli, lemongrass curry chicken over rice, fried fish over rice, and an avocado sandwich. The fried fish was the weak link, having been cooked far too dry to be remedied by the available sauces. I declined the option to join three of our group for a private Pilates lesson, and spent the rest of the afternoon processing photos.

For dinner we headed to Aloha Mixed Plate in Lahaina. We didn’t realize there would be almost an hour wait for a party of eight, so we busied ourselves across the street at the Lahaina Cannery Mall. During dinner, the show at the Old Lahaina Luau played next door, with the catchy rhythms of Polynesian tamure dancing providing an energetic backdrop to a big meal. I ordered the super-sized Alii plate, and to make a long story short: good lau lau (fatty pork steamed in taro leaves), good kalua pig, good lomi lomi salmon (bits of salt salmon with diced tomatoes), good teriyaki beef, pretty good macaroni salad, good but slightly rubbery haupia (coconut pudding), and… poi. Sadly, no photos.

Sunday morning promises another snorkel for those who have opted out of horseback riding. The rest of the day will be improvised. And you can read about it here: Water, Water Everywhere.

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