Maui Day 5: Touristy Adventures

(posted by Emily)

Tuesday got off to an early start for us. We had booked a snorkel cruise with the Pacific Whale Foundation, so we were up and out of our condo at 6am. We drove down to Maalaea Harbor, the second windiest harbor in the world. We could tell the weather was questionable leaving Kihei, but kept our fingers crossed for the trip. 

The cruise boat had about 100 passengers on board. They served us breakfast (fresh pineapple and oranges, coffee and juice for the vegans) and we started our voyage. The ocean was considerably choppy as we headed toward Molokini Crater, and they had warned us that we may not be able to snorkel once we got to the crater. Rick and I were amused by the fact that we had cell service in the middle of the ocean :) 

Once we got to the crater, it was clear the water was too rough to snorkel. We got to sit inside the walls of the crater and see it up close, so at least that part was worth it. 

We decided to rent wet suit tops to help with warmth once we finally got to snorkel--these probably came in handiest as we sailed over to the west side of Maui, since our side of the boat was being rocked by huge sea spray and waves. Rick was a bit apprehensive about getting sea sick, but he managed to survive the trip without losing his lunch. One of the best parts of the trip was learning about the different types of fish we would see while snorkeling. 

Once we arrived on the west side of the island, our boat docked for about an hour and a half of snorkel time. Even though we had the snorkel shirts, and had had a fair amount of practice up to this point, we only lasted about 30 minutes in the water. It was really cold, and my fingers went numb for some reason. We ended up coming out early, which was a great thing since it began to rain. We managed to pull all of our stuff inside the boat and hung out near the galley until lunch was ready. 

Lunch consisted of veggie burgers, pasta salad, squash quick pickles, and another kind of pickled veggie slaw. Because of the bad weather, the captain decided to have an open bar for the rest of the trip--we weren't complaining! 

Overall, I think we were a little disappointed in the experience. We had had great experiences snorkeling on our own, and I know I was bummed we were only able to stop in one place. I know the weather made things out of our control, but considering how expensive the tour was, I had higher expectations. 

After the cruise, we headed up to Lahaina. Our last two nights were going to be spent at the Hyatt Regency property and we were able to check in to our room when we arrived. Because of a credit card I have, we have platinum status with Hyatt and were upgraded to a partial ocean view room. I should have taken pictures before we threw our stuff all over the place--sorry about that. We were greeted with leis, decided to spend some time exploring and laying by the pool before our luau that night. 

We came across some Hawaiian Tropic tanning oil aka "the good stuff" according to my dad. I used to use tanning oil all the time during drum corps summers, so it was only fitting to show Rick the way :) It definitely helped boost our tans!

Exploring the hotel property. 

Chef's garden
Maui onions and basil
Rick on the water slide:

When researching luaus, we had settled on the Old Lahaina Luau because it sounded like the best fit for us--focused on telling the story of the islands, and not as much flashy, gimmicky stuff. We were thrilled with our experience. 

Our server, Spencer, knew who we were right away, as he had been prepped for having vegan guests. We even got a copy of the ingredients list, so we could choose which items on the buffet to eat in addition to our entrees. Every guest is greeted with a flower lei and a Mai Tai as you find your way to your seat. We had opted to sit at one of the tatami-style tables, with a cushion on the ground. Our table was closest to the middle, right in front--clearly, we booked way in advance. 

We wandered around the various cultural demonstrations and enjoyed the open bar. It was fun to try a number of different cocktails that were new to us. 

hula lesson

fresh coconut meat to taste
a Hawaiian bowling game, under a rainbow
this is where the luau pig was being roasted--didn't come back for pictures as they took it out :) 
view of the stage and the ocean just behind
Hawaiian Sunset and Blue Hawaiian
Once it was time for dinner, we were part of the first group up to sample the buffet. 

Our entrees were on the table when we returned--they were kind enough to offer vegan options and prepare them separately. Rick had what I have affectionately been calling "Maui onions on Maui onions on Maui onions" which was really a Maui onion cake topped with Maui onions and a Maui onion sauce. I opted for a lemongrass tofu. 

Even with a smattering of rain here and there, we really enjoyed the show. Lots of traditional dancing and music--overall, a great time! We would definitely recommend the experience to anyone choosing a luau on Maui. It was authentic, with great customer service, and fun to be away from our hotel, too!

Our lei collection is growing :)



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