Maui – Day 3

Today was a wonderful day as expected in Maui with beautifully sunny 25˚C weather, a slight breeze, and the beach. We decided that we would do a bit of tourism and drive Northwards up the coast to Lahaina. Here there were such wondrous sites like the great Banyan tree – which came fully equipped with Tarzan – as well as a Navy Museum and tons of tourist trap shopping. I went looking for a cliché Hawaiian shirt while Paul & Ashley were off wandering the streets on their own for a while.

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Banyan tree

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Tarzan?

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This is all considered to be a single Banyan tree

We had pre-arranged meeting up with Vince & Diane to go find this out-of-the-way snorkeling spot that they had found a few days previous. So, after many phone calls and a little bit of getting lost, we met up with them and the search was on. When we finally got there, it was pretty amazing. After a 10 minute hike through a bit of a rainforest with wild roosters crowing from every which way, we reached the black-sanded beach. It was quite the amazing little spot for reef and sea life snorkeling. We didn’t see any sea turtles again but the colours of all the fish was just fabulous!

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Random trees

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Scenic ocean

At this point Vince, Diane, and Paul headed back to Kihei to get ready for a wedding and Jackie, Ashley, and I went back to Lahaina for a well deserved lunch at the Cheeseburger in Paradise; Jimmy Buffet’s restaurant. We took our time enjoying a couple Mai Tai’s and then made our way back to the car then back to the house. Since Vince, Diane, and Paul were at the wedding, we lounged around the pool & hot tub and spent the rest of the day entertaining the kids and enjoying the sun.

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Maui – Day 2

As it turns out, I didn’t even need an alarm clock to be up at 4:00AM. With the 4 hour time difference between Hawaii and Saskatoon, getting up that early was like I had already slept in for 3 hours so I was quite rested when I woke up. Walking into the kitchen to grab a drink, I glanced outside and saw one of the most gorgeous moonlit scenes I have ever seen. I quickly & quietly went back to our room, grabbed my camera & tripod and ran out to take some long exposure photos.

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We needed to be at the boat launch to meet up with Mike Severns Diving for our first day of dives, and since I was the driver and wasn’t 100% sure of where to go, I wanted to have my fellow divers (Gord, Vince, Norm) out of the house by 5:30 just in case I got lost. Turns out my worrying was for naught and we made it there with ample time to spare and met up with Steve who got dropped off by his buddy. We checked in, signed our lives away, and loaded into the boat. Next thing we knew we were speeding off across the water on our way to Molokini, watching the sun rise behind Haleakala.

After 45 minutes or so of watching the sun make its way over the mountain, chatting with the dive guides, and getting pumped for the upcoming dives, we got to the Molokini crater. They quickly got the anchor down and we got geared up to go for our first dive. This was my first ever warm water dive since I had been certified in Vancouver, BC, and had only dove in cold water. Needing only to wear a shorty on top of my swim trunks was such a great feeling and once we hit that water that was oh-so-warm I had a huge smile on my face.

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Group underwater photo on our first dive

The first dive was everything I had thought it would be with amazing visibility and lots of wildlife. Among the hundreds of multi-coloured fish we spotted a black-tipped shark, an octopus, a rare nudibranc and it’s mate. As we were descending from surface, I started to pick up on the songs & harmonies of the humpback whales that were nearby. This time of year was near the end of the mating season for the whales but those songs were so beautiful to hear.

Once we were up from the first dive, we quickly started to the second site we were diving which was called “The Anchors”. This site was pretty much in the middle of the water just off Kihei and consisted of 3 anchors linked together by chain and surrounded by lots of coral and fish once again. Our guide found some cleaner shrimp and we each took turns trying to get them to clean our mouths; that was quite the unexpected yet pretty cool experience. We got back on the boat when we were running low on air and the captain made his way back to boat launch where we thanked the crew and disembarked. All this excitement and it was only noon!

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Cleaner shrimp cleaning Steve’s mouth

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After getting back to the house, all 5 of us were famished and what better to eat after a day of diving than sushi. Norm, Steve, and I head out to Maui’s famous sushi restaurant, Sansei, to get some take-out only to find it closed for lunch. However, we were on a mission to get some sushi so we ended up going to the large grocery store nearby (I forget the name) and got some pre-packaged sushi, some tasty Maui chips, and of course some more brewski.

After our sushi was safely tucked away in our bellies, we decided to try and find one of the snorkeling spots in our dive book. So, a group of us piled into 2 of the cars and went for a drive south of Kihei to Wailea. We found the spot we were looking for, parked the cars, and quickly took the short walk down to the shore. When we made it into the water and got a few technical difficulties figured out, we swam out to the first reef and almost immediately saw a sea turtle. Swimming around for an hour or so we saw so many beautiful fish and a few more turtles. Holding my breath, diving down a few feet, and swimming alongside a sea turtle was so serene and felt like something that should be in a movie.

We got back to the house after dropping Steve off, took our respective showers, and I crashed for a nap before our dinner date at Café O’Lei with Jackie’s nursing friend from Vancouver. After a very tasty dinner (mmmm, ahi tuna!!) and some ice-cream for dessert, we were home again and I was out for the night as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Maui – Day 1

The day finally came and we went to Maui. We’ve been looking forward to this trip since June of 2007 when it was all booked and so getting to Maui was such a wonderful feeling. But, I’m getting ahead of myself; let me rewind a bit.

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Maui_02_20080320We left Saskatoon late in the evening on March 19th, a little excited no doubt, and got to Vancouver comfortably just before midnight. Norm picked us up from the airport, excited as always to see us, and we drove out to Burnaby to crash at their place for the night. I didn’t get to bed right away as I had to finish a report for work. I ended up finishing it and going to bed around 3:30AM and we (myself, Jackie, Norm, Joan) were up bright and early for 6:00AM to get to our flight to Maui. Being as excited as we were, the flight seemed to drag on, especially after we crossed a certain longitude and lost the satellite feed to the TVs on the WestJet plane.

However, all was wonderful when we landed in Maui, on time, picked up our rental car, and started to make our way to our wonderful rental house in Kihei, on the west side of Maui. The house was fantastic with 5 bedrooms, en-suite bathrooms in each, and a massive kitchen & living area for the 10 adults & 2 babies to socialize in. In the back there was a nice pool, hot tub, and a gorgeous view of the ocean which was about 20 meters away.

When the 4 of us got there, the representative from the rental company was there and gave us a nice tour of the house. The rest of the gang (6 adults, 2 babies) arrived an hour later; it was really great to see everybody again after a few months. I couldn’t stick around too long because I had to go pick up my buddy Steve who was flying in from one of the other islands so that he could come scuba diving with us the following day. I managed to make it out to the airport without getting lost and met up with Steve. The airline had somehow managed to lose his bag with all of his dive gear (which were insured) and most of his clothes so we stopped at K-Mart so he could stock up on some essentials. He was staying with a friend in Kihei but couldn’t get a hold of him so we went back to the rental house and hung out for a while, introducing him to the rest of the family.

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Our first sunset in Maui

I couldn’t avoid my first sunset in Hawaii as it was so beautiful. I snapped a few photos of it and then Steve & I went to dinner at a BBQ place to meet up with his buddy. After dinner I came back home, hung out with the family for a bit, and then crashed early so that getting up at 4:30AM to be ready for diving wouldn’t be too much of a shock on my system.

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Drive to Saskatoon

After our lovely honeymoon in the Okanagan, we packed up Jackie’s belongings and had them shipped to Saskatoon to await our arrival. Rather than paying to ship her car, we decided that it would be fun to take a drive across British Columbia and Alberta to our new home in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The overall 17 hour drive led us through the beautiful Rocky Mountains and one particular pit stop was made in from of Mount Robson in BC but very close to the AB border. As we were pulling into Jasper to spend the night at a hostel, we were pleasantly surprised to see the wildlife just grazing away at the side of the road.

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Newly married, posing in front of Mount Robson

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Mount Robson in all its splendor

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