Turtles, Fish and Sand…Oh Mai…Tai!


A long awaited trip to Hawaii finally came to pass last week. It was everything we had hoped it would be and more! It was made possible by my sister. My amazing, wonderful, generous sister, Joanne. As if she hadn’t already done enough to earn free cat care for life! (Pictured above with her hubby Randy, who happens to be one of my best friends also.) The cast of characters included Me, Howard, Rory, Joel, Joanne, Randy, their son Jack, and daughter Caitlin who joined us a couple of days later.

The week started off with a startling revelation.  As we were in line to check our bags, Joanne said, “We can stand over here, because we’re flying first class.” To which I said, “No, we aren’t!”  But oh yes, we were! That would be Joanne and me, with the rest of the group back with the …the regular people. It was a special gift to me from her, She had managed to keep this extra detail a secret for eight months! You get leg room and white tablecloths in first class. And drinks before take off. But on to our trip…..


As is the tradition in her family trips to Maui, we rose easily on our first morning there, while still, theoretically, on California time, to make the trek up Haleakala to see the sunrise. It was truly beautiful  and so wonderful to be part of the adventure!




Joel is pictured,taking in the amazing view from a rock formation on the drive back down.

The next several days were spent working on two quests of mine. To snorkel to my heart’s content, and to pursue colorful drinks, with or without little umbrellas in them. Check off goals met!

I loved being in the water every day. One of the most fun things we did was simply playing in the waves. We never got tired of it, being pushed onto the shore and sucked back out again. And when we left the beach, we didn’t really leave. We brought it back to the room with us. I had at least an inch of sand in my bathing suit each day.

I don’t have any pictures of the many beautiful fish I saw. I wish I had had a camera that I could use underwater, but in some ways, I’m glad I did not. It’s easy to get bogged down on photographing the moment you are trying to enjoy, and actually miss the real moment itself. So, I was fully in the experience. I swam with turtles! It was magical! And the fish, so beautiful, so many different kinds. Moorish Idols, Yellow Tangs….and a whole bunch that I never bothered to look up. It was incredible. I have always said that watching fish swim in a tank is relaxing and mesmerizing. This was like being IN the tank with them! I snorkeled every day, 7 days in a row, only missing the last Saturday when we had to leave for the airport by 9 and I was feeling a cold coming on.


The view from Monday night’s dinner in Lahaina, at Fleetwood’s. Yeh, that Fleetwood. As in Mac.

Tuesday we spent more time in the water and then took a drive up the coast.


Wednesday evening brought us a catamaran cruise. That was a lot of fun. The food and drinks were great and all 8 of us were aboard.

The plan for Thursday was our drive on the road to Hana.  It’s a beautiful drive, known for the journey more than the destination. It did not disappoint.

There are a lot of slow cars on this road. It has a lot of curves and it’s full of tourists. I pity the poor locals, but I’m sure most are used to this and probably plan ahead, allowing enough time. At one point, we were being tailgated by an apparently very frustrated driver behind us, so Howard pulled over to let her go by. She promptly rolled down her window, yelled at us, and flipped us the finger. Rory commented later that she had had a bumper sticker…” Slow down, it’s not the Mainland.”  Irony at its finest. She gave us a good laugh.



Our first stop was a hike to waterfall. It turned out to be a bit more challenging that we expected. It was a good 20 plus minute hike over slippery boulders and I should have told Rory to wear something sturdier than flip flops. But she was a trooper, and we all made it to the waterfall.


Next we stopped at Black Sand Beach. The waves were fast but we couldn’t resist throwing on the snorkeling gear to see what the underworld held, and sure enough, there were species we hadn’t seen before. A few minutes of that and the urge to just play in the waves became to too great.

In the pic above, there are two little heads above the water, the two farthest out. That’s Rory and Joel. I was on the beach for a moment and saw them out there. I yelled “Don’t go too far out!”. And then I realized, what was that? I had opened my mouth and my mother had come out! Because I realized I had no good answer when they shouted back “Why not?”. So, I jumped right back in the water and played in the waves too. It was getting rough out there but I couldn’t think of a reason we weren’t safe.


After a good lunch in Hana, we headed back.  Rory asked us to stop to see some colorful trees. I didn’t realize what she meant until we found them. Not just colorful flowers or leaves…no, colorful bark! Reds, greens, grays, you name it. The photo doesn’t do it justice.


We were now down to one last full day. What to do? The guys were not into it, but Rory and I had a plan. To go zip lining! (after snorkeling again) I was OK with it. But when I asked the guide if we could control the speed, I didn’t get the answer I wanted. “No!”. I had to step off and let myself travel up to 30 miles an hour, hanging from a strap.. But knowing that life’s regrets come from NOT doing things, rather than  regretting what you do DO, I went for it. And I’m so glad I did, because it was a blast!

And then, we had to come home. A fabulous week came to an end. But coming back first class made the transition to the real world just a little easier!

Just another thank you to my sis and to Randy too! The memories will last a lifetime!

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