Sunday, March 20, 2016

Maui Trip, Day 9 (Friday, January 15)

For Day 1, click here.
For Day 2, click here.
For Day 3, click here.
For Day 4, click here
For Day 5, click here
For Day 6, click here.
For Day 7, click here.
For Day 8, click here.

Friday was our last full vacation day on Maui. Having experienced all the major highlights we had planned for the trip, we were on a more leisurely pace by this point - the way vacations are meant to be. :)

For breakfast, we went to a local crepe place called "Belle Surf Cafe." Again, Google Maps with the fantastic reviews led us here, and we were not disappointed. My husband had the "California Crepe," while I opted for an "American Bagel," plus we got a large hot chocolate and a dessert crepe to share.

The cafe was located among some other little stores, as well as an open-air fruit market, so after breakfast we stuck around a while, picking out gifts and souvenirs for family and friends, and admiring the local produce, before heading back to the guest house and just relaxing. 

After the fantastic snorkel experience we had had two days earlier on board the Friendly Charters Lani Kai, we had booked an afternoon snorkel with them for that Friday afternoon. Unlike the morning snorkel cruises, the afternoon ones typically go to one of the sites along the shore, due to the afternoon waves being rougher and making trips out to Molokini crater unsafe, not to mention creating poor visibility. 

Imagine how pleasantly we were surprised when we arrived at the boat in the early afternoon, to find out that it was one of only a handful of days each year where the waters were calm enough to allow an afternoon trip to Molokini crater! This really was a wonderful blessing that we had not expected. Again, the crew was exceptionally nice and helpful. Considering that we were only expecting to be taken to one of the nearby snorkel spots along the coast, and yet they still spent the extra time and gas to go all the way out to Molokini because the weather permitted it, we were even more impressed with them. If you are going to Maui and trying to decide which of the dozens of snorkel cruise operators to choose, we highly recommend Friendly Charters. They did not disappoint in any way on either of our two trips with them. 

When we arrived at the crater, we were the only boat there that afternoon, further confirming to us that we really did choose the best cruise operator. The waters were perfect, almost as calm as they had been in the morning a couple of days earlier. Visibility was once again exceptional, and my husband and I spent the next hour snorkeling side-by-side. 

I was famished by the time the boat was ready to head back to shore. After our big breakfast, I had skipped lunch that day, and it was now the middle of the afternoon. We enjoyed some sandwiches on the ride back, as well as the cookies that were offered. We also got to see many more whales, including a group of five males right in front of our boat that were fighting with each other to impress a female. Two of these whales jumped out of the water, and head-butted each other before crashing back into the water, which looked like an underwater bomb had gone off in front of us. Even the captain was impressed, and said that this was a first for him. 

Not my image - I was too busy looking to turn around and grab my camera

Back on shore, we headed to the nearby Wailea Mall to visit a local ukulele store, where my husband wanted to buy Solomon and ukulele music book of Hawaiian tunes as a souvenir. Solomon bought himself a ukulele some time ago and taught himself how to play it, so he was excited to get this gift. We also picked up several unique guitar picks at the store, and chatted with the owner, a German lady. 

Also at the mall, we visited the store of the Honolulu Cookie Company to pick out our final souvenirs. The ladies there were super nice and gave us tons of free cookies, enough to take one home for each of our kids (I did hide them from my husband to make sure they wouldn't fall prey to a late-night snack attack). 

Back at the house, we relaxed a little longer, and then headed out for one final dinner by the beach. We picked up some savory and sweet pies at the Maui Pie Company, as well as some gelato from Ono Gelato next door, all of which we enjoyed while overlooking the ocean at night one last time.

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