October 2, Lahaina, Maui
The last Hawaiian port was also our last chance to catch up with e-mail, banking, bill paying, and such. So when we got off the tender (small boat that ferries people ashore when there’s no deep-water dock), we went in search of a coffee shop. They’re the usual site for Internet cafés.
The walk took us under Lahaina’s magnificent Banyan tree.
When India presented the gift to the capital of the Hawaiian kingdom, the tree was eight feet tall. That was 1873. In 2008 the tree occupies an entire block along the wharf.
We found high-speed Internet service at the Maui Swiss Café, in a courtyard opposite the Banyan tree. The owners are a Swiss couple who visited Maui fifteen years before deciding to say goodbye to winter forever.
Caught up with e-tasks, we decided to catch a Maui Bus and sightsee via local transport. The bus stop is right behind the Wharf Shopping Center.
While we waited a couple of earnest young Mormon missionaries offered us a chance at salvation. We declined, but since I grew up in a splinter group of that faith, I enjoyed the chance to lead the conversation around to Unitarianism. The idea of a non-doctrinaire, no-creed, principle-based religious community more than 400 years older than the Mormon church came as something of an uncomfortable surprise to the earnest young men. They could see I was a lost cause.
A #20 bus took us south along the coast and then inland to Kahului Bay. Another cruise ship was anchored on that side of the island. From there we caught the #40 Upcountry bus that travels up the Haleakala Highway, circles around Makawao, and then heads back to Kahului. Our circle tour, round trip from Lahaina, cost us a total of $3 each.
A surprise for us was the village of Makawao, tucked along a side road off the highway that leads to Haleakala Crater. We hadn’t heard of the town that had been supply center for a farming region until the 1940s, when World War II brought thousands of Marines to a nearby base. The town emptied when they left, but it did not disappear. Now it is home to a thriving art scene, with galleries, cafés, and studios lining the main street.
Back in Lahaina we wandered along the old whaling village’s quaint streets
and then cooled off with a Kona beer at Kimo’s, a waterfront eatery.
After watching the sun set beyond our waiting boat, we hopped a tender and headed back to our rolling home.
Because we are on an adventure whose outcome is uncertain, I find myself wondering, in each port, “Could I live in a place like this?” The answer is generally a qualified yes, which increases my anticipation for what’s ahead.