Lahaina, Maui – April 28, 2009

Today was a catch-up day so we headed to a bank to draw out some American money and then to an Internet café to check e-mail. Half a dozen computers crowded into a small candy shop, with no place to sit and have a coffee…not sure how that makes an Internet café. But no matter. For $4.80/hour or 8¢/minute – no minimum. Hard to beat a price like that.

We fell in love with this local icon back in October 2008 so returned to The Banyan Tree as soon as we arrived in Lahaina
We fell in love with this local icon back in October 2008 so returned to The Banyan Tree as soon as we arrived in Lahaina

Naturally we passed under the giant banyan tree on our way to doing our errands. We visited it last October and were stunned by its size. Banyans have a habit of spreading their branches and then sending down shoots from the limbs. The shoots become trunks themselves, and it all turns into a complicated weave of trunks, shoots, limbs, and leaves. This one was planted in 1873. Local volunteers keep it trimmed so that it doesn’t expand beyond the square block set aside for it.

The mountains of Maui rise quickly beyond the narrow stretch of habitable shoreline
The mountains of Maui rise quickly beyond the narrow stretch of habitable shoreline

We like Lahaina, spread like a beaded necklace along the shoreline. As with other Pacific islands, the ribbon of flat land along the shore is bounded by interior mountains that rise quickly to heights that seem moderate to a western Canadian but would look towering to Australians.

The day’s wandering didn’t take us far beyond the strip of shops that line the shore. We  had too much e-mail to catch up on. This was a tender stop so there’s no quick on-and-off the ship. But we were content to hang out, watch tourists (of which there were literally thousands since two cruise ships had disgorged their human contents onto the little town), and reach out to friends and family.

The surfer paddled out to catch a wave, then rode it back toward shore
The surfer paddled out to catch a wave, then rode it back toward shore

As we rode the tender back to the ship, we watched the surfer in the last photo. He would stand on his surfboard and paddle out to the waves. When the right one came along, he would turn around and ride it back toward shore.

The glow on the water, the burnished hue cast by a setting sun, the sailboat wreck that sits mute testimony to the sea’s strength, the surfer riding low waves – it was all a golden end to a quiet day.

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