Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Happy in Hawaii!

We had a great time in Hawaii! Have you been waiting
with baited breath to see photos?!

I had almost 600 pictures to sort through and most of them
needed some editing. I was actually a little discouraged --
I usually have a better ratio of pictures I'm happy with.
Not sure what happened this time around -- We certainly
weren't lacking for beautiful landscapes! So many of these
were taken on the fly -- I was focused on talking with
people and doing things. It was one busy trip! Twenty
people and just as many activities.

No matter. What David and I managed to do was have the
camera out enough to capture the memory of an amazing
voyage. That's good enough for me. I decided to include
a million just because -- how often does one get to
Maui? Seriously. Pretty cool opportunity. So, get ready
to travel vicariously!




One more thing before we get into the details...
We want to express our gratitude to PCI for this
experience. It's fabulous they offer a branch trip as an
incentive, and then for them to include significant others,
as well, is just beyond generous. We all looked forward
to this for months, as we have each year we've been able
to go on a company trip. There was an extra buzz in the
air this year, knowing that we were heading for Hawaii.
Amazing. PCI arranged fabulous activities, constant
transportation. You name it, they thought of it.
Incredible.

Also, a special thanks to Kim Baldwin who worked on
organising all the details. Mahalo, PCI!
Mahalo is the Hawaiian word for thank you.
(Muh-hollow.) Much Mahalo!
And now for the rundown...

Wednesday:
All 20 of us flew into Honolulu. Puddle jumped to Maui.
Got a beautiful lei upon arrival at
our hotel, which was
absolutely gorgeous and right on the water.
Had an hour to dip our toes into the ocean (or in David's
case, his whole person). My first time to touch the Pacific.
Amazing. Got ready for dinner. Ate on the rooftop at the
Oyster Bar in Lahaina, overlooking the sailboat spotted
ocean as the sun set. Fruity cocktails and seafood were
the order of the night!

Our group at the airport, getting a proper start to
our holiday! Cocktails at 7am, anyone?

Kim, Betty, Anthony, Anthony, Bob, Jenny, Justin


Angie, Ryan, Cynthia, David, Arthur


By the time we got to Honolulu, we were a little more alert.
This is Steve. (p.s. this is the angel who drove us the night of
Lindsay's bachelorette party. He also joined us for Thanks-
giving this year.) Good guy.

We saw this boat, tipped on it's side, just off the shore.


Photo borrowed from Harrycalgary on Flickr.com

Naturally, we thought it was wrecking at that very moment.

Come to find out, it had been in that exact spot for four years.
It was parked on Halloween night of 2004 a few hundred yards
from Front Street in Downtown Lahaina. A swell came and drug
the boat onto a reef. The owner has been unable to recover it
and so it sits. It recently became property of the state.

The bar tender was telling David that if you ship wreck
on coral, it's an automatic $50,000 fine and then additional
(and expensive) fines daily thereafter until you remove the
boat. Removing it in a way that preserves the coral is an
extensive process. Your only other alternative to the daily
fines is to relinquish your boat to the state -- just hand it over
-- so they can strip it of all the things that would be toxic
to the water and surrounding sea life. I guess that's what
this person decided to do. Crazy. I can only imagine they
needed a stiff drink after that! Interesting story, I thought.

Thurday:
Met early in the morning for our adventures --
Guys went golfing at an amazing course called the Kapalua
Plantation. David said he felt like he was looking at a
postcard on every single hole. Girls met for breakfast
and then headed off to the spa! I did a hot stone massage
(incredible) and a Happy Feet Reflexology (also incredible).
While the rest of the girls stayed to indulge themselves
further, I headed to the beach! It was perfect. They all
got down there a couple hours later for lunch, sun, and
boogie boarding. The boys got there for the last hour and
then we all went to get ready for dinner at the Lahaina Luau!

It was fun to revisit the view first thing that morning.
Such a beautiful place.





No pictures of my massage! So onto the ones David took at
the course...












All the guys, after golf (minus Arthur and Jesse who were
smart enough to get spa treatments). That's David second
in on the left. I don't know if you can see it, but in the
back left corner is Bob, Justin and Ryan fanning out their
winnings from the day. Silly boys!

After spa-ing, it was down to the beach! THE BEST part of the
WHOLE trip -- sun, sand, water, waves. It felt so good!
Like I said, I got a couple extra beach hours, and that made
me the happiest girl in Maui. Seriously, having alone time in
front of the ocean is like my own personal church. It always
reminds of the vast power and beauty of nature. Also, how my

life is such a small dot in the grand scheme of things. It was nice
once everyone else trickled down, too. We had a lot of laughs that
afternoon, especially as I tried to pull my body out of the water

-- I kept getting knocked down by waves! Graceful, it was not.


This is Jenn and me running into the water to body board.

Dinner at the Lahaina Luau was fabulous. All entertainment
was centered around local custom, culture and history. So,
I learned a lot, and we all really enjoyed watching the hula
dancing. It's really an art! There was local music being played
as we strolled in. They quickly situated us with a mai tai and
a beautiful lei.

So I wondered, if they hand out a lei to everyone at the
airport, the hotel and the luau -- there must be enormous
fields somewhere growing these amazing flowers. I thought
that would be something to see! So, I asked. Turns out they
actually import them from Tahiti. Interesting.


Beautiful local music.


Mai tais for everyone!


They had people set up around the perimeter, demonstrating
local crafts and such. I was taken with what beautiful skin
people have there.


My sexy D.


Jenn (This is my friend that got us into boot camp).


More local crafts


Betty and me!


Just a look at the crowd and the grounds


This is the pig roast pit. I was a little confused at first as to
where the pig was. Maybe my brain waves were getting
muddled up in all the mai tais. Apparently, they wrap
the pig in tin foil and leaves, put it over hot coals,
and then cover it with sand for insulation so it cooks
faster. Pretty cool. I didn't go over to watch them pull
the pig out though -- too much for me.


Kim, looking islandy and radiant!


Cynthia and James -- such a cute couple, these two.
(They have two of the most adorable kids ever.)


Barb, still glowing from her wedding just four
weeks prior, I see.



Angie and Ryan, stealing kisses.








This guy was playing the ukulele and singing as we headed
out -- beautiful Hawaiian music. Had to get a picture.
Such a fun night!

Friday:
Another busy day full of adventures. About half the guys
headed out for another day of golf. David was, of course,
among them. He wouldn't pass up free golf in Hawaii!
The rest of us took a beautiful bus ride about two hours away
where we went zip lining! SO MUCH FUN. We got to do it five
times, each zip line increasing in distance and speed. The last
one was almost 800 feet across. Pretty cool to float over that
much open space -- made me want to be able to fly. There was
also an extension bridge between the fourth and fifth line.

In between each line, our guides told us a little about birds
indigenous to the islands that are in conservatory programs
which attempt to help rebuild and protect their depleting
populations. Some of the money PCI paid for our zip line
adventure went to the birds, which I thought was great.

By the time we got back to the hotel from our outings, it
was time to get ready for our dinner cruise. Unfortunately,

half our group, including yours truly, was in the back of the
boat getting sick the whole time! The waves were pretty
choppy. Oh my god -- it was MIS-RE-BLE, all three hours
of it. But what are you gonna do? We went on a dinner cruise
in San Diego, and it was perfect. So, who knew? After that,
I was feeling pretty beat up. All of us sicklings went back to
the hotel, regrouped and then grabbed a bite of dinner. I
mention this because I have to tell you about the calamari
I ordered -- it was like nothing I have ever tasted before!
So delicious!! It was 100% different than what you get at
restaurants on the mainland. Huge, tender, full of flavor.
In a blind taste test, I never in a million years would have
even guessed it to be calamari. Very interesting to me the
difference.


While riding out to zip line, I learned that they burn
the sugar cane fields before harvesting them. It gets

rid of the bugs and everything surrounding the actual
cane where the sugar is. We saw this a few times --
must be sugar cane season.


Yes, I do realise I look like a total tool box here.
That was kind of the point -- it's just hard to be
sexy in this get up.


Here we are, waiting our turn between zips.
That's Cooper and James to my right.


Coming in for a landing!

I know David is passionate about golf, and it wouldn't
have made sense to him to skip golf in Hawaii for anything,
but I really wish he could have done this with us. It was
such a good time! He would have loved it, without a doubt.
Maybe we can do it together another time though.


Me on the bridge!

As we were walked over to board the boat, we got to pass
one of the most amazing sites in Maui (aside from the
powerful and vast ocean, the lush green, the majestic
mountains -- the whole place is one amazing site after
another). It's the Banyon Tree in Lahaina.

I just couldn't capture with my camera what my eye could see.
Having an explanation with the pictures might help you visualise
this. So, allow me to explain...

"This Banyan Tree was first planted in April, 1873, and
marked the 50th Anniversary of Christian missionary work
in Lahaina," explains www.hawaiiweb.com. "The tree was
imported from India when only eight feet tall. It now
stands over 60 feet high, has 12 major trunks in addition
to a huge core. It stretches over a 200-foot area and
shades 2/3 of an acre," it continues.

So, as the tree grew, many of its branches grew back
down into the ground, making new trunks, all of which
are connected to and part of the original tree.
Does that make sense? Now for the visual...


Here's the main tree. Huge. Beautiful. But only a portion
of the entire thing.


These little clusters that look like small, gathered tree trunks --
those are branches that have grown from the original
tree and back down into the ground! What you see here is
about a quarter of those secondary trucks. This thing is
HUGE.


This is one of the large clusters.


And this is kind of what it looks like as you're walking up to it.
Again, this is just a small portion of the whole.
Pretty amazing, huh???

As we were getting ready to board our dinner cruise...

Barb and Jason. I like this one.


David and me in line to board.

Now for the view as we were leaving the island
(moments before sickness struck!). I love watching
how the light of sunset changes the way things look
by the second.









Saturday:
Met the crew for another early outing -- Snorkling! This
time, we all went together, which was really nice. And
those of us who got sick on the dinner cruise were armed
with Dramamine!! The water was so much calmer though. We
were good to go -- not one problem. Whew!! It was a fun
ride out, actually. They served us a light breakfast and got
us all geared up. We snorkled at Molokini (Mall-o-keen-y)
for an hour and a half. It was awesome to have so much time!
Then, they shuttled us over to another area to see the sea
turtles. After that - lunch, drinks and a nice ride back to
port. What a fun day! Since this was our last afternoon
and evening and we had been maintaining a pretty fast pace,
Kim and Anthony decided to push dinner back a bit. That
gave us some extra time to play and relax. A few people did
the nap thing, most of the group headed out to jet ski. I
caught an extra hour on the beach and in the ocean. Perfect.
When the jet skiers got back, we had a few drinks by the pool
and then got ready for dinner. Since we had such a lovely meal
the first night at the Oyster Bar, we decided to head back
there again. It was a really nice night and the perfect end
to an amazing trip! Now for some pictures of the day...

Before heading out for snorkeling:


David and I got down to the meeting area first.
So, I have him take a couple pictures of me
before my hair freaked out from over exposure
to humidity! Ha!






The dramamine crew - these ladies (and a few others)
were the ones that took the dinner cruise in with me
on the back of the boat. Here we are, this time armed
and ready, for our next adventure at sea.

On the boat, heading out:





"Hey, D. I have to tell you a secret..."
Gets him everytime!


Anthony and Jenny

Snorkeling:
We had SO MANY good pictures from snorkeling -- so I decided
to do a seperate post of all our under water shots. (Should be
up tomorrow.) I'd like to share a few details here though,
since the next post will be all photos...


This is a picture of the little island we ferried out to.
It's called Molokini. Our boat stopped right inside the
curve, which is where we did our exploring. This way, we
were protected from the waves that were crashing against
the other side and the strong currents they produced.
Picture courtesy of www.hawaiiactivities.com.


Another view of the island. So pretty.
This is uninhabited space.

Here are a couple of cute ones Jenn and Arthur shared with us...


The back of Jenn and myself in the water.


A sea turtle!


Jenn and Arthur - they did "snuba", kind of in
between snorkle and scuba, as you might have guessed.


Another picture of a sea turtle. This one taken
off that earlier mentioned site. It showed off
the detail a little better.

You'll have to wait a day to see the rest.
They're worth the wait, I assure you!

Heading back to shore:

Look how happy the ocean makes this water baby!


Arthur, Jenn, Kim, me, Cynthia, Jason, and Barb.

Once back on land....


...Most of the group went off to jet ski. (They were
pretty far away from me, but I used my zoom lens
and then cropped and enlarged the picture so we could
have a little memory of that.) You can't really tell
who is who, but trust me, that's our group!

While they were jet skiing, I had some time to relax on the
beach and snap a few photographs.


The Aloha state's flower is a yellow hibiscus.
This one, while not purely yellow, caught my eye.


I learned that each island has adopted a flower as
their own local emblem, also. Maui chose the Lokelani,
a small rose. Picture courtesy of www.statesymbolsusa.org.


You can just barley make out the "L" on the mountainside.
That L is for Lahaina.






I couldn't go to the ocean and not share some waves with you...













Pretty sure this guy is not indigenous to the islands. : )
Cute as a button though!



Once everyone got done jet skiing, we went pool side
for some drinks! That was fun. After four of those, I
was inspired to buy David some cuff links at the jewelry
store on the way back up to the room. I've actually been
wanted to get him a pair for years now, and these were
so beautiful -- made of steel and Hawaiian Koa hardwood.


They explained to me that the Koa is a large tree unique
to the Hawaiian Islands, found nowhere else in the world.
It was once used for canoe hulls, surfboards, storage
containers, weapons, and tools. Now, Hawaiians use it
for furniture, crafts, musical instruments, and jewelry.
It that was a fun purchase!

Sunday:
Sad to be leaving but so thankful for the
experience and chance to go to Maui with a great group
on the generosity of PCI! This was a long travel day.
We met downstairs at 6am to fly into Vegas. There we
had to transfer our luggage, and sadly, five people
in our group didn't make the connecting flight in time.
It was just a tight transition. Those of us who did
make it got to Phoenix around 9pm and headed home.
Back to reality!

Lindsay, Michael and Tate (their puppy) stayed at our house
with Killian and Norah while we were gone. It was so nice of
them to do that! We had planned to check them into the Pet
Hotel, but this was loads better. I didn't worry about them
one ounce. We are so lucky to have such good friends! Here's
a quick snap shot Lindsay grabbed with her camera phone of
Tate and Norah playing. She said these two had nonstop fun.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Awesome pictures! Sounds like it was a fun trip!