Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Green and blue - but hopefully no technicolour yawns

We began the day by rolling joints on the top deck of UnCruise's Safari Explorer as the moon set and the sun rose. Yoga session over, we were ready for a day of good food, exercise and exploring Maui. First activity was snorkelling over a jetty destroyed in a 1992 cyclone, the sunken remains of which have become a reef where, particularly, green turtles hang out. Though marine biologist Dai Mar got super-excited about the purple sea slugs - "I love these things!" - the rest of us were more pleased by seeing half a dozen chilled-out turtles cruising around, taking turns at the cleaning station where small colourful fish worked them over, nibbling away the algae. (Though the algae was green, I didn't need Dai Mar to tell me that's not why they're called green sea turtles - I learned recently at a rescue centre at Le Meridien on Bora Bora in Tahiti, that it's because they have green-coloured fat.)
We spent the rest of the morning cruising for whales again, seeing a few, and even listening for them on a hydrophone, which was educational since the main thing we could hear were engines and generators from the other boats in the bay - noise pollution in the water.

After lunch we went ashore to have a look around Lahaina, which is very like the Bay of Islands' Russell in both history and appearance: both former capitals, riotous dens of iniquity beloved of whalers, and now colourfully touristy, full of pretty buildings converted into souvenir shops and cafes (though possibly heavier here on the shave ice - a puzzlingly popular sickly sweet Hawaiian treat). It might be a bit quieter tomorrow: today all adventure sports like parasailing and diving stop because of the whales breeding. (Yesterday was also an ending, by the way: the last ever sugar cane harvest, the industry undercut by cheap labour elsewhere.)

The day ended with sociable cocktails, photo sharing, and yet another delicious dinner - interrupted again by Captain Rod, this time warning us of a potentially "uncomfortable" crossing of the Alenuihaha Channel in the small hours and the advice to batten down our hatches. That is, alas, one of the downsides of small-ship sailing...

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