From beginning to end, we truly had the ideal last day on Maui. I got to start with a two-mile jog up lower H, so you know I’m happy. We then had a lazy morning, eventually making our way to Ka’anapali’s Kahekili beach park; in our opinion the optimal place to snorkel in west Maui. The spot did not disappoint today. We saw forests of fish! In a valley of white sand wedges under a coral cliff, I stumbled upon a green sea turtle bigger than any other I’ve ever seen. The granddaddy of sea turtles, he had wedged himself under a lip of protruding coral so he could rest on the soft sandy bottom. From the surface he seemed to be nearly as long as I am tall but it was tough to tell and his girth was massive, I’m sure he weighed as much as Greg and I put together. Later Greg would ask me, “How old do you think he was? 200 ?” Well, maybe not quite that old, but close! We swam on to see a massive eel, putting on a show chasing fish with angry teeth and mouth open. Just a bit further north we found another smaller turtle, also sleepily nodding on a sand bed, held down by a coral anchor as well. Rounding the coral mound we found a more medium sized turtle friend. We got to watch this turtle come up for air and peeked our heads up above the surface as she did. Another medium large turtle passed by the sleepy heads on her way to somewhere. “Howzit?”She seemed to say, “Fancy a swim?” I swam after her for quite a while, keeping a respectful following distance and she was kind enough to go slow enough that I could keep up. We had probably been in the water for nearly two hours and were starting to get tired, so we had to bid farewell to our swimming partner and head back toward our entry point. On the way we got to see the other 3 turtles once more, still in their same spots!
We went home to clean up and then ventured out toward Wailuku. We stopped along the way at Leodah’s Pie for a handheld savory pie or two for lunch. We had the mushroom, herb, and cheese as well as the sweet corn, cilantro, lime and cojita. Our destination was the ‘Iao Needle. A lovely ride through the green hillsides and we were at the park entrance, beautiful paths and a gentle hike revealed waterfalls, streams, tropical plants and more!
On the way back, we stopped at Maui Tropical Plantation shops for chocolate mac nut ice cream and some shopping. We continued on to do some window-shopping in Lahaina and have dinner at Aloha Mixed Plate. We had the perfect table to watch the sunset over the sea. A young woman selling leis came near our table and just as we were about to decline, she said, “Hey you guys!” in a friendly tone. “Oh, it’s you!” Greg declared surprised! It as Ali from the surf school! We love that we’ve met so many nice people during our month and that so many of them seem genuinely pleased to meet up with us in various spots around town. Speaking of local friends, our dinner was followed by one last stop at Lulu’s to give Howard a hug and say goodbye. Of course he invited Greg to play one last song. “Under the Bridge,” seemed apt for returning to L.A. tomorrow. Back home I contemplated our last day, running…check, snorkeling…check, hiking…check, great lunch…check, ice cream…check, dinner at one of our favorite spots…check, beautiful sunset…check, music…check, …what more could anyone want out of a day on Maui. Our last day contained all of the aspects we could have hoped for when planning this trip. I can’t think of a better way we could have spent our last day here.