Sailing Snorkeling Trip

Before I left Portland, I did some reading and wrote portions of a post about Molokini Crater, a snorkeling destination off the coast of Maui. I think I doomed our voyage before it began. The winds descended from the north and the crater was too choppy to snorkel.

Instead, we sailed to the north off of Olowalu Beach. The winds whipped the sails as we hit up to 18 knots (almost 30 miles an hour). We had chosen a company (Paragon) that is known for using their sails as much as possible, and they certainly did. As we cut through the water, flying fish leapt out of the water and flew away from the twin hull of the catamaran.

When we reached Olowalu, the water was crystal clear and we could see the coral from the deck of the boat. Our captain informed us that Olowalu acts as a turtle cleaning station: algae grows on the shells of the turtles, wrasse (a type of fish) eats algae, so the turtles come here to have their shells cleaned. It’s a perfect symbiotic relationship.

As I entered the water, I swam away from the boat and put my mask in the water. I immediately saw two turtles floating serenely below me! As I continued on my way, I saw three more. By the end of the trip, I saw 6 or 7 turtles having their shells cleaned. They each entered the wrasse cleaning station like it was a carwash. If I don’t see another turtle this trip, I have satisfied my need to see turtles.

Penelope

P.S. What better way to follow up a morning on the water than with a giant shave ice? Flavor: Tiger’s Blood (strawberry and pina colada)

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Snorkeling: Day 1 in Maui

Calm descends. It’s only me, the coral, and whatever fish I can see. The water crackles with the activity of some unknown creature. There’s a Moorish Idol! I love their graceful movements, with their threadlike fin swaying. Now a pufferfish! It’s the biggest one I’ve ever seen, though it’s not puffed. Ulysses comes into my field of vision and dives to take a picture.

I poke my head above the water for a moment and soak in the sun. Marie (of justaddshoes.wordpress.com) flags me: she has found an eel hiding in the rocks. A shiver descends my spine as I watch it slowly open and close its mouth, wriggling around a rock outcropping. I feel that there is something malevolent about eels, as it slithers across the reef.

Our first full day on Maui was spent at two beaches: Kahekili Beach Park and Honolua Bay. Both are on the west side of the island. We beat the crowds to Kahekili and the beach was beautiful. After dropping our towels on a grassy knoll studded with palm trees, we entered the clear water. After snorkeling, we laid on the grass and dried off in the sun.

Honolua Bay was a very different experience. Under Hawaiian law, beaches are public–you cannot own a beach. It is my understanding that you can own the land adjacent to the beach, but have to allow for public access. At Honolua Bay, we walked down a dirt road to gain access to the water and were greeted by a man who said he owned the beach. He laid out the rules–don’t touch the fish/coral/turtles, don’t bring any rocks/coral/marine life on shore, no suntan lotion in the water–and told us not to lose our keys. Honolua Bay is marine preserve, so I understand and respect the rules. But the delivery was just strange, and the buildings next to the shore looked like squatters shacks. There is no sand to speak of but instead a “beach” of rocks. I was in constant danger of twisting an ankle as we walked to a clear spot to set down our gear and enter to water.

In spite of that introduction, the snorkeling at Honolua was fantastic. The water was calm, the fish were larger than at Kahekili, and the coral was more complex. I definitely recommend it–just be prepared for the “owner” and the rocks!

Penelope

*I will be adding pictures to this post once they become available, but until then, here’s a picture of the hills above Ma’alea.

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Every Travel Blog Needs a Travel Mascot

Homer the Travel Mascot

 

Meet Homer!   

I would love to have some fantastic story about how we found Homer on a dusty shelf, in a long-forgotten corner of an antique shop on our travels in Marrakesh. Unfortunately, we haven’t made it to Marrakesh and we got Homer at a store on the Oregon coast, where he was surrounded by several almost-identical pigs. I’m pretty sure he was mass-produced in China. But isn’t he cute?   

Homer will travel with us and appear in many of the pictures we post here. He, along with our love of tasty pork, are the inspiration for the title of our blog, and it’s theme: travel from a pork perspective.   

So, welcome to the team, Homer! May we have many adventures in our future!   

Penelope

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Anticipation

I love the anticipation of travel. We are leaving in 3 days for Maui. I have a packing list and pile of clothing. We bought new snorkel gear 3 months ago and a waterproof housing for our digital camera 6 months ago. We are planners.

And, yet, there are reservations I don’t want to make and plans I don’t want to pin down. For travel to be fun, I think there needs to be some fluidity. Structured travel is…less imaginative.

Obviously, some things need to be planned in advance: we need reservations for the luau and the popular restaurant. We need to book that snorkel trip to Molokini Crater that fills up. But the rest of it? Let’s play it by ear and see what happens!

Penelope

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A Beginning

Experiencing new people, new places, new foods and new languages is what keeps life interesting. To travel to different places and experience foreign cultures is (mostly) a pleasure. To immerse ourselves in those other cultures is a challenge.

Today, we are beginning to blog about our travel experiences. I say “we” because this blog is authored by two people–Penelope and Ulysses. It may take us some time to find our voices, but we aim to be insightful, sometimes funny and sometimes serious. Over the coming months and, hopefully, years, we will bring you our ongoing travel experiences, reflections on past travel experiences, interesting travel gadgets and products, and reviews of travel guides and travel writing. This is a place for us to share our thoughts about the big, wide world that lies beyond our doorstep. We can only hope that someone out there reads and enjoys our travels as much as we have in the past, and hope to in the future.

Penelope and Ulysses

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