Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Maui: Trilogy Cruise

When I stepped off the ferry at Lahaina on Maui, I had to flag a taxi to take me to my condo. Unfortunately, the ferry arrives about 5:00 PM but the rental car agencies on West Maui close at 4:00 and I could not get my car until my second day on Maui. And then when I arrived at the condo, I was told that my friend's condo building was being re-roofed — so I was being accommodated in a different unit of the same complex — so that I would not be disturbed by the noise. No big deal and the other unit was nearly identical and quite satisfactory.

The next day, Hertz delivered my rental car just in time for me to go up to Kapalua for their annual logo-wear sale. I was lucky to be on Maui on one of the two days for the sale — I was able to buy three Kapalua golf shirts and two Kapalua baseball hats for $107. Often you pay more than that for one shirt.

Shortly after that, I went to the airport to pick up my friends, John and Patty, who live in Austin, Texas. John is an old friend, who I first met at Control Data Corporation in Minnesota many years ago when we both were first out of college. John comes to Phoenix each year for a long weekend of golf and visiting, both with me and with his daughter who also lives in our area. This year when we began to plan our golf weekend, I realized that it was about the time that I would be in Hawai`i and suggested that John and Patty join me on Maui. I knew it was a long shot but they had never visited the islands. Well, everything worked out and I was now on my way to the airport with two leis for the traditional greeting for travelers coming to Hawai`i.

Our first full day was for golf — more on that later. Dinner that night after golf was at Leilani's On The Beach at Ka`anapali. We were joined by my new friend, Jean who also attended Eddie's photography workshop on Moloka`i. She is also from the Lone Star State so I was surrounded by Texans. Dinner was wonderful with the highlight being the hula pie for dessert. We only ordered one and it was plenty to share among the four of us. In case you don't know, hula pie is made with a crust formed by crushing the dark chocolate cookie potion of an Oreo cookie, filled with rich macadamia nut ice cream, covered with hot fudge then topped with chopped macadamia nuts and whipped cream. Obviously, a low-calorie dessert. Sorry we didn't have a camera so I had to borrow a photo from the Internet.

As you may know if you've visited just about any tropical resort, there are lots of vacation activities vying for your tourist dollar. John and Patty asked for and I offered a number of suggestions (and opinions) about those activities on Maui. My favorite such activity is the cruise to the island of Lana`i on one of the Trilogy's catamaran sailboats. They sail out of Lahaina harbor, seen in the photo to the left.

Our departure was mid-morning, which is different than my previous trips when we had to be at the harbor by 7:00 AM. I confess that I find a 10:00 departure much easier to catch than 7:00.

Here you can see the Pioneer Inn, one of the oldest hotels in all of Hawai`i. Supposedly, Mark Twain sat on the second level lanai watching the whaling ships come into Lahaina, which was, at one point, "the whaling capitol of the Pacific". It is wonderfully situated overlooking the harbor.

Typically, the trade winds are much calmer in the morning which results in insufficient wind to sail, so the Trilogy boats (they have six now) will use their engines to power the trip. The other impact is that the relative calm reduces the size of the swells, so the trip over to Lana`i is easy, even for those who might suffer from seasickness.

The trip back in the afternoon will often coincide with the normal trade winds so you can sail and will experience larger swells. (Fortunately, the Trilogy folks make available anti-seasickness remedies should you feel the need for such things.) Regardless of the winds, you are rewarded with beautiful scenes of Maui such this one at the left.

Here is our captain, Captain Owen. In fact we had three captains on board. The economic malaise has impacted Hawai`i severely. The Trilogy company has had to cut back on the number of cruises, replacing the normal crew members with the trained captains. Knowing the history of the Trilogy company, I suspect that they are all part of the extended family of the founders. Not only are they experienced captains but also excellent hosts. They offered us cinnamon rolls, fruit and the beverage of your choice on the cruise over.

We saw flying fish, one of the first whales of the season and spinner dolphins. Captain Owen even turned the boat around so we could catch a better view. It was still morning so these dolphins were apparently half asleep — they semi-sleep with half their brain awake and half asleep — then reverse so the other half of their brain gets some rest too. They move about and surface to breath but are not as active as those I mentioned last week that we saw on the ferry from Moloka`i. Those must have been fully awake.

Here are John and Patty enjoying the smooth sailing, or should I say cruising over to Lana`i.

After about an hour's sail, we approached Manele Small Boat Harbor. And much to my surprise, it looked very different than I recalled. I confirmed that they had upgraded the facility and was told that it had just recently been dedicated and opened for use.

There to meet us were vans to take us on a short tour of the island, primarily to the main town of Lana`i City. I have done the tour often, stayed for many days on Lana`i and was coming back in less than two weeks so I decided to pass up the tour — although John and Patty went. It is quite interesting and I recommend it for anyone taking the Trilogy cruise for the first time.

Instead, I headed over to Hulopoe Beach just a short walk away. This is a beautiful white sand beach with very good facilities — and next to the Manele Bay Hotel, operated by Four Seasons Resorts. I was getting a head start on the activities because I knew that as soon as the van tour was complete, everyone would be coming here for snorkeling. The Trilogy provides all the snorkel equipment plus floatation devices for those who are timid in the water (and to satisfy their attorneys). Also, one of the crew members will also go out with the snorkelers, for guidance and as a precaution for any inexperienced swimmers.

They also have hammocks if relaxing on a tropical island is more your thing. And for everyone, they have beverages and snacks.

Note that Trilogy has a very good relationship with the island of Lana`i and does not use this beach on the weekend when it is reserved for the locals — Trilogy has an alternate snorkeling location. Therefore, I recommend that anyone booking a Trilogy cruise do so for a weekday — so you can savor this beautiful spot.

In fact, the relationship is so good that shortly after our trip, there was a fairly large brush fire on the hills above the resort. Trilogy sent a couple of their boats over in case people needed to be evacuated from the area. Fortunately, it turned out that a rescue was not needed.

Ah, what beauty Mother Nature provides those of us so blessed as to be on Hulopoe Beach on the island of Lana`i.

After a generous amount of time for snorkeling, we strolled back to the harbor area where the Trilogy has a very nice, brand new covered pavilion. There Captain Owen and his fellow captains served us a delicious, freshly made linner (Kona's term for a meal served between the normal times for lunch and dinner — logical since brunch is a meal between breakfast and lunch).

Eventually, it was time to return to Maui — and true to form, the trades had picked up a bit. However, they were marginal at best and most of the return cruise as done under power.

John and Patty really enjoyed the trip and would certainly join me in recommending it. For anyone interested, the Trilogy web site is http://www.sailtrilogy.com/.

Life is good.

B. David