Sep 2, 2017

Our Honeymoon: Day 6 // Lahaina

What a great day we had this day!! This was one of our best days on the trip.

We got up early to go snorkeling.  We had planned to book a tour that was recommended by a few friends, but it was sold out.  I found similar companies, but the reviews on line gave us pause -- they were huge boats, with 100-200 people going out at a time, in frequently snorkeled areas, so the fish were sometimes sparse. I did some online research and found some good reviews on a tour out of Lahaina that took small groups, 10 or under out at a time, so we decided to book it and go!

We got to Lahaina a bit early, so we took some time to sunscreen up.  We got coffee and muffins at “Bad Ass Coffee” and then stripped to our swimsuits in the middle of downtown and sunscreened ourselves up!  It was before 8am so there weren’t too many people around, thank goodness.  

We headed to the dock and our boat was a small Zodiac! Our captain was a woman named Stephanie.  I loved that the captain was a woman!  Our guide was a wise older seaman named Sean and he was awesome.  A real character.  There were only 4 other people on the boat with us, one who was just riding along with her friend, so only 3 other snorkelers. Everyone got fitted for their gear.  Luckily, my brother gave us snorkels and masks (and wetsuits, which we didn’t wear) as our wedding gift, so all we had to borrow were flippers.

The snorkel trip was off the coast of Lanai and our first stop was a “blow hole.”  The waves rush in and hit a hole in the rock wall, sending sea spray into the air.  Legend has it that if the water hits you, it blesses you with fertility.  Bill got hit a lot by the water and everyone was joking with him.  We saw some of the tallest cliffs (in the world? US?  I forget) and throughout the whole trip, we were regaled with Hawaii trivia and legends.  We really learned a lot from Sean!

Blow hole

Next up was our first snorkeling spot.  We had to jump off the boat!  The water looked deep and I was really nervous.  Bill hopped right in, as did everyone else who was snorkeling, but I was really scared so I lollygagged as my dad would say.  Eventually Sean sort of pushed me in after I gave him permission and I was instantly awed when I saw an entire new world under the water!  It was about 20-30 feet deep and it was SO NEAT to see!  There were fish everywhere and coral.  It was absolutely beautiful!  I got nervous when I would turn around in look out into the deep ocean, seeing nothing but blue.  I kept imagining a giant shark coming out of nowhere, so I stuck by Sean the whole time.  He reminded me of one of my dad’s cousins, so I felt at home with him! At one point, he dove down and picked up a sea urchin for us to hold.  It felt so weird!  Wiggly and not as sharp as I expected.

Holding the urchin!

Sean catching the urchin after I accidentally dropped it

Eventually, we got back on the boat and they provided us with a great fruit plate snack and then we were off to our second snorkel spot!

When they announced the name of the next location, I was a bit nervous to find out that it was called “Shark Fin Point,” but it turns out that the name stems from the way it looks; the peak of the rock juts out of the water and looks like a shark fin. This spot was actually in pretty rough waters.  It was a little hard for Bill as he’s not a super strong swimmer, and 2 of the others actually couldn’t swim at all (they were using lifejackets) so they decided to stay behind, so it was just the 2 of us and a lady with Sean, all alone in the ocean! There were giant waves crashing against the rock, making some currents and churny (is that a word) water.  I personally enjoyed the swim challenge, but I could see how it would be hard for others.

The rough waters aside, it was an absolutely amazing view.  Before we got in the water, Stephanie described the area as looking like an aquarium, or like fish suspended in blue Jello.  As soon as I first looked into the water, I could see that she was right!  There were fish everywhere.  Mostly they were black and brown schools of fish, so not super pretty, but it was so neat to see them everywhere! There were also some yellow ones.  What I enjoyed almost more than the fish was just the scenery underwater.  It was like an entirely different world! It reminded me of Ariel’s grotto in The Little Mermaid.  I tried and failed several times to dive down to see lobsters in a hole.  Sean even pulled me down, but I kept getting sucked back up too fast.  I never did see them! At one point, I spotted a big parrot fish and followed it for awhile. Bill and I drifted too far away a few times and we got called back in by the guide, lol. I could have snorkeled this spot for hours, but soon Sean was calling us back into the boat.  

Sidenote: it feels amazing to have free feet in the water when you take off your fins!

After we got back on the boat, we were given a very satisfying lunch of wraps and veggies, with choices of pop and water to drink.

We started our trip back to Lahaina, but Stephanie told us to let her know if we spotted any dolphins jumping.  I was starting to give up hope, but we finally saw some spinner dolphins and then they started swimming alongside our boat.  Then, I got to do one of the coolest things of my life.  Sean asked if anyone wanted to hang off boat and jump into the water, with him holding our feet so that we could be in the water with the dolphins and see them swimming right by us.  I immediately said YES!  I was a little nervous of a) hanging off of a moving boat, b) being so close to wild dolphins and c) sharks, but I knew that it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  I followed Sean’s instructions and just dove headfirst into the water.  He held my feet.  Once I adjusted to being in that position, I looked and the dolphins were swimming right by me!! They must have been 4 feet away.  It was SO cool!!! I could have held my breath longer, but Sean pulled me up and then it was someone else’s turn.  It was hands-down one of the coolest things I’ve done.  

Screenshot from my GoPro video of diving with dolphins

We both got sunburned on the trip.  Thankfully, we had decided to buy surf shirts before the trip to protect our backs and shoulders, but my face and arms were crispy.  Bill was just a little pink.  Sean recommended Maui Vera, which we later got and literally took the burn out overnight like a miracle.

The ride home was a bit rough and bumpy, as it seemed a storm was approaching.  The zodiac must have flown 5 feet up in the air at points and crashed down.  I got a bit seasick, but it was worth it.  Bill sat on the side of the boat a few times and kept flying around.  I was sure he was going to fly off into the water, but of course he never did. Throughout the trip home, Sean told us all kinds of tales and pointed out neat things about Hawaii.  Something that I found really cool is that during our time in Hawaii, we caught a glimpse of all the major islands.  On the snorkeling trip alone, we snorkeled off of Lanai and saw Molokai, Kahoʻolawe (an island used for H-bomb testing where no one lives), and spotted 2 tall volcanos on the Big Island in the distance.  We stayed on Kauai as well and on our drive back from the canyon, we caught a glimpse of Niʻihau, the private island.  Finally, we saw Oahu during our flight from Kauai to Maui!

On the bumpy ride home!
I highly, highly recommend Hawaii Ocean Rafting if you're on Maui and looking for a good snorkeling trip!

When we returned from the snorkel trip, we decided to walk around and shake our seasickness before getting back in the car.  We shopped the artisans who had set up tables under a giant Banyan tree and meandered back to the car. I fell asleep on the way back.  Bill ran into Island Gourmet to grab some snacks and I slept the whole time he was in there!  

We took a long,  luxurious nap and woke up just in time to get ready for our sunset dinner sail! We hit horrible traffic on our way back to Lahaina and nearly missed the boat.  We seriously made it with minutes to spare! Our cruise was through the Pacific Whale Foundation and was a gift from our good family friends Jeff & Michelle.  The sunset was beautiful - gorgeous colors and stunning clouds.  It was a bit chilly and threatening to rain most of the time, but that didn’t get us down.  Our table was a “VIP” table and we had an amazing location.  We were some of the first people to be served and we were on a second level, with no one in front of us and only one other table beside us.  Definitely worth the extra money! Our server was really fun and at one point, she pointed out that a dolphin was swimming along the boat, so we went to the front to check that out.  It was a bottlenose dolphin and pretty cute.

The dinner itself was decent.  First we got bread and dip, which was great.  We then had salads made with local ingredients, which was also pretty good.  We opted for the steak & shrimp entrees  It was fine.  Not the best, not the worst.  It came with purple sweet potatoes, grilled zucchini and carrots, which were all ok. The purple sweet potatoes were odd. Dessert was great - it was a brownie with ice cream. We got three drinks with dinner -- Bill got beer, while I got 2 pina coladas and wine.

After dinner, we slowly drifted back to the dock.  Music played over the speakers and we heard a catchy song with lyrics that included “A-L-O-H-A, a little aloha in our day…”  It was in our heads for the rest of the trip! And it’s in my head now that I’m typing it! I also heard a beautiful song called “I miss you, my Hawaii” that I listen to whenever I am, you know, missing Hawaii. I just listened to it now and I felt like I was right back there on the dinner cruise!

Once we had docked back in Lahaina, we shopped the cute little shops and stopped for gelato.  I got birthday cake and Bill got cookies and cream.  We headed back to our hotel, thus ending another great night in paradise.


  1. Girl! You make me want to snorkel... but only in small groups. Like you, I'm really nervous about it. I'm glad to hear that you were able to jump in and do it though! How cool that you got to swim with the dolphins too!! Those last brilliant blue sky pictures are gorgeous!!

    1. I can't wait to snorkel again!! I was very surprised with how much I loved it.


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