MAUI 2015 the Adventure

Ten beautiful days on Maui, clear skies, calm water and rainbows! One morning there were three, one right after the other arching across 8 miles of blue sky from Maui to the island of Moloka'i, spectacular!

We had 10 intrepid travellers on this trip, David Haggard, Dallas Texas; Pedro Garcia, San Diego California; Dr. Phil 'the reef tripper' Utley, New York-New York; the Colpitts family, Dr. Terry MD, Alisa, Elaina & Lucas, Blacksburg Virginia; Jim, Pat & Elizabeth (the dog) Gatacre, San Clemente California! What a group, coast to coast, north to south and nobody got hurt! Gotta love it!

The diving began at Mala Pier, a former pineapple loading dock that collapsed during a storm forming a very nice reef. Lots of tropical fish, little ones it's a nursery, colourful nudibranchs, a resident white tip shark and green sea turtles galore! The turtles swim right up to you, I love looking into their curious soulful eyes - it takes me back millions of years to the beginning of creation. Watching David, Pedro, Phil and the Colpitts family diving in this wonderland is what the HSA is all about. What a treat!

I graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a degree in biology, I am very proud of this, and therefore have a class ring with a sparkling blue zircon stone. I was coming up the ladder after our first dive at Mala Pier and caught a flash of color out of the corner of my eye. When I looked it was my class ring sitting quite nicely underwater on a ladder rung. I recovered it and placed it back on my finger. The second dive was fatal for my ring, lost in the sea. But then along came amazing Erica, HSA Dive Buddy and Lahaina Divers dive master, and found my ring at Mala pier five days after it was lost! Five days alone in the sea, my class ring now brings me memories of the environment I love!

A trip to Hawaii is not complete without a Luau! So be it, the Royal Lahaina Resort's "Myths of Maui" luau is the oldest oceanfront luau on Maui. Authentic myths of Hawai'i, Tahiti & Samoa are told through exciting and beautiful hulas and fire dancers. It was a pleasant evening of enjoying the show, having a couple of drinks, eating and talking. When the show ended they asked for volunteers to learn the hula on stage. Elaina immediately jumped up and onto the stage to hula with adults and children of all ages. She was a quick learner and did the hula very well, and gave a great vaudevillian bow ending the hula show.

Up early in the morning to arrive at the dive boat by 7 AM to load people, wheelchairs and equipment, this is no easy matter. The Lahaina Divers crew carefully and cheerfully lift our divers on board, bringing their wheelchairs and dive equipment with them. David Haggard talking away, his Texas accent ringing out in the Maui morning air! The dive crew, Joe, Mike, Erica and Captain Buzz enthusiasm is contagious! Off we go to the island of Lana'i or to Molokini for incredible diving. The Humpback Whales have begun to arrive, and some of us had the distinct pleasure to hear them sing underwater, and watch them breach from the boat and the shore!

Five days of perfect diving, then it's off to explore the Island of Maui. First stop, Haleakala Crater, elevation 10,000 feet plus. A must see it's like going to Mars, an amazing place. Loading David & Pedro into the van, disassembling and fitting their wheelchairs into the back of the van and getting Phil in his electric wheelchair all into the van can be distracting. And so it was, I forgot to get gas before ascending 10,000 feet to Haleakala. On the way it began to mist and rain a bit, and it began to get dark, therefore we saw nada. When we started back down the mountain, with no gas to speak of, I was very quiet using every bit of gravitational help I could get, that is I coasted down the mountain, touch not that gas pedal! Of course, as we came around one of the dozens of curves, there were five cows standing in the road! I stopped and they stood there looking into the van with a 'what's it to you' attitude. After a couple of beeps they slooowly moved out of the way and I timorously stepped on the gas to get us going, then coasted the rest of the way down the mountain into a gas station 'as planned'. Whew!

Next is the Road to Hana, incredibly beautiful with its 56 one way bridges and 617 hair pin curves! What am I doing? Loading our boys, Pat & Elizabeth into the van and away we go! Billed as 'The World's Most Beautiful Drive', I've got to agree. Around every curve is something new, beautiful and adventurous. Endless lush tropical rain forests, incredible waterfalls, fresh water pools and spectacular views over plunging cliffs of the blue Pacific Ocean! Reaching the top is the little town of Hana, and its biggest draw is Hasegawa's General Store. Founded in 1910, this general store is for the town, you can buy food, drink, pipe fittings, hats, Christmas ornaments and a Daisy Beebe Gun if you like. As the sun sets we take a group photo with the HSA Flag and head down the mountain, with gas! It's now dark & the boys are asleep as I carefully maneuver through the endless curves and bridges of the Road to Hana. Due to good planning we were too late for food at the Royal Lahaina, so we stopped for Burger King Cheeseburgers and fries. That was the worst cheeseburger I've ever eaten!

The HSA's Maui 2015 Adventure has ended and I begin the last day driving our intrepid travellers to the airport 45 minutes away, three round trips for a total of 4 and a half hours of driving, and two out of the three missed their flights! Yikes!!

I am frazzled, totally exhausted after these trips and I begin to repeat my end of trip mantra "I' ll NEVER do this again!!!" But then these fabulous memories begin flowing in my mind, memories that so few of us ever have, and my mantra changes, "where do we go next!!"