Winterwonderland Hawaii: Whale watching and Ukulele caroling

December 19: In comparison to the ground of the rainforest, sand is really hard and very uncomfortable. So the first night was not as relaxing as the nights before. Again we rose early and watched the sun rise at the beach… well technically we only walked about three steps, so saying watching the sunrise at the beach sound bigger and more adventurous that it actually was.

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Okay to be honest, Christina watched it on the beach… I watched it in the tent. Once we started setting breakfast, our neighbor came by an offered us a plate of pancakes because his wife had made too many. We were very delighted and gladly accepted. They were super delicious. Soon after we decided to make our way to Lahaina, Walter, a friendly elderly man we met the day before offered to come with him to Lahaina. In regards to the costs of parking it was a very nice offer and we took him up on it. In Lahaina, we found a local supermarket and grabbed some things like garlic bread and cinnamon cake. We sat by the harbor for a while and watched the ocean.

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I managed to overcome my panic of boats and agreed that we would go on a whale watching tour. Before we could board the boat we had to wait a little longer and took some shots of the promenade. Our favorite thing however was the guy who loaded two giant fish (Mahi Mahi?) onto his bicycle and drove away with it.

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Shortly after fish guy left, it was time to board our boat and hit the water. There were two men of the company on the boat (the driver and a guy to spot whales and do all the talking). Soon, he spotted two whales that were very close to the coast. We approached them but stopped in a distance. You always need to keep a distance of – if I remember correctly – 30 meters between you and the whales, and if they swim towards you, you are not allowed to move.

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In this picture, you can see the backs of the two whales and what is left of a fountain from seconds ago. Then, we left these two be and headed further out on the open water. Now that everyone had seen what a fountain looked like and what to keep an open eye on, all the passengers on the boat were trying to spot the next whale. I am kind of proud that I spotted this next group first. It was a mother, with her calf and a chaperone. The father of a calf does not tag along. Other males, however, tend to chaperone the new mother, hoping to become the father of next seasons calf.

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Even thought these whales are large and heavy, their jumps look quite majestic. These three then decided to swim towards us. The driver shut down the engine and they kept approaching us. One of them came to the surface not too far away from us and then they swam past us under and behind the boat. Everyone rushed to the back to the boat to look at the graceful mammals, while I was left holding on to my dear life as this experience made me feel quite uneasy and anxious. But as soon as the boat stopped shaking from the sudden movements and the wind through the boats motion started again, I felt much better.

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This is how close the whale came before everyone started moving towards the back. Then I stopped taking pictures and kept my cameras safe. I guess I have seen to many gifs of whales splashing or nudging boats, that I was scared it may get wet.

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Here you can see all three members of this small “family”. The mother and the calf are swimming in front, the chaperone trailing behind.

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The chaperone showed us his tail and dove down to the depth of the ocean. With the group gone, we all stared around us for a while, hoping the three would resurface. Therefore, it was no surprise, that no one had there camera ready, when we all say the nicest foto-op of the whole trip. Right in front of us, a fully grown one surfaced and jumped in Free Willy fashion, so high, that the entire body was floating. I only caught him on “film” right when he hit the water…

IMG_1082When we came closer, it turned out, that this too was a group of two whales. We did not stay with the group for long, because the two hours were up, but they did wave us off with a very nice, almost synchrone showing of their tails.

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I had to cut out a guys hand and hair, that’s why these two pictures are so out of shape… may recut them when I am more awake.

Once we had solid ground under our feet, we decided to take a stroll along the promenade, look at cheesy souvenirs and buy some postcards. Again, we ended up in Kinos, had Lahaina Lemonade (Lemon infused vodka, homemade lemonade and cranberry juice.. so good), shared an amazing burger (turkey patty, arugula, provolone cheese, and avocado), and for desert we shared a classic Hula pie (Vanilla bean ice cream, macadamia nut ice cream, whipped cream, molten chocolate and more macadamia nuts). It was incredibly delicious and just thinking back makes my mouth water.

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It wasn’t too late yet, so we decided to head to the beach and relax for a bit. Just laying back, having the sun shine in my face and having nothing on schedule was just the right thing I needed that moment. That, however, lasted for only about 30 minutes because the sun began to set. The water at this beach was very clear and I could not resist snapping some pictures, even though we did not go in.

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Just look at this contrast between the low sun and the palm trees. I just adore how the brightness creates soft edges with the house, but very sharp edges in the palm tree. While all of the sky beneath the palm tree is white, the sky above is blue. I almost wish I had taken this picture with my dslr, not my phone.

We headed back to the center of Lahaina and met up with Walter from the camp ground. He had had dinner with his daughter and granddaughter to whom he briefly introduced us. After an invitation for a drink at Longhi’s, the three of us headed back to the camp ground. Back in our secluded area of the campground, we again were approached by the neighbor who had given us the pancakes for breakfast. He introduced himself as Steve and made us meet his wife Kory. Christina and I decided to follow their invitation to their table and let the evening end slowly with great conversations. Soon, Valentin, a Swiss guy on a trip around the world, and his Ukulele joined the table and the five of us sang some songs.

At 9 pm, Christina and I retreated to our tent and fell asleep right away.

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