We were supposed to arrive at Lahaina this morning and go ashore by tender, but the captain decided it was a bit too rough and took us to another port where we could anchor the ship beside the dock. It’s a small island, so we still could take a bus to get us to ‘Iao Valley State Park, a site sacred to the Hawaiian people, and then to the Maui Ocean Center.
The valley has incredibly steep slopes up lush, green mountains, and all sorts of plants and water features below. Tai led us around telling us about the various plants and their uses. I was especially impressed with the way they made cordage by twisting together fibers from many of the plants. He grabbed a couple of stems and leaves that had fallen off one of the plants and twisted them together. Then he did the same thing with dead leaves from a banana tree. It was quick, easy, and really strong.
We then sat under a banyan tree that shaded a whole city block in Lahaina and just enjoyed sitting and looking while many of the Road Scholars went shopping. The banyan tree was amazing: as branches grow, they drop a connection to the ground which roots and develops into a trunk to support the tree. Looks like a whole forest, but they are all parts of one tree.
After lunch, we went to the Maui Ocean Center. There were quite a few tanks for various types of fish. Each had a window where we could see everything in the tank. One was devoted to fairly small fish shaped a lot like sunfish; another had half a dozen types of shark. Our guide said all the fish in the tanks were taken from the sea locally. When they grew too big to be comfortable in the tanks, they were returned to the open ocean. Would have been good to have lots of time to look at all of them and try to match the swimming fish to the named photos in their brochure, but it was fun anyway.
In the evening, back on the ship, we went to Mainstage where the musicians from the quintet who usually play in Lincoln Center Stage played together with a film from BBC Earth that set the motions of various animals to music. It was fascinating to watch; the music was great.
We felt that Maui was the most beautiful island we have yet seen.
The "towel art" in one of the photos was done by our steward. Each evening we returned to our stateroom to find a different "animal" and sometimes it was difficult to guess what it was, but they were all lovely.