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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Lanai: A quick trip from Maui

We traveled to Maui with another family and spent a week together building sand castles at the beach, playing in the waves and drinking Mai-Tais at sunset.

On Thanksgiving morning, our friends flew home. We were sad to say goodbye. I was feeling a little anxious about spending the holiday without family and friends and was in search of an adventure to distract us.

We'd spent the week looking out over the Pacific at Lanai. The tiny little island that's actually the smallest and least visited in the Hawaiian archipelago intrigued me. With sheer volcanic cliffs and lush tropical vegetation, it looked like the sort of place Gilligan and his crew might be stranded. I'd heard there were few roads, no traffic lights, no malls, only a tiny town of 3,000 and families of wild turkey and deer.  the smallest of the Hawaiian islands. Why don't we visit for a day?

Taking a day trip to Lanai from Maui is actually quite easy. You catch the Expeditions ferry in Lahaina. Boats leave five times a day and it's a 45-minute ride. It's $60 round-trip for adults and $40 for kids; not a bargain but the trip is more than just a ferry ride. You can spot silvery fish flying in the boat's sprays, and, if you're lucky, whales and dolphins. We saw one whale spout shoot high into the air, followed by a tail flopping down onto the water.

When you arrive in Lanai, you can hop on a shuttle (about $10 a person) and head into town with a handful of restaurants, art galleries and shops, or you can adventure out on foot.

We opted to walk 10 minutes to the Four Seasons Manele Bay for a late lunch. On the pool-side patio overlooking the Pacific we enjoyed plates of fresh fish tacos and glasses of lemonade and sangria. A man wearing a colorful Hawaiian shirt played upbeat tunes on a ukulele. We were all delighted by our Thanksgiving feast.

After our leisurely meal, we walked about five minutes to Hulopoe Beach, a crescent shaped stretch of sugary sand. The kids and I swam in the gentle surf while my husband dozed with our baby on the beach. We peered into the tiny living worlds at some nearby tide pools. I grabbed hold of a sea cucumber and the kids shouted out "gross."

By dusk, we'd made friends with a group of local guys barbecuing a Thanksgiving feast on the beach. They offered us samples of their steak teriyaki and gave my husband a beer. One of the guys was flying a drone off over the sea and he let me 9-year-old son fly it.

"I want one of these for Christmas," my son said.

After the sun dipped into the ocean, turning the sky and shimmering waters orange and red, we walked back to the ferry. This time we weren't looked out into the ocean, but up into the sky filled with stars. The perfect ending to a perfect day.

1 comment:

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