A natural shelter, teeming with life, Molokini Crater is a largely submerged volcanic cinder cone that lies three miles off of the South shore of Maui and rises about 160 feet above sea level. This volcanic cone was active about 230,000 years ago (give or take 90,000 years) according to measurements from lava fragments within the cone. Half of the Molokini Crater rim has eroded away, causing the floor of the crater to fill with water, leaving a crescent moon islet and a sheltered coral reef. The walls of the crater provide a natural nesting place for sea birds, and was declared a marine preserve by the State Marine Life Conservations District in 1977. Famous for its amazingly clear waters, excellent visibility and designated a protected marine sanctuary, this offshore wonder is home to over 250 species of colorful reef fish, some of which are endemic to Hawaii.
Before we left for Hawaii I replaced my old underwater Olympus with a new version since mine died after our last trip to Kauai. Unfortunately the menu was just different enough that I didn't quite get the hang of the various underwater settings until the second half of our trip, so the first few pictures have a really weird pink color cast to them. I have no idea what I did, or how I did it differently afterwards, but it is what it is.
The second stop on the tour was a spot called Five Graves (or Five Fingers, depending on who you ask), which is well known as a resting spot for turtles. The water here was colder, but the coral formations were more interesting in my opinion. Unfortunately, while I was out in the water I didn't see any turtles. I started to get GERD from an early morning combo of Excedrin, coffee, and banana nut muffin so I had to make my way back to boat. Too bad too because Alan got to swim with a few turtles while he was out there.
I had been told the day before we wouldn't be able to check into our new room until 4 p.m. so we decided to drive up to West Maui for lunch at Aloha Mix Plate, and some snorkeling at Napili Bay. We had plans to hit up Kapalua Bay as well but it took a lot longer to get up there than we initially thought it would, and we were pretty tired from our pre-dawn wakeup call, so we decided to stick with the one beach. While we had a great time at Napili the last time we were there, the water was a bit rougher than last time, and we had a hard time finding a spot that was somewhat shaded that wasn't on a crazy slope. We didn't remember the beach being at such an incline, but apparently it is. We stayed for about an hour, arriving back to Wailea around 4 p.m.
Back at the hotel, much to my chagrin, the front desk attendant (one of the ones from the day before) was one of the ones we spoke with the day before. She remembered us as well and took the opportunity to get in another snide jab about us moving rooms. I also found out that the room had been ready that morning around 10 a.m. Her snarky attitude, however, was quickly forgotten when I saw the view we'd found ourselves with.
We wasted practically a day of our vacation, which I'm incredibly sad about, but in the end, having this room made the rest of the trip so much better. Watching the whales from the lanai was a great treat - something we would never have been able to do from our rock wall room.
Once we got settled into the room we went down to the beach for awhile to read and watch the sunset. While there we watched a couple getting married on Polo Beach, about ten yards from where we were sitting. It brought back a ton of memories of our own wedding. I've convinced Alan that we'll do a vow renewal in Hawaii for our 25th anniversary. Fifteen years to go!
Even though it was Valentine's Day we had no grand plans for the evening. Rather than trying to get in to one of the area restaurants we drove to Safeway and stocked up on poke, sushi, beer, and other sundries for the rest of the trip. We finished the night eating al fresco overlooking the pool from our lanai. It was probably one of my favorite Valentine's Day dinners ever.
I'd like to say I slept soundly that night but that'd be a lie. You see, the hotel was hosting a couple of weddings and corporate offsites and the attendees for these events either couldn't read the pool rules (closes at 10 p.m.) or they chose not to adhere to the rules. Unfortunately, the hotel failed to enforce these rules either, so until 2:30 a.m. a group of a-holes were in the jacuzzi directly below our room drinking and screaming and laughing and carousing. While I had hoped to be able to fall asleep to the sound of the waves below, I had to close the doors and turn on the AC in hopes of getting any sleep.
The way the guests of these corporate offsites took over the hotel, and the complete lack of respect they had for other guests, is one of the reasons why I'm not sure a big resort like this is for us. Obviously because these groups are bringing in much more revenue for the hotel than we - or guests like us - were, I'm pretty sure no one thought it was a good idea to try to enforce noise rules or encourage these rowdy guests to adhere to any sort of standard of common courtesy. All's well that ends well however: I started reading a new book series that I promptly fell in love with and the extra hours I had of wakefulness helped me get further in the series. Yeah, I'm looking for the silver lining here.