Under the Banyan Tree in Lahaina

Day 77, Grand Asia 2018

Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018, Lahaina, Maui:

We made it to Maui!

Yesterday I wasn’t sure, as the marine forecast called for swells. But the captain was able to anchor the ship fairly close to shore to avoid the worst of them. When I returned on the tender to the ship in late afternoon, we banged hard against the landing platform a dozen times. But the crew was able to snug the tender up tightly enough that we could step off with help.

I think the fact that the only alternative would be another sea day contributed to the captain’s decision, although I am sure he would not have tried if he didn’t think it was safe. We are ending this cruise with plenty of sea days as it is.

The weather ashore was sunny and breezy, so I set off to sightsee around Lahaina, on the west coast of Maui. It boasts the largest banyan tree in the United States, covering just about a whole block. The limbs reach out horizontally and eventually establish new connected trunks and roots.

Crowds gathered underneath while street performers worked for tips. One enterprising guitar player brought his dog, complete with antlers, to help collect.

The last time I was in Lahaina was 13 years ago on a cruise, and the main change is there are more souvenir shops and perhaps fewer high-end boutiques. This being our final port before home, many passengers were searching for last-minute purchases.

Others took off for nearby beach resorts and tours around the island. Some went on whale-watching boat trips, but I haven’t heard of any success. It’s a shame, because winter is the season for whale sightings.

Charlie, Melissa and I met up for a fresh fish lunch on a patio overlooking the water. We could see Lana’i and Moloka’i in the near distance. The fish was great, but the view even better.

I wish I had planned ahead to see more of Maui, but I don’t think I really believed we would stop. Lesson learned.

Some passengers took advantage of our 11 p.m. departure and had dinner ashore. The Lido used the leftover leis that were handed out in Honolulu to help decorate the buffet and served a luau dinner, complete with suckling pigs. I hear they prepared 10 pigs.

Now we’re down to no ports, just five sea days. In some ways the start of this cruise in late September seems a lifetime away. But in others it has passed in a flash.