March is a big month for celebration around here. We’ve got birthdays galore! Our best friend Zak was born on the 13th, I was born on the 25th, and my husband Ben was born on the 30th.
To celebrate everyone, Mom got us all ferry tickets to Lana‘i for a day .
The ferry ride takes about 45 minutes, but I love making the trip because it’s like going back into time and experiencing what Maui used to be like when I was a kid. There are only about 3,000 tightly-knit residents on the island of Lana‘i, and one town with a few shops and restaurants. When you drive around everyone waves at each other (well maybe they waved at us because we were borrowing a friend’s truck), and you can go to a beach without heaps of tourists [depending on the beach]. When I was a kid on Maui, we could go to the beach and only see two other families the entire day. Nowadays, all our favorite family spots have been revealed in horribly invasive “Maui Revealed”-type books, and there aren’t many places anymore to enjoy privately.
But I digress. Our trip to Lana‘i was beautiful. We took the first ferry from Lahaina at 6:45 am (which meant that Ben and I woke up before 5am to pick up everyone and drive to the other side of the island!) and got to watch the sunrise over Maui as we left the harbor.
The 45-minute boat ride was wonderful going over – we saw countless whales and a few flying fish. The cerulean ocean that early in the morning makes me so grateful to be alive!
As we got closer, the sun started to shine on the island of Lana‘i, which was greener than I’ve ever seen it before (must be all the rain lately!).
We came around Pu‘u Pehe [that detached portion of land you can see on the left] and docked in the harbor. We were shocked to see the damage the waves from the tsunami had done to their harbor! Almost all of their brand new ramp was gone. They’ve been using the remnants of the old ramp (which was underneath the new one), which they had to quickly rebuild to make functional.
While we were there, a family was towing out their sunken boat from the harbor. We talked with our friend, who picked us up, about the situation. He said the tsunami really devastated the harbor, but if the island had not just created those new structures, they probably wouldn’t have a harbor at all anymore. The new [cement] structures were destroyed, but at least there was something underneath them to serve as a foundation.
Our friend drove us about twenty minutes up to the town. It was still before 8am by the time we got there, so nothing had opened yet, but they had a tiny farmer’s market happening, so we picked up some bananas and a few cascaron [fried sweet rice covered in sugar – the perfect 8am treat ].
We then headed to one of my favorite childhood spots: Kaumalapa‘u Harbor!
When I was a kid, my mom dated a guy from Lana‘i, so once in a while we’d come over and spend the day with them. He had a boat, but I’ve always gotten horribly sea sick, so we spent most of our time fishing off-shore. One of my favorite memories was coming to this harbor as a kid and jumping from these massive tires about 6 feet into the harbor. My brother and I jumped off, climbed the tires, and jumped back in again and again until we were exhausted.
The harbor looks much different now, with the addition of these massive jack-shaped cement blocks, but the water is still crystal clear and there are still crabs to be chased!
After the harbor we headed back through town, which is where we saw this sign:
[Did you catch that? Is says “opening 2005”, but there’s definitely still no building there, hehe. We got a good chuckle out of that one. They should really take that sign down…]
And then we headed to Shipwreck!
Shipwreck beach was crazy windy, which made it feel as cold as the Pacific Northwest coast [I’m not a fan of having to wear sweaters to the beach], but seeing the old oil tanker between the islands of Lana‘i and Moloka‘i is pretty cool.
Mom and I laid in the sand finding tiny shells while the boys ventured closer to the ship. I’m not sure if it was because of the tsunami waves, or if Shipwreck is always this way, but we were appalled by the amount of trash on the beach at Shipwreck! I’ve never seen so much plastic on a beach in my life. The boys decided to do a little clean-up and filled a couple of laundry baskets (found there) with trash to take to the dump.
After the dump, we headed to Manele Bay, closer to the harbor. Manele has been named the most beautiful beach in the world for many years, but it has a special connection for me because it was here that I first swam with dolphins as a kid. After spending so much time on the windy side of the island, I was more than happy to lay in the sunshine and enjoy the bright blue waters.
I couldn’t believe it, but we ran into one of my favorite people in the whole world, Jacob, while we were there! Jacob’s been one of my closest friends since the seventh grade, and he brought his younger brothers over to Lana‘i to camp for a few days during their Spring Break. Small world!
We capped off the day with a quick bite at Pele’s Other Garden up in town [they have the best bruchetta], where we sang Happy Birthday to all of us, and then we booked it back down to the harbor to catch the last ferry of the night back home.
By that point, the ocean was rough and I got incredibly sick on the boat ride home – but I’ve come to expect that after all these years. We finished a wonderful day with some gingerale and then drove home .
It was so special to spend the day on Lana‘i with some of my favorite people, especially since I hadn’t been there in at least a year! We outer islands have so much in common, and we need to stay connected and stand up for each other in times like these [the state is talking about bringing in tons of windmills to Lana‘i – which would be fine if the people of Lana‘i would be the ones benefitting from them, but it’s all about giving more electricity to the island of O‘ahu (because they’ve already tapped out all their resources)].
The natural beauty of our islands is immense and being on Lana‘i really makes me miss the good ole’ times on Maui [says the 26 year old].
I’m getting a late start to work today. I had massive food poisoning (a.k.a. the worst I’ve ever had) last night and didn’t get much rest, but alas, there is work to be done and a TurboKick class to be taught at noon. The only thing that sounded decent (and I could keep down) was some cereal and milk this morning [and no, I am most definitely not pregnant], and I’m alternating between my coconut water and ginger tea, so here’s hoping I can function today!
Aloha Pumehana. Whether you’re here to find balance, wholesome recipes or inspiration, I hope you enjoy the posts. Please subscribe to Green Plate Dinners to receive automatic updates and be the first to read new posts!