Tuesday, March 24 - Whales and Lahaina
This was a day that we had been looking forward to for some time.
We began our day with a visit to the Whale Center of the Pacific at the Whaler's Village in Kaanapali. Here there are two museums for your enjoyment, the Whalers Village Museum and the Hale Kohala Museum, the "House of the Whale".
The Whalers Village Museum features exhibits which detail the history of whaling with specific emphasis on whaling in Hawaii.
Hale Kohala is a museum dedicated to the whale itself and in this museum you can learn everything you ever wanted to know about the various types of whales in the world.
We'll be doing a feature on these two museums.later this year.
By late morning it was time for us to move on to Maalaea where we were scheduled for a 12:30 p.m. whale watching cruise on board the Ocean Spirit a boat operated by the Pacific Whale Foundation. For $ 20.00 per person this two hour whale cruise is a great bargain.
The humpback whales were easily visible today and we were very fortunate to have several within 100 yards of our boat. The humpback whales come to Hawaii in the winter to breed and give birth to their young.
If you come to Hawaii from November to March, be sure to catch the humpback whales. A good feature on the humpback whales was written by Linda Alders, our former Maui Guide, in her feature "Our neighbors: The Humpback Whales"
Following our whale watching cruise we drove back to Lahaina, the old whaling city which once served as the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Lahaina today is very tourist oriented. There are a countless number of shops, many of which are quite pricey. Unfortunately, while history is still very much present in Lahaina, the town is now very much a tourist attraction and much of the history and culture of this whaling town is lost on most of the folks who visit Lahaina. Still, however, the town has a lot to offer. A good source of information was compiled by our Hawaii For Visitors Guide, Jim Pavelle, in his feature: "A Lahaina Sampler".
A truly wonderful place to stop as you leave Lahaina is the Lahaina Jodo Mission. This is an active Buddhist Mission and it is important that you remember this when you walk the grounds. Please be respectful. The mission's main centerpiece is the statute of the Amida Buddha, the largest of its kind outside of Japan. It was cast in Kyoto, Japan, during 1967-1968. It is made of copper and bronze, stands 12 feet high and weighs approximately three and one-half tons.
The best time to visit the Lahaina Jodo Mission is late in the afternoon when the setting sun lights not only the front of the Buddha but also the west Maui mountains beyond.
Tomorrow, we're off to the summit of Haleakala and a visit to upcountry Maui. We'll see you then.