The day before Michael and I left on our Maui trip, my friend, AJ looked at me with a little smile, like a kid with a secret, and said something to the effect of, "You don't understand. You are going to paradise."
I understand now, AJ!
We arrived in Maui at 12:30 pm local time on Sunday. we were jostled around quite a bit as the plane landed because of strong winds. We made the short drive to Kihei (key-hay) and checked into our cottage.
We are in one of eight cottages right across the road from the beach. We have a small living room, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom, a lanai (patio), and a hammock in the yard, surrounded by beautiful trees with twisting branches, bright-colored flowers, and the constant chatter of small birds.
The only downside is the amount of traffic that goes by on South Kihei Road, pretty much 24-hours a day, but still, during lulls in the traffic, we can hear the mesmerizing, rhythmic sound of the surf.
Yesterday was one of the most perfect mornings of my entire life. We woke early and walked on the beach as the sun was just starting to rise. A full moon shone in the delicately blue sky over the glassy ocean. I did tai chi barefoot in the sand with warm water lapping at my toes.
We ate breakfast at home - fresh fruit, granola and yogurt from the local natural food store. Then Michael drove me south to Wailea for a surprise which he planned before we left home.
He took me to a beach where I saw kids splashing in the surf, people sun bathing and kayaking and snorkling. And at the far end of the beach sat a beautiful yellow outrigger sailing canoe with a red sail, and this was the surprise - two hours of sailing and snorkling over a coral reef.
I can't begin to describe how amazing this was. Our guide, whose name was Sage, was raised on Oahu, and his canoe is one of only 30 of its kind in the world - a traditional Hawaiian design. While we sailed, he told us about the history of the islands.
Soon after we started sailing, a large sea turtle swam right by us. Later, our snorkling guide, Chris, took us around the reef, and we saw another turtle. This one was smaller. It rose to the surface and just hung out there for a while, watching us.
Our guide also dove down to the reef and brought up a sea star, a red pencil urchin and another type of urchin. The sea star crawled around on my hand and arm.
I could have stayed out there all day. It is a good thing I didn't, though, because even just two hours, in the morning, left me with a bit of a sunburn on my back.
I wish I could upload some of my photos from my camera, but this internet cafe doesn't allow that. Hopefully I will get a chance soon.