Thursday evening we went to downtown Lahaina - where the giant Banyan tree is - it fills, literally a full block with all its roots reaching out everywhere - I am leaning against one root here - the coloring in this picture and the next two are due to the lighting in the square - it was dark out and the pictures turned very green. Of course I had my camera set on auto but we couldn't figure out how to adjust the coloring differently.
Here's Ed - in front of the main trunk. They have really cleaned up the square and all the extra roots - it looked like it had gotten a good haircut (the tree, not Ed)
This is the main tree in the middle of the square and then the roots go out from there to other full trees and they are ALL connected. We wandered through lots and lots of cutesy stores - there are lots of jewelry stores, art stores (gorgeous art and statues), lots and lots of t shirt stores and then there are all the abc stores which sell a little bit of everything.
Earlier in the day after Ed got off of work we walked down the beach about 1/2 mile to black beach and went snorkeling. The water was warm and visibility was pretty good (not nearly so clear as the big Island four years ago). We got to see lots and lots of striped fish and very colorful fish and then we saw a BIG turtle swimming underwater. WE watched it for quite a ways - it would come up for air every five minutes or so and then dive. We also saw a sting ray swimming along the bottom of the ocean - the water was probably about 20-30 feet deep there so we were well away from any danger. There was a cliff about 60 feet high where people were jumping off into the ocean but we just watched ! If was fun. Then we headed back to the hotel room and showered all the sand off and took a short nap and then headed for downtown Lahaina.
I spent a couple of hours sitting on a chaise lounge next to one of the five swimming pools at our Hotel. Sometimes I was in shade and sometimes in the sun depending on where the sun was and which palm tree was doing the shading.
Wednesday evening - view from our room as the sun was setting - just before we headed down to the Luau - you can see the rows of tables in the center of the picture. The MTC Luau was held there and it was terrific - the poi was so nummy - they roasted a whole pig (although I am not sure i appreciate seeing my food so realistic!) but we got a piece of the skin - it was crisp and hard but delicious - they had all sorts of Hawaiian food for us to enjoy. I am sure MTC paid big bucks for the meal and the entertainment. The program was a history of the islands with fantastic dancers portraying Samoa and New Zealand and Figi and Tahiti and Hawaii. It lasted a good hour plus - ending with a fantastic fire dance with not one but four men up on stage dancing with fire. Amazing. The singers sang the Hawaiian Wedding song and they had everyone get up and dance to it - a nice memory for Ed and I.
Same view as before only ten minutes earlier.
A waterfall pouring into one of the swimming pools
some of the gorgeous landscaping here at the Westin Hotel in Lahaina
The view to the East from our balcony -lush greenery
The beach and ocean view from out balcony
Another one of the pools from our balcony - the orange umbrellas line the beach front - out in the white sand of a fantastic beach
He really was enjoying himself but of course when I try to take a picture he goes solemn on me. We are on a catamaran with about 35 other people - all from MTC. It was great fun - about a three hour ride out into the ocean with the sails filled with a slight wind. It has been a hot week as the trade winds haven't been blowing - very humid with just a slight breeze - the locals are all praying that the trade winds will start blowing again because it makes 86 degrees feel like 96 - it has been hot and sticky so the boat ride was nice with a comfortable breeze blowing. The meetings got through early so the golfers could hit the links. Those who didn't want to golf were treated to a free catamaran tour - we ended up going out on two big boats and it was a wonderful chance to just visit with all of our many friends from across the nation that had gathered for this conference.
Sunset over Lanai - we could see both Molokai and Lanai in the distance - Molokai is alot bigger than I had thought. But the sun setting over Lanai was just beautiful.
We arrived LATE On Monday evening - we were supposed to land about 8 pm but were delayed in LA waiting for a connecting flight from Atlanta to come in - most of the people we were waiting for ended up being MTC employees - in fact the whole front of the airplane was filled with our conference goers - we decided we should have a training meeting on our way over the ocean! :-) I would imagine there were probably 15 couples that were MTC family. So it was after 9 pm before we landed - then we had to pick up our cars and head to Lahaina which is about 45 minutes away - we all arrived at the westin at the same time so it was 10:30 or 11 before we finally got to our room and unpacked- that doesn't sound too bad until you realize that 11 pm Hawaii time is 3 am Utah time!!!
We got to sleep in until 7 am (Hawaii time) and headed down to a fun welcome breakfast for everyone. It is always so fun at these meetings to see people and friends that you havent seen for several months or even a couple of years. I took a class with Ilvia Tuesday about noon and learned how to make leis - too bad we don't have a flowering tree in our back yard! Tuesday evening was pretty much a wash as we were too exhausted to do more than go out to eat and then back to the hotel to sleep! But it is gorgeous here and we have a full ten days to enjoy this beautiful island.