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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Maui Day V: Atlantis and Lahaina

Today, we went to Lahaina, after a short trip on the Atlantis Submarine. The trip was interesting, more for the fact that it is an actual submarine than anything else - we didn't see any sharks or turtles. The Lahaina dive included a trip to a sunken ship that Atlantis bought and sank (with all environmental issues taken care of, we were assured): The Carthaginian. It had been a whaling museum ship that had fallen into extreme disrepair, so Atlantis bought it and sank it to turn it into a reef - and to give sub dives something to look at.

The strategy appears to be working. There were lots of fish around the ship, and the ship itself is getting enough coral crustiness to have a Pirates in the Caribbean Davey Jones's Locker look. Kids were fascinated.

My desire to recreate childhood trips on the Disneyland Submarine Ride satisfied, we strolled around Front Street in Lahaina.

Lahaina itself has a fairly typical beach tourist town look, with zillions of T-shirt and trinket shops, as well as lots of restaurants. I was questing for a good Haleakala T-shirt, but found only one store actually selling one that wasn't referring to the Bike Down The Volcano excursion that is somewhat popular. I'll admit that I'm somewhat of the wrong demographic for T-shirts, but I've always had an odd desire to buy a T-shirt for any natural place where I've walked and thought was cool and interesting.

There is also a fair bit of history in Lahaina, since it was the first capital of the united Hawaiian monarchy under King Kamehameha. The history is more interesting than the T-shirt shops, although we didn't have enough time to do much exploring of this aspect of Lahaina. Doubtless in our next trip, we explore Lahaina more.

Lahaina is also interesting in that parts of it get less than 10 inches of rain per year, or not much more than Las Vegas or Phoenix. The nearby Iao Valley gets well over 100 inches, which shows just how small changes in topography in islands can have massive effects on microclimates.

After our Lahaina visit, we went to Kaanapali Beach.

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