Friday, May 16, 2014

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 – South San Francisco, CA – Sunny – 84F

Another beautiful day in the Bay Area…

Slept better but, even with earplugs, the “always on” bathroom fan became a constant background noise.  Seems like a big waste of electricity.

Considering what we were paying, the breakfast was OK – frozen toaster waffles and pancakes (can’t complain too much because that’s what I have at home), cereal and milk, bagels and cream cheese, and coffee.  We are the only English speaking people at breakfast – I hear some French being spoken.

Even had time for a shower – good pressure and warmth.

Thinking ahead about lunch, we walked a couple of blocks over to the Valero Gas Station to pick up some sandwiches and chips.  We were just about to take our sandwiches when the sandwich delivery man told us we couldn’t buy them – they were out of date.  What if we had come in five minutes earlier – ooooh.  We got some fresh sandwiches – tuna on whole wheat and tomato mozzarella on a roll – along with some bags of chips.  We are all set for lunch.  We still have to buy a $2.99 diet coke – the FAA has made sure that the coke sales will continue.

We took the 10:44 AM shuttle to Terminal 2 at SFO – an eight minute ride.  This should give us plenty of time to clear security – no TSA pre-check for me again – who did I annoy at Homeland Security?  At least, the bags will be checked and I only have to do the shoes, computer, and belt drill.

We checked in at the Priority desk for AA193 – the flight was now delayed one hour to 2:00 PM.  We originally had an arrival time of 6:35 PM connecting with AA2339 at 8:45 PM (arriving in Chicago at 11:00 PM).  The delay puts us into DFW at best at 7:35 cutting our window to just over an hour.

We arrived at Gate 56A and had our Tuna Sandwiches for lunch (yes, with the $2.99 coke).  As about 1:15 PM, an announcement was made that our plane was “in the vicinity” and would be landing in about 15 minutes.  AA would try to do a “fast turnaround” to get AA193 in the air so connections would not be missed in Dallas.

The plane arrived at 1:38 PM


and passengers got off pretty quickly. 

We boarded at about 2:15 PM and pushed about 10 minutes later (everyone was really good about overhead bags and many bags were gate checked).  The pilot came on and said that two of SFOs runways were under repair and that we were number 12 to go – it would be about 10 or so minutes until we were on the active runway.  It took a bit longer than that but we were underway. 

Takeoff was smooth and the flight was one of the smoothest in a while – only thermals over the desert provided any turbulence.  The cockpit predicted an arrival in Dallas just after 8:00 PM.  Passengers were told to let connecting passengers off first. 

At the gate at 8:15 PM (boarding time for AA2339).  We scampered to Sky Link to go to Terminal A and Gate A16.  Trains come every minute – in about 10 minutes were in Terminal A and our gate was the first one near the Sky Link escalator.  They were boarding Group 3 when we got on board so I popped my computer bag in the very first overhead in coach.  We had almost done the impossible – made an “illegal connection”.

We were in Exit Row 20 on the MD80 – this was the first time I had been in an MD80 in several years.  The plane pushed right on time, headed out to the runway and was off.

I had my noise cancelling headphones on and I didn’t even hear the engines on this jet at takeoff.  The flight was very smooth and we had our delicious Tomato/Mozzarella sandwiches for dinner (forgot to mention we also bought Oreos). 

As the plane descended into O’Hare, we went through some very unstable air in the clouds.  The plane was really shaking – I had to stop reading on my phone because the words were blurry.  After a few very bumpy minutes, the plan got through the clouds and soon we were on the ground – about 20 minutes early.

I was pretty sure our bags didn’t get on our connecting flight (we barely got on the flight).  I checked with Baggage Control and they said that our bags did make it on-board and they were coming off on Carousel 7 right now.  I walked over there and there they were – no muss, no fuss.

We called our cab and, though some craziness occurred at the end of this trip, we made it home.

The entire trip – start to finish – was far from routine but we had survived all of the curve balls thrown at us.

We are tired (go to the condo at 12:30 AM) but we are home.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 – San Francisco, CA – Partly Cloudy – 70F (eventually 93F)

Total Round Trip: 5281 Nautical Miles (6073 Land Miles)

Last night was the smoothest and quietest night on the second half of this cruise.  However, I still didn’t get any sleep – I think the coffee at dinner was not decaf. 

The Hawaiian Islands were, of course, beautiful, but the most gorgeous day of the voyage took place on our return – it is absolutely beautiful in San Francisco…in fact, the town is under a heat advisory (expected temperature of 93F).

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I Left My Ship in San Francisco

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Bay Bridge and East Bay

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Our Old Friend, the Celebrity Century

Our meeting time in the Michelangelo Dining Room is 9:55 AM so we are not rushed at all during this debarkation.  I even brought breakfast back to the room for Ellen.  The Horizon Court was not overly crowded making for a peaceful and relaxing finish to the cruise.  Princess does a nice job on debarkation day.

I checked on our flights using my AA App and checked us both in – green and go per the App.

Debarkation went pretty quickly because we did not go through immigration (we turned in our immigration cards ahead of time and somehow all the passengers passed through a virtual immigration check).  After checking out the price of a cab ride ($50 plus tip), I called the Airport Express Shuttle ($36 plus tip).  It took a while and there were some glitches but the van did show up at Pier 35 and about 45 minutes later we were at the airport.

When we got to the American Airlines Priority Line for check-in, we noticed that it was taking a lot longer to check people in and some people just walked away.  After a while, the problem surfaced – there had been a fire in the control tower in Chicago and all flights to ORD were on hold.

We finally got to the counter and the fire issue was confirmed – the agent wanted to rebook us on a flight tomorrow at 9:20 AM.  We were about to do that when she asked us to wait while she checked on something.  She came back and printed out our boarding passes with our original flight only being delayed five minutes (now 2:00 PM).  She did suggest we gate check our bags in case the flight was cancelled.

That’s what we did – Ellen went through TSA pre-check and I went through priority check-in.  My line was very short and I did have to do the shoes and belt thing but it still didn’t take very long. The soft X-ray scanner didn’t pick up the extra metal in my convertible pants – that usually gets me a pat down – not today.

We had lunch (including a $2.99 diet coke and $2.60 potato chips – TGIF skins actually and really good) in the seating area near our gate.  When we got to our gate, I checked the AA App – it now had a departure of 3:00 PM but it also said “Cancelled” in red letters.  To be on the safe side, I called AAdvantage on my mobile and the agent confirmed the cancellation and said she had already re-booked us on a 6 AM flight tomorrow to ORD.  I told her that wouldn’t work and we eventually got on a flight leaving at 1:00 PM (stopping at DFW).  All direct flights were full and this was the earliest flight.  She told me that we had exit rows on both flights and I would get a confirmation e-mail within the hour.

Checking Expedia, I found a hotel in South San Francisco - “The CitiGarden Hotel” - quoting queen rooms for $79 (no misprint).  Ellen called them directly and booked the room.  This hotel also has a shared complimentary airport shuttle and an included breakfast.  We caught the shuttle in about 10 minutes and a short ride later we were checked in.

The hotel is actually pretty nice for the price – there are lots of rooms surrounding a massive courtyard and pool. 

CitiGarden Hotel

CitiGarden Hotel – Pool and Grounds

Some guests were barbecuing their dinner while we spent some time at the pool.

I got the e-mail from American and we were not in exit rows on flight 1 and had no seats on flight 2.  I called them but the hold time was 40 minutes so I opted for a call back.  I missed the call back (phone went to vibrate without telling me) but about 10 minutes later, American called back.  I got the seat situation straightened out so now we are set to depart at 1:00 PM tomorrow.

We had some of the food we didn’t finish at lunch for dinner and got out and walked into the downtown area (hot and uphill). 

We are now relaxing in our room.  So far so good.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Monday, May 12, 2014 – At Sea – Pacific Ocean – California Coast – Mostly Sunny - 64F

A sunny but chilly day off the coast of California…

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San Luis Obispo in the Distance

I had breakfast in the Horizon Court – pancakes and a fried egg – the real treat comes at the “Follow Up Breakfast” at the International Cafe.  Generally, I work on the day’s talk at the IC at which time I grab one (or more) of their delicious donuts (arguably, the best items on the ship).  This ruins lunch but it is worth it.  The other day I was going through this process along with a cup of coffee from the buffet.  One of the coffee girls asked me if I wanted some more coffee – I confessed I was drinking the cheap stuff from upstairs – she said “who’s going to know” and poured me some liquid gold.

Lunch was an odd process today – nothing in the buffet so I am ordering a pizza at Alfredo’s.  Ellen is bringing something down from the buffet.  Today’s pizza is the best of the cruise and I barely have time to eat any of it (they finally got the concept of “extra sauce”).

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View from Alfredo’s Pizzeria

My final talk is at 12:45 PM and even on the final day, I can’t get a battlefield promotion to a “Princess Pick”. 


I do like the “Harold Michael Tinberg” thing – sounds more formal. Passengers still call me Dr. Hal.

Actually, I didn’t need the bump because the attendance was the best yet – well over 200 people.  I think that this is the max audience I can get on this ship –just not a super forensic base.  What made it all worthwhile were the great comments and the very nice applause at the end of this talk.

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The Final Presentation

We had dinner with Mimi and Gerald in the Michelangelo Dining room 6:00 PM.  I had a Caesar Salad, grilled veggie salad – macadamia nut hummus and veggies, and a South African whitefish called Kingclip.  It wasn’t bad but I called for backup by ordering a side of Fettuccini Alfredo.

We spent about two hours at dinner which probably set a record for dinner during a cruise.

There were no shows tonight so we went to the room early to finish packing and chill out.  That was nice.

The bags are outside the door and in front of the door.

Seas are smooth and boom-less.

Sunday, May 11, 2014 – At Sea – Pacific Ocean – Ensenada, Mexico – Partly Cloudy – 66F

The Patter says that we are experiencing “moderate waves” (NOT)

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Looks Peaceful Now but…

Last night was the worst night we have ever experienced cruising – the “booms” or wave slaps were and are coming in at a rate of one every 30 – 60 seconds.  That gives us an overnight total of 400 to 500 booms last night with each one sounding like the T-Rex footfalls in Jurassic Park.  The booms are supplemented by an occasional multiple shake and ever present major shimmy.  I’m sure it is worse up here on 12 Forward than 5 midship but we felt a lot of movement down there last night.  A rough ride…

Started a new book “Angel’s Flight” –  a Harry Bosch novel by Michael Connelly.

We arrive in Ensenada around 4 PM (hoping for earlier) so I am on this morning at 9:45 AM.

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Approaching Ensenada Mexico

Considering the hour and the rough ride, I am surprised anyone showed up.  Some people were there early.  The attendance did turn out to be very good at around 175 people.  The talk - “Life and Death of Pharaohs” went well based on feedback.

As soon as the ship was cleared, we hustled off the ship to look for the terrific spa we visited the last time we were here.  Instead, we found another spa - “Massage and Facial Care” on Lopez Mateos

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Lopez Mateos – Main Drag

that was Trip Advisor recommended.  An hour massage ran $40 – the place was pretty high end and very tidy.  The girls all had uniforms – it was like a hotel health spa – and they were open on Sunday. 

A very unusual work of art on the wall caught my eye.

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The life preserver (mini preserver) from the Titanic was certainly a long way from home.

The spa is worth another visit next time we are in Ensenada.  They even had bottles of Costco water for us to take with.

A new store that sprang up since our last visit was an Israeli Food Stand

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that was run by an Israeli girl (smelled good in there but not Kosher).

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Grand Princess Docked

We made it back to the ship about 7:15 PM and had a quick dinner in the buffet.

After dinner, we took in Steve Caouette (8:30 PM in the Vista Lounge).  We thought it might be a whole new show but we had seen some of the material before.  We left a few minutes early (at our own peril) to get seats for Sean O’Shea (Theater at 9:30 PM).  He did do some new stuff at this show and he was just as zany as ever.  Very good entertainer and really tall.

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Sean O’Shea

Hoping for smooth seas tonight…

Saturday, May 10, 2014 – At Sea – Pacific Ocean – Mostly Cloudy – 70F

An awful night – bumpy and noisy…little if any sleep and to top it off, I have been scheduled for 10:00 AM this morning.

The ship must be moving directly into oncoming waves - (What is the opposite of a “following sea”?)

I am incredibly tired but I manage to deliver the “Search for the Unknown Titanic Child” 10:00 AM.  The presentation, which is a pretty long one finished in 45 minutes.  I got some great feedback from the audience which on this day (in spite of the time change) numbered about 200 attendees.

We had lunch with Bridge Instructors Miriam (Mimi) and Gerald David at the Pub Lunch (the second of the cruise so far).  This was a yummy lunch on the October 2013 cruise but today the fish and batter coating were not as good.  We did, however, have a really nice conversation with Mimi and Gerald and exchanged some info and contact information.

We had the whole day ahead of us and I’m pretty sure an on-deck nap was involved.

With all of this free time I finished “Silent Girl” by Tess Gerritsen.  The author is half Chinese and this novel is the first of hers to incorporate some of the stories her mother told her as a child.  I really liked the book (this after having given up on a previous one of her books).

Tonight is the Captain’s Farewell Party (BTW – I haven’t seen or heard the Captain once this cruise).  This involved free Rum Punch drinks and colorful (green and red) other drinks.  The entertainment was provided by Retrospect in the Piazza. 

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A balloon drop was scheduled for 10:30 PM, so I doubt we will see it – we had to satisfied to kick around a few balloons that escaped during the band’s set.

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We passed on both shows tonight - Kellie Karl – Hypnotist (I generally don’t like hypnotists – personal preference) and the production show, “British Invasion”, which we have seen before.

Seas are smooth, sort of…

Friday, May 9, 2014 – At Sea – Pacific Ocean – Mostly Cloudy – 72F

A nice day at sea…a little breezy to spend too much time outside.

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Not so many whitecaps

Lunch today was in the International Cafe – Tuna Sandwiches (very good) and Greek salad (always good).  We also ran into the very nice Bridge Couple – Miriam and Gerald.  We agreed to meet for lunch tomorrow at 11:30 AM.

The “Search for the Unknown Titanic Child” was at 12:45 PM and the crowd was good – north of 150 attendees.

Because is was too chilly outside, we found a nice warm spot in the Piazza to spend our time.  I am just about finished with “The Silent Girl” – a fascinating story about forensics, Chinese folk legends, and supernatural creatures bent on revenging old injustices.  What a combination. 

At 4:30 PM, Princess dispatches its “Cookies and Milk” squad (I thought the cruise line might have discontinued this due to budget constraints).  It is still a cute break in the afternoon and a perfect way to ruin your dinner.

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The Cookies and Milk Girls

Based on our wonderful experience in the Dining Room last night, we are back in the Michelangelo tonight to try the Orange Roughy.  Unfortunately, it was not my kind of fish so I had the waiter bring me the Fettuccini Alfredo (always good).

Showtime tonight showcased David Austen in the Vista Lounge.

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David is one of the Princess Singers but tonight he paying tribute to Michael Buble and Frank Sinatra.  He has a great voice, stage presence, and put on a wonderful show. 

We elected not to see “Jesse and Colleen Kazemek’s Tribute to the Beatles” in the Princess Theater – too many Beatles tributes this cruise (we also caught a few minutes of Jesse’s performance the other night and decided to pass).

The ship is starting to get bumpy – up in our room, the motion is scary and each wave slap resonates through the hull and walls and emerges as a “boom”.  Sounds like a T-Rex walking around (yes, the water in our glasses ripples).  Don’t know to sleep through this – we will see…maybe it will abate later on.

Oh, yes another time change…

Thursday, May 8, 2014 – At Sea – Pacific Ocean – Mostly Cloudy – 71F

Getting cooler as we continue toward Ensenada, Mexico…

I am back at the 12:45 PM slot today.  I do a little tuning up of the talk but for some reason wind up causing some issue with the slides (all started with a named being misspelled).  One slide was duplicated and the correction was not made for all the occurrences.  It was pretty sloppy.  In any event, nobody said anything afterwards and I blamed the slides for not behaving. 

I asked the audience to provide feedback so after the talk one passenger came by to tell me my SNP diagram was inaccurate because the purines and pyrimidines were the same size.  I explained that it was a diagram and not real chemical structures. 

Clearly, the 12:45 PM is not as ideal a time since the attendance for “Genetic Eyewitness” was back to 150 passengers – good news – no one left early.

The afternoon turned out to an unplanned revision session for my next talk on the Titanic.  After reviewing the slides, I noticed a glitch in the mtDNA data.  I did some detective work and found that this error went all the way back to mid-2012, when I modified the data by splitting in into two slides (Pre-PBS Special and Post-PBS Special).  When I did that, one bit of data wound up in the wrong bucket.  Why I didn’t notice this over more than eight presentations is a mystery – perhaps my back was to the slide or maybe I whipped through that part so quickly I didn’t notice.  In any event, it is now fixed and fixed it shall stay.

We ate in the Michelangelo Dining Room tonight and came a bit early to try an get a good table for two.  We not only got a great table but a landmark achievement was reached - “The Best Non-Pasta Dinner Ever on a Cruise Ship”

I had an Eggplant Parmigiani appetizer, Caesar Salad, minestrone soup, and grilled Mahi Mahi over spinach, sautéed onions and tomatoes.  Everything was delicious especially the fish, which was hot and tender and perfectly seasoned.  The fish was similar to the one I had at Casanova’s on Maui – that tells you how good it was.

Since we had dinner early, we could make the first show of the evening.  The headliner was Sean O’Shea, Singer, impressionist, and comedian.  We have seen him twice before (Pacific Princess and Voyager of the Seas – both in 2009) – his act is very frenetic and zany and he does a lot of physical comedy (he has to stay in decent shape to pull off some of the stunts).  He is also a pretty good singer and does an excellent Elvis impression – pretty much takes up the second half of the show.

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Sean O’Shea – Five Years Later (Kelly on the right)

We chose not to see the hypnotist – a woman – in the Vista Lounge.

I started a new book - “The Silent Girl” – by Tess Gerritsen.  I am sort of hooked.  I can tell already that there are major differences between the Rizzoli and Isles of book and TV. 

Picked up a doozy of a headache so we are back in the room a little earlier tonight.

Seas are smooth and clocks move forward again.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 – At Sea – Pacific Ocean – Partly Cloudy – 76F

The Grand Princess is on her Eastbound Transpacific Leg…

Still warm and nice outside…

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Morning / Afternoon At Sea

There is a presentation on the workings of the ship at 12:45 PM so my talk today is at 10:00 AM.  As I found out later, this confused some people, who were expecting to see me in the afternoon.

The 10:00 AM slot seems to be a better time for people as “Mystery of the Romanovs” draws the largest crowd yet - approximately 200 passengers.  The talk went well and some good comments and feedback followed.

Following the talk, we had lunch in the Horizon Court – Fish and Chips I think (the chips coming from the Trident Grill).  It was good.

The rest of the day was ours so we were able to get lots of reading in.  I finished “The Martian” by Andy Weir – I wanted to find out more about the back story of this book but there were no comments by the author or acknowledgments following the last page.  The book just ended.  Bottom line – an entertaining but overly detailed (and quite technical) diary of our stranded astronaut.  I especially thought the dialogue was well done – I felt people really talked that way to each other.

After checking out the menu in the Dining Room yesterday, we had dinner in Alfredo’s Pizzeria – again the pizza plus the Greek Salad were very good.

Showtime tonight showcased the Production Show, “Do You Want to Dance?”.  Although we have seen it before, this is a new group of singers and dancers so the show will inherently be different.  The production group is excellent and the show is hugely entertaining (without being too loud).  Again, the combination of “Danny Boy” and the Irish Step Dance is my favorite segment.

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My Favorite – Irish Step Dance

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The Finale

Clocks move forward tonight…seas are bumpy.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 – Lahaina, Maui – Partly Cloudy – 83F

A beautiful day in Lahaina, Maui…



Mini-Local Information.  Maui is the only island where you can see three other Hawaiian Islands (Molokai and Lanai are two of them).  It is also home to the largest extinct volcano in the world, Haleakala.  Lahaina is the most popular resort port on the island. 

This is a tender port and tender service starts at 7:00 AM.

We are both on the same tour today –“Haleakala Crater” and we have a 7:00 AM meeting time in the Princess Theater.  This means a 5:45 AM Room Service delivery (another Special K breakfast – today, I also ordered a breakfast muffin (egg plus cheese – hold the ham)).  Breakfast was OK and we got to the Theater on time.

Our tender left right on time and less than 10 minutes later we were at the port at Lahaina.  Our bus was a little late so we huddled in the shade due to the heat.  It is the warmest day of the cruise.

Another full sized bus, driven by the narrating guide - “Uncle Charlie”.  That can’t be legal back in the mainland.  Not only that, but this drive involve a climb of over four miles to the summit of Mt. Haleakala, over roads that are two lanes but not as wide as our bus.  The bus spent most of the time in the middle of the double yellow line and only moved over when a car was coming down from the other direction.  On the plus side, the climb was slow and there wasn’t a scary drop-off at the shoulders of the road.

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The Grand Princess from Lahaina

Maui is shaped like a head and body with Lahaina located near the nose.  Our trip started down the face (South) toward the body part of the island.  Spectacular views of volcanic peaks highlighted our trip into the countryside (the picture below is rare since it doesn’t have any telephone wires).

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On our way – heading South

As we made our way to the cloud covered Volcano, we passed the only working sugar processing plant on Maui (and perhaps one of the few in the Islands).  There are still sugar cane plantations on Maui as well as the famed potato farms (“Maui Potato Chips”). 

About a hour away from the port, we started our climb toward the 10,300 foot summit of Mt. Haleakala.  The terrain was clearly volcanic but it contained a variety of plants that could deal with the hard volcanic soil (tough for roots to penetrate).  The sides of the volcano were also dotted with nice homes (recall that this volcano is extinct). 

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Home on the Hillside

About half way up the mountain, we stopped at the Ranger gate and then the Visitors Center.  Just a gift shop and restrooms.  We were told that it would be chilly up on the mountain but it was still pleasant at this level.  The terrain at the Visitor’s Center was volcanic and interesting – worth a shot.

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Visitor’s Center – flowers and rocks

Back in the bus and on our way to the summit, another half hour or so.  As we made our way up we passed through the cloud layer and into clear skies.  The weather conditions at the summit were such that they were ideal with observatories and there were several at the summit.  There was also a fancy radar unit – I’m sure it has a Defense purpose.

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Radar Unit (L) and Observatories at the Summit

The summit contains another visitor’s center – this one has a model of the crater so you can tell what you are looking at.  This crater – according to Uncle Charlie is not a volcanic crater but an “erosion crater”.  It was carved out by rain and wind.  I am not convinced and will check this out later.  If rain did this (and the crater is 3000 feet deep) where did all the soil go (there didn’t seem to be a way out of the crater).

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The Crater Model

Not really chilly up here until the wind blows across the canyon.  I am still in my t-shirt.

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Braving the chilly winds at the Crater

The crater is spectacular – the best way to describe it is to say it looks like Mars without the reddish atmosphere.  The clouds come and go (along with the wind) so it is a constantly changing view.  The iron oxide rich soil combined with the volcanic soil give the crater some eerie color combinations.  The bottom of the crater, some 3000 feet below, is relatively smooth and dotted with small cinder cones.  The edges of the canyon contain jagged volcanic rocks.  Again, its Mars on Earth.

The Haleakala Crater photo sequence:

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Uncle Charlie was able to get us down the mountain safely.  Our next stop was lunch.  It was advertised as a sandwich and salad stop so our expectations were low.

The restaurant was located in a cute little town called Makawao.  The two had only two major intersecting streets but both of them are lined with shops and restaurants.  Very quaint.  The restaurant – Casanova’s – is located at the intersection of the two streets.  It is an interesting combination of country bar and Italian Restaurant.

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Our Lunch Venue

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Cowboy Motif

For a place that appears to be in the middle of nowhere, it appears that this restaurant is Zagat rated.  There are also numerous “Best…” awards on the walls.  A little jewel of a restaurant in a tiny town in Maui. 

There are two busses here and we can only order off the special menu (six or so items).  The grilled Mahi Mahi looks good to me and Ellen likes the Pasta with Mushrooms except that it has chicken.  After some discussion with Donna our waitress, she said she would check with the chef about losing the chicken.  She said that that might mean we would get our meal last.  In the meantime, we got nice big Diet Cokes (on tap). 

Even though there are a hundred meals to serve, the food starts coming out.  Instead of being the last meal made, it turns out that Ellen’s pasta is the first meal to be made.  My mahi mahi is wonderful, with the fresh fish sitting on top of wilted arugula and surrounded by a mountain of baked tomatoes and olives – it is absolutely perfect.  Donna told us that everything is made to order so that means it must be a madhouse back in the kitchen – the food and the presentation reminds me of Francesca’s North back home.

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Grilled Mahi Mahi plus a side of Ellen’s Pasta

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Do I Look Like I Love the Food

Ellen’s humongous pasta dish is loaded with fresh mushrooms (the freshness of everything was confirmed by Donna) and was delicious.  This might have been the best off ship meal we have had in several years.

Ellen asked if there was any tea – Donna said it was not included but she would get it for us anyway.  She said, if I wanted, she could get me some freshly brewed decaf from their deli.  The drinks came in a few minutes – the coffee came in a to-go cup plus cozy.  The coffee was delicious and hot and grande size.

Our feast was not yet over – Donna asked me if we would like to try some freshly made Focaccia bread – of course, I said, and in a few minutes, piping hot bread plus olive oil and balsamic vinegar appeared.  I forgot to mention, that min-brownies were also part of this meal.  If I can, I’ll put in a Trip Advisor review for Casanova’s when I return.

We tipped Donna for her super service and spent the remaining time in town exploring the stores.

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Beautiful Downtown Makawao

The trip back to Lahaina took about an hour but again it was super scenic and relaxing.  Uncle Charlie was funny and he occasionally broke into song, singing some Hawaiian melodies.  We passed both Lanai (Charlie said it was now owned by Larry Ellison of Oracle – need to check on that). and Molokai.

Our timing was perfect as we arrived at the pier just as a tender was loading up.  Soon we were back on the ship and up on Deck 15 Aft to watch the sail away.

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20140506_Lahaina Sailaway (Small)


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Maui Sail Away

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Dinner was in the Michelangelo Dining Room – I had Mahi Mahi again but also Gazpacho Soup.

Didn’t take in any of the entertainment tonight – reading and relaxing was the order of the evening.