Background Information. Lahaina is what is known as a CDP (Census Designated Place), which is neither a city, town, or other population center and has no local government. Lahaina has a population of about 12,000 residents, who enjoy the many galleries, eateries, and specialty stores lining the main street.
Our terrific weather continues on the Island of Maui…
The ship is docked about 10 minutes from the small town of Lahaina.
The tender loading and dispatching process is very smooth on the Star Princess (as it usually is). Ellen and I are on the same tender.
Tendering to Lahaina, Maui
We are both on tour today - “Maui Gold Pineapple Plantation Plant Tour”. The tour involves a tour of the pineapple fields and the packing plant and then lunch at a local restaurant. When we got to Lahaina, our bus was not quite ready so we waited in the shade in the pier area.
From the pier, I captured the Star Princess out in the Bay.
In a few minutes, we boarded our van – it was not a standard bus but a small van. It turned out to be very comfortable for the 12 passengers on board. Our guide was “Captain Ron” (I think) and he was very much an Island Guy.
The route took us out of Lahaina and along the Pacific Ocean.
There were scenic mountains on the left side of the van but they were difficult to shoot while moving. I did get a picture of Kahoʻolawe, an uninhabited island about seven miles off the coast. The island gained notoriety because, during WWII, the US Armed Forces used the island for bombing practice. This activity stopped in the early 1990s and now the island can only be used for Hawaiian ceremonial activities. I bet there’s a lot of unexploded ordinance still on the island. Kahoʻolawe is still known as the “Target Island”.
The “Target Island” of Kahoʻolawe
We were told that we would need to change transports for our tour of the Maui Gold Pineapple Plantation. This took place at an Educational Facility not far from the plantation. The facility had a number of school building and fantastic grounds and we also saw several students wandering around. We spent a little time at the gift shop and, in the end, picked up some souvenirs.
We rendezvoused with our plantation guide, Bret, and boarded what looked like a reclaimed school bus for our tour. We took us through the fields and pointed out the various stages of pineapple maturation (first and second generation pineapples). Pineapples take several years to mature (something to think about the next time you eat only part of your pineapple).
Second Generation Pineapple Field
Bret cut up some pineapples for us to taste – they were good but I didn’t think they were a lot different from the pineapples I’ve tried back home. Still nice and juicy – there wasn’t a strong pineapple taste, as well.
Bret Cutting Up Some Snacks
In the Fields
The pineapple fields were very flat so from our vantage point, we could see the volcano, Haleakala. We toured the summit last time we were here.
The tour of the plant was OK – Wednesday is not a packing day so there were few workers around. We also saw a small chemistry lab, which is used to test the sugar and acidity content of the fruit. Crude but workable.
Our next stop – and the one I was looking forward to – was lunch.
The lunch venue was the Hali‘imaile General Store. The restaurant was once a general store for the folks that worked in the plantation. Today, the restaurant is run by the Gannons with Bev Gannon as the chef. Bev Gannon is an award winning chef with other fine restaurants on her resume. The General Store is one of the best restaurants on the island of Maui.
We were somewhat disappointed when we could not find anything on the small menu (probably used only for tour groups) that we could eat. Ellen had a discussion with the manager and was told that there were no options (e.g. subbing Salmon in for the meat) possible. Just when it looked like we would be having salads, the waitress told us they could whip up something with tofu. With that in mind, I had the Asian Salad with Blackened Tofu (below) and Ellen had grilled tofu on her salad. The salads were delicious and what I would expect from a fine restaurant.
Lunch was a little rushed – we were told that our transportation was waiting. We still were able to finish our meal and boarded the bus for the return trip to Lahaina.
The bus ride home took us past the West Maui mountain range.
West Maui Mountains
From the road, we could also see a line of wind turbines providing electricity for island residents.
Soon, we were hugging the coast line and within a few minutes, the Star Princess came into view.
Pacific Coast and Star Princess
We still had plenty of time before the last tender, so we decided to walk through the cute town on Lahaina. There seemed to be more people on the streets compared to the last few times we were here.
Star Princess and the Island of Lanai
Ellen and the Star Princess
The tender ride back was much rougher (there was a weather front moving in) and it took a while for the boat to be able to pull alongside the ship. Everyone survived the bouncy conditions.
A very nice day in Maui.
Tomorrow, we start our return trip…