... Melrose couple does Maui, Kauai and Oahu
Maui was our next stop, named after a demigod called "Maui the Trickster". Legend has it that "Maui" created all the Hawaiian Islands, dragging them up from the bottom of the sea with a magic fishhook. The missionaries from Boston helped establish religious freedom under King Kamihameha III.
Maui is the home of Haleakala which means House of the Sun, the worlds largest dormant volcano, last erupting in 1790. We took a bus tour around Maui, close to the shore, sighting whales, observing spectacular views of the ocean, and Maui's unique red tinted soil. Stops along the way included the beautiful Iao Valley National Park and its impressive collection of plants and trees with dramatic overlooks of the famous Needle, the valley, and beyond. We visited the Maui Tropical Plantation and had a narrated tour of its agricultural villages, sugar cane fields, macadamia nut orchards, and exotic flower garden.
Before boarding the tender back to the ship, we marveled at the wonder of the famous Lahaina Banyan tree which spreads over an entire park. That afternoon, we watched the Super Bowl in a ship lounge dedicated to the game, with a big screen, Rams colors on one side and Patriots colors on the other side in leis and streamers, and a buffet of hot dogs, hamburgers, drinks, etc. An exciting happy ending, and it was extra special because Ram fans outnumbered us Patriot fans by a wide margin.
IAO Valley National Park
Kauai, the Garden Isle, is the oldest of the islands, formed 5 million years ago and is 2315 miles southwest of San Francisco. It is generally known to be the most hauntingly beautiful of all the islands. The only island not invaded and conquered by King Kamehameha, it joined the kingdom of Hawaii by agreement, not war, in 1810. Kauai's main attractions are the breathtaking scenery. Waimea Canyon, named the grand canyon of the Pacific, has the waterfalls featured in the TV show Fantasy Island, the Fern Grotto was a site in Elvis movie Blue Lagoon, and the Raiders of the Lost Ark was filmed at the Waimea Grotto. South Pacific, Jurassic Park, and the TV series The Thorn Birds were also filmed in Kauai.
In Kauai, we went on the Romantic Tropical Garden and Luau Celebration Tour strolling through a lush 30-acre botanical and cultural garden, with meandering tropical pathways and recreated ethic villages. We enjoyed the quiet serene atmosphere by the lagoon, observing exotic peacocks and other island birds in the sanctuary, tropical fruits, e.g. bananas, breadfruit, starfruit, jackfruit, etc., and listened to the sounds and smelled the fragrances of nature all around us.
Ceremony of the roasted pig
We witnessed the IMU ceremony, unearthing the Kalua pig cooked on hot lava rocks in the IMU pit. Before long, we were feasting on tasty Hawaii delicacies, including the infamous Poi (which no one likes), while Polynesian songs and dances from the South Pacific entertained us. We participated in a special ceremony, each of us presented an orchid lei, renewing vows or rededicating commitment and love for each other, to the Hawaiian Wedding Song, as a maiden danced the hula, interpreting the words through the message of her lovely hula hands. Each couple sealed their love with a romantic kiss, exchanging leis, followed by a toast of congratulations from everyone. A special souvenir certificate was presented to each couple, commemorating the event.