05 July 2008 – Today was the day for our Molokini snorkel trip. We got there just in the nick of time and boarded our boat. The captain and crew were efficient and funny, and they made the trip seem like an easy breezy island affair. It was fun to watch the Molokini Crater get ever larger in our view on the ride out from Ma'alaea Bay.
Shortly after we left the bay, the crew served us some very delicious cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Our first stop on the adventure was, of course, the Molokini crater itself. There were tons of boats there (all carrying yet more snorkelers and divers), but the crater is so large, it wasn’t ~too~ intrusive. We enjoyed viewing tons of brightly colored and otherwise interesting fish in water that was very clear, especially in the ample sunlight of our perfect Hawaii day. Next, we were taken over to an area that was known to have sea turtles, and true to form, we managed to see at least one of the huge turtles flap his way regally up to the surface, poke his head out of the water for a fresh breath of air, paddle around for a bit, and then drop gracefully back to the bottom. Later on, for lunch, we were served teriyaki chicken, some sort of sweet/savory rice, caesar salad, and a taro roll. All of the food was quite delicious – especially since we had worked up a good appetite with all that snorkeling. We had motored out to the snorkel destinations, but on our way back, since the wind had picked up, the folks on the boat cut the engines and raised the sails instead. A wonderful quiet descended on the boat as the engine noise dropped away. It was very pleasant.
That evening, we dined at Mala Ocean Tavern. This restaurant is owned by Mark Ellman, one of the 12 chefs that founded the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement. We were provided tortilla chips with some salsa and a crunchy edamame puree to chew on while we perused the menu. The edamame puree was an interesting substitution for the more traditional guacamole – nice texture, and very tasty. Sean and I split the crispy calamari, which was served with aioli and a green mojo and was also quite heavenly. The thing on the menu we were most interested in was the adult macaroni and cheese which we both got. We agreed that the yummy roasted cheese topping was really delicious but that otherwise, it was sort of mild. One thing we both agreed we adored was the Coconut Porter we drank with our mac-n-cheese. It is made by the Maui Brewing Company and it was delicious! It was dark and smooth and had not a hint of bitterness, and the ever-so-light smell and taste of coconut was more than just novel, it was really fantastic. We will definitely need to figure out how to acquire this back on the mainland.